Experiments in chewing food thoroughly

May 19, 2016

I have to hear the same information from about 3 different sources before my brain will accept it.
I don’t know why, but that seems to be the average. It can take a few months or a few years before I reach the 3 sources.

I tried the chewing each bite thoroughly experiment the past two days.

I can’t remember where I heard this first, probably in one of those intuitive mindful eating books a couple years ago.

Next, I read similar info in The Stash Plan by Laura Prepon. The book says to chew each bite of food at least 50 times. I knew there’s no way I’d try this, so that sentence flew out of my brain as quickly as it went in.

Couple nites ago, I read Eat Dirt by Dr. Axe.
He recommends chewing food at least 30 bites before swallowing.

Both books explain the digestive process and how a bunch of enzymes get released when we chew thoroughly. How chewing helps the rest of the gut process the food more efficiently. How carbs get digested starting from the mouth. Blah blah blah, a lot of good stuff happens if we take the time to chew chew.

Since I’ve been experiencing gut issues for a while, this seemed like the next experiment to try out. What the hell.

First, it takes a long time to chew thoroughly.

I didn’t count bites, but kept chewing and chewing and chewing, like a bull at a grass buffet. Two full bites eaten this way seemed longer than the total amount of time I normally spend eating a whole meal.

Second, it became kind of a game.

I had never paid attention to my chewing before. All this time, I had been gulping down large pieces of unbroken food as fast as posslble. Now, I kept biting until all the pieces became a uniform mixture before swallowing.

It becomes a mindfulness practice.
It’s impossible to remember to chew thoroughly unless I’m being present. If I get lost in my head, watch a show, listen to audio, or talk to another human, the whole eating process turns into gulping again. Chewing 30 or 50 times means I have to pay attention to my tongue and teeth, swashing the food pieces back and forth, and resist the urge to swallow.

I’m eating way less.
Chewing thoroughly has made me eat about 1/2 to 2/3 less than normal! I feel full by the time all that chewing and swallowing has taken place that I have zero desire to eat another bite.

I don’t know how the other end will handle this thoroughly chewed food, since it can take 24+ hours before it comes out. But I feel like this is a big improvement in my eating habits. I can feel my gut thanking me already.

I recommend this experiment highly.