Friday, February 25, 2011

Chew What!

I read recently that most people have given up their New Year's resolutions by the first of part of February. I'm not a big resolutions person as I try to always be striving towards some goal or another, but this year I decided to work  on something that seems so simple, but still haven't mastered. That's right, the headline gives it away, I'm working towards chewing my food. Go ahead laugh, your thinking, well aren't you already doing that? And the answer is sort of.

My friend, who is an integrative nutritionist, and I were talking about food as we frequently do and the conversation turned towards school lunches and my pet peeve, the approximately 25 minutes most kids have to go from their classroom, buy lunch, find a place to sit, (unpack lunch if they are bringing) eat, and then get ready for recess. My kids complain that they don't have enough time to eat frequently. I was sharing with her that for the most part we eat dinner together every night and that dinner could be an hour, if we had time and that I knew we ate slowly and actually chewed our food.

There is silence and then I hear, "You know you should chew each bite 30 times?" What? 30 times, well sure I did that, we were slow eaters after all. We took the time to enjoy our meals. I had never thought about how much I or my family chewed, so I thought I would start counting. That night I'm all excited, we're going to count our chews and we'll be at 30 chews in no time. We counted and we were all at 3-5 chews..practically gulping our bites.

Why is chewing so important? Believe it or not the process of digestion starts in your mouth, not your stomach. Your saliva contains enzymes that help break down your food. Some of those enzymes help break down starches to give you more energy and others break down fats that are consumed.
Additionally, mindfully chewing your food helps you eat more slowly and prevents overeating. Not overeating means less chance for gaining unwanted pounds, and, you will even taste more of your food.

How much should your really chew your food? It depends on what your eating. Obviously a piece of lettuce will take fewer chews than say a piece of steak. To try this, I suggest you start with taking smaller bites and work on chewing each bite until you can't what the food by it's texture.

Give it a try and see how many chews you can do. 

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