I have had a few friends mention to me in the past few weeks that my post about chewing your food, mastication, has actually changed their eating habits. One of my buddies (the fellow staring at the meat roasting below. B oy does he love meat) has been known to get bad heartburn on a daily basis. Shit is so bad that I could swear I caught it from him when I was in High School. I don’t have heartburn anymore but he has struggled with it for years.
But recently when he came up to visit this past weekend he claimed that all of that changed. “How could I have been so fucking stupid?” I think were his exact words. “It is so obvious, the more that I chew, the less acid my body needs to break down the food and thus the less heartburn I will have.” Sounds like it makes for a fairly good argument. As I mentioned before, if your teeth are doing their job of properly masticating, grinding, the food you are eating, then your digestive system has to do less work.
But it is more about the experience than simply chewing your food. It is no surprise that we have gone so far away from savoring the meals that we eat considering how little time we spend eating and the quality of some of the stuff we are putting in to our bodies. I am not talking about eating “organic” or “all natural” so much as enjoying food that was prepared with some care and good lovin. Food that you want to taste, want to slowly chew in your mouth, so as to pay proper respect to every ounce of flavor that it has to offer. (we still offer NYC home delivery…)
Often times I catch myself destroying a meal without even thinking about it, shoving each spoonful down my throat as if there is no time to lose. I sometimes wonder if it has to do with me being worried about getting full too fast, or if I am simply not aware of what I am doing and just going off an old, now mindless, habit. But the beauty of the chewing is that it also leads to eating less by default, generally.
The more time that your stomach has to tell your brain that it is full, the less you will be likely to eat. This does not mean that you will automatically eat less, no one said you HAVE TO stop eating when you are full. But with a little self control it can be all of the difference. Perhaps controlling your portion sizes may be what you need, in combination with the chewing, to shave off a few layers of you or go down a couple of dem belt buckles.
Lets take the picture below for example. What most people would refer to as “sliders,” these mini hamburgers are becoming more and more popular amongst Americans, and for good reasons…. delicious. But I have found that what we now consider to be a “slider” has pretty much taken over for the standard American hamburger, and what was once the standard is now some massive mound of meat. As much as I love delicious meat I now see how much less I need of it than what I had previously thought. Ever go out to a restaurant and order a burger, fries, and a beer? Throw in a few side sauces and you might just have my favorite meal of all time. But damn is that a lot of food.
So what if you ate just half? Logically how much sense would that make? Let me quickly introduce my “rule of half” before this post spirals too far out of control. I don’t do this anymore because I don’t eat out but it used to be a big part of how I ate. Every time you order take out, or go to a restaurant, go ahead and order a full sized meal, but only eat half of it. Save the other half for another meal. There is no exact science because all meals are of different sizes but the general idea is that you are not only saving more food for a later date, but you are eating less, and saving money. Logically it makes all the sense in the world. Eat Less = Feel Better, More Food = Save Money. And as hard as it may be to not finish a delicious plate of fries and a burger, if you were to really savor, really chew that food and enjoy each and every bite, I can almost be sure that you’d be okay with putting the second half away for another time. There may be some meals where this just isn’t possible, sometimes you just need to devour your plate, but if you take the time to enjoy what you are eating you may just be okay with saving the rest for another meal.
Take a quick moment (if you made it this far) to think about what I am saying. You don’t need to diet. This is dieting without dieting. You can continue eating what you want and love. Sure, it helps to understand where the food is coming from and eat good quality stuff, but that is only part of it. During my $2 road challenge I was forced to eat some crappy meals and I even found that I felt okay if I spent the time chewing and savoring the food. So why get hung up on all of this dieting? I know we can’t help it, it is all that seems to be on peoples minds these days, we are so weight loss crazed. But I offer a new way to lose weight, it takes some hard work and practice just like anything else, forces you to be more aware of your eating habits at first so as to practice and condition yourself to eat slower, but the results are almost instant and again YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT! (sort of)