The magic of mastication

Chewing is a primitive function of the brain; one that informs the body it is experiencing self-preservation. When eating, your survival instincts can be switched off temporarily and the body can relax. On a physical level, mastication releases the flavours and chemicals of food and mixes it with saliva so the body can create the appropriate digestive enzymes. It also opens up a channel of communication with the nervous system by sending signals to the brain as to what kind of food is on its way, as well as how much.

Chew guru

“Nature will castigate those that don’t masticate” was the rather extreme catchcry of American dietician and nutrition nut Horace Fletcher. He believed every mouthful should be chewed at least 100 times. It was a belief that earned him the title of The Great Masticator and probably a jaw the size of Roger Ramjet’s. Fletcher even chewed liquid.

There’s a saying in Chinese medicine that you should chew your liquids and drink your foods. Fletcher became obsessed with this notion after being rejected for health insurance. He was a gargantuan man at the time, weighing more than 135 kilograms. Climbing stairs was akin to strapping on an oxygen mask and scaling Everest for the self-taught nutritionist.

Desperate to shed his folds, Fletcher devised a diet plan that concentrated not so much on the food he ate but more on the way he consumed it. He

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