I have made it a rule to give every tooth of mine a chance, and when I eat, to chew every bite thirty-two times. To this rule I owe much of my success in life.

-William Gladstone

...this YOUR modus operandi?

hey there – slow down – chew more – weigh less

Chew More, Weigh Less!

When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. But these days most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we’re putting in our mouths. We eat while distracted—working, reading, talking and watching television—and swallow our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only eight times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems. There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food.

  • Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we don’t crave those after-meal sweets.
  • Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food.
  • More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings.
  • It’s also helpful for weight loss, because when we are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when we are full.
  • Chewing can promote increased circulation, enhanced immunity, increased energy and endurance, as well as improve skin health and stabilize weight.

Taking time with a meal, beginning with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. It helps us to give thanks, to show appreciation for them in our lives and to develop patience and self-control.

The power of chewing is so great that there a concentration camp survivor named Lino Stanich who, when others could not, made it through with very little food by chewing his meager rations up to 300 times per bite of food. Today he continues as an advocate for eating with awareness; he is an author and renowned speaker on the topic!

nice & easy

For most of us 300 chews is a daunting and unrealistic goal. However, you can experience the benefits of chewing by increasing to 30 chews per bite. Try it and see how you feel. Try eating without the TV, computer, iPhone, newspaper or noisy company. Instead just pay attention to the food and to how you are breathing and chewing. This kind of quiet can be disconcerting at first, since we are used to a steady stream of advertising, news, media, email and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You may even notice new flavors and textures in your food that you never even were aware of before. Try some of these Choices Cafe dishes and see if you discern some of the lesser-known ingredients in them:

Chickpea Tuna – It’s made with organic garbanzo beans and soy-free vegan mayo, but can you guess what the other seasonings are?

Lentil Meat – Of course it’s made with organic lentils…but try chewing carefully and see if you can figure out the other ingredients.

House Dressing – Our house dressing is made with 6 healing ingredients…The next time you are enjoying a side salad, stop and savor the dressing, and see if you can figure out all 6 of these components.

You have to eat every day—why not learn to savor and enjoy it?