As I embark on this wellness journey, I am realizing that balance is of the utmost importance and any kind of ‘addiction’ even ones you may think are healthy, can throw you out of balance. My addiction is chewing gum! I can’t remember when it started, but after every meal I need to pop half a piece into my mouth. Without a second thought I reach for the pack, grab a piece and start chewing, just long enough to remove any taste lingering from my meal.
Listening to, The Ultimate Health podcast the other day, one of the doctor’s mentioned that ‘chewing gum is not a good practice’. It was said in passing and she didn’t go into much detail about it, but it struck me and I decided to dig into the topic deeper. Was I somehow undermining my healthy habits by chewing gum? Let me tell you this subject is a tough one to find any unbiased scientific research on. I am an empiricist and rely mainly on scientific studies and evidence based information to make my decisions, not the first google search by Wrigleys that I come across. So if you want a conclusive yes or no answer to the chewing gum question you may need to look elsewhere, but here is what I found that seemed credible:
It’s my opinion that best practice would be to maintain good oral hygiene, by brushing your teeth, including your tongue for 2 mins twice a day (you’d be surprised how few people actually hit the 2 minute target!), and flossing regularly. Ditch the mouthwash, and use gum sparingly.
One thing is clear though, we need to start chewing our food more! While researching my chewing gum addiction I came across a lot of information about chewing in general. And it shocked me to find out that most of us do not chew our food nearly enough. How to chew our food is not something that is taught to us, and it turns out most of us aren’t doing it that well.
Sometimes, especially when I am really busy or under stress I gormandize my food. I take about 4 bites, trying to eat as quickly as possible because I have better things to do. In these cases I am not enjoying the food, I am simply checking it off my to do list. This is a terrible habit to get into, and can lead to eating more than you intend, because you are not really cognisant of what you are doing at that moment.
Gormandize: (v) to eat greedily and ravenously
Why is chewing your food so important?
Basically, the digestive process begins in your mouth. If you want to digest your food well, and put less burden on your stomach it’s important to properly chew your food. My sister, a highschool biology teacher would probably explain this much better, but here goes.
A simplified explanation of the digestive process of chewing:
So what are some benefits to chewing your food thoroughly?