Chew your food thoroughly for better digestion and surprisingly less weight gain.
Word games have many benefits; one for me was the discovery of what it means to “fletcherise."
It was first coined after a man called Horace Fletcher. He recommended chewing each mouthful 32 times, and Wikipedia says even up to 100. He became known as “The Great Masticator.”
There is nothing new under the sun; and food faddism certainly goes back into antiquity. One of his interesting phrases was that fletcherising would turn a “pitiable glutton into an intelligent epicurean.” Another was don’t eat until you are “good and hungry.”
He had a good many followers including John Rockefeller, Henry James and Mark Twain; and even more critics, some of which were unfounded. One was that chewing food so much turned it into a liquid diet, reducing the bulk and fibre which would cause constipation; that's absolute nonsense.
We can spend some time cogitating on these matters; chewing the cud so to speak and come to our own conclusions.
I have noticed though, fascinated as I am by whole grains that eating a mealie takes up to ten minutes and that each mouthful does indeed need thirty or more chews; and is perhaps one of the reasons that few people still enjoy corn on the cob with any regularity. It just takes too damn long to finish!
During chewing the particle size of our food is reduced by the teeth and tongue; and very significantly is mixed with an enzyme called amylase in the saliva. Researchers have shown that up to 43% of the starch is broken down to glucose and short chains of starch in the mouth when we fletcherise. That means an early release of sugars into the blood stream with signals to the brain by a hormone called leptin that we have had enough to eat.
We feel fuller sooner, and are less hungry. Whole grains provide "satiety."
Delaying meals also has some virtues. Researchers have found that the obese will actually lose weight if they practise what is called “intermittent fasting.” It’s done by increasing the time between supper and breakfast. Even though we eat exactly the same food, less of it ends up in the wrong places.
Japanese researchers have found that the more we chew our food, the less likely we are to become diabetic; and this despite the fact that added nutrients are actually absorbed if we fletcherise.
Whole grains as used to bake this loaf of sourdough bread certainly require more chewing; however it's not heavy like a German roggebrod.
There is other interesting research done in Sweden that found a correlation between chewing ability and cognitive impairment. However there was no difference whether the people chewed with natural teeth or with prostheses; or in fact if they had lost fangs.
But not chewing our food for any reason means an earlier decline into senility. It is scary that 1 in 9 Americans over 65 now have Alzheimer’s disease. They eat less than half the recommended amount of fibre, munch fewer times and lose their marbles sooner. I suspect it is little different in South Africa.
It’s time to plant broad beans, a very rich source of fibre and yes they are chewy; but fresh and young, so tasty. A very enthusiastic group of “broads” as they call themselves recently came to our green home and are getting a row or two planted out with these precious legumes in their own gardens.
The cancer association recommends eating a whole grain and a legume at every meal. That’s a bridge too far for most of us; but how about a mealie and a helping of broad beans or lentils just once a day?
What is a lignan? Every woman needs to know something at least about them; they more than halve the likelihood of succumbing to a malignant breast tumour. Whole grains and legumes are rich sources; but flax and sesame seeds come out tops.
In short whole foods are chewy.
There is no question of it; growing and enjoying your own fresh food
takes time. But the meals are far more tasty and the savings in these
testing times run into very large sums. If we include the natural honey from our hives it comes to at least R10,000 per month; that's not to be sneezed at.
The largest contribution to our prosperity of course though in greatly reduced medical bills and a longer active life.
It’s time to get the winter garden established whilst the weather is still warm; radishes, kale and broad beans. Green peas, lettuce and broccoli also top our lists; get your own favourites into the ground.
There is one way to cheat; make whole grain cornbread.
There are hundreds of recipes for cornbread, old favourites in both America and South Africa; and presumably much of the rest of the world. There are basically two kinds; baked in the oven and steamed in boiling water. It's a way to use up old mealies that are too hard to eat on the cob.
I favour the steamed version; done in a pressure-cooker it takes only 35 minutes.
Chew your food thoroughly; to fletcherise means each mouthful thirty-two times.
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