Chew on This

September 4th, 2009


There’s real science to this chewing business; in his wonderful book, The Power Eating Program: You are how You Eat, Lino Stanchich talks about the enzyme ptylin which is released in the saliva after some vigorous chewing.  This enzyme, critical to the breakdown of carbohydrates, is released only in the mouth and without it, all the other digestive enzymes–which are secreted at different points in the G.I. tract–don’t work so well.  So when it comes to eating carbohydrates–grains, vegetables, beans, fruits, bread, noodles–if you ain’t chewing, you ain’t really eating! 

When a complex carb is broken down in the mouth with ptylin, it converts to glucose–right there in your mouth! This glucose is then absorbed easily into the bloodstream to become blood sugar.  "Big deal" you say and, well, it is a big deal.  You see, your brain uses more sugar than any other organ in the body.  Because your brain is totally bathed in blood, the quality of that blood is vital to your mental health.  When your blood is low in sugar, your brain is like "I hate my life… what’s on TV?" and when your brain is bathed in good-quality blood sugar, it’s like "WHAT’S NEXT, BABY?" and gets all excited to play ball with life.  Low blood sugar has been associated with moodiness, depression, fatigue–even dizziness and the shakes. 

Even cravings for sweets–or food in general–are caused by low blood sugar because your brain is constantly yelling "FEED ME!!!!"  When you chew your food one hundreds times per moutful, and those carbs become glucose, and your blood sugar rises and the brains gets bathed in the sweet, sweet stuff it says "AHH… I love you".  All nice like that.  And the cravings disappear. 

Well-chewed saliva is alkaline, and therefore reduces the acidity of any food you are eating.  That’s unbelievably cool because if acidity isn’t buffered in the mouth, it gets buffered by minerals in the blood and bones.  This can lead to weak blood and even bone loss.  HEY, WHERE’S YOUR FEMUR?

Finally, when you chew your food, your body doesn’t have to work so hard.  It isn’t sitting around processing big rocks and chunks of food.  Chewing is like mainlining food, and that makes for a very smooth ride.  I find that my thinking, my emotional life and even my general consciousness becomes very clear and un-neurotic when I chew.  Life gets simple.  So-called "problems" (usually just created in my mind) go "poof"!

So Fletcher was onto something.  As is Lino Stanchich.  If you don’t like the idea of counting your chews, please order Lino’s chewing tape/CD which plays pleasant music with a little ‘ding’ every sixty seconds, telling you to swallow.  Also, you gotta read his book: amazing stories of him surviving a POW camp by chewing! Chewing literally saved his life.

Western medicine has even gotten on the chew-chew train; here’s an article (thanks to Kevin Oshiro!) about how gum-chewers recovered faster from colon surgery.

But… don’t chew gum.  Chew food.

Have a great weekend,


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