SLOOOOW Down and Chew

c088c320e7847a47_chewThoroughly chewing your food can support your digestion in getting the most out of mealtimes. Seems simple but for some reason it seems to be a lost practice.

When was the last time you took an intentional moment before gulping down your food?

We humans dash through our lives fighting time. Among other compromises, this often converts into limited time for meals, and thereby little or no time for that most overlooked ritual: Mastication. Our fascination or fixation with what to eat has drowned out this equally important facet of nutrition.

Before the chewing process sets in motion it is equally influential to take a moment and pause before the fork even goes into the mouth. This pause is called the Cephalic Phase of digestion and it has to do with the brain and food relationship. This reflex starts the release of important enzymes for breakdown, assimilation and absorption. It ignites the digestive fires and prepares the stomach acids to start releasing & churning.

The pause can include an affirmation of gratitude. You can affirm that you would like this food to uplift and serve you in the most healthful way possible. Example: “I am grateful to have wonderful food & may every bite of this meal help me to feel good in my body!” Be creative and start a trend amongst your friends and family.

So many people around the globe suffer from digestive disturbances and are constantly buying more supplements to support their digestive tract (me included.) Chewing is free and completely natural. Researchers show that chewing 32 times is optimal but you should experiment for yourself and see what feels good. Most likely you will be shocked to notice how little you have been chewing. Some people aim for 50 to 100 times. That seems like too many for me but that is another philosophy that is often followed on a Macrobiotic Diet.

With 70% of our immune system being in the gut, it is time to take the digestive system more seriously. Through this mechanical and chemical process of chewing your food thoroughly, you will require less food and feel more satiated because the nutrients are more accessible to the body and the digestive system has to do less work. This is the part where you might be most excited – when the body frees up energy around digestion, there is more energy to be used elsewhere. Often fatigue/lack of energy has to do with the foods being consumed or the more nutrient rich foods not being consumed. Start to notice what you are putting into your body and how you feel after. Slowing down before you start eating may be your first step to awareness.

One other tip for slowing down – try using chopsticks!

Let me know how this goes for you – remind the people you are eating with and ask them to remind you. It’s a group effort.

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Ginger Root, fresh and easy

Many of you have heard that ginger root, which has been used medicinally for centuries, is a natural tonic and effective remedy for various ailments. It has been known to bring relief from motion sickness, stimulate & support good digestion, support the overall immune system, alleviate congestion by breaking up excess mucous, etc. The list of benefits goes on and on and is quite impressive once you start researching more of its healing properties.

As the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, once said “Let Food Be Your Medicine and Medicine Be Your Food.” You can start by adding fresh ginger to a cup of hot water and give your digestive system some support during your morning routine. Add some honey and lemon for a delicious tea. If you desire a extra warmth in your body, add a pinch of cayenne. You may find it stimulating and energizing.

I was moved to write this article because I was recently introduced to a new food prep essential. I can now incorporate fresh ginger into anything with complete ease. There is no more hassle with my previous tool not being able to mince the ginger fine enough and the stringy pulp is not a problem either. The Microplane® Soft Handle zester/grater has become my newest and finest kitchen tool. It is available online or in most kitchen stores. Just follow the basic directions for safety and be sure to buy organic ginger that is fresh & the skin is not wrinkled. Peel the area that you want to use and proceed. When you are finished finely grating the needed amount just tap the Microplane® on the cutting board and you will have a fabulous pile of what seems like pureed ginger. The clean up is simple as well. Bon Appetit!