Mary Roach, in her book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal describes the digestive system as a highly elaborate inside of the tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus.
Let’s address an important facet of pre-digestion: Chewing – a much neglected lifestyle habit.
What Happens When You Eat Slowly?
The chewing process serves as the first step to proper digestion. Two interesting things happen while chewing: Firstly, Ptyalin, which is required for digestion of carbohydrates is secreted. The other thing is that the brain kicks into action and recognizes whether you are chewing proteins, carbohydrates or fats and accordingly tells the stomach to secrete the right enzymes.
It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. When you eat slowly, it allows ample of time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. Feeling full translates into eating less.
Speed eating, gorging and binge eating majorly contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Studies confirmed that chewing every bite for a longer period of time helps you lose weight and improve digestion. This is because it provides more time for your brain to receive the signal. Therefore, the slower you chew, the lesser you eat and the more satisfied you are. Eating fast promotes weight gain and makes you feel out of control of your eating habits.
How Do You Eat Slowly?
- The very first step to mindful eating is to choose the smallest plate in your house. Take that plate and serve your portions and sit
- Sit down to eat in a calm environment with minimal distractions. It is your time with your food. Don’t eat while driving, watching TV, while texting, etc.
- Add 1 exchange of raw or cooked vegetables right before the main meal and use a fork to eat it. Try setting a minimum number of chews per bite
- Look at your plate and see how colorful it is and what good it is going to do to your body. Sense the aroma and question yourself about its nutrition
- Take a fork or chop stick to eat your meal. If you’re eating roti-sabji, take very small bites of the roti and more vegetables. Chew 30 times or more per bite and gulp it down
- Set your time to eat. At least 20-30 minutes for each meal and preferably even longer at dinner. This will set your relationship with food
- When you eat slowly, it improves your health in more ways than one. It leads to better digestion, better absorption, reduced bloating, acidity & constipation as well as aids weight management
So eat slowly, chew properly and live healthy!