By Dr. Josť V. A. Humphreys, M.D., FICPS

Posted: 10 June 2005

You're late for work. You grab a bacon and egg sandwich and you are late for work and you grab a bacon and egg or a tofu sandwich and gulp it down hurriedly with a glass of orange juice or Eden Soy. This short scenario fits the lifestyle of a large percentage of persons. However, this is far from adequate. To put it simply, you are undermining your health.

Good health is the result of what we assimilate and not necessarily what we eat. We can eat lots of food from all the food groups and still be malnourished. For the purpose of clarity, gulping down solids and liquid will do more harm to our bodies than good. Be warned that only solids and liquids that are properly assimilated can be utilized to perform the functions they are designed to do and that is rebuilding and repairing cells and other malfunctioning parts of the body. Proper assimilation is achieved by "drinking solid and chewing liquid foods." For clarity, drink your food and eat your drink at all times.

A vital factor that must be remembered always is that digestion actually begins in the mouth. There are enzymes found only in the mouth, in the saliva, that must interact with the food and drink, even water, to commence the digestion process. Foods that escape this initial digestive process will cause problems further along the alimentary canal. It is important to note, that once the food mixes with the saliva this process opens up the doors of digestion and readies the enzymes in the stomach to process what is coming. It is an amazing process. Those of us who like to chew gum must be made aware that this process also opens up the doors of digestion and prepares the enzymes in the stomach to get ready to process what's coming and when there is nothing, those enzymes must be satisfied, and so they start eating at the lining of the stomach. The process of chewing is not to be taken lightly.

Another very important factor to remember is that one should not eat and drink at the same time. This interferes or counters the effectiveness of the digestive process by affecting the PH thereby diluting the digestive enzymes needed for proper digestion. Of course, poor digestion leads to acid or sour stomach, ulcers and the like. Ideally one should drink 30 minutes before eating and 60 minutes after eating. The myth that you will choke if you don't wash down your food is simply a myth born out of habit that can be changed if one wants to attain good health.

So the next time you are in a rush and do not have the time to sit and enjoy your meal, allowing it to feed your body rather than satisfy your hunger, remember that Mahatma Gandhi condensed all wisdom about health into just one admonition: "chew your drink and drink your food". If you do not have the time to sit and really eat your food the way you should, take a drink until you have the time.

The information contained in this column is not meant for diagnosis or treatment of any disease or disorder. If you suffer from any disorders or have symptoms that are outside of normal corporal functions, please consult with your health care provider with any questions and for information on managing your condition.