Eat like a hoover, I can! Rushing for work, late for an appointment, wanting to talk… I can swallow food at a right rate and have had many years of practice.
And I’m not even as bad a some – I’ve literally seen people swallow food without a single chew. Now that’s a whole other level of fast!
Liu Liu, on the other hand, takes forever to eat. And since I’ve realised how important it is to chew I’ve set him as my benchmark – my challenge is to try to eat more slowly than him!
And here’s why:
- Our whole digestive process relies on us chewing our food to a pulp in order to be able to extract as many nutrients from what we eat as possible. These nutrients are vital to support the healthy functioning of our bodies, and if we become deficient in certain nutrients it can lay the foundation for chronic inflammation.
- Saliva isn’t mixed properly with the food if we don’t chew enough. Saliva contains something called enzymes, which are needed for our bodies to break down the food so that we can benefit from the good stuff and get rid of the waste. Enzymes are chemical catalysts; just as a pile of wood can’t make a fire without a spark, so our bodies can’t break down food properly without enzymes.
- If we don’t chew our food to a pulp then it enters our stomach too whole so we have to produce more stomach acid to help break it down. However, if we’re not producing enough stomach acid then it means that food will sit in our stomachs for too long and start to ferment… And we don’t want that!
- The same applies when we eat in rushed and stressed state as our digestive system shuts down because it thinks we need to be ready for fight or flight – eek!
- It takes our brain at least 20 minutes to register that we’ve eaten, so it can be really easy to overeat when we eat too quickly.
- And last, but not least, chewing food properly helps with through-put!
So what do I do?
- Putting down my knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks really helps to slow me down – and only picking them up again when I’m ready for another mouthful.
- Then I sit back and chew and only swallow when it’s pulp.
- It now takes me 30 minutes to chew my way through a lunch or dinner and I know it, so I’ll make sure I have enough time before I need to get going.
- And I decline lunchtime meetings wherever possible
- And try to get away from my desk to eat
- And I’ll always prepare a lovely, colourful, delicious meal so I’m really looking forward to eating it!
So whatever you eat today I wish you ‘einen guten Appetit’!