You have probably heard about the importance of chewing your food well. Especially in macrobiotics. Yes, even your soup! Whether the guidelines are to chew each bite 30 times, 50 times, 150 times or until your food turns into liquid, a lot of emphasis is placed on chewing.
But, how often do we think about breathing while we are eating?
Marc David talks about the importance of breathing while we eat in his book, The Slow Down Diet. So I started to notice my breathing, or more accurately my lack of breathing, especially during chewing.
Digestion works best when we are sitting down and in a relaxed state. This way our bodies can focus completely on the task at hand. A body that is in an active state or, even worse, under stress, just isn’t able to digest food as well. In general, when we hold our breath, it’s a sign our body is under stress. So it makes sense that if we hold our breath while eating, it can negatively affect our digestion. Breathing in a relaxed manner signals to our body that we are relaxed, relaxes our stomach and is conducive to good digestion.
Add to this the fact that many of us are trying to chew our food for longer periods of time. Personally, what I noticed is that when I focus on chewing, I tend to hold my breath. At first I wasn’t even sure I could breathe while chewing, but I tried it and it totally worked. I could feel my whole body relax with each breath. I didn’t breathe in my food at all. (I was worried about that.)
Focusing on breathing calmly and regularly while eating, and specifically while chewing, has helped me relax and slow down even more during my meals. Try it. I would love to hear about your experience.