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A Healthy Eating Tip

Copyright April 3, 2017 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.


In today's modern world we are so busy trying to accomplish as much as we can each day that we may sometimes forget the good advice we received from our parents.

The purpose of this short article is to remind you of one small piece of good advice that every one of us probably heard from our parents when we were children. However, we may have forgotten that advice as we attempt to keep up with the speed at which things happen in today's fast-paced world.

Slow down. Take Small Bites. Chew Each Bite Thoroughly.

Sandwich I can clearly remember my mother saying to us at our kitchen table, "Slow down. Please take very small bites and please chew each bite a long time before you swallow it." And then she would look at each one of us in turn, and make sure each one of us took a small bite of food and that we took our time chewing it before we swallowed it. I do not remember my mother ever explaining to us why we should do it -- she just expected us to do it because she was our mother and we were supposed to obey her.

As the years passed and the hectic pace of life overwhelmed me, I gradually forgot my mom's advice and I began to quickly gobble down my food so I would have more time to do other things. Sometimes I had important work to do, and sometimes I had something enjoyable to do and I wanted to spend as much time doing it as possible. In any event, as I grew older I gradually began eating my meals quicker so I could have more time to do other things.

I am now a senior citizen and I sometimes share a meal with one of my children and with one or more of my grandchildren. When I am sitting at the kitchen table with them I have found myself repeating the same advice my mother used to share with us at mealtime: "Slow down. Take smaller bites. Chew each bite completely before you swallow it."

However, since I am an Engineer I felt the need to explain to my grandchildren the reasons why they should follow my mother's advice.

And recently it occurred to me that some of you, my readers, might enjoy hearing what I have been saying to my grandchildren at our kitchen table.

These are the Six Reasons you should: Slow Down, Take Small Bites, and Chew Each Bite Completely Before Swallowing:
  1. More Bites: If each bite is small then you will have more total bites of food from the same amount of food that is on your plate. This means the food on your plate will last longer. This is really, really important when it is time to eat dessert.
  2. More Pleasure: The longer you chew each small bite of food, the more time the food stays inside your mouth, and the longer you will be able to enjoy its flavor and the eating pleasure it brings to you.
  3. Easier Swallowing: If every small mouthful of food is completely chewed into miniscule pieces then you will be able to swallow your food more easily. And you may be able to live your entire life without choking on a piece of food that wasn't chewed well, and you may never have to have your back hit really hard or your chest squeezed really hard to help loosen a big piece of food that is caught inside your throat.
  4. Easier Digestion: If you chew your food really well then you will be sending extremely tiny, tiny pieces of food down into your stomach and your stomach will be able to more easily digest that food. This means you should have fewer problems with indigestion or an upset stomach.
  5. Weight Control: As you eat your stomach sends messages to your brain to let it know you have eaten. Your blood automatically carries these messages to your brain and if you are eating slowly, then your brain will receive these messages while you are still eating, and your brain will tell you that you are no longer hungry and you can stop eating. In other words, you will feel full by eating less food and this will help you to control your weight and have a healthier body.
  6. Easier Bowel Movements: If your mouth does a good job chewing your food, then your stomach can do a better job digesting that food, and when your stomach sends that food to the next part of your body then your body will have an easier job of processing that food and removing the nutrients from the food. When it is time to expel the stuff your body doesn't need then you will have easier bowel movements for two reasons: the food will be more completely digested and there will be less food to expel because you ate less and your body removed more of the nutrition from what you did eat.
When I am talking to my children and grandchildren during a meal at the kitchen table I do not wish to lecture them. Instead I start by telling them that my mother would sometimes give us advice at mealtime when I was just a little child. This makes it a family topic and a tradition I am passing on to my children and grandchildren. Then I immediately tell them what my mother said. Then I tell them that my mother's advice was good advice for six reasons. Then I stop talking and I take a small bite of food and I take my time and I chew it really well. This gives someone else a chance to talk and share what may have happened to them during the day.

But a few minutes later I will say something like: "Reason One is ..." and when I have finished talking about reason one then I shut up and eat a little of the food from my own plate.

A few minutes later I will speak again and say something like: "Reason Two is ..." and when I have finished reason two then I stop talking and start eating again.

Since I have already told my grandchildren there are six reasons then they know that before the meal is over they are going to hear all six reasons. But by taking my time, and by taking small bites, and by chewing each bite a long time, I am showing my children and my grandchildren that I am following my mother's advice. And they do not get too bored with me because I am simply sharing something my mother used to say. But I hope they will remember my mother's advice and that they will practice it at every meal so they can live healthier happier lives.


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Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com