How long should you take to consume a healthy meal, once you discover that perfect diet?
How long does should you take to chew a cup of broccoli or a bunch of raw kale so that it’s soft enough to digest?
How many minutes every day do we need to spend to be healthy, fit, and slim?
Dr. Bernard Jensen, always paraphrased Mahatma Gandhi’s saying: “Chew your juice and drink your food.” He meant that raw vegetable juices are beneficial for the body, but should be prepared for digestion and absorption in the mouth. You need to mix juice well with saliva, which begins the enzymatic process, increasing nutrient absorption.
Don’t gulp your carrot or wheat grass juice. Drink fresh juices in small amounts or sips, swish as you would with wine to mix with saliva, and then swallow. If you’re thirsty, drink water or sip green tea.
How long should you take for lunch?
In traditional societies, people enjoy leisurely meals. Not in the West. Fast foods, Power lunches that fit our hyper lifestyles. We are overachievers and underchewers.
Americans are famous for extremes. The original health-food faddists, like Horace Fletcher, believed in slowing chewing every mouthful 100 times; a chore that could take up to 10 minutes per bite. In his day, around 1912, Fletcher’s followers included generals and presidents, and famous writers like Henry James.
Modern health experts, however, have revised his extreme advice. We are now advised that eating smaller bites and chewing longer—in effect, eating slower—promotes normal weight because the stomach signals the brain that you’re getting full. This satiety effect starts about 20 minutes after the first mouthful. It’s a brain trick, for sure, but look at the effect! You’ve eaten less – and that’s what matters.
100 times per bite is extreme. The right number of bites per mouthful seems to be between 20 to 50 times. The Indian nutritionist Naini Setalvad, who considers correct chewing the first mantra of healthy eating, recommends about 30 bites. The Japanese health ministry recommends that every citizen chew 30 times per bite.
It takes me about 25 to 30 seconds to chew a mouthful of cooked food 30 times, longer for fibrous raw vegetables or meat. Go to a country that still values food and mealtime and you’ll find meals can linger between 1 to 2 hours. Perhaps 2 hours is too long, but certainly the 30-minute lunch break is not long enough.
Dr. Jensen said,“Good digestion, begins in the mouth.” But simply reducing healthy eating to chewing is reductionist and oversimplification, and makes for a boring meal. If we use our molars more, however, masticate better, and slow down while eating, we’ll be healthier.
Scientific studies as far back as 1981 found that daily exercise improves mood, enhances metabolism, and prevents many diseases, including breast cancer. The average number of minutes for a healthy exercise routine appears to be 35 minutes every day. The key is that those 35 minutes need to be intensive enough that you cannot chat with a friend, and you have to sweat.
Our precious time.
It’s not just the time we spend sleeping, eating, or chewing that is important. The time we spend on other things are also central to health, including downtime, sex, friendship, rest and relaxation, and laughing. We spend too much time in our cars on the freeway and too much of our valuable lives wasting time watching television.