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Didn’t your mama always tell you to chew your food?

Or maybe you heard from the legendary Danny Tanner from Full House when you were little (probably dating myself here hehe).

In all seriousness, you likely learned all about digestion and why it’s important to chew your food when you were growing up. Grade 10 biology class sticks out for me – but when was the last time you really thought about it?…like at the molecular level… what’s really happening in our bodies when we eat?

There is a direct connection between what we put in our bodies (i.e. food and water) to how we feel every day to how we perform at work to how we are in our relationships and friendships…. basically to our entire lives. We are so quick to forget why we’re eating food in the first place that we tend to overindulge or eat stuff that isn’t really doing us in any favours, if you know what I mean.

This often translates into low energy, moodiness, headaches, well, body aches in general, and a whole lot of other not so fun feelings.

The Digestive Process

Quite simply, anything you ingest (i.e. consume) is then digested, starting from your mouth, down your esophagus, through your stomach, then your small intestine, your big intestine, your rectum and out through your anus.

But that’s just surface stuff.. there is soooo much more going on – Watch this TEDEdvideo: How your digestive system works. It does a great job of explaining the digestive process, and it’s less than 5 minutes!

Cool, right! When I was studying anatomy, I gained an entirely new appreciation for how my body works, and for chewing my food. I had kind of forgotten that digestion starts even before food enters your mouth.

Think of when you smell your favourite food, your mouth is already receiving sensory signals that it’s eating time! How do you know? Because your mouth starts watering, and you get all excited about taking that first bite.

The other thing: what you put in your body is what nourishes you. It’s what gives you the nutrients and vitamins you need. It’s what gives you the energy you need. It basically gives new meaning to: You are what you eat.

 

What’s happening in your mouth

There’s this enzyme called Amylase. Wait, let me back up just in case… An Enzyme is essentially a molecule that accelerates chemical reactions (i.e. breaks down your food into molecules).

This is super important because the action of chewing and release of Amylase is to turn your food into a digestible paste — basically the more you chew your food before it gets to your stomach, the better able your body can digest it and extract the vitamins and nutrients it needs.

When you don’t chew properly, you’re basically asking your body to do the work your mouth should have, and that’s stress that your body just doesn’t need, not to mention you can also develop digestive issues.

When you do chew properly, the food you eat typically takes 30-40 HOURS. Isn’t that wild!? Just think of how long it takes when you don’t chew your food.

So, after that, are you going to chew a little longer? They say for soft food: 5-10 times, and for hard food like meat and veggies: 30 times. If it helps, eating can be a form of meditation, so if you’re trying to find some time to do some mediation, eating is a great way to start.

Eating Meditation, you say?

Yup, I went there! Here’s what you can do when you sit down for a meal or even a snack. As you begin to eat your food, really tap into your senses (it helps if you close your eyes once your food is in your mouth – no fork accidents please):

  • What does it smell like?
  • Is your mouth watering?
  • What texture(s) does it have?
  • What flavours do you taste? Can you pick out the spices or ingredients? Is it missing anything?
  • Does it remind you of anything or anyone?
  • As you swallow, can you picture your food going through the digestive process we chatted about above? How far along can you follow it with your senses?

Let me know how it goes!

About the author:

Natalia EdelmannNatalia is a Life Fulfillment Strategist & Certified Wellness Coach through the International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP). She is also the founder of the Life Fulfillment Academy and Make It Happen System, a #1 Best Selling Author, holds an MBA and CPA, and is a distributor of essential oils.

Natalia is now dedicated to helping people get back to healthy, clean living so that they can have the energy and mindset to live their best life.

Her passion for wellness and helping people comes through in her blog writing as well as in her signature Make It Happen mentorship program geared towards people who are feeling stuck or in a rut so that they can finally get clear, break free from their blocks and get to that next level.

Before transitioning into her role as a Wellness Coach, Natalia worked at one of the top Canadian Wealth Management firms in Canada, acting not only as a coach and mentor to her staff, but also as acting co-chair and mentor to women enrolled in their Women’s Mentorship Program.

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Natalia Edelmann

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