Diets tend to focus on what to eat and what to avoid. But an essential part of healthy living is how to eat.
I have personally found that eating slowly allows me to enjoy my food, as well as control my appetite, leading to greater joy and better health!
Eating the Foods You Love
When you control how you eat, you can continue to eat the foods you love. You will simply adjust how you eat them. This helps you advance your health in a way that doesn’t strain your willpower. In fact, by eating slowly, you get to enjoy your food more! Remember, your taste buds are in your mouth, not your stomach! So make the most out of the food you eat while it’s still in your mouth.
Health Benefits of Slower Eating
Besides being more enjoyable, there are a number of health benefits to slower eating. I’m not a health expert, but these are the benefits I know about:
1- Helps Digestion: By breaking down the foods you eat, you help your digestive system handle the food better, down the road. This allows your body to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat. Some foods are only broken down with enzymes that exist in your mouth. So if you don’t chew your food properly, the rest of your body won’t be able to deal with these kinds of food.
2- Eating Less: When you take your time eating, your focus turns towards enjoying the taste of the food, and not the amount you eat. Whenever we see food we like, we think that we need to eat a lot of it to enjoy it! But that’s not true at all. If we eat it slowly, quantity is no longer the issue. We can eat less, but enjoy the food more.
3- Knowing When You’re Full: When we eat very quickly, we don’t have the time to check with our bodies on whether we are full or not. We end up over-eating, which makes us feel uncomfortable, unhealthy and less joyful. Eating slowly helps us recognize when we’re full before it’s too late!
Adjusting to Slower Eating
This might sound strange (and if you’ve tried eating slowly before, it’s not that strange!), but eating slowly can be very difficult! You might feel that you don’t have the patience to slow yourself down, especially when you’re really hungry! These are my suggestions on some ways you can use to help yourself adjust to slower eating.
1- Don’t starve yourself: If you can’t slow yourself down, chances are you’re starving yourself before you eat. When you’re starving, it can be quite difficult to tame yourself. Therefore, try not to starve yourself before you eat. Have a healthy snack, drink some water or try to have your meal at an earlier time.
2- Chew more: Eating slowly and chewing more aren’t the same thing. You can slow down your chewing and you can chew your food more before you swallow it. Do both. But if you find that you can’t control your pace, then chewing more might be right for you. You can even have a minimum number of chews before you swallow. 30 to 40 is recommended, but that might be a high range to aim for from the beginning, especially if you’re not used to chewing at all!
3- Put the knife (and fork) down: When you’re armed with your knife and fork, it can be difficult not to make use of them to prepare your next bite, which makes you feel compelled to swallow the food currently in your mouth! Put the knife and fork down while eating, so you can focus on what you’re eating and not the next bite you will be eating.
4- Enjoy the food in your mouth: Some of the joy we derive from eating is the anticipation of the next bite coming. Don’t think about that. And don’t think about clearing your plate. Think about the food currently in your mouth. Enjoy the taste. Let your taste buds have their moment. Give them the attention they are craving. After all, if you don’t give them your attention, you won’t enjoy your food as much as you can!
Try eating your next meal slowly, and you’ll realize the joy you can get from eating, without compromising your health!