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Feel Better And Enjoy Meals More - Easily

Jan 19, 2008
Your Mom was right again

There are a number of bad habits out there. A relatively minor but significant one is eating too fast.

There are a lot of reasons why eating more slowing and chewing food well is the way to go.

The minor ones have to do with digestion. The digestive process actually begins when you're chewing. The process of chewing mechanically breaks the food down into smaller particles that are more easily digested and absorbed.

As you chew, the chemical digestive process begins as well. Enzymes in your saliva mix with food and start the digestive process even before it reaches your stomach.

There's a big difference between how your stomach responds to well-chewed food and food that arrives in big, coarse chunks.

That's the functional reason for eating more slowly and chewing well. Other reasons are more important.

Ideally, you eat a lot of your meals with family and friends. Sharing food and family meals creates social bonds that are a precious part of human relationships. Rushing through these meals to rush on to something else lessens the experience.

Good food is a pleasure. It should be enjoyed. Eating slowly and savoring adds to the enjoyment of our meals. It's one of life's grace notes. Rush through a meal and we miss it. As we chew, we can enjoy and appreciate the food.

Eating more slowly and chewing well also helps us eat more prudently. Ideally, we come to a meal moderately hungry. We know that eating will sate our hunger. However, it takes time for the food to be digested and enough of it absorbed that the message of satiety is generated.

If we eat quickly, we can eat right by the point of adequate nutrition. We wind up eating more that we need. We feel uncomfortable later and those extra calories become body fat. Not too many of us need more of that.

Here are some suggestions to slow down eating and enjoy meals more.

One technique is to chew each bit of food for a specific number of bites. That is, actually count how many times you chew each mouthful of food. I've seen people recommending up to 50 bites for every bit of food.

Others say this approach is too rigid, and that people should just chew until the food is mostly liquid.

However many people find it helpful to actually count bites. It gives them a ritual to follow that helps break old habits. You can try 25 chews and see what that seems like. As time goes by, you may find you need to count less because you become used to swallowing more liquid food.

You also may find you enjoy eating more as you chew well.

Another easy tip to slow the pace of your meals is to put the implements down between bites. Instead of holding your knife and fork at the ready so you can take another bite of food as soon as you swallow, set them down between morsels. You'll enjoy dinner more and your companions will enjoy the extra attention.
About the Author
Joseph McCaffrey believes in living life as a work of art in progress, and writes on all aspects of living life fully at: http://www.masteringlifespuzzle
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