You should masticate three times per day

We all need to masticate more.

Mastication is the chewing process; it is the first and most important step in our digestive course.

Mastication is extremely essential, and most of us in this nonstop busy world chew and swallow with excessive speed, usually whilst rushing from one place to another, giving very little of our concentration to the task at hand.

It has become but a habit or an unconscious reflex, in order to stop this we must bring ourselves back into the moment.

We have to be kind to our bodies and give ourselves time to eat...Slow down!

Chewing properly is critical, for chewing breaks our food down into smaller particles making it easier for our bodies to digest and absorb as many nutrients as possible. It also promotes saliva which contains digestive enzymes so the longer you chew the longer those enzymes have to do their job. The extra enzymes released from chewing your food thoroughly takes the load off your digestive system and I have found it is one of the fastest ways to reduce bloating.

Food that is thoroughly chewed digests almost by itself as it sits in the top part of your stomach to predigest, this process normally lasts about 45 minutes. It is where the combination of the enzymes contained in the food and the enzymes from your saliva do most of their work.

When you eat to fast, or drink smoothies by gulping them down you are doing yourself a great disservice. There is no predigestion as the food has not been mixed with your saliva, so the sitting in the top part of the stomach for the 45 minutes achieves next to nothing, especially if the food has been cooked as well (which kills enzymes).

This is one of the major reasons that I strongly suggest eating a fermented food with a cooked meal.

Digestion actually requires a huge amount of energy, so chewing your food properly reduces the pressure on your body and helps the stomach work more efficiently. lf you are rushing through your meals and large pieces of food are making their way into your stomach these improperly chewed pieces can very well pass through undigested into your intestines which will lead to the food starting to putrefy which then leads to bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation.

Mastication also encourages you to eat less. It takes about 20 minutes for you to feel full after eating, so thorough mastication on average will result in you eating less, probably about 20%.

I did a little experiment at work where I taught a group of women to chew their food throughly, before they were allowed to load up their fork for their next mouthful. At the end of the week the group of women who participated lost about 25% more weight than the group that didn't masticate. This group was so pleased with the results that they told the next group of guests all about it, and it continued for another week, again with astounding results.

Another great trick which I implemented at the health retreat was to downsize the plate size, we all eat with our eyes and have been taught by our parents to finish our plate. The best solution if you are someone who must finish your plate is to use a smaller plate, especially at dinner. Most people eat well into the evening and food that is eaten to close to bedtime tends to sit in the stomach and cause unrestful sleep. Downsize you plate, chew slowly and you will feel great when it comes time for bed and you also will wake refreshed.

Eating to late at night tends to also feed the pathogenic bacteria in our digestive system that tend to be more active at night.

So remember slow it down, savour each mouthful, concentrate on your eating and chew.

Remember you are no longer what you eat, you are what you digest!!

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My name is Blair Harvey and I have had the pleasure of working at one of Australia's best Health Retreat's for the past fourteen wonderful years. Over those years I have had the delight of working with a spectacular kitchen team, we all have an immense passion for cooking good healthy food that is unique and tantalizing to your taste buds. Together we have not only developed our skills in cooking wholesome, nourishing and out right delicious foods, but we have been committed to broadening our knowledge of healing with whole foods and exploring the beauty of healthy living. Because of our enthusiasm in the benefits of foods and there healing properties I developed a blog to help us SHARE what we have learnt with the rest of the world.

You will find tasty gems of wisdom on health, food and healing, helping to expand your mind and revitalize your knowledge of healthy eating.