For the Love of Chewing and the Hate of Bloating

By Lea Frederichs….. her first blog post…. and because good advice is worth sharing. 

I have been racking my brain to figure out what to write my first blog post about. I have so many rants and raves festering in my crazy head- where to begin? So I finally decided to begin at the beginning. Because I have a nasty habit of over thinking things at times. So, what is the beginning anyway? Well, before we start to talk about the all important question of WHAT to eat, we need to consider HOW to eat. No matter what we are consuming, how we do so is vitally important. What the heck am I on about? Chewing…and sitting and breathing and chilling the hell out. That’s what. Digestion and absorption are key. When we get all bloated and uncomfortable we automatically think that we ate something “bad” or “wrong”. When we get diarrhea, constipation, or heartburn we try to think back to pin point the offending foodstuff. Same story when we can’t lose weight, or we lack energy. We always ask ourselves what we ate instead of how we ate it. And sometimes we are right. Sometimes we eat garbage so we feel like garbage. But often we ate the same healthy stuff that we eat every damn day and we can’t figure out why on earth we are so bloated that we could pass for 4 months pregnant. What is the deal anyway?

And this is where the “how” comes in. Eating on the go, while standing, driving and rushing around, isn’t gonna cut it. And I know you’re busy and you have 5 kids and 8 jobs. Everyone is busy. If you have no time to take care of yourself then you need to re-evaluate your life. Because you will eventually feel god awful and go crazy and then you will be of no use to anybody. And you are way too busy to be useless. That said, if you are all worked up and rushed when you eat you are gonna have issues. The definition of stress is any real or imagined threat. The stress response is an ancient evolutionary adaptation for survival. And it isn’t all in your head. It’s real. So real that it affects your entire body.

If you were being chased by a wild animal, stress would be on your side. Your heart rate and blood pressure would increase. Blood would be directed away from your middle and toward your head and extremities so you could best think, run and defend yourself. The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline would shoot up and digestion would shut down entirely. Like I said, this would be fantastic news if you were running for your life. The problem is that these days we aren’t getting chased by bears. We get stressed out because we have too much to do, everything is so freakin’ expensive and stupid people piss us off all day long. We are stressed out because life gets downright insane. But our bodies don’t know we are having imaginary fights in our brains with assholes. Our bodies’ experience this stress as a threat to our survival.

And then it’s time to eat. And you have 5 minutes and your 2 year old is melting down, and your brain is busy practicing the bitch out session your boss is in for when you grow a sack and let him have it, and you see the bills piling up on the counter and the dust piling up on the base boards and your annoying friend on facebook is building her  children an eco fort in her backyard with her bare hands while baking organic cupcakes and running on a treadmill and how the hell is she doing all that when you haven’t shaved in a week and AAARRRGGGHHHH…you just cant take it anymore. Lunch is over. You never even sat down and you can’t remember chewing. Even though you ate a lovely kale salad your stomach is sticking out so far, that you’re pretty sure it’s sticking out even farther than your boobs. So (if you’re me) you check against the wall to see which hits first – belly or boobs. You confirm your gross-ness and declare kale salads the enemy cause look what it did to your stomach for christ sake! You should have just eaten the french fries you wanted cause what difference does it make anyway, RIGHT?!

WRONG. Our bodies simply cannot digest and assimilate when we are all stressed out. It’s impossible. We need enzymes for digestion. When we are all anxiety ridden there is a 20,000 fold decrease in enzymatic output. Yes. You read that correctly. TWENTY THOUSAND FOLD DECREASE. In other words. Don’t blame the kale, you need to chill son. The blood rushing away from our middle to assist in the fight or flight response means so long metabolism. We need our metabolic energy for survival. All of that digestion business will have to wait. As if that wasn’t bad enough the sharp increases in cortisol and insulin also trigger your body to store, not burn calories. You are stressed! In crisis mode! This is no time to be dropping weight. You need to shore up your reserves. In essence you are creating an environment in your body to stop digesting, stop burning and start storing. We need our food to provide nutrients and sustainable energy. But the way we are eating causes short bursts of energy, long bouts of exhaustion and digestive disorders out the waz.

So what to do? We need to slow down. We need to sit when we eat. Meal times must be a break from the chaos. We have to breathe. And we MUST chew. We have teeth in out mouths, not in our stomachs. Macrobiotic theory teaches us to chew every mouthful 30 – 50 x’s. Feel free to try this. I did it for quite some time and counting my chews was a total pain in my ass. But you may love it. (many do) I prefer not to count but to just chew my food until it’s liquid. The less work we give our digestive systems, the less likely we are to have heartburn, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. We are also better able to assimilate and utilize the nutrients and energy we need to function and feel awesome. The bonus is that chewing becomes almost meditative. All this chewing forces us to slow down and to really enjoy and taste our meals. This makes us far less likely to over eat. Chewing forces you to slow down, pay attention and be present. You get bored of chewing after awhile. Then you notice, wow I’m not hungry anymore. And lo and behold you actually want to stop eating and do something else. And check you out. You have the energy and the peace of mind to enjoy the rest of your day. And you can even button your pants. All from sitting, breathing and chewing. Go on with your bad self.

This piece was written/created by a  friend..  Lea Frederichs… if you would LIKE more of her “to the point’ nutrition guidance and great recipes… LIKE her fb fan page with a simple copy and past of the link below..

Create a great day !


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