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5 Reasons You Should Start Chewing Your Food Slowly

Updated on May 3, 2014

Learning the Art of Mindful Eating

What you're about to learn in this hub is one way for you to enjoy your food while keeping yourself fit and your stomach healthy. Although a simple ritual that you can do every meal, this healthy eating habit will help you shred pounds of weight without having to exercise in the long run while making you feel healthier inside out.

Healthy Eating Habits

What Mindful Eating is All About

Mindful eating is a method introduced to me by Leo Babauta in his blog Zen Habits. The principle is very simple: you just have to chew your food slowly, attentively using your active senses to fully appreciate the food you're eating, enjoying meal time and experiencing outstanding effects in both your mind and body.

Mindful eating is simply a small ritual that puts eating and meditation together by actively using your senses, being mindful of the moment and exercising an eating habit that lets you enjoy your food in a healthier way.

In the past, I'm always in a hurry, rushing during meal time to get to do something "more important." However, I realized that this makes my wife upset as she would think that I didn't appreciate her cooking and all the efforts she exerted just to serve good food. Although I would insist that this isn't true from time to time, I couldn't help but realize that I have unintentionally built a gap between us by not being mindful of the present moment, being there in the table enjoying the food with my family.

This might be the case for most of us, and mindful eating is perhaps not just one way to improve our mental and stomach health, but also strengthen our relationship with the people that's with us in the dinner table.

One thing that makes this ritual astounding is its effects in stomach health and weight loss. Even if you eat "sinful" foods like pizza, if you don't savor every flavor of it by mindful eating, you won't enjoy it. Mindful eating also helps you shred pounds of weight in the long run without having to go through hours of workout!

How to Start Eating Consciously

Here are some reasons why you should start eating your food slowly and practice this little ritual. If you want to start forming healthy habits, I suggest that you should start with this one, as this is very easy to achieve and gives astounding effects.

1. It helps improve digestion.

You may have not thought about it much, but the digestive process starts in your mouth as your saliva helps break down food. Your saliva releases enzymes while you chew, alkalizing the food so that it will be easier to digest. If you chew slowly the food is broken into smaller pieces which makes it easier for the stomach to digest.

2. It helps you appreciate the food you eat and the flavors that you savor.

Why do you want to eat good food? The reason isn't just because you want to satisfy your hunger. If hunger is the decision-maker of the whole process, it would be easier to satisfy it by eating just about any food, regardless of the taste. We eat good food because we want to experience the taste of it and the pleasure it provides. However, our usual eating habits prove otherwise.

Chewing slowly and enjoying your food actually makes you happy. Being mindful of the moment while you're eating sends the pleasure signals to your brain, making you feel satisfied and appreciative.

3. It helps get rid of stomach ache and flatulence.

As mentioned earlier, your mouth is where the first step of the digestive process is so you need to eat slowly to make it easier for the stomach to digest your food. If you do otherwise, you might suffer from indigestion or stomach ache and may increase gas in your stomach due to poorly digested food.

4. Relieves Stress

Conscious eating relieves stress as it makes you feel appreciative of the moment. Imagine what benefits you could get if you eat three times a day, it's the same as spending around 3 hours per day feeling good.

5. Helps you lose weight without having to go through hours of excessive workouts.

It takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you're full. Thus, even if you wolf on three boxes of pizza within 10 minutes, you won't feel your stomach aching until later.

This explains how concious eating helps you lose weight. You will not realize that you've eaten less after 20 minutes, when your brain received the signal that you're full, making you eat lesser each meal, thus contributing to your weight loss efforts. Keep in mind though that it takes a lot of patience to start eating slowly, especially if you're someone who likes to eat a heavy meal fast. This does not guarantee weight loss instantly, but you will see the difference in your weight in the long run.

What Ifs...

We will never run out of "what ifs" when it comes to forming healthier habits. This is not at all times an excuse not to practice healthy habits, since most people are really interested in changing their habits. Aside from willpower, there are also a few questions that needs to get addressed when it comes to healthy eating.

Benefits of Eating Slowly:

  • Keeps digestive system healthy
  • Relive Stress
  • Improve relationships
  • Lose weight
  • Helps get rid of flatulence

What If I'm Excited to Eat?

There will always be cases when you feel like you want to jump right in to clear your plate right away. Slow down. You need to condition yourself first before eating, build a habit of reminding yourself of your end goal and why you should start eating slowly. Of course, remember that you're here to enjoy eating, not to just satisfy a hunger that is mostly psychological.

What If I'm in a Hurry?

We are always in a hurry. We live in a lifestyle where the world requires us to double time. However, this lifestyle isn't healthy after all, it causes stress and fatigue in the long run. Stop and think. This is what actually meditation is all about, so you can spend time to be concious of everything, become more attentive and to enjoy the moment. Think of time as one of the illusions that man is not conditioned with. There's always a time for everything and eating time should not be something that you should compromise.

Final Words

These are just some of the benefits of eating consciously. The next time you spend your dinner with your family or loved ones, savor it as if you're eating outside. Later on you'll realize the benefits that you get from simply enjoying the moment.

Recommended Reading & Resources

To know more about the benefits of "mindful eating", Leo of Zehabits is a strong believer of this practice and teaches it passionately to his readers through his blog. A guest post by Jules Clancy entitled "How to Master the Art of Mindful Eating" is one of the most popular articles about the topic and can be found in his blog.

The post "How Chewing Your Food Slowly Can Help Get Rid of Gas" in Gas Cure website tackles a bit about how mindful eating helps promote good digestion and helps eliminate problems like bloating and gas.

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