I know you are already doing this, but you need to do it MORE!

What is the answer to this riddle?  (I’m not a great riddler, sorry about that!)

Chew

This may seem to be an oversimplified suggestion but hang with me a minute.

I’m betting you aren’t chewing well enough.  I know I don’t.  Not always.  My family will probably be surprised to hear me say that, because I’m always last to finish dinner.  But, I have to consciously make the decision to chew well every time I have a meal.  Especially when I’m in a hurry. 

So, this is for me, as much as it is for you.  Read on to find out why you will want to pay more attention to how well you chew your food and some ways to do it consistently.  

Even if you already know the benefits of chewing more, it always reinvigorates a habit to be reminded.  I know it renewed my own chewing habit as I wrote this!

You’ll get more nutrients from your food

When we assist the GI tract by breaking down each bite until it’s nearly liquid, the stomach and intestines are able to extract more of the nutrients from the food.  When you are making the effort to eat bright and colorful vegetables, don’t you want to get the most bang for your bite?  I know I do!  Especially when I’m buying the higher priced organic produce.  And, if you are also buying supplements, it really doesn’t make sense to not get the most out of the foods you are ingesting.

You’ll have less bloating

The stomach does its job beautifully, with all the acid and churning that it contributes.  But, digestion is supposed to start in the mouth.  Enzymes are in your saliva that begin the process, and if you swallow before chewing well enough, there won’t be enough contact of food and enzymes.

Slowing down, and chewing longer will also stimulate more of the stomach acids and enzymes to be released.  

If food gets to your intestines without being broken down well enough, you will likely feel it.  A good chewing habit is the answer to many with IBS.

Another thing that will help with digestion is to not drink with your meal, or 20 minutes before and after eating.  That’ll save you some money at the restaurant!  A few sips of water are fine when needed, if your food is dry.  However, the less you drink, the more concentrated your stomach acids will be to do their job well.

You may even lose weight

Probably the most compelling reason to slow down, and chew-chew-chew is that it will help you eat less.  The longer it takes for you to eat a meal, the better your body can give you the proper feedback that it is fully satisfied.  It takes a few minutes for the message from the receptors in the stretching stomach, to reach the brain.  I’m sure you’ve had the experience of finishing a meal feeling full, and several minutes later you felt overly stuffed!

As a side note, that’s a good reason to stop eating when you feel you are just becoming satisfied.  You will likely feel fully satisfied, or even a bit “full” once you’ve stepped away from the table.

If time is short, then just eat less

That’s right!  Rather than rushing through a meal, and shoveling it down…  just, slowly eat what you can in the given time.  Choose the most satisfying bites that are high in healthy fats and proteins.  

When you’re in a hurry isn’t the best time for a salad.  A thick creamy soup would be perfect, like this recipe for cream of broccoli made with coconut milk. (From StupidEasyPaleo.com)

Or, my favorite, have some avocado with nuts and roasted vegetables.  That is a powerhouse lunch that can fuel your afternoon with just a few bites.

Do you see how chewing more thoroughly will help you eat less, but get more out of what you put in your body?  This is a great, simple habit to begin if you are ready to make a change in your health, or lose weight.  Eat whatever you are currently eating, but just slow down, and chew it up well.  

Which of these reasons will motivate you to chew a bit longer?  How will you make it a habit?

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