Slow Down!

I love food! (I felt like that needed an exclamation point b/c I get so excited when I think about it!) Trying to incorporate healthier food into my diet is a constant struggle. I like being active. I don’t mind going to the gym to maintain my weight. But if I want to lose anything, it’s all in the foods I eat. I try to stay informed about the latest and greatest in the food biz; not just what’s good and bad, but about the industry in general. If you’re at all interested, you need to read The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler. Not only was it fascinating and easy to understand, but I felt like certain sections were written specifically for me.

I have a note tacked to a corkboard in my room where I jotted down tips for overall health, like “Drink more water!” and “No more diet soda!” (why does it have to taste so good?). One of the things written up there is “Take smaller bites!!!” (that one needed lots of exclamation points because it’s my top transgression). I’ve always been a fast eater; I’m done with my meal and my friends will still have most of their dinner left. So I’m trying to train myself to take smaller bites and chew my food more. In theory, if I’m not mindlessly shoving food into my mouth, it’ll give my stomach a chance to feel full and signal to my brain that it’s time to stop eating. Should be easy enough, right? Then why is it so hard?

“ the past Americans typically chewed a mouthful of food as many as 25 times before it was ready to be swallowed; now the average American chews only 10 times” (Kessler, 95). At least I know I’m not the only one who looks like she’s in a speed-eating contest at every meal. Kessler talked to experts in the restaurant industry who explained that fewer chews are good for business; the faster you’re eating, the more food you’re consuming. “Instead of paying attention to what goes into our mouths, we’re engaged in a shoveling process” (Kessler, 96).

Highly processed food lacks matter and fiber that fill us up. These things are replaced with fat and sugar, which essentially grease the palate so the food can slide right down. Think about it: real foods like carrots and apples are crunchy and require lots of chewing, whereas a bite of a McDonald’s hamburger or a piece of cake can go down after like, seven chews. And since the fiber and matter that actually fills us up is removed from these foods, it takes more to make us feel full. So you’re eating and eating because it goes down so easily (and tastes so damn good), without really getting any nutrients you need or being satiated in any way. WTF!

Seriously, go read this book. It will piss you off, for sure, but it will also open your eyes. Because in the end, it’s all about the choices you make. Sure, I can fault the food industry for making products like this. But they’re not force-feeding me. I need to take responsibility for the crap I’m eating - and stop eating it. If only the note in my room could reach out and punch me in the face every time I fall off track.


Crystal said…
I definitely have to go read that book! Never thought about the need to actually chew more on real foods vs McDonalds, but that's so true!
brigidmc12 said…
It's such a good book! I was shocked at a lot of what I read. It really makes you think about what the food industry is doing to us.