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Macro Monday: Chewing recap

Hey guys,

Just thought I'd to a quick recap of how my week of chewing better went!

Chew-a-thon Recap:

  • It's definitely obvious, but because I slowed down to chew more, I enjoyed my meals even more than I usually do :)
  • I definitely noticed that good food still tastes good the more you chew it...and food that is more of the treaty variety, does not.
  • And of course, my belly felt much happier as it always does if I chew better. Lots of people find smoothies easy to digest, and really it's just because the blender pre-chews it all for you :)
  • 50 chews per bite felt pretty much impossible, but I did increase the number of chews by a good amount. Also, a few times I had some fruit, and found it extra hard to chew a lot...ick, chewing on grape skins is not so fun! haha.
  • It began to feel a bit more natural by the end of the week, to chew more than I had been, without always thinking about it
  • I tried to remember to "chew" my liquids too - also important - just swish it around a bit :)

Overall, it was a great reminder that especially if life is busy, chewing and slowing down to eat is often one of the first things to go. I encourage you to bring back in the slow meals, full of wonderful company, delicious food, & of lots of chewing.

Did you try chewing more this past week? What was your experience like?

Macro Monday: Chewing

Chewing your food, and I mean REALLY chewing your food, is a cornerstone of good health.
In fact, Walt Whitman once advised, "Drink your solids and chew your liquids."

And let's face it, he was a smart, smart man.

MM: All About Chewing

Benefits of Chewing

According to Dr. Mercola, there are many amazing benefits of chewing, including:

  • Better nutrient absorption, food particles are easier digested and the nutrients can be absorbed better in the intestines
  • Can help you slow down your meals, and avoid bypassing the full signal
  • Enables better pre-digestion via saliva in your mouth (chewing well increases saliva, which contains digestive enzymes).
  • Creates overall easier digestion: chewing well helps to break down and partially liquify food, making the whole process of digestion a much less demanding task.
  • Great for your teeth: saliva produced by chewing well, helps clean your teeth
  • Helps reduce indigestion, which is often caused by large food particles than cannot be processed, which then sit in your intestines and cause problems.
  • Adds enjoyment - slowing down allows for more time to savor your meal.

There is a lot of information about chewing out there, and here are a few more awesome points.

  • The mechanical process of digestion begins with chewing
  • AND, the chemical process of digestion begins with chewing (saliva contains necessary enzymes).
  • Chewing relaxes the lower stomach muscle, creating an easier digestive process
  • Chewing triggers the rest of the digestive process (in fact, chewing sends signals to the entire gastrointestinal system).

Chewing Challenge

How many times do you chew per mouthful?  I bet on average, most people don't chew more than 10 times per bite of food.

Are you up for a challenge?

Jessica Porter, one of my favourite authors, is hosting the 2014 CHEW-A-THON, beginning today, and lasting for 7 days! The goal is to chew every bite 50x for 7 days.

50 x per mouthful. 7 days.

If this seems pretty dang crazy, and you don't have the jaw muscles, or the time, try simply increasing your chewing a bit.

Take a few days and notice how many times your chew per mouthful. If you chew 10x, try for at least 15x per mouthful. Most Macrobiotic books recommend working up to at least 30 x per mouthful.

The second article above, mentions chewing until the food you are eating is no longer obviously identifiable via texture before you swallow...they give the example of chewing broccoli until you can no longer feel stems. This seems like it should be obvious. But I guess it isn't.

I was not born with the innate understanding of how important chewing is, unlike my guy T, so it is something I have to think about. If I don't think about it, I don't do it well enough. I have to pay attention to not eat too quickly. And if I'm distracted, and wolf my food down, I get a sad belly.

So, I'm going pay a bit more attention this week and we'll see what happens!
Let me know if you try too <3

And besides, if chewing gum can help warm up your brain and increase test scores, certainly chewing wholesome food can't hurt. :)

Have a great week friends.
xoxo Jess
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Macro Mondays: Chewing your way to Gratitude

Hi there friends!

I can't believe it's April already...maybe I just can't believe it because of all the white stuff on the ground, but regardless, Spring has to be coming soon!

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MM: Bringing Gratitude into your Life.

I am just bubbling over with happiness from this weekend. There are so many wonderful things I'm grateful for. I'll get to them in a minute, don't you worry. This week I'm going to move away from my previous Macrobiotic Mondays posts on food, ingredients, and recipes, and instead emphasize attitude and the energetic connection between food, mentality (especially gratitude) and health.

Chewing = calm brain = gratitude & a happy belly

A big big big big BIG part of Macrobiotics is the simple act of chewing your food. Really chewing it. Basically, you should be able to drink your food, and you should practice chewing your drinks!

One of the great benefits of chewing lots --- besides the obvious ease & comfort it gives your digestive system --- is the meditative quality of slowing down. When you chew lots it's calming. It's a quiet repetitive action that allows your mind to soften. And when you become relaxed, the food you eat actually takes on that quality. (On the other hand, eating in a hurried frenzy creates a hurried frenzy in your belly, trust me).

And for me, chewing slowly really does create an attitude of gratitude. You really get to explore your food when you eat slowly. And inevitably, that exploration paves the way to feeling SO SO SO happy to have such healthy food on your plate, because chewing high quality food actually makes it taste better (and the reverse with poor quality food). With all the crazy situations going on the world, being able to sit down in peace & quiet, and chew brown rice well, feels like a luxury. It's an honor. And I'm so grateful for this.

I am continually amazed and surprised at what the simple act of preparing good, clean food can do for the body, mind, and soul. Slow, wholesome eating creates a grounded mind, and a grounded mind allows the body to better receive nutrients from the food you are eating.

I think it's even possible that slowly eating well-chewed poor quality food while in a calm/happy mental state could be overall better for you than eating amazing food while distressed or angry. What do you think?

Creating gratitude and enjoying the things you do have makes you feel better. And when you feel better you digest better, and all the research these days says that health begins in the gut. So think about all the good things in the life, and pave the way to better digestion & health.

Some super happy things I'm grateful for:

Other than my awesome guy, T, & my wonderful family, of course.

I finally got to attend a Macrobiotic class!!

Thank you so much to Mandy & Cory (hey guys!) for hosting the lovely Shauna from She Cooks Macro. And let me tell you, Shauna is just as pretty & professional as her blog is! Wowza! Such a wonderful lady, and I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with her. It was beyond wonderful to be able to ask questions and learn in person. And  M & C were so so so kind and welcoming, and beyond generous ---> I walked outta there with Jessica Porter's new book: The MILF Diet. I feel just overwhelmed and spoiled. And I'm so happy to meet other macro friends in Edmonton. Thanks so much, & I can't wait to hang out again.

And an Ayurveda Class

I got to further indulge my food/nutrition gluttony for learning by attending an Ayurveda class at my Yoga studio. I always find it intriguing to learn about Ayurveda. The teacher was extremely knowledgeable, and it was very interesting to notice how similar it is to Macrobiotics. Very similar messages, in slightly different packaging. They are both wonderful, ancient, all-encompassing healing systems focused on whole foods. Plus hanging out with yoga peeps talking food can never be bad!

Wonderful Friends

I feel so happy to have had my friend Sarah (hey lady!) along with me for both these classes. Love this girl! I'm also beyond happy & excited about meeting new Macrobiotic friends...YES! And of course, spending time with my yoga pals.

Another Trip to the Ocean

I'm leaving today to the West Coast again for a few weeks. I feel beyond lucky to smell the wonderful ocean air, and go for walks outside in the grass and flowers. And this time my camera is coming along, so I can provide some foodie pics of all the lovely vegan / vegetarian / hippie eats along the way.

What are you grateful for RIGHT NOW!?