Updated: Feb 2, 2019
Are you struggling with weight gain, bloat, gas, indigestion, constipation or digestive issues? It could be the WAY you eat and not necessarily what your eating.
Although what you eat is very important, how you eat affects the way you digest & absorb that food. We are all so busy and rarely take the time to slow down and enjoy what we eat. We often eat on the go. Meals in the car, at our desk or while we are walking around doing other tasks. Eating on the go has become the "norm". Even when we do sit down to a family dinner or out with friends we tend to eat quickly and more than we need.
The effects of this can show up in many different ways. When you eat quickly you tend to swallow a lot of air causing bloat and we eat more than we need which causes weight gain. Not to mention, we are skipping an important part of the digestive process which slows down the break down of food and reduces nutrient absorption.
Digestion starts in the mouth with the action of chewing. Your teeth help to break down the food into smaller pieces. The act of chewing also triggers the release of saliva containing digestive enzymes that begin to break down your food, particularly fats. The more you chew, the more time these enzymes have to predigest the food making it easier on your stomach and small intestine. Nutrient absorption increases and intestinal issues decrease.
The body has to work hard to digest food particles especially if they aren't chewed properly. These larger particles can move past the stomach undigested and into the small intestine. Bacteria takes over in an attempt to breakdown the food and basically the food begins to rot in your small intestine. This can cause symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and other digestive issues.
Portion control becomes easier when you chew your food thoroughly. More chewing lowers the hormone that stimulates hunger and increases the hormone that signifies fullness. This can help with weight management. One study, published in the American Journal of Nutrition, showed an 11.9% reduction in calorie consumption when people chewed their food more. Smaller portions equals less calories which help with weight management. So stop the fad diets and chew your food!
The following are 5 ways to slow down and chew your food properly.
#1 - Chew your food until its a paste consistency. Your teeth, tongue and saliva work together to help liquify your food, when given the chance, before it hits your stomach. Many experts will put a number on how many time your should chew (like chew 32 times). I like to coach to just be conscious of the consistency. Depending on what type of food your eating will determine how many time you need to chew before it becomes a "paste".
#2 - Take smaller bites. It takes time to chew your food before it becomes a paste. A smaller bite is easier to manipulate. Put just enough food on the tip of your utensil, no more than half way full.
#3 - Don't take another bite until you're done with the last. This is a great way to slow down! Finish what your eating before you put more food in your mouth.
#4 - Put your utensil down. To help with #3, put your fork down between bites. When you sit holding a fork full of food while you're chewing it's easy to eat it before you're done with the first. Don't "reload" your fork until it's time to enjoy the next bite.
#5 - Avoid drinking any liquid while you're chewing. Let your saliva do the work and leave room in your stomach to properly digest and absorb nutrients.
This may sound like an easy thing to incorporate. After all it's just chewing more than you do now. But, like any habit you're trying to establish, it takes time. In the beginning you will need to make this a truly conscious effort. Every time you take a bite of food you now have to stop and think about chewing. And chew, and chew until that bite is liquefied and a paste consistency. But nothing worthwhile comes easy. The benefits you'll feel, and rather quickly, are worth the effort.
You may like the Fix The Roof Digestive Reset Program to help improve your digestion, reduce bloat, heal your gut and develop a new relationship with food.