A Reminder to Myself: Chew, Chew, Chew, . . .


This is a self-reflection and reminder for myself on the value of chewing.

While eating one day, I noticed tension in the jaw, neck and shoulder areas.  I had been eating rather hurriedly and mindlessly while viewing the smartphone.  Moreover, I had been over-eating and finding it somewhat difficult to stop.  I had certainly not been present to the experience of eating.  Perhaps the food and information consumption were ways for the body and mind to become like a zombie and to cope with the events of the day and the thoughts in the mind related to work, my “to do” list, “worries” and “burdens”.

Upon waking up to the tension, the thoughts “This has got to stop.” and “I need to fix this.” arose.  There was a desire for less tension in the body, less over-eating and a more pleasant eating experience.  Then the memory of a framed painting that I had seen years ago in the dining room at the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego floated into the mind.  The painting had the word “Chew” repeated about 30 to 40 times – like the whimsical version above.  At that time, the simple painting had prompted me to chew my food more and eat more mindfully.  This time, it was the memory of the painting that had the same effect.

Side note:   Chewing and savoring the food until it became more liquid before swallowing the food – along with drinking water before, rather than during, meals – helped resolve some of my digestion issues at the time (in particular, the feeling of being bloated).   Previously, I had been swallowing food with abbreviated chewing and drinking water during meals (which apparently dilutes the gastric digestive juices).

Thereafter, I placed my attention on the eating experience.  I began to chew, chew, chew, . . . and experience the taste of the food, its texture, the movement of the jaws and teeth, the transformation of the solid food into a more liquid version, the sounds of the chewing experience, the swallowing, my posture, my breathing, my hands, my arms . . .   Eating became a more enjoyable, relaxing and enriching experience.  Gratefully, I could gradually sense and honor the body’s signal of satisfaction.  Less tension in the body.  No over-eating this time.  No craving to eat more while feeling full this time.  And more awareness of the thoughts and awareness in general.

May I remember to eat more mindfully and chew 🙂


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