I believe in eating. You remember, don’t you? It’s what we did before smart phones rested on the dinner table within eye-shot so no text message would be missed. It was that daily ritual, involving place-mats and flatware, of sitting down before a plate of well-prepared, nutritious, real food and savoring it, then chewing it.
OK, so maybe I romanticize it a little; however, the fact is, regardless of how ideal (or not) our past eating experiences were, chewing is a highly under-rated part of nourishing our bodies. The art of eating is dying.
I blame the smoothie craze.
Go ahead, gasp. I can’t hear you. The commotion over “blending for nutrition” is tiring. Nutrient-dense green smoothies are all the rage. Google returns nearly 600,000 results for “green smoothie challenges”. Raw, green, vegan, protein-laden. You name it, there’s a smoothie for it. If you buy in to the idea that a “green smoothie challenge” will restore your health in 5, 7, or 30 days, I’m sorry to burst your bubble. It will not.
Why, Gigi?? I thought you believed in solid nutrition derived from nature’s bounty!
I do. I also believe in eating. Really eating, not plugging in an over-priced “Mix-O-Magic” to reduce perfectly good produce to something better reserved for when I’ve no teeth for chewing. I have a serious longing for someone to become over-zealous about mastication for nutrition.
When was the last time you witnessed someone getting jazzed about CHEWING?
If you’re a smoothie-lover, please, before you attempt to hunt me down and pummel me with words like bioavailability, concentrated nutrition, and convenience for speaking out against smoothies, don’t. First, read the rest of this article, then read my other article on the topic, Stop Juicing, Start Eating.
I understand well-prepared smoothies pack a powerful nutrient punch. I also understand bioavailability. It depends on much more than the particle size of your produce. I’m simply not a fan of drinking our nutrients. After all, we humans are chewers by design.
Anyway, if you sip and I chew, we can both be *right*. Right for where we are as unique individuals on our path to optimal health. Before you click off in a huff, chew on this:
The Benefits of Chewing
- Chewing less while eating is associated with obesity. That’s right, multiple research studies show obese individuals eat faster and chew less than non-obese individuals. (Journal of American Dietetic Association; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
- Saliva, produced by chewing, contains certain chemicals (enzymes) that aid in taste, get the digestion process started by helping break down the food we eat, and triggers the rest of the digestion process. In order to get these “spit benefits” you gotta’ chew! (Macrobiotic Guide, Mayo Clinic)
- Chewing helps regulate the blood glucose response. (British Journal of Nutrition).
- Solid food takes longer to consume, especially if chewed thoroughly. This gives our brains time to get the chemical messages from our digestive tract that we’ve eaten enough. In other words, chewing helps prevent overeating. (Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Syracuse University)
So now that you know chewing serves a purpose, join me in resuscitating the Art of Eating!