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Monday Mission: Chew Your Food

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to chew your food.

teeth to chew Don’t think I’m going too easy on you for this first Monday Mission of the fall. I realize you chew your food daily, but I’m challenging you to chew it better. Jordan Rubin says in The Maker’s Diet to chew food, especially starchy foods, 25-50 times before swallowing. Last week in person, he recommended 50-100 (phew!).

If you think this is a simple challenge (well, it kind of is – we did just start up again!), just try it. You’ll get as tired of counting as you will chewing, but it’s worth it!

Spit and Poison

Your saliva is the very beginning of your digestive system, and the enzyme amylase gets to work on breaking down your meal immediately as you chew. Extended chewing gives the rest of your digestive system a head start on its job and will result in better vitamin and mineral absorption and a more complete breakdown of complex carbs and proteins.

Rubin gave us two excellent sound bytes to recall while chewing (and counting, and counting,…):

  1. You are not what you eat, you are what you digest.”
  2. That which you eat and can’t digest, can and will be held against you.” That means it will rot in your body causing toxicity. Isn’t that a pretty image? Chew your food!

I’ve also been reading the enjoyable French Women Don’t Get Fat, where the author also discusses chewing with some of its other benefits, like enjoying what you’re eating, consuming less food because you realize when you’re satisfied, and digesting more completely. She posits thorough chewing as one reason the French, who savor their food, don’t get overweight to the extreme like Americans.

Surprise Your Friends

Jordan Rubin told us that right in the mouth, amylase will begin to break down complex starches into simple sugars. Enzymes DO things; that’s their job. (Remember that for the soaking grains exploration.) If you chew a piece of plain old bread 50-100 times, by the time you swallow, the starchy blandness will have actually turned sweet in your mouth. Pleeeeease, somebody try that for us! I’m dying to test it out but gave up grains the day after I heard the talk! It would make a great party conversation starter, to be sure. Stand by the bread and get people to try it right then and there. 😉

The Food, Not the Tongue

Many of you wondered how my husband would do with the grain-free, dairy-free diet. Eight days in, we went to Outback Steakhouse to celebrate his new job (yes, a source of stress that is not going unconsidered in this whole situation). While we both sat concentrating on chewing our steaks a bit more than usual, I tried to talk (go figure) and got my tongue on a serious chomp. I’ve never bled so much from my own teeth! Good thing I was near the end of my steak; I think the Lord was telling me in no uncertain terms that I ought not eat something just because I purchased it, if I’m not hungry anymore. (Stopping eating before “full” is another tenet of French Women…)steak dinner I tell you that story partly because I can still feel the sore spot on my tongue, and I want to complain a little, but mostly because of what my husband said at the end of the meal:

“Well, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.”

He really misses his ice cream and snacky foods, and until Saturday he was mourning the loss of his yogurt, but I have been pleased with his perseverance thus far and was thrilled to hear those words come from his mouth. He had been pretty worried that eating out would be a disaster, but skipping the bread and taking the croutons and cheese off the salad didn’t really interfere with our enjoyment of the meal (steak, baked potato, and steamed veggies). He even chose to keep the baked potato dry instead of using the butter I said wouldn’t be much of a cheat.

And the best news yet? It’s working.

I never thought I’d be so excited about poop, but I was practically jumping up and down today.

The anti-diarrheal prescription medication…did nothing.

The anti-anxiety prescription medication that the doctor wanted to try to rule out anxiety…did little to nothing (other than make him very drowsy and no help at all for a weekend).

Ten days without grains and dairy, taking a daily probiotic, and then reintroducing 24-hour incubated yogurt on day ten…has more or less fixed the problem.

We’re realistic about the fact that it’s only been two days of normal digestion, but I’m more than excited and will share more with you tomorrow. Victory for real food!

Endings and Beginnings

  • Ending…and beginning: Food Renegade’s eCourse on Real Food Nutrition & Health has extended registration until Friday, when the class opens. It’s geared toward homeschool students ages 12 & up and any other teens or adults interested in the Weston A. Price nutritional paradigm. Lifelong learners wanted! 🙂 If you’re interested, email me for the inside scoop on a discount code…
  • Ending: The GNOWFGLINS Sourdough eCourse members have only a few more days left to claim their September thank you gift, a really neat look at how Erin used her starter while camping. I’m up the first two weeks of October with guest lectures demonstrating my sourdough crackers and honey whole wheat bread. Sign up now and make a payment to get this month’s thank you video!
  • Beginning: I’ve opened up my ebook affiliate program to anyone interested in making 33% off sales of Healthy Snacks to Go and the Family Camping Handbook. If you’re a blogger or just someone with lots of like-minded friends, you can find more details HERE. Read about both eBooks here.

Photo sources: 1, 2

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

17 thoughts on “Monday Mission: Chew Your Food”

  1. What is Mexico and Australia’s excuse? They are the two fattest nations in the world now – beating America. France is catching up as more than half of the French are considered obese.

    I’d like to think that we’re all catching up with science and realizing that obesity and/or extreme obesity is more complex than food-chewing, eating too much or even related at all to food.

  2. Loved reading “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and “French Women For All Seasons” a couple of years ago. But now my favorite “Frenchie” book is “The Fat Fallacy” and “The French Don’t Diet,” both by Will Clower. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the whole concept of “real food” eating, I’d suggest starting with one of these books. He not only spoke about “real food,” but also the habits of the French “at the table.” Very pleasant reading.

  3. My father made us chew no less than 20 times as we were growing up. It was frustrating as a child, but the habit stuck! In my 30’s, I told my co-workers about it and they would count my chews when I wasn’t paying attention. I consistently chew 19-21 times – even scrambled eggs LOL! My son and husband are gulpers, but I’m working on them!

  4. My hubby can drink raw milk and eat raw milk cheese, but gets very bad diarrhea and cramps from pasteurized dairy.

    I will count chews until I have made it a habit, but won’t commit to counting for the rest of my life. Meals are social events in our home and one of the few times that we are all together in one place. I’m not going to waste a half hour with my teens thinking, “40, 41, 42…”

  5. I’ve gone to a couple of body prayer retreats where we have a silent, healthy lunch together and the main instruction is to put the utensil down between each bite while you chew so you can prayerfully appreciate God as creator, the farmer who grew the food and the people who prepared it. It’s called mindful eating and it’s really hard! =) But it can obviously have physiological AND spiritual benefits.

  6. Congrats on things going well. We are seeing great results at our house, too. (High blood sugar dropping, along with some excess weight) We have a one-word expression at our house in regards to chewing food. Liquefy!!! When the food becomes liquid, it’s time to swallow. Handy when you lose count. 🙂

  7. Pingback: | Health Matters

  8. Chewing the food is actually pre-digestion. We have been preaching this to our 4 kids for 13 years now because food that is not chewed properly doesn’t get digested properly. My oldest son still has a habit of gulping, not chewing his food. As a result, he has bad breath more often than his siblings and he is more prone to sinus and ear congestion due to a build up of phlegm in his system. My husband is an acupuncturist, and this is one of the very basic tenants to being healthy – chewing your food so that the body can digest it all instead of it *turning into* phlegm. I wouldn’t have actually believed it myself if I’d not seen it for myself for 13 years.

    God Bless…

  9. Woo, love real food!!

    My husband was constantly sick his WHOLE childhood. Awful, awful times. In the bathroom more often than not sometimes. 🙁 Once we switched to real food this went away entirely.

    If he cheats too much he will still get sick. But it’s once in a blue moon now. Under most circumstances he can handle a LITTLE cheating. But how awesome is real food, seriously?!

  10. My son had a dairy allergy, so I gave up dairy while nursing him. After several months of not having ice cream I discovered “Purely Decedant” coconut milk ice cream. It was SO good I could hardly tell the difference. I just wanted to recommend it for your husband.

  11. Just curious about something… how did you decide that 10 days was a long enough elimination to make sure whatever it is (dairy in this case) isn’t still affecting the system? I’ve heard a minimum of two weeks and even up to six weeks to really “cleanse” the system of the problem food… ?

    And so glad for the good news too. I meant to ask on your initial grain free announcement if you still had any water kefir grains so as to get some good non-dairy probiotics. That is what I switched too when I went dairy free for a few weeks with my toddler. (And I think we have to go back to it.. 🙁 ) If you need more grains, LMK. I’m happy to share, they reproduce easily and abundantly!

    1. Sarah,
      He actually had another weird problem – uncontrollable blinking – crop up Friday evening for the first time since we started raw milk/real food. So. *Katie freaks out* I kind of figured we must have taken something OUT of his diet he needed! The SCD diet allows 24-hour incubated yogurt, so without too much thought, I wanted him to have some more calcium, and we figured if it didn’t mess him up, we’d just do it and not be too scientific about it (because I know, you’re right on the 2 weeks). That’s the real reason why…

      He doesn’t like the water kefir 🙁 and my grains don’t multiply, ever. Huh! ?? He’s on GArden of LIfe’s super duper probiotic, though, so he’s getting lots of good guys. He’s also happy to have his dairy back!
      🙂 Katie

  12. Congrats on your husband’s initial success! I had a similar experience after my first few days on the GAPS diet and it is amazing what a little cleansing and good nutrition can do!

  13. I’m not sure I’ll sign on for 100 but I’ll go for 50. I used to chew very well but after 4 years of marriage to a man who inhales his food and a toddler who thinks mommies aren’t supposed to eat I’ve picked up some very bad habits. I probably won’t count forever, just long enough to get back into the habit of chewing food thoroughly. Who know maybe it will rub off on the hubs.

  14. Oh, Katie, praise God that it’s working! If that doesn’t make you shout “it’s worth it!” I don’t know what would. Big hugs!

  15. Hm, I don’t know if I can really sign on to this. Sure, we shouldn’t be swallowing half-chewed food (as one does when eating on the run, another thing we should avoid), but I’d stop short of putting a number on it. The “chew 100 times” thing was invented by that Kellogg guy (the one with the cornflakes) and has never been shown to be helpful. Besides, way to take the enjoyment out of eating — counting chews! I find that if you eat sitting down, without any time constraint, you naturally chew your food enough — which is really less than 10 chomps for most foods.

    I have tried the bread trick! You don’t even need to chew, just hold the bread in your mouth for about a minute. (It’s kind of yucky though.)

    1. Sheila,
      I’ve never made it to 100 myself! I like the 25 number from the book. It is interesting how much less I eat when I try to take my time, however – better for me for sure! 🙂 Katie

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