A few years ago I watched a TV series about favourite diets through the ages [Ch4 ‘The diets that time forgot’].
The one that came out on top was the ‘chew chew’ diet. Favoured by the Edwardians, one could eat what one liked but had to chew each mouthful 32 times – try it, it is really difficult. Especially if, like me, you are pre-programmed to shovel food down with a maximum of 3 chews and possibly with none – sheer morsel inhalation!
Like animals, some of us can, at times, eat as if the food will be stolen from our plate, under our very noses, at any moment.
With modern day stress, many of us eat on the hoof,perhaps not sitting down quietly, not even really tasting or enjoying the food we 'stuff' in our mouths. We don't seem to take the time out of our busy schedules to sit and enjoy our food. We are really missing out on one of life’s pleasures and possibly damaging our health in the process.
I have to say, when I'm in Spain, the old ways still rule in Malaga province and people DO take time to have a long lunch and a short siesta afterwards ... they still get things done and have a different perspective on time management. Being a Virgo Metal type of girl it drives me mad sometimes, but this Fire region is melting my Metal and I'm coming round to their way of living when I'm here - and enjoying it!
Can something as simple as chewing your food, be so effective in self-care?
The answer is a resounding YES!
Try chewing every mouthful 15-20 times [until it is an unrecognisable pulp in your mouth] putting down your knife and fork in between modest mouthfuls. You can build up to 32 chews. It's a simple idea but can be difficult to do consistently, hard to change a habit, but the results are worth it.
Make use of a trust post it note to put on your plate cupboard - simply put CHEW on it to remind you when you are about to eat.
After a few weeks , and yes, it can take that long, they say it takes 21 days to change a habit. You begin to slow down automatically, become more mindful in your munching, being aware of and enjoying the flavours and textures of your food. You'll reach and recognise satiety more quickly and appreciate the difference between real hunger and the complex emotional hunger that drives most of us to crave more and more.
No more mindless munching. From now on, take your time and savour every single morsel with true appreciation, give the food your full attention, bring in all your senses: look at it, smell it, taste it, roll it around in your mouth .... Hmmmm, yummy. Do a Meg Ryan on it.
Don’t get distracted with the news on the TV, family arguments, business discussions or anything stressful or negative while you are eating. Such stresses interfere with digestion and metabolism.
Make your meal a sacred ritual, a meditation in pleasure to be enjoyed to the full.
Prepare the food with love - it makes a difference.
Physiologically chewing foods makes it easier on the digestion, it is nothing short of digestive magic. It grinds food into smaller bits, mixing it with enzymes released in the saliva, along with others produced in the mouth and these can digest as much as 30-40% of starches BEFORE the food hits the stomach thus putting far less stress on the lower digestive tract.
Chewing is a green neon ‘go’ light to the rest of the gastrointestinal tract and it also allows the body and brain to react to the food and a feeling of satiety to kick in before you have overeaten. It will be no hardship to eat less and without any real effort you will begin to lose excess weight and your digestion and other areas, such as your skin, will begin to improve.