It takes spending several months as a toothless being, unable to properly masticate, to come to the point of being able to fully appreciate the multifarious benefits of dental integrity, whether natural or fabricated, as the case may be. It took five months and a good chunk of my retirement nest egg (such as it was) to acquire the fabricated sort, but through the artistry of dentistry I now have a working arrangement that is beginning to masquerade, in my consciousness, as my own mouth. I've got the super-duper high-priced appliance which clicks on quite nicely to the titanium hooks which are screwed in quite firmly to the grafted posts which now sit securely implanted in my jaw. I can chew.
I can eat bread. I can chew steak. I can crunch celery, chips, popcorn, lettuce, broccoli. These may not sound like much, but for months I could do none of these things. I haven''t yet tried an apple, but am optimistic. Still, all that practice at deprivation, combined with a few little things I learned years ago, inspire me to think that somewhere there is a book that wants to be written, with a title something like:
The Joy Of Chewing: How to Nibble, Bite, Crunch, Grind, and Chomp Your Way to a Leaner, Fitter, Healthier YouThis would be one of those little things you can pick up by the checkout at the grocery store: an impulse item, full of heartwarming self-help tips involving details about benefits to digestion, taste, relaxation and overall health that comes with paying attention to the act of chewing, and as a result eating more slowly, with smaller and fewer portions than before, all the while enjoying the food more, digesting it better, and obeying that niggling injunction we all heard somewhere: "Chew Each Bite Thirty Times Before You Swallow."
There could be chapters on different food types, and the best number of chews for each. Can you chew soup? How about your morning coffee? Does sipping count, if it's a liquid? Is it better to chew steak thirty times, and vegetables only twenty? Can we slow down on fast food, just by counting the repetitions when we masticate that cheeseburger? And so on, and on.
Okay, now some enterprising soul is going to see this and actually get it done, make their bucks, have their fifteen minutes of fame, and get recognized by Oprah Winfrey or maybe even Martha Stewart. Not me. I'm still just ruminating.