About 25 times! What?! I don’t know if Grandma knew all the benefits of chewing your food besides the fact that it would help keep you from choking but there are great benefits. As I talk a bit more today about ways to afford better quality, organic food, we’ll broach the subject of chewing! Chewing food until it is reduced to liquid is a great habit to get into. But if you are like me, in a hurry most of the time to get onto the next activity, as soon as one bite goes in my mouth the fork is poised to add another before the last bite has even been chewed 3 times, let alone 25 times!
So why should we chew so thoroughly? Well, Grandma wanted to keep us from choking, but there are other reasons. Dr. Ben Kim says that less energy is required to digest the food, allowing the body to repair, heal and maintain organs. The digestive enzymes in saliva are very powerful and allow us to digest more thoroughly and efficiently, allowing our bodies to have access to more nutrients in the food. In this article on Livestrong, information is given about how important it is to allow digestion to begin in the mouth by mixing food with saliva that contains key enzymes that help digest our food. I couldn’t find the information where I read this but supposedly 80% of our digestive problems could be relieved by the simple act of chewing our food well. Another benefit of chewing well and eating slowly is that we are satisfied with less food – making our food purchases go further. Budget friendly!
Recently my mother-in-law, Ruby Tobey (find her recently published book here!) gave me an article she found in the Mother Earth Living magazine by Linda Watson. The article was based on her book Wildly Affordable Organic (subtitle – Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet All on $5 a Day or Less). Watson and her husband took a challenge some years ago to eat healthy on what the average person receives in food stamps per day. After refining the process for a few years she wrote her book. I checked it out at the library (where I will no longer waste food money paying library fines – see this blog post!) While I don’t agree with everything she has to say, much of it is very useful for finding ways to shave some money from food expenditures.
Another way to extend the food budget is by growing a garden. Now I’m not the most gifted at that, but we usually have greens in the fall, some small fruited tomato plants, cucumbers, chard and my newest favorite – rattlesnake green beans! I was introduced to these last summer by my good friend and neighbor Linda. I swore I would never grow or eat anything with the word “snake” in it but when her husband brought me some I couldn’t figure out how to graciously turn them down! So glad I didn’t! We’ve had them for a couple of meals and are so delicious and tender. There is a lot more protein and nutrition in them than the regular grocery/farmer’s market Blue Lakes variety. The above picture was taken a few mornings ago after I picked what was ready. My daughter and I had a garden breakfast with sautéed green beans and swiss chard, some tomatoes, cucumber slices and homemade turkey sausage. It was delicious and a great way to get in more vegetables!
Those are just a few ways to stretch your food budget. What are your favorite ways?