50% of digestion begins in the mouth. So if you have digestive problems, you can usually fix it with your teeth! The most powerful tools you have to digest and absorb nutrients well are your teeth. Your teeth are important digestive organs often overlooked. These powerful bones deliver 120lbs of pressure every square inch, and can grind the toughest piece of steak or stale bread.
Chewing grinds up hard chunks of food and liquefies your food, turning it into a slushy paste. Thorough chewing immediately exposes your food to digestive juices in your saliva, and after swallowing, your stomach as well, thus ensuring better digestion. Chewing can be a great remedy for many digestive ailments. Popping enzyme pills or probiotics pales in comparison to the simple, mechanical benefits of careful chewing.
Once I had a client with Crohn's disease that swallowed an unchewed almond by accident. The almond got caught in his colon which eventually had to be amputated as a result. That's a heavy price to pay for incomplete chewing. Consider this: How much longer would it take your stomach acids to dissolve a whole peanut compared to one completely mashed and mixed with saliva?
Insufficient chewing of food forces your stomach to break down your food by acids. This takes both time and effort, and leads to a delay in digestion. As digestion is a metabolically intense process, poorly chewed food makes you and your digestive tract feel tired. Incomplete chewing saps your energy. While your stomach churns away, your gut will feel heavy as if you've eaten a large meal.
Incomplete chewing causes sluggish digestion or even worse: acid reflux, indigestion, and bloating. If you have acid reflux, proper chewing is one of the best ways to minimize the amount of time the food sits in your stomach, so that acids won't linger. If you can't produce enough acid or enzymes in your gut to digest your food well, use your saliva to lighten the burden on these organs. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that start breaking down your food right away. To boot, mastication actually increases saliva output by 10x. Saliva has many other benefits as well. Its antibodies flag toxins for the immune system to destroy. Its antiseptic nature kills bacteria. And the hormones in saliva stimulate gut contraction to move food along the GI tract.
Chewing Your Food Ayurvedically
To improve your energy levels and promote good digestion, all foods must be chewed with care - especially those that are difficult to digest. If your food is difficult to chew, that's all the more reason to be patient. Difficult to chew means difficult to digest - so you might as well chew it complettely. Confronted by a bad food combination? At your friend's house for dinner and forced to eat food you know you can't digest? Extra chewing may be your best remedy when you're in a food pinch.
My Ayurvedic teacher, Dr. Vasant Lad, used to tell us "drink your food and chew your liquid." We suggest you keep chewing your food until it is completely liquefied and loses its flavor, generally about 20 times. Fully pummel it, pound it, and pulverize it, to ensure you mix up all of your food and drink with your saliva.
Horace Fletcher may be forever known as the world's greatest champion of chewing. The famous health food enthusiast of the Victorian era promoted thorough chewing, becoming a millionaire in the process. Fletcher's laboratory experiments showed that comprehensive chewing improved vitality, strength, and even thinking ability. In his words, "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate."
The patient attention of meticulous mastication allows you to savor the flavors of the tastes in your food. Ayurveda believes that each of the 6 tastes - sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent - has a medicinal effect on the body and an important role in the digestive process. Ideally all 6 are present in a meal. Allow your tastebuds to soak each one up.
Mindful eating also gives you the chance to connect with your body and its reaction to your food. What subtle reactions do you notice as you eat broccoli? This sort of self awareness is the basis of healing in Ayurveda. It naturally prevents you from overeating and from eating foods that don't agree with you. Use your extensive chewing as a contemplative practice. Allow it to encourage your appreciation of the gift of nourishment you've received.
DISCLAIMER: The pathogenesis of each person's condition is unique, and so the diet must be fit to the individual and the unique root causes of the condition in your body.
The information on this page is for educational purposes only and should not be used to treat a medical condition. It is not a substitute for medical care.
Please check with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.
WHAT IMBALANCES CAN IT CAUSE?
AGGRAVATES THESE DOSHAS & BIOCHARACTERISTICS
'Incomplete Chewing' is likely to aggravate the following doshas and biocharacteristics. If you have a systemic imbalance of one of these doshas or biocharacteristics,
Ayurveda would generally recommend removing, substitute or lessen the frequency of 'Incomplete Chewing'.
Improper food and lifestyle causes balances to accumulate.
Ayurveda shows you exactly which doshas and biocharacteristics are likely to accumulate in your body.
Once these doshas and biocharacteristics accumulate too much, they will begin to cause imbalance.
You can reduce an imbalanced dosha or biocharacteristic by removing things that aggravate it
from your diet and lifestyle.
INCOMPLETE CHEWING IS IN STAGE OF DISEASE 0 - POTENTIAL CAUSE
Potential causes increase and disturb your imbalanced doshas and biocharacteristics,
causing them to accumulate and spiral out of control.
For example, if you're overheated and eat a chili pepper, heat may become excessive and cause disease.
As a dosha or biocharacteristic accumulates in your body according to your dietary and lifestyle habits,
it is more and more likely to cause disease.
You can reduce an imbalanced dosha or biocharacteristic in two ways, by removing, or lessening the frequency of aggravating causes from your diet and lifestyle,
as well as by favoring balancing diet and lifestyle practices.
For example, try eating something as cool as a cucumber when you're overheated, instead of a chili pepper.
REDUCE THESE RELATED SYMPTOMS & HABITS
The following symptoms & habits may be related to 'Incomplete Chewing'.
See your quiz results for a computerized assessment of your body type.
Please click on the symptoms below to learn more about them.
Biocharacteristics of the 10,504 People Reporting Incomplete Chewing
On average the biocharacteristics
of people reporting Incomplete Chewing were less aggravated than 67% of other symptoms.
From the 10,504 people who reported Incomplete Chewing in this research study of 74,671 individuals,
average deviation in biocharacteristic levels were the following:
Ayurveda strengthens the body, in addition to addressing the disorder. It take a holistic,
systemic approach, instead of focusing only on the disorder in question. Ayurveda
shows a person how to interpret signs and symptoms of imbalance, and how to address them
using materials from home, so they can optimize their health on a continual basis. You can't
take the doctor home with you, but you can take Ayurveda home with you.
Ayurveda is the most advanced and easy to use home system for self healing with an
exceptional focus on digestion.
HOW DOES AYURVEDA WORK?
Ayurveda starts by identifying your body type,
which identifies certain tendencies in your body to get sick (as well as identifying your strengths).
It uses body type to determine the likely root causes of your disorders.
Next, Ayurveda analyzes the nature of your disorder.
It fits all your signs and symptoms into a pattern, expressed as a combination of biocharaceristics (gunas).
For example, you may have a heat disorder, a cold disorder, or an oily disorder, etc.
This simple categorical approach shows you how to correct systemic imbalances and strengthen your body as a whole.
On Joyful Belly, we've created an extensive categorization of food so you can easily match food to your imbalanced biocharacteristics.
By eating an optimal diet that balances your biocharacteristics, your whole body is strengthened
and the conditions that created the disorder are removed. Once the root causes of the disease
are removed, the disease lessens in strength or disappears altogether. Additional remedies -
such as herbs and lifestyle practices - focused on the specific disorder, can greatly enhance
To get started on your Ayurvedic journey, we first recommend that your find your body
type by taking our free quiz. In Ayurveda, every solution is based on your unique body type, so
by taking this quiz, youâ€™ll get the best results.
John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a
healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda.
His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful.
John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda
, which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition.
John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots,
and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.
Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick.
That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
What if you have no natural teeth? I have upper and lower dentures, which make chewing very difficult. I try to eat soft food which does not need chewing much, couldn´t possibly eat an apple like this picture! I have to cut it in tiny pieces first, or stew it preferably.
This has always been a big challenge for me, coming from a family of fast eaters and rushed dinners. But when I focus on the chewing, the results are there. And chewing also slows down the eating process allowing us to stay in the moment and really taste our food.