While in the Ecuadorian Andes Merri and I lived with a yatchak, his family and his apprentices. We lived in the shamanic way rising at 4:30 each morning (except Saturday) to start a busy day.
Yatchak with his wife and family.
First we began with prayers, then gentle and finally vigorous exercise. This part of the routine ended with a cold shower. The air and icy water at the seven thousand foot altitude were a brisk wakeup!
Then we prayed again, ate breakfast, studied and worked until lunch. Again prayed, ate, studied. Then we prayed again, worked till dinner, prayed once more, ate dinner, had some social time and at a very early hour (8 to 8:30) prayed once more and went to bed.
Many Andean prayers are performed in exercising position, many aimed at unlocking energy in the buttocks and abdomen. Plus the shaman’s wife gave lessons on how to chew.
She never said a word, but set an example as she chewed and chewed… in long, deep chewing motions. We thought she was trying to show us how to slow down our chewing. Then I learned that she was teaching us a more important… really vital message about natural health.
Chewing is so important that food companies study chewing. A New York Times article “The Marvels in Your Mouth” by Mary Roach explains this. here is an excerpt.
WAGENINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS — When I told people I was traveling to Food Valley, I described it as the Silicon Valley of eating. At this cluster of universities and research facilities, nearly 15,000 scientists are dedicated to improving — or, depending on your sentiments about processed food, compromising — the quality of our meals.
At the time I made the Silicon Valley comparison, I did not expect to be served actual silicone.
But here I am, in the Restaurant of the Future, a cafeteria at Wageningen University where hidden cameras record diners as they make decisions about what to eat. And here it is, a bowl of rubbery white cubes the size of salad croutons.
Andries van der Bilt has brought them from his lab in the brusquely named Department of Head and Neck, at the nearby University Medical Center Utrecht.
Dr. Van der Bilt and his colleagues have laid claim to a strange, occasionally repugnant patch of scientific ground. They study the mouth — more specifically, its role as the human food processor. Their findings have opened up new insights into quite a few things that most of us do every day but would rather not think about.
The way you chew, for example, is as unique and consistent as the way you walk or fold your shirts. There are fast chewers and slow chewers, long chewers and short chewers, right-chewing people and left-chewing people. Some of us chew straight up and down, and others chew side-to-side, like cows. Your oral processing habits are a physiological fingerprint.
Dr. Van der Bilt studies the neuromuscular elements of chewing. You often hear about the impressive power of the jaw muscles. In terms of pressure per single burst of activity, these are the strongest muscles we have. But it is not the jaw’s power to destroy that fascinates Dr. Van der Bilt; it is its nuanced ability to protect.
Think of a peanut between two molars, about to be crushed. At the precise millisecond the nut succumbs, the jaw muscles sense the yielding and reflexively let up. Without that reflex, the molars would continue to hurtle recklessly toward one another, now with no intact nut between.
Teeth and jaws are impressive not for their strength but for their sensitivity, Dr. Van der Bilt has found. Chew on this: Human teeth can detect a grain of sand or grit 10 microns in diameter. A micron is 1/25,000 of an inch. If you shrank a Coke can until it was the diameter of a human hair, the letter O in the product name would be about 10 microns across.
Chewing is an integral part of natural health.
Chewing starts the digestive process by breaking down very large aggregates of food molecules into smaller particles that creates increased surface area for better digestion.
Chewing starts the digestive chemical process with enzymes in the mouth that begin breaking down chemical bonds of food.
Chewing signals the stomach and activates the entire digestive process.
Saliva from chewing helps move food through your digestive tract.
Yet chewing does even more. There is a special power in certain chewing muscles that when activated impacts our muscular strength, nervous and muscular coordination, plus energizes our metabolism and strengthens our oxygen intake. There is so much power in these key muscles that I have written a report based around this.
Many have paid $47 for the report, but this weekend, you can have the main chapter of the report at just $4.99.
Read New York Times article Marvels of your mouth