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How to Master the Necessary Art of Chewing

May 13, 2010

Chewing seems second nature to most of us. We do it so often we don’t think about it. Problem is,  most often without thinking about it we also DON’T CHEW ENOUGH, and it happens to be a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. A lot of times, people literally swallow their meals whole. Perhaps because rushed, starving, or just absent-minded. If you can still see any of the original formation of your meal after you relieve yourself, it is a glaring sign that you must learn to chew better.  Why is that art of masticating important? For a great deal of reasons:

1. The digestive process begins when you start chewing. The action of chewing is literally a signal to your digestive system to begin the process. Enzymes in our saliva immediately begin to assist in breaking down our food. If you swallow whole pieces, you are missing the step of giving your digestive engine time to warm up. In addition chewing is like the start of the digestion assembly line.

2. Improper chewing can create a toxic internal environment. If your food is not broken down into liquid or tiny particles, then the stomach is left with gigantic pieces that acid alone can’t break down and the whole digestive assembly line can’t function optimally, leading to gas, bacterial overgrowth, indigestion, and a host of other issues. With raw foods, this is especially important when eating a lot of greens which are tough and need to be chewed for longer periods.

3. Chewing relaxes the lower stomach muscle. In order for food to leave your stomach and pass through your lower intestine, your lower stomach must relax. When you chew and enough saliva is built up, this automatically happens and makes movement of food through the digestive tract easier.

4.You loose nutrients when you don’t chew well. The whole point of the divine process of digestion is to extract nutrients and other goodies our bodies need from what we eat and chuck the rest. When we don’t chew properly, we don’t give the body a fair chance to actually recharge from the food we eat.

Become a Chewing Superstar

So how do you know when you’ve chewed enough? Some people go as far as to prescribe a certain number of chews for different types of foods. That’s a little insane, because we’d be counting aloud in our heads all day.  Some tips to ensure  optimal chewing:

  • Don’t swallow until whatever it is you put in your mouth is dissolved in a way that you can’t tell what it originally was. Meaning, if you are chewing on a piece of rough kale and can still taste the roughness and feel the texture in your mouth, you have not chewed enough.
  • Don’t  talk while chewing, this leads to swallowing–which I know all too well. Try to respond to the question after completely chewing whatever is already in your mouth.
  • Avoid eating when in stressful situations, atmospheres, or just stressed in general.
  • Take your time; designate meal times. The majority of us rush through food and literally shove things into our mouths while on-the-go. Gone are some of the rituals of blessing food and taking time to eat. Well just like we raw vegan lovers are bringing sexy back with our all natural glow, we have to bring patience and stillness back into our meal times so we can properly absorb the nutrients and reap the full benefits of our healthy food.
  • Chew foods that are even virtually liquids such as puddings or yogurt. This gets the enzymes going and will help the food to digest better.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Literally. Make sure that you are not shoving large portions into your mouth at a time that cannot be chewed properly. If you reduce the portions you put it your mouth at a time, it’s more likely you will break it down better. Besides, chewing also allows you to really taste your food, and makes eating all the more enjoyable.

Happy Chewing! -XoXo Raw Girl

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