When we were kids learning how to eat, one of the first things our parents taught us was to chew our food. If you didn’t listen, you likely learned pretty quickly why it was important as you choked on your vegetables for the first time. We are taught to chew our food, not only because of the obvious fact that it hurts to swallow food whole, but because digestion begins in the mouth. Actually, digestion begins before food even reaches our mouth! When we see, think about, or smell delicious food we salivate, which stimulates our gastric juices; meaning we’re signaling our digestive system that it’s about to go down!
You’re probably thinking – why is this chick writing about chewing food? We clearly chew! Well the truth is, most of the clients I see have forgotten to chew their food properly. No they’re not swallowing it whole but pretty darn close – and that affects many aspects about digestion. Remember that saying “everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten”? Not only do we not chew enough; we don’t take enough time to enjoy our food – but that’s another can of worms.
Back to chewing – the significance of not chewing your food enough is simple.
- If you don’t chew properly, you don’t digest properly – and if you don’t digest properly, you cannot absorb and assimilate the important nutrients from your food. Over time, this could lead to nutritional imbalances in the body, leaving you more susceptible to disease and illness.
- Food will take longer to breakdown in your stomach. While your gastric juices are working overtime on these abnormally large bits of food, the food will begin to putrefy. which leads to gas and bloating, constipation or diarrhea, pain and other gastrointestinal distresses.
- The longer it takes for food to digest, the more pathogenic bacteria thrive as they feed on undigested food. The pathogenic bacteria can lead to what is known as leaky gut – which causes inflammation in the body and a host of other problems. I will write on leaky gut down the road and put the link here.
- You likely need to slow down. Stress negatively affects your digestion and so does eating in a rush. If you’re not chewing your food properly, it is likely that you’re not chilling! Take a load off, you work hard, probably too hard, you and your body deserve to sit down and nourish! Come on bro, life is way too short. I have European blood coursing through my veins and this is just second nature to me. Nobody, and I mean nobody will get in the way of my enjoyment of food. I probably enjoy it too much!
Luckily, this is an easy fix. Here are some peasy tips for improving digestion
- Eat small meals more often
- Take small sips of water at room temperature during meals, drink as much water leading up to a meal, wait 30 minutes to drink afterwards
- Avoid eating when stressed – chill out!
- Chew your FOOD until it is a paste
- Try a plant based digestive enzyme with betaine hydrochloride.
- Have a glass of warm water with juice of a ½ lemon first thing in the morning.
Have you noticed distress while you digest? Maybe you’ve noticed some symptoms 30 minutes to a few hours after you eat. Try battling the basics first, start with ensuring you’re taking time to slow down – you and your body deserve it!