At your next meal or snack, stop and look at your food before you dig in…ask yourself where did this food come from, who made it, what is its nutritional value? This will take no time at all! As you take a forkful or a bite, chew consciously, one chew at a time. The more chews, the better digestion. Notice the length of time it takes to chew your food until it’s really soft with no texture like mash potatoes. (Hint: 10 chews for softer foods and up to 30 for meat!)
Purdue University professor Dr. Richard Mattes explained:
“Particle size [affects the] bioaccessibility of the energy of the food that is being consumed. The more you chew, the less is lost and more is retained in the body.”
Taking a sincere interest in eating mindfully is really good for your health! Digestion starts in the mouth and when you chew your food, you will not only feel better physically but mentally as well. Did you know the brain uses ONLY glucose for energy? Choosing high fiber wholesome carbohydrates like whole grains, greens and beans will deliver the brain energy at a pace that lasts between meals and through the night. Cravings are a result of NOT eating high fiber foods. The human machine is efficient and will always call for QUICK energy in the form of JUNK food when fuel for the brain has bottomed out. The brain needs steady fuel throughout the entire day and night so we don’t get sick and so messages get to our heart, lungs and other vital organs to keep working!
Processed carbohydrates like white bread, fast food, juice and junk food, are NOT the fuel that lasts. Processed food enters the blood stream so quickly it’s basically already chewed! The way we feel after a surge of quickly absorbed processed carbohydrate energy is lethargy. We then CRAVE like there’s no tomorrow after sugary cold cereal, white bread, cookies, soda, candy, and chips. This vicious circle can only be interrupted by choosing REAL high fiber ‘carbs’ on a regular basis.
Want to make some changes for brain health and to boost your immune system as we enter flu season? Start by consciously avoiding processed foods!
Choose instead grains that are high in natural fiber like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice and whole grain bread having a serving size that offers a minimum of 4-5grams of fiber at 3 meals and one snack per day. Next are starchy vegetables like beans, winter squash, and potatoes. Non-starchy vegetables come next like salad greens, kale, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes and MORE. Starchy and non-starchy veggies can and should be eaten at most meals and snacks totaling up to 5-8 cups per day! Fats add flavor to our food and also keep us satisfied longer. Use extra virgin olive oil, coconut, nuts and seeds, as well as avocado. Fresh fruit and dairy can be added to jazz up all of the above. Use animal protein(most expensive in the store) as a condiment only.
Enjoying your meals mindfully by purposely executing a slower pace rather than mindlessly rushing through will keep you healthy, wealthy and wise. Enjoy your Food!
Mindfulness means being in the moment. Being in the moment is a safety measure also. When we rush our eating, choking can and will happen. What can happen when you don’t pay attention to your foot steps on an uneven or icy surface? How about slicing a bagel or apple in a hurry?
Try a ‘fall cleanse’ and simply practice enjoying whole seasonal foods while slowly chewing. Be safe, happy and healthy