Now here's some food for thought. Whether we are at a healthy weight or not, many of us simply eat too fast and chew too little. Think about it. How many times do you really move that mouth up and down after you've taken a bite of that grilled chicken sandwich and let your teeth go to work on it? Truthfully, most of us barely pulverize that bite; we just chew it into small enough pieces to swallow as we load up our fork for the next bite!
- Stomach works harder to digest bigger pieces of food. The stomach has extra work to do churning since its job is to break apart all those big chunks into tiny ones to be digested. Sometimes, excess stomach (gastric) acid is delivered to our stomach to help digest this bigger load of less pulverized pieces of food we've eaten so quickly. Some people also swallow more air while doing this. All of this may end up making stomachs more gassy, uncomfortable or upset after eating. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz...(an old Alka-Seltzer commercial line for those of you too young to remember! :)
- Eating too fast. This often leads to over eating. Eating too fast doesn't allow us the time it takes for our brain to tell us we've had enough and we are actually full. We just keep on stuffing it in. Doing this too often can lead to weight gain. Remember to swallow your bite after you chew before you reload that fork!
- Less ability to taste food. To taste food, it needs to stay in your mouth long enough for the taste buds to really sense it. Chewing enables you to taste and enjoy your food.
- Inability to realize that you have eaten something. Consciously chewing your food increases the awareness that you are eating. So many people have told me they get busy, eat quickly, and often end up not even remembering they have eaten. By focusing on mindful chewing, we learn to be more aware of their eating habits.