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The Benefit in Slow Eating - Makes You Feel Like a Bird

Article: Mr. Wu, Q.Z
(Author for the book-The User's Manual for Human Body).

Food that are not thoroughly chewed in your mouth will make your digestive system works overtime and produces extra amount of undigested/unabsorbed food in your intestines.

There were several "eating contest" in the TV shows lately. The rule is quite simple – within a given time period, the winner is the one who can eat the most. This is one of the most stupid competitions. The winner may look skinny now, but eventually, he/she will be over weighted in the long run. Among all my overweight friends, they share one common fact – "they are all fast eaters in every meals". We used to believe that overweight is because our body absorbs extra calories. No one ever realizes that "eating speed" has anything to do with gaining extra pounds for your body. Naturally, no one considers that eating speed can be considered as a weight control measure either.

In recent years, people tend to eat their meals faster and faster. Foods stay only a very short time in their mouth and before you know it, food is pushed down the throat. "Flushing down food" is becoming the norm for most of modern people now. It is true that we all know that we should 'eat slowly' and 'get up early in the morning' since our childhood. But, just like the need to 'get up early', we never follow it consciously.

'Slow Eating' Can Increase the Food Absorbing Rates

It was around 2005, I encountered a new kind of American healthy food product that is quite different as compared to other healthy foods I used to know. In early days, the advertised healthy foods are "the abstracts of the essentials from each food type" and they are sold as pills or capsules. It takes about forty minutes to four hours to digest these concentrated nutrient pills. For someone whose physical health is poor, e.g. an elderly or a sick person, their digestive juices are usually insufficient or impaired. Chances are "food pills" will not be digested and will be directly discharged through their bowel movements. People working in the nursing stations all have this experience – seeing the pills or capsules in patients' stools. Pills are not absorbed in their intestines. In many American underground sewer systems, they noticed that, mixed in those blocked debris, there are hundreds and thousands pounds of vitamin pills.

The thinking behind these new nutrient pills is to replace the digestive function of our body, e.g. food digestion process is conducted outside our body with manmade enzymes. More importantly, the 'processed food' has the same consistency of naturally digested food from our stomach. In other words, they are enzyme preprocessed foods and they are ready for intestines to absorb. After manmade enzyme treatment, the solution is freeze dried into dry powder. To eat these "processed food pills", the consumer is required to drop the pills in water, i.e. to dissolve the pills. The resultant "food solution" has similar electrolyte concentration and pH value just as it would be digested in your body. By drinking this food solution, your body can absorb about 95% of them in just 5 minutes, e.g. because there is no need for stomach to do the digestion work. It works even better if you start from an empty stomach. That is, almost all of the nutrients can be directly absorbed by your small intestines right away.

After I was introduced to this new healthy food product, I began to remind myself that I need to have alternate thinking process and the need to adjust my eating habit. My goal is simply to achieve higher food absorption by my intestines.

The normal everyday food digestive process in our body goes like this – Food, fed to the mouth, is subjected to the chewing action. While being chewed, saliva is introduced and is mixed with the food as the first step of digestive process. After that, food is swallowed down the gastrointestinal track into the stomach. Digestive juices, e.g. enzymes in the stomach, proceed to dissolve the food as the second step. Then, the mixtures pass on to the intestine for further processes with bile and other digestive enzymes. These processed foods are either in liquid form, having certain electrolytic properties, or in solid form. The liquidized food can be absorbed by the intestine walls as nutrients for our body while the solid part of the food will continue its journey and go down into the large intestine. In the large intestine, moisture in the solid will be further extracted and the residuals form the digestive wastes, e.g. the stools, and they will be discharged from the body.

As we can see in this digestive process, food can be absorbed by our body if and only if it is in liquid state. The chance to absorb any solid state food is minimal or none. However, the majority of food we eat is in solid form and that is the reason why we need to chew them up in the first place. Food in finer particulates, e.g. in smaller sizes, will definitely help the downstream digestive processes and will be readily transformed into liquid state through enzyme interactions. These fine particles are much easier for small intestine to work with and higher percentage of absorption rate can be expected. Of course, we should not discount the amount of available digestive enzymes in the digestive system.

Failure in Adequate Chewing Will Increase Extra Work for the Stomach & Intestines

The majority of our Meridian Distributions is vertically oriented. The Gall Bladder Meridian runs from head to toe. Along our body trunk, it runs vertically up and down; but around the head area, it is rather complicated. The illustrated drawing shows its distribution around one side of the head – behind the ear, there is distributed main gall bladder meridian and it is further branched forward to cover portion of the face. All these gall bladder meridian points will be excited once the jaw moves because of the chewing action. In the meantime, jaw movement also triggers the secretion of bile for anticipated digestion. Therefore, chewing action is responsible not only to break down the food into smaller sizes, but also to initiate the downstream digestion process. With sufficient bile to interact with food, we can expect adequately liquidized food for absorption. The clever design and initiation of the bile secretion process are quite amazing and it is smart. It is indeed a master piece designed by the All Mighty.

In the old days, our elders would not allow children to mix soup into their rice. Likewise in the medical world, they consider the porridge rice is harder to digest as compared to regularly cooked rice. The main reason behind their argument is the chewing action – without chewing means failure to trigger the bile secretion. Consequently, there is no sufficient bile juice waiting to digest the rice. Based on this principle, food with minimal chewing will not be easily digested and absorbed by your body.

Looking at people's eating habit nowadays, we notice most of them just simply swallow the food in whole with only minimal chewing. When this is coupled with unhealthy way of living, their body will not be able to provide sufficient digestive enzymes to meet the demand. In other words, the speed of food gobbling is just too fast to meet the slowly secreted digestive enzymes for proper digestion. The low percentage of liquidized food for absorption in the intestine is due to the presence of large amount of undigested large food particles and insufficient digestive enzymes. These solid food particles have only one way to go – to be discharged as waste in the stools. Perhaps you have eaten a lot, but your body is benefitted only minimal.

Food absorption rate in the intestine has been ignored by many people in the past. The misconception has been that all "eaten" food will be absorbed by our body eventually. The truth is only small portion of food is really absorbed by your body; and the majority of food is discharged in the stools. This food absorption ratio varies according to the result of chewing action and the speed of eating. With more chewing and adequate enzyme secretion, higher percentage of liquidized food can be sent to intestines for absorption. Comparing the result of fast eating verses slow chewing, there could be several folds of differences in absorption rate. Most of insufficiently digested food will become the body wastes – their presence only increases the work load for the digestive system and will be accumulated, which leads to the condition of coprostasis.

What is useful to our body is the absorbed food. Therefore, having higher percentage of food absorption rate is equivalent to say – you need lesser amount of food but still can supply sufficient nutrients for a healthy body. People, who eat a lot or seemingly having ever increasing appetite, are typical fast eaters. But, the majority of their consumed food is just passing through their digestive system and provides minimal nutrients to their body, e.g. foods are not absorbed. Naturally, your body demands more food; and the cycle repeats. In addition, you may perhaps attempt to have higher energy food, e.g. food having higher sugar contents or fat.

The undigested foods stay in the digestive tracks and they will make your digestive system overload. To accommodate the presence of these 'wastes', your body have to provide some energy to take care of them – the energy that should be used for other body activities. If you pay attention to those overweight people, they all tend to be fast eater as well.

People think that when foods enter your body they will be digested and used by your body. They mistakenly think that becoming overweight is the consequence of eating too much; and they have strong digestion ability that transforms foods into muscles. The fact is, the absorbed food is transformed into blood or body fluids that body organs need – they supply the required nutrients for blood vessels and organ tissues. These building blocks will increase the body weight, and they are not the fatty tissues under the skin.

Weight Reduction Starts from Bringing Up Body Energy Level

The way how Chinese Traditional Medicine looks at overweight is entirely different as compared to the western medicine. Western medicine believes that overweight is the result of excessive energy left in the body. In other words, those 'loose fatty muscles' come from accumulated extra calories. However, in the eyes of traditional Chinese medicine, those fatty tissues under the skin are the accumulated garbage discharged from your body. Your body does not have enough energy to transport them, e.g. expel them, to your bladder from the blood stream. Therefore, wastes are just simply dumped around each cell wherever is convenient. As time goes on, they are accumulated and become fatty tissues under the skin and around body organs as well. Therefore, fatty tissues are not formed to store the extra energy or calories. They are formed because your body is unable to absorb the nutrients from the food. It is thus clear that to achieve weight reduction we should not start from body energy reduction, on the contrary, we should increase our ability to increase body energy, e.g. from increasing the absorption rates or the ability to absorb more in our digestive systems.

By insisting on "slow eating" you can greatly increase your body absorption rates. When your body gets enough nutrients after efficient absorption through your intestines, your body will let you know 'that is enough and no more food is needed'. So, you will never over-eat. With smaller amount of food in each meal and high efficient intestine absorption rates, the work load for your digestive system is reduced and accordingly, the waste production will be decreased and yet the body has enough energy to clear the accumulated wastes in the digestive system, e.g. clearing the coprostasis.

Let's use some numerical values to illustrate the impact of 'slow eating' on the loading in our digestive system. Suppose this individual has 'fast eating' habit and his body absorption rate is 10%, that is, 90% of his food intake enters the large intestine and ends up as stools. In other words, if he eats 1000 grams of food; 100 grams will be absorbed by the intestine and transformed into energy for his body. The digestion workload for his stomach and intestine is 1000 grams of food and the processing load for his large intestine is 900 grams. Now, if he carries out the 'slow eating' principle and raises his body absorption rate to 30% instead, he can reduce food intake to 50% of his original amount (e.g. eating only 500 grams of food) and still gets 150 grams of nutrient for energy (500g x 30%=150 g) – that means his energy level is increased by 50% (from 100g to 150g) with only half of the food he used to eat (from 1000g to 500g). The workload for his stomach and intestine will be only 500 grams – a 50% reduction and his large intestine will process only 350 grams (500g – 150g = 350g) – a 39% reduction!

Your body processes less food but gets more nutrient/energy from it! When your digestive system only needs to process smaller amount of food, it then has extra energy to process accumulated wastes, like coprostasis, and make your large intestine clean. The surplus energy from your digestive system can further help out your other organs and improve their functionality and well being – and the end result is you'll have a healthy body!

The 'fast eating' habit plus over-eating in all three meals makes your digestive system in the overload condition all the time. Your stomach and intestines will face the challenge day after day and their digestive ability gets weaker and weaker while the wastes piles up more and more in the large intestine. When the large intestine is unable to handle the wastes the bacteria in the wastes begin to breed actively, which will cause your spleen to work overtime. In the Chinese Medicine, they consider the basic function for our spleen is for transportation, e.g. to move the body fluids as well as wastes. When spleen is weak in moving wastes for disposal, wastes begin to be accumulated. Chinese medicine calls this condition – the "formation of wet mucus" (piling up of mucus-like trash) and it is seen as "gaining the weight" or fatty tissues.

I have been a fast eater for quite a long time. Food enters my stmach are usually in rather larger sizes. After I practice the technique of "slow eating", I begin to chew the food a lot. Thus, food is well processed by the enzymes and the processed volume increases steadily. I easily feel having a full stomach after just eating small amount of food. In other words, the amount of food for each meal is reduced. Smaller quantity of food and yet having higher absorption rate makes my body well supported with enough nutrients. Strangely enough, I lost my interest in many of my favorites, e.g. those high calorie foods. I begin to enjoy only the light diets. As time goes on, my over-weight problem is improved and my waist line is shrinking.

Eating Slowly to Get Rid of Extra Pounds in Your Thigh

When I realized the benefit of slow eating and the logic behind it, I rush to tell all my friends. Among my friends, one of them followed the slow eating technique religiously. In three weeks, she trims off four kilograms body weight. What pleases her most is those kilograms are from her abdomen, her waist and her thigh!

"To eat slowly" is one of the best weight reduction techniques. In this method, you do not need to suffer hunger in order to achieve the reduction goal and it is all natural.

Not Much of Eating After Lunch and Supper Is For Liquid Diet

Humans are probably the only animals in nature that eats three times a day. No animals in the wild enjoy the luxury of sit-down meals in leisure. Most of animals have to find and fight for their meals and many times they don't know if or when they can have their next meal. Starving for several days is normal, not the special case. People who has dog or cat as pets knows that dog or cat requires only one feeding each day. To feed them more than once a day, they'll have overweight problems as well.

Our ancestors did not have regular three meals in every day. For instance, in Taiwan, the beginning of three meals regimen was only about fifty to sixty years ago. Many households had to substitute one or two meals with grains other than rice. In my childhood, most of Taiwanese families had fish or meat only once or twice a week.

Some religion followers maintain their eating restriction – no food after lunch. Long term monitoring their health reveals that they do not have shortage of supplied nutrients. One thing stood out among these participants – they do not have beer belly!

After realizing the potential benefit of slow eating, the next step is to apply that eating habit to every meal. We have heard the saying "Have a nutrient rich breakfast, enough for lunch, but eat moderately in supper". Although I do not know for sure if we require three meals for every day, I believe, just like most of people would think, that hunger is not something we can stand. Therefore, I will never follow the rule of "no food after lunch". Rather, I would follow the practice "eating lightly after lunch" and "eating moderately in supper".

We observe animal's eating habits and find out that they eat only when they are hungry. But, human eat according to the "clock" – they eat when certain "time" is up, regardless if they are hungry or not. This eating behavior makes people having full stomach all the time – even to the point that they do not feel well. As far as their stomach and intestines are concerned they are working overload constantly.

In the super markets, we notice there are many healthy foods, developed by the food companies, are in powder form. After adding water, you'll have food in liquid form. They call these foods as "food substitutes". They contain certain percentages of your daily nutrient requirements that are hard to get in your ordinary meals. These food substitutes are meant to replace certain meal in a day. I tried one as my supper. The price of that supper substitute is quite reasonable – they are cheaper than the cheapest lunchboxes.

After replacing my supper with substitute food and strictly following the principle of "slow-eating", I feel good and comfortable. Never before, my intestines enjoy the lightest loads and I do not feel full stomach any more. I do feel hungry some of the times but I have fruits and biscuits by my side to fill the need. Of course, I still maintain the slow-eating principle even when I eat fruits. I try to minimize any chance to overwork my intestines. From my rough estimates, I successfully reduced my lunch by half, with the increased absorption rate and all liquid supper, I only send about 20 to 30% of food into my large intestine. With the reduce workload in my large intestine, the bowel movement is increased in the first few days. Then, my waistline begins to shrink. In one month, I reduced my body weight by five kilograms. I have several friends, who followed my suggested procedure, also showed similar weight reduction.

The Selection of Healthy Food Substitutes

People are confused in selecting the healthy food substitutes. To me, I based on supplier's reputation. In our country, our laws in monitoring and controlling the health food products are not as thorough as one would like to have. Therefore, it is suggested to buy products from other countries, such as America, Europe or Japan. But be careful, some of health foods are manufactured here locally with foreign country labels. To be safe, buy the one directly from the country that manufactured them.

In Taiwan, people are somewhat hastate to buy products from direct sales. These merchandises, food or medicines, are uniquely manufactured and packaged, and they are not the same as if they were prepared traditionally. Therefore, to consume them you need to follow their respective instructions. For instance, melatonin can adjust people's jet-lag problem, e.g. improve sleeping quality. It is sold off-the-shelf in the grocery stores in the United States. However, many Chinese found that drag is useless to them. The appearance of this drug is just like any other over-the-counter drugs. However, the label of this drag is clearly stated – "you need to let it stay under your tongue one hour before your bedtime". It requires your saliva to slowly dissolve the medicine for your brain to absorb. Most of Chinese people failed to read this instruction. They simply swallow the medicine like taking another pill, such as vitamin. The effectiveness of medicine is destroyed naturally.

Many health food products have their unique instructions on how to consume them. They are clearly written in the product instruction but they are not easily comprehended by the consumers. There are needs for those manufacturers to educate the public about their products. They reported illegal sales in the past but failed to go further to introduce their products to the public. It would be nice if they could list their company's sale offices on the internet with brief introduction of their company, market prospect, as well as their products in particular. Of course, those listed sale offices or stores must be legitimated.

More importantly, these local representatives for the foreign companies must proof that same products sold here locally are identical to the ones they sale in their host countries. Some tricky manufacturers did indeed have their headquarters in foreign countries but they limit their sale to local only. They think so long they do not sale products in the United States; they are safe, even if the products are inferior. They are avoiding the strict regulations posted by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States.

While Travelling Abroad, Do Not Buy Health Food Products in the Stores for Tourist

Many people think that health food products purchased from the tourist attractions in the United States or Canada are cheaper. That is a risky assumption. It is true that the sale of any commercial products in the United States or Canada does not require prior approval for their safety. However, stores will carry the liability on their sold products. Therefore, stores will not do anything that is illegal in the United States or Canada.

In the tourist attraction area, there is a good chance that stores are partners with the tourist guides. Those health food products are sold mainly to tourists and they are not sold to local folks. Naturally, there is no health issue to local people. Chances of buying inferior food products are very high. Therefore, I have to iterate the importance of understanding the health food products in the tourist attraction area. The international commerce and internet are easy to use; and the labeled prices are about the same either here locally in Taiwan or from abroad through the internet. With taxes included, internet purchases will be somewhat more expensive.


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