20 Times

This is one of my favorite health food drinks:  Celery base with spinach, kale, beets (in this one, are golden beets – not my favorite, but better golden than nothing), lemon, and ginger.

To be honest, its nasty.  It tastes like you’re eating out of a lawnmower bag sprinkled with lemon zest, but after five years of drinking them, they are more than a necessary evil that I have to suck down at the speed of light in order not to taste green lemon grass… Now I love them – can’t live without them.  The best way to have this drink is to take a sip and chew a little of the pulp so that you can extract all the nutrients.

Were you aware that digestion starts in the mouth?  More specifically, it begins with our saliva.  That’s right, your spit, which is why, when we inhale our meals like a stray dog who hasn’t eaten in three days, it effects everything.  Did you also know that our digestive tract is directly connected to our emotional state?  Ever notice when things are clogged up or flowing a little too freely that we don’t quite feel like ourselves?  We can’t fully focus, stay present and engaged, or avoid looming irritation with things that aren’t normally that irritable.

Supposedly, we should be chewing about 20 times per mouthful before swallowing, so that our saliva begins to break down our meal, so that by the time it travels the thin line of our esophagus toward our stomach and small intestine, liver and large intestine, colon and you know where next, the body has properly digested, stored and dispersed the energy, nutrients, and waste.

If you think about it, the food we inhale as Americans isn’t usually that good for us (a little tip for free:  If you can store your food for the next fifty years in an Earthquake Emergency Kit, your body was never meant to ingest those preservatives).  On top of that, the speed at which we inhale often causes our body to work overtime in unnecessary striving and straining in order to digest (in turn, dealing with acid reflux, indigestion, stomach aches, irritable bowl syndrome, fatigue, and more).

Why the lesson in digestion?

We are consumers.  We consume information, knowledge not for the purpose of wisdom, but for the purpose of knowing.  We consume images, words, even people and we don’t pay attention to what we are digesting; when we do, it’s so fast, we can’t properly understand what or who we are consuming.

We spread ourselves thin, not deep and relationships struggle because we strive and strain to digest what we do not understand and are not sure we should have consumed in the first place.  When I used to think of God, he was like the contents of that lawnmower bag covered in lemon zest.  I would go to church once a week – get in, get out – as fast as possible so I couldn’t taste the truth and wouldn’t have to change.

I consumed magazine images of who the world said I should be, inhaled poor relationships with men and women, coped with life through alcohol, drugs, food, exercise, and I did life at a speed that had serious effect on my body, my spirit, my mind… my heart.  I read the Bible because I was supposed to, swallowing chapters whole, unaffected by grace, striving and straining to change – I didn’t know how to chew anything 20 times, much less allow the truth to penetrate the digestive tract of my purpose, which starts with the spit of a decision to pursue.

I know I haven’t arrived – still need to slow down, still need the Bible to affect me more than it does, still need to keep facing the truth… I still need to slow down and chew.  But I’m glad I kept sucking down those 90 minutes on Sunday, glad that one drink of grace started to affect the rest of my life and I started to slow down, chew the pulp, focus on the truth, and change.

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