Have you ever noticed how often you chew your food before swallowing? For the majority of us, the answer is no. Encouraged by a fast-paced, multitasking society, we tend to mindlessly overeat in a harried fashion without adequately chewing our food. Not chewing enough can manifest in a number of uncomfortable health issues such as gas, bloating, cramps, heartburn, or constipation. It can also result in the build-up of toxins and poor assimilation of nutrients, leading to low energy, poor moods, sluggishness, and weight gain.
Here are 4 simple tips to help you practice conscious chewing:
1. Put utensils down between bites: building this habit will naturally slow you down, help you chew more and add mindfulness to your meals.
2. Wait 20 minutes before reaching for seconds: it takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Waiting and letting the food settle not only encourages you to chew more, it gives time for your brain to get the signal that you are full ~ natural portion control which prevents under or over eating.
3. Slow down, relax and be present when eating. Refrain from watching t.v., working or being on your phone as this tends to lead to mindless eating. Light a candle and put on some soothing music instead. Relaxed, leisurely eating and creating a simple ritual around meals will naturally help you taste and chew more, resulting in a happier stomach.
4. Count your chews: try counting the number of chews per bite you are currently averaging. Then try doubling that number. This is a great game to play with young kids. It not only builds healthy habits early on, they get to practice their counting. The winner is the one who chews the most!
Over time, by practicing conscious chewing, you may notice chronic digestive issues such as bloating, gas, IBS, heartburn, and stomachaches improve or disappear. Don’t take my word for it, experiment and see what happens! Happy chewing! 🙂
Adapted from Molly’s book: Energizing Nutrition: A New Food Paradigm
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