Importance of Chewing
A simple practice that doesn’t take much energy and that we can do continuously is to chew our food fully. When it relate to our health it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Unknown to many, digestion begins in the mouth. Contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva begin the breakdown of food much before the food touches our intestines. Our current fast paced life’s has ruined the whole eating experience. We hardly acknowledge what we’re putting in our mouths. We eat while distracted. Often, while we’re working, reading, talking and watching television. The leads us to swallowing our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only eight times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems.
There are many great reasons to slow down and actually chew your food.
This kind of quiet can be disconcerting at first, since we are used to a steady stream of distractions and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day why not learn to savor and enjoy it?
Food To Try This Week: Quinoa
Consider eating some quinoa. This is a nutritional powerhouse with ancient origins. It was originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago; they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and zinc.
While quinoa is widely considered a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant called Chenopodium or Goosefoot, related to chard and spinach. Quinoa is a gluten-free seed and has a similar effect as other whole foods in helping to stabilize blood sugar. It has a waxy protective coating called saponin which can leave a bitter taste. For best results, rinse quinoa before you cook it or even soak it for a few hours or overnight. When cooked, it has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. Try it in soups, salads, as a breakfast or as its own side dish.
For quinoa, and whole grains in general, the majority of digestion occurs in the mouth through chewing and exposure to saliva. For optimal nutrition and assimilation, it is vital to chew your grains well and with awareness. A great meditation is to find a calm place, without distractions, to sit down for your meal. Make it a habit to chew each bite 20 times or more. See how this simple practice can help your digestion and overall focus for the rest of your day.
Recipe of the Week: Quinoa Pilaf
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
1 cup quinoa
2 1/4 cups water or stock
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
pinch of salt
1. Rinse quinoa in a strainer.
2. Boil the water and add quinoa and salt, cover and reduce heat.
3. After 15 minutes add cranberries and walnuts to top; do not stir.
4. Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.
5. Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.
Jahaziel Rueda CHHC,CPT,CES AADP
-Expert in nutrition, basic anatomy and physiology.
-Owner/Trainer at Vita Nova Nutrition and Fitness