When I was a kid, I was always told to chew more. I didn’t think much of it. But would you believe – there’s more to chewing than I originally believed.
When I was little, I thought chewing was all about not choking. Admittedly, pretty important stuff. But was I really going to choke just because I took a few less bites? I was dubious.
Then I got older. And I became much more weight conscious. And that’s when I heard a totally different story. Now it was about appetite control. I should chew more so I eat at a moderate pace and give my brain the chance to register that I’m full.
But here’s the deal. Now that I’m even older and more experienced, I don’t think that either of these are true reasons to chew more. I mean yes – you want to eat slowly enough to not choke and all. But once you get past not dying, I think there’s an even more convincing reason to chew more.
Mindfulness and food
The real value of chewing, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the actual act. If you just mindlessly take more bites, you won’t get anything out of the experience. It is how you chew that makes the difference.
Chewing can be a valuable pathway to getting a whole lot more enjoyment from your eating experience. So today I want to go over how to use it as a tool. And not only will it help you get more joy from your food. It will also help you have a better relationship with food and your body.
The true value in chewing
Chewing won’t give you its full benefit unless you exercise your brain as well. When you chew more, you need to use your mind. Your brain must be very active as you enjoy your food.
The act of chewing does slow you down. But this only means something if you use your brain to really take in the flavors of what you’re eating. You must give this all of your focus. And you must take in absolutely every flavor.
What normally happens when you eat
Normally your brain is somewhere else as you eat. You’re either consumed with whatever happened earlier, or what’s about to happen. Or maybe you’re watching television. Or perhaps you’re totally focused on what you want to eat next.
You might think you’re enjoying your food. And it’s true that eating may be enjoyable this way. But you’re only getting a small fraction of the joy that awaits you.
What happens when you slow down
By slowing down and being ‘in the moment’ with your food, you change the game. You give appreciation to what you’re eating at any moment. You’re, in a sense, giving thanks.
This puts you in alignment with what you eat. It puts you in the moment. And it takes you away from the negative stories or past experiences with food.
Many of us have very negative relationships with the joy of food. But by being in the moment and removing focus from the stories we tell ourselves, we can find fulfillment in the moment and build a better relationship with food. This is so valuable.
Because anxiety around food takes away from the experience of eating and leads to lack of fulfillment. And when you’re unfulfilled, you’ll crave. And craving leads to overeating and negative food choices.
So why should you chew more?
It turns out, the real reason wasn’t what you thought. It’s not just some magical route to feeling full. It’s a path to a more symbiotic relationship with food.
And when you let go of the tension around food, you’re free to enjoy life in a more relaxed way. You don’t realize how much a bad relationship with food is taking away from you until that negativity is gone.
Again, it’s not just the chewing. It’s what you do with your brain as you chew. Are you ready to experience what you eat in a brand new way? Start using chewing as a path to a more mindful relationship with food today.