Last night I had a few friends round for dinner. Whipped up a pilaf with mostly vegetables from the garden, capsicum the only ingredient I’d had to purchase for the meal. The base of the meal comprised of quinoa cooked up in vegetable stock with roasted capsicum, zucchini, squash, silver-beet, garlic, mixed herbs and basil, served with dry roasted seeds. Lyn added a home made salad and dressing and Kate broiled pieces of tuna with grapes. A fine looking meal. As usual, I loaded up a fork and tucked in.
Moments into the meal Lyn asked had I heard about the 32 chew method? I’d replied, no, but I recall being advised to chew my food thoroughly when practising Taoism. He went on to explain that by chewing we produce saliva that combines with our food. The more we chew the more saliva we create, the more the saliva easier it is for all that food to be digested. Apparently saliva triggers mechanisms within our gut that helps to process all that food we consume, whereas the chunks we swallow either take more time to digest or partly morph into the stuff of cramps, bloating, constipation and possibly worse!
Almost instinctively I started chewing, moving mouthfuls from side to side in my mouth, chewing and chewing until everything became near-like fluid.
Now, by the time I was ready for a second helping I reduced the amount of food on my fork. The first batch was quite an effort. I was chewing far more than 32 times, but that was ok, I was kind of getting into it.
By the third go I looked at my plate and thought, jeez, I’ve gotta get through all of that? In fact, what looked like a normal portion of food was now huge and way too much for me to even contemplate eating. Thinking I’d have to chew, chew and chew my way through what remained seemed daunting. I took a third serve and chewed it down to fluid, swallowed, or rather drank it down, by which time I reckon I’d had enough and just slowed my in-take. I couldn’t finish all I’d had on my plate! I was full and by now thinking about what had just transpired.
Bounce ahead a day and I’ve been chewing everything 32 times or more, mostly more, all day. Here’s what I’ve noticed so far:
- I think about food often! I was shocked. Me? Filling my spare thinking time with food? I wasn’t aware how often I’d thought about food. Apparently a LOT! Now when I do, I think of having to chew it, how long it would take to masticate it to mush and so on. That’s enough to stop my thoughts from straying!
- Breakfast was entirely fluid. The thought of chewing in the morning didn’t seem appealing.
- Lunch was less than half the size of what I’d usually prepare. I chewed it to mush and was quickly full.
- I’m drinking water a whole lot more. In fact, I’m actually thinking about fluids a whole lot more.
- Thinking about the prep of food, more so than before, because the portions I’m wanting are a lot less than I’m used to and how much I’d enjoy chewing is now an issue.
- My jaw is feeling it!
All this within a day! I’d decided to try it out for a week. I won’t be counting 32 times everytime I chew, but I will chew until food feels like it’s well ground down. I’m astonished at how quickly my attitude to food has changed in less than 24 hours. I do eat well, but perhaps too much, and certainly I gulp more than I chew.
Whether this improves my health, I’m not sure, but one thing’s clear to me already, I’m eating less and I don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I don’t feel the drowsiness generally accompanied by what I’d thought was a full meal.