One of the lifestyle changes I often tell my clients to undertake is the most simple one. To chew their food. Properly. Mindfully and slowly. It is such a simple thing to change, yet hardest to remember (trust me – I know). One thing that has helped me to remember, is to place my utensil down on the table between bites. This seems to work most of the time. Another thing I am getting into the habit of doing is being grateful for the food I am about to eat. So before I dive in, I will just quietly calm my mind, express my gratitude and set the intention of eating slowly and mindfully. I must say, it’s quite effective!
So once you’ve expressed gratitude and set your intention, how do you know if your food has been chewed properly? I have heard we must chew 32 times, one chew for each tooth. I’ve also heard that if you sing the entire “Happy Birthday” song during one bite, you’ll have chewed properly (ya – I am not into this one).
Properly chewed food will just fall down the back of your throat without you having to swallow. That’s how I know.
Here’s a teeny list of benefits that chewing slowly and mindfully will give you:
- It will prevent you from overeating and will help with weight loss. You will get the full signal to the brain long before you have finished your plate…or grab for seconds. Easiest way to get back to health!
- Eating slowly and mindfully brings you into the moment. Being super mindful of each bite helps us to slow down and become present. And in the present moment, happiness lives!
- Easy on our digestion! When we eat quickly, we tend to overeat causing a strain on our digestion. One of the factors that leads to bloating, indigestion, gas, acid reflux etc.
- Gratitude. As Thich Nhat Hanh says below, eating mindfully reminds us of the connection between us and Mother Earth – her soil, her rain, her sun. And finally this brings us to the most important factor for happiness – gratitude!
If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel
in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew our food in that way, we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.
Thích Nhat Hanh
How about a little challenge for the week – let’s see how mindfully and slowly you can chew your food. You could even write down any difference you’ve noticed throughout the week? Set yourself up for health success – do what you need to do! Share your thoughts in the comments below.