Chew Chew Chew (then Chew some more!)

If you’re reading this, you might have had a few problems with digestion, bloated stomach, bellyache or other signs that your gut isn’t a happy one. 

Like most people, I adore food! I love colourful, vibrant fresh food but I’m also a lover of beige carbs, sweets, chocolate and all the foods we’re told we shouldn’t indulge in.

I’m known in my circle for eating really fast and have often joked about inhaling my food without even tasting it. 

I mostly do the right things in quest for maintaining my gut health after years of feeling uncomfortable - diet changes, more exercise, supplements, relaxation and upping my water intake.

Bloating after eating can be quite common for me. 

But over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about could some gut issues be more about how I'm eating than what I'm eating?

chew for gut health

Chewing to get our gut out of a rut! 

So, inspired by a recent conversation about simple changes we can all make to improve our digestion, I decided to give more mindful eating and chewing a go! It’s the only real bit of our digestion we have significant control over. 

So I started googling, as we all do, and got to work to understand how to improve this small habit that can hopefully help my digestion. 

On reading the advice, I was pretty surprised to see that if we want to give our gut and digestive tract the best chance at doing its job of processing our food, getting all the good nutrients from it and having smooth digestion - no stomach upsets or other common problems - we should chew our food 32 times before swallowing so it becomes liquefiedUhm so, well, I’m probably between 25 and 30 times fewer than that.

Guidelines to help me for my Chew Challenge

  • Build up to chewing 30 times (the aim is to liquefy the food)

  • No distraction activities while eating (multitasking is a no no, so no phone, TV, work, reading the news and absolutely no eating while on the move!)

  • No tasting the food while I’m making it (this isn’t a bad habit per se but for me it's connected to not being mindful as I eat and I can feel full by the time I serve the meal)

Might sound simple… but how did I get on?

At first I thought it would be easy to make this change but bad habits are really embedded! 

Week 1 

This was way tougher than I thought it would be. To have no distractions - to mindfully eat my food and take my time to eat it. 

This meant sitting down to every meal and not eating on the fly, or with the telly on. What it did do was slow me down but I’d find my mind wandering so on occasion would add some chill out music to slow my pace and help relax me. 

I was finding by 15-20 chews that I was getting tired of eating, the food was mostly mashed down and I’d get bored of the same mouthful. But I knew I could do more. 

Surprisingly, my jaw could get a bit sore - because I probably amn’t using it properly for the last 30ish years. Who knew? 

Week 2 

I’m really noticing a massive difference in the bloating I used to get. Huge in fact. 

I do find the practice of slowing down to eat much better and I know when I feel fuller. 

I was maybe cheating a bit by choosing mushier food to help with not needing to chew quite so much, but that’s no bad thing! Finding it hard to break the cycle of eating while I cook so have allowed myself a couple of tastes as I go (as long as I chew chew chew)

Week 3 

I’m definitely snacking less because I’m not feeling so hungry between meals as I recognise when I’m full. Some of the occasional bloating I’ve experienced doesn’t really happen and I’m enjoying my meals with family and friends more as I don't feel so rushed. 

Week 4 

I’ve embedded a slower way of eating, I was rushing way too much. And it’s probably led to overeating, digestive upset and missing out on some of the more social aspects of breaking bread with friends and family. 

It was much harder than I thought and I have to really remind myself not to slip into chew-chew-swallow pattern again. 

What will I take away from this chew challenge?

There’s a common myth that you can make a habit in 21 days but I think we all know from experience that it’s not always the case.

I noticed enough of a change with my digestion to continue to want to do this, it was definitely harder to do this than I thought it would be. I don’t see myself ever chewing 30 bite or more per mouthful but I have significantly slowed down.

My top tips to make this easier if you’re feeling time poor

  1. I found playing chilled out music helped me slow down 
  2. Cut, chop, mashed or blend some of the items in your meal to help digestion 
  3. Plan - prep meals ahead of time if so you don’t feel so rushed during the eating part of the meal
  4. For a big green intake of veg, blend in a smoothie, you still get all the great nutrients but don’t have spend do much time chewing 
  5. Don’t eat on the go and avoid distractions like TV

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Gut Wealth® liquid food supplement works with your very own gut microbiome to build gut health that’s right just for you, helping to boost your immunity and relieve abdominal discomfort and bloating.

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Gut Wealth® comes in a handy 15g single-serve sachet, for smart, no-brainer daily maintenance of gut health.

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Gut Wealth® liquid food supplement is a blend of vitamins, minerals and a postbiotic ingredient, all designed to support your digestive wellbeing.

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Fat <0.1 g

- of which saturates 0.0 g

Carbohydrate <0.1 g

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Fibre<0.1 g

Protein<0.1 g

Salt<0.1 g

Lactobacillus LB 340mg

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