Forget Shakespeare. Dudes, chew your food! The health benefits will start immediately.
The extended family are all seated. Check. The cook is toasted for a great meal prepared and dinner is served. Check. You proceed to inhale your food like an overgrown hyena and then curl up on your toes, plant your hands squarely on the table and, like said wild-eyed mangy animal, hack out the largest hairball of food your dinner guests have ever seen. Uh, cheque please?
Let’s count down the benefits of chewing your food like a civilized human being:
#5 – You won’t have to be embarrassed and responsible for ruining Thanksgiving
…or making it the most colourful one ever – literally. Take it one step further. You have avoided the chain reaction of vomiteers who involuntarily retaliate to your display of affection for the cook’s efforts.
#4 – You can start “potty training” your brain
It is not all about the food. Surprise! The stomach and brain are connected and a nasty little hormone called leptin can play tricks on us. Research suggests there can be a disconnect between what we think we need and what we actually need. This means small continuous changes are much easier to handle than major upheavals to the stomach-brain-leptin connection. Start by chewing just a little bit more than you normally do and take it from there.
#3 – You won’t be one of the sad stories rushing to the local emergency department
Shocker: every seasonal holiday, hospitals see a spike in emergency room visits from people requiring removal of a food bolus – yup, a lump of grub stuck in your throat. Give it your best guess, friend. Does this happen more often to men or women? The phrase, “You are acting like a bunch of animals,” is tagged to us for a reason.
#2 – You are less likely to overeat
Chewing your food thoroughly takes more time and pacing your eating is beneficial. It can take up to 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal back to your brain to say, “Hold on wolf-boy! I am drinking from the fire hose down here!” Whether you are packing on the pounds or floating down the lazy river at a high weight, eating the right amount can help you start moving the needle in a better direction.
Lazy man’s tip: If you are digging any of this or are sniggering because you have witnessed the comic aftermath of a buddy who has exhibited animalistic tendencies at the dinner table, then consider slamming a glass of water before you chow down. While you are in chew-training that glass of water will be the difference between you feeling like a beached whale and a king. Why? Water starts being absorbed into the body within 5 minutes and deflates your spare tire quicker than any other method.
#1 – It will help you see “it” again
Has it been a while since you’ve seen your junk? Even something as easy and simple as chewing your food is a small step to reducing belly size. An overfull belly will stretch your innards. Shrinking your belly can increase your sex appeal and make it look bigger, too.
Gobble, gobble no more. Happy Thanksgiving!
With these benefits top of mind and your sights set on chewing like a champ, Thanksgiving dinner will be remembered for the right reasons. Friends, family, good conversation, bad jokes, laughter, and sharing of old stories and new ones. No cheque required.
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Steven is the current Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, the national charity that created Don’t Change Much to inspire men to live healthier. A father of three with a roving interest in anything ending with “-ing”, Steven has two decades of health leadership experience.