Many of us suffer from poor digestion simply because we forget to consciously chew our food. In the busy lives we lead, food is often inhaled rather than eaten.
In the absence of the mind, all food loses its taste and nutritional benefit. Being in the moment with everything in life, means focusing on what we are doing at the time we are doing it. The Latin phrase “age quod agis” , or do well what you do, says it all – and chewing is no exception.
All digestion starts at the mouth, via the process of mastication. When we chew food, the salivary glands produce saliva, which contains the enzyme amylase. One of the main roles of amylase is to break down starches into glucose. Chewing food is key, as it breaks down food into smaller particles and allows enzymes and acids to do their job properly.
Our saliva also contains the universal life force known as “Chi”, which carries the idea of who and what we really are. By chewing our food thoroughly, we allow saliva to stamp our unique DNA onto the food. The body is more likely to accept the food as a friend, rather than rejecting it by the immune system as an invasive organism.
Think about it for a second – would you eat someone else’s already chewed food? Of course not. This is because they have imprinted their own DNA on that food. We biologically reject it because it is not ours to own – plus it can bring about feelings of disgust.
Chewing should be treated like customs control at the airport. It is a comprehensive procedure of ensuring that whatever is incoming, must be thoroughly checked before given the all clear.
Keep chewing food till it liquefies in the mouth, like baby food. It must be fine enough for the body to absorb all the nutrients from it. This will make it much easier for the rest of our digestive system to process.
Mahatma Ghandi would preach: “Drink your food, eat your water.” What he meant was to chew your food till it had a liquid consistency first, before swallowing it. Sip your water by letting it sit in your mouth for a little while. Do not chug it down fast, as the body will not be able to absorb it properly. Most of it will run straight through you.
The pace at which we eat or drink will set the rhythm for the rest of the digestive system. Shovelling down food or water as quickly as possible sets the pace for the entire digestive system. When food or water is passed quickly through the digestive tract, the body will not be able to absorb all of it. This will only lead to undernourishment and inadequate hydration. The speed of ingestion influences the rate of digestion.
The greatest challenge we face is remembering to do this all the time, particularly when we are famished or in a hurry. We tend to eat much faster during these stressful times. A reminder to all this is some great advice given by my late father, back when I first received my driver’s licence:
“Drive slow, especially when you are in a hurry.” he often preached.
Let us remember to eat slowly then, especially when we are hungry.