I recently heard a great stage actor and former NFL player, Bo Eason, speak about the value of “owning our predator nature”. Meaning, we should use and trust our instincts for survival and living. I love that concept.
But I was reminded of our “less glamorous predator nature” while sitting at an airport terminal cafe thinking about writing an article for you on the sexy topic of digestion.
Everywhere I looked people were wolfing down their food as if their lives depended on how quickly they could gulp it down.
With so many of my patients having gut issues, it made me wonder, are we all eating like a predator?
It may seem silly to say, but a crucial rule of health is to – CHEW your food! As I was counting how many times I chewed. I tried to reach 32. Once I became conscious of this, my chew per bite ratio increased dramatically. I curiously looked around and started counting how many times others were chewing!
I believe I was undetected in my observations because I was super stealthy or more possibly, everyone seemed to be into what they were doing; phones, reading, and not interested in making eye contact anyway.
So I then boldly observed freely. I recommend you do this. There are so many things you will see!
The most amazing was watching one man in particular; he was very predatorial with his food. He sat hunched over his food in a protective fashion, with bent arms on either side of his plate. He then attacked and delivered the prize to his mouth (just a few inches away from his plate!) and he chewed once, twice, and a third time.
That was it. Three chews! And then one big gulp!
His left hand wiped his mouth, while the other hand, fork full of food, came up. Back and forth. He’d occasionally take a chug of his drink.
I’m not sure when he breathed.
I kept chewing while I watched, totally entranced. It was very primal.
Admit it, you’ve eaten like that before, like it’s your last meal. Hmm. I believe this rapid eating is a required skill for doctors to achieve, as a matter of fact.
He was finished eating approximately 7 minutes after he sat down.
As he got up, he walked by and winked at me…(guess I wasn’t that stealthy an observer after all)!)
Right then I got right up and ran after him and said….
“I bet you have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)! Your rapid eating and inadequate chewing is possibly the problem, along with your chugging down all that liquid!”
He said “Beautiful, you are right, and I will change my ways!”
Okay – that didn’t happen – but I did want to tell him that!
Why is it so important to chew our food? Very simply because digestion starts in our mouth. Chewing until it dissolves in our mouth, with the help of our salivary digestive juices, is how we were designed to eat.
Ok, you can add 4 oz. of liquid if you must (Because that is a typical size of a wine pour :-)).
I wanted to write this article on digestion, because it is crucial to health and so many people are on antacids, PPI’s, and other meds for indigestion. In 1989 10% of Americans had chronic indigestion, and now the number is 30% with over 60% of adults experiencing occasional symptoms!
Why is this so important if we can just pop a few antacids?
Because, healthy digestion is crucial to a healthy microbiome, the nutritional extraction from our food, as well as essential hormonal and neurotransmitter production.
There are significant associations of digestive issues underlying all kinds of degenerative disorders; yes, effecting our bones, brain, and body, just to be clear! Most people take OTC (over the counter) PPI’s, for example, Prilosec/omeprazole daily for years. Did you know that the FDA warns that the use of these meds “may be associated with” deadly C. Difficile infections”? And the PDR (physician’s drug reference) clearly warns that they should not be taken more than 2 WEEKS in a row or once every 4 months.
Modern drug marketing sells us a solution in a pill. OTC antacids, indigestion meds and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories are the top meds sold. These wreak havoc in your body long-term.
If you suffer with reflux or gas; need antacids, or are on a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor), here’s a start of the solution to resolution!
Chew till food dissolves in your mouth (32 times).
Stop drinking 20 minutes before and wait 2 hours after eating.
You won’t need so many fluids when you chew your food.
Fluids dilute our digestive enzymes – makes sense, right? Let’s take this example, if you take a piece of meat and pour acid on it, it will dissolve the meat. However, if you pour an 8 ounce glass of fluid on it as well, that dilutes the acid, dilutes the digestion process, the meat will ferment, partially digested particles get pushed through, and this additionally increases gas and uncomfortable bloating.
Add digestive enzymes, such as VitalZymes Chewable.
Add a daily probiotic, such as. Pura Probio Max.
Never stop your meds cold turkey, your body has to be weaned off of them. If you stop omeprazole abruptly your body will produce 3X the acid! Wean off of them by decreasing dosage slowly; you can temporarily add Pepcid if needed, and then wean off that as well!
We have to honor our design. If we do this, you will be surprised how quickly your health will shift, maybe even less gas, heartburn, and less constipation.
Let’s get to the cause of our symptoms instead – Start by chewing!
You will feel so much better doing this! I guarantee it.
Wishing you a vida pura,
Dr. Anna Cabeca, DO, FACOG, ABAARM
1. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing the public that the use of stomach acid drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be associated with an increased risk of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). A diagnosis of CDAD should be considered for patients taking PPIs who develop diarrhea that does not improve.” 02/08/2012
2. Prilosec/Omeprazole PDR WARNINGS/PRECAUTIONS
Not intended for immediate relief of heartburn; may take 1-4 days for full effect. Do not use if patient has trouble or pain swallowing food, vomiting w/ blood, or bloody or black stools. Caution in patients who had heartburn >3 months; heartburn w/ lightheadedness, sweating or dizziness; chest/shoulder pain w/ SOB, sweating, pain spreading to arms, neck or shoulders, or lightheadedness; frequent chest pain; frequent wheezing particularly w/ heartburn; unexplained weight loss; N/V (Nausea/Vomiting); stomach pain. Consider discontinuation if heartburn continues or worsens. Do not use for >14 days or more often than every 4 months. Heartburn in children may sometimes be caused by a serious condition; caution in patients <18 yrs of age.