Health & Wellness

Chew That Food!

BY: Rodolfo Desuasido • May 03, 2019

Are we chewing our food the right way?

Digestion of food is a very important factor in health. The old saying “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you what you are” is no longer adequate at present.

Many people are of the mistaken belief that our stomach takes care of digesting the food we eat. They think that once food is swallowed, even if barely chewed, the stomach will digest it. The truth is—the stomach will not digest it or may not be able to digest it, unless we have eaten the right food combination and have masticated it—that is, chewed it thoroughly until it dissolved in our mouth.

There are two important factors in healthy digestion: food combination and mastication.  One must take care always to avoid wrong food combinations. If we eat two kinds of food that are incompatible, chances are our digestive system may not be able to digest it. Undigested food is lodged in the intestine, ferment there, and bacteria will putrefy it—producing acids and foul toxins—which will then be absorbed into our bloodstream. If this happens every day—which may have been happening for many years—our body will eventually become poisoned, it will become toxic. Lots of acid in the body result in acidosis, which is the staging ground of all kinds of serious illnesses. You may have heard it said that 99% of our diseases come from our intestines. That saying is absolutely true.

Bad food combinations

One kind of bad food combination is protein–starch combination. Examples of protein are meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk. Unfortunately, we consume this kind of food combination every day. We make our children eat them every day. When they go to school, we prepare sandwiches for them—bread stuffed with eggs, cheese, bacon, hamburger patties, tuna, and other stuff incompatible with bread. During breakfast, we make them drink milk while they munch their sandwich. Milk is a healthy food, but taken in bad combination, it becomes unhealthy. Another bad food is meat and potato, French fries and fried chicken, or spaghetti and fried chicken—all typical stuff of American diet that have been exported to us through some popular fast food chains.

Dr. William Howard Hay says that starch needs alkaline condition in the stomach so that it can be digested. On the other hand, protein needs acid condition (hydrochloric acid) to be digested. Since starch needs an alkaline condition, it prevents the stomach from producing the hydrochloric acid needed for protein digestion. Thus, these two kinds of food negate each other, resulting in non-digestion. Worse, the undigested food is retained in the colon, there to putrefy and produce toxins.

Starch is one of the hardest foods to digest. It must be chewed thoroughly before being swallowed. According to Dr. Hay, the starch must first be split in the mouth by a digestive enzyme called ptyalin, before it can be acted upon by the digestive enzymes in the stomach. Now, ptyalin cannot be produced in any other part of the body except through the saliva. So now we see why it is very important to chew the starch—to ensure that ptyalin is produced by the saliva.  When the starch, or any other food, has been thoroughly chewed and has melted in the mouth, only then should it be swallowed. This will ensure that it will be digested by the stomach, that the small intestine can absorb the nutrient, and distribute them to the bloodstream.

“Mastication” process

Mastication of food is a very important process in digestion, since we consider the mouth as part of the digestive system. Many digestive enzymes are produced only by the saliva. So when we masticate our food, we ensure the production of digestive enzymes, which are necessary to complete the process of digestion.

Food mastication was first advocated by an American, Horace Fletcher. His method became widely known in the United States as “fletcherism.” At first, it was laughed at as the “chew chew cult.” Later on, famous men, including Upton Sinclair, Henry James, Mark Twain, and John D. Rockefeller endorsed it, and its principles were taught in the world’s foremost universities in Cambridge, England; Turin, Italy; Berne, Switzerland; La Sorbonne, France; and Harvard, Yale, and Johns Hopkins in the US.

Fletcher believed that the more we chew the less we eat, and mastication will turn one from a “pitiable glutton” into an “intelligent epicurean.”Fletcher once said: “Nature will castigate those who do not masticate.” Indeed, Nature will, especially when we grow old. It is said that persons who masticate are less prone to acquire illness during old age. During World War II, Fletcher eased the hunger of millions of starving Belgians through mastication.  This method enabled them to derive maximum nutrients from the small amount of food that they eat. Fletcher died in Copenhagen, Belgium on January 13, 1919, at the age of 70. In his book “How I Became Young at 60,” Fletcher left this message: “Don’t gobble your food. Chew very slowly while you eat. Talk on pleasant topics. Don’t be in a hurry. Take time to masticate and cultivate a cheerful appetite while you eat. So will the demon indigestion be encompassed roundabout and his slaughter complete.”

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