My daily life is wrapped around continuous eating in very small portions. It is the only way I can get my calorie intake high enough to start putting weight back on. A second reason for small portions is that whenever I over eat, I suffer from a condition known as “food dumping” where everything goes through my GI so quickly that the nutritional benefit is not absorbed through my intestines. If you are unaware, I do not have a stomach. It was removed on May 22, 2020 when discovered my cancer had moved grown from the distal end of my esophagus and engulfed most of my stomach. This makes for interesting moments.
In addition to many small portions throughout the day, I chew my food more deliberately than in the past to make sure everything I swallow is well masticated. This helps initiate the process of digestion sooner than later.
I was at a restaurant called Dockside in Lunenburg yesterday (Friday, August 14, 2021). We had a table right at the window overlooking the harbour through all the people on the outside deck. I wasn’t intentionally spying, but a man at a table in my line-of-vision had a cooked lobster arrive at the table. As he started breaking apart the shell and digging out the meat, what struck me was the quantity of meat he was consuming in a mouthful. It makes me a little jealous watching a mouthful portion the size he was ingesting as it was close to what I’d be able to consume in a sitting.
I watched as he dug out a sizable chunk of lobster meat, soaked it in melted butter, and lifted to his lips. Out of curiosity, I counted how many times he chewed the contents before swallowing. The number was twelve.
These days, I chew every mouthful around twenty times or more. I have to consciously work at making sure I chew my food completely and in social settings where this a lot of conversation, I’m not as careful but I do try. As I trained myself to chew more after my surgery, I realized how much more I enjoyed my food as the wonderful tastes spent a lot longer in my mouth where both the taste buds combined with smells really let you savour your food.
In watching this man at Dockside, it struck me with how quickly he swallowed every bite, he missed the joy that great tasting food brings to me these days.