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Chewing Apparently Makes You Immune to Advertising

Chewing Apparently Makes You Immune to Advertising

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A new study finds that chewing helps make people immune to remembering brands

Eating popcorn at movies could make you immune to advertising.

Turns out that buying a bag of popcorn might save you from buying other unnecessary gadgets, or seeing another terrible movie.

New research from University of Cologne published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that the act of chewing might counteract any effect advertising has on our brains.

The researchers brought together 96 people to watch a movie with advertisements playing beforehand, the Guardian reports. Half of the subjects were given free popcorn, while the other half was given a small sugar cube. Following the screening, viewers who ate the popcorn didn't have any response to the brands advertised beforehand. Meanwhile, the subjects who ate a sugar cube had positive reactions to the brands.

"This finding suggests that selling candy in cinemas actually undermines advertising effects, which contradicts present marketing strategies. In the future, when promoting a novel brand, advertising clients might consider trying to prevent candy being sold before the main movie," researcher Sascha Topolinski said.

Turns out, every time humans encounter a name, the Guardian reports, "our lips and the tongue automatically simulate the pronunciation of a new name." This "inner speech" then records the name for our memory, which creates a positive response to the brands. Chewing, however, disrupts the process. So spending an extra $5 on popcorn? Could save you $10 later.

The Top 10 Immune Busters

The same way that our 20 immune boosters can kick your immune system into high gear, these 10 habits can make it shut down. Follow this advice, and your body will thank you.

1. Stop Smoking

Smoking, and breathing in secondhand smoke, are terrible for your entire body. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds. Of these, at least 43 are known carcinogens.

Here are just some of the ways it wreaks havoc: Smoking causes heart disease, lung and esophageal cancer, and chronic lung disease. It contributes to cancer of the bladder, pancreas, and kidneys. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have problems, including babies with low birth weights, which is a leading cause of infant death.

In fact, smoking kills more than two times as many people as AIDS, alcohol abuse, motor vehicle accidents, homicides, drugs, and suicide combined. One out of every five deaths in America is smoking-related. On average, smokers die nearly 7 years earlier than nonsmokers!

Secondhand smoke is almost as deadly. Each year, because of exposure to tobacco smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer and 300,000 children suffer from lower respiratory tract infections. Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack and aggravate symptoms in people with allergies. In addition, tobacco smoke has been shown to make asthma worse in preschool children and may even cause it.

2. Dodge Those PCBs

It takes just one exposure of less than one-millionth of a gram for immunotoxic contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, certain pesticides, and dioxin-like substances to disrupt the immune function of innocent wildlife. Since these chemicals can stay in the environment for decades, vulnerable wildlife species have no escape from their devastation. Moreover, not only do these toxins become more concentrated as they move their way up the food chain, they can also cause life-threatening autoimmune reactions--the immune system's inability to tell the difference between the body's own tissues and foreign invaders.

So, what does this have to do with your immune system? A lot. Evidence suggests that some of these same chemicals may be putting us at risk. A few examples: In Aberdeen, N.C.&mdashhome of the Aberdeen pesticides dump&mdashscientists found that young adults were two times more likely than nonresidents to have shingles, a painful condition caused by a herpes virus. In another study, researchers found that chlordane, a termite-killing substance, caused weaker immune responses in people who had been exposed.

So what can you do? Reduce your exposure as much as possible to unnecessary toxins. Stay away from cigarette smoke, excess alcohol, and illicit drugs. Buy organic produce when possible. Rinse your fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove pesticides. Switch to natural gardening methods and stay indoors or go away when your neighbors are using pesticides. Choose cleansers, paper goods, and other products that are made with less toxic materials. Read food labels vigilantly and avoid products that contain unnecessary chemicals.

3. Avoid Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation has a powerfully detrimental effect on your immune system. The perfect example is college students who get sick after pulling all-nighters cramming for exams.

If you're tired when you wake up in the morning, you're not getting enough sleep, or maybe not enough quality sleep. Either way, your immunity is probably compromised. Poor sleep is associated with lower immune system function and reduced numbers of killer cells that fight germs. Killer cells are also the part of the immune system that combats cells that divide too rapidly, as they do in cancer. Lower their numbers and you may be at greater risk for illness.

Studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation also contributes to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and other medical illnesses. One study on the effects of sleep deprivation showed that a group of men restricted to 4 to 6 hours of sleep per night experienced changes in hormone function and carbohydrate metabolism that mimic aging changes the lack of sleep was making them older faster.[pagebreak]

4. Release Yourself from the Stress Trap

No doubt about it, stress is an Immune Buster.

The loss of a job, the death of a spouse, the breakup of a marriage&mdashthese are all examples of situations that can trigger a vigorous stress response in the body.

There is compelling scientific evidence that chronic stress causes a measurable decline in the immune system's ability to fight disease. Severe and chronic stress have a direct impact on the immune system that can cause disease or change the course of a preexisting disease. For example, studies have indicated that higher levels of stress hormones lead to more rapid cancer progression.

Other research has shown that people who are stressed are more prone to developing cardiovascular disease. Studies show that women with cardiovascular disease who are better able to manage their stress live longer and remain healthier than women with cardiovascular disease who undergo a lot of stress and don't know how to manage it.

Periods of extreme stress can result in lower natural killer cell count, sluggish "killer T" cells, and diminished macrophage activity that can amplify the immune response. In fact, widows and widowers are much more likely to get sick during the first year following the death of their spouse than their peers who have not experienced a major loss.

More from Prevention: How The Pros Cope With Stress

5. Adopt an Optimistic Outlook

Even subtle shades of sadness can weaken your immune system. Here's why:

Studies show that pessimists who look at a half-glass of water and think that it's half-empty don't live as long as optimists, who see the same glass as half-full. When pessimists put a more positive spin on the calamities in their lives, they have less stress and better health. One reason for this could be that optimists take better care of themselves. It could also be due to less stress-related damage to your immune system, such as killer cells that suddenly become pacifists. In one study, cancer patients who completed a special course designed to make them more optimistic had stronger immune systems than those who maintained their woesome ways.

Other research supports the idea that having a negative outlook when under stress can make you and your immune system miss out. A 1998 study at UCLA found that law students who began their first semester optimistic about the experience had more helper T cells midsemester, which can amplify the immune response, and more powerful natural killer cells. The reason? They experienced events such as their grueling first year as less stressful than did their more pessimistic classmates. Researchers say that this establishes the possibility that a person's outlook and mood when stressed might affect responses to common immune challenges such as exposure to cold viruses.

More from Prevention: Optimism For Pessimists

6. Avoid Sedentary Lifestyles

One in four American women doesn't exercise at all, making sedentary lifestyles even more common in women than in men. Sedentary ways have a tremendous impact on health. The benefits of exercise are so great that choosing not to exercise is like throwing away a winning lottery ticket. Millions of Americans suffer from illnesses that can be prevented or treated through exercise, including 50 million people with high blood pressure, 13.5 million with coronary heart disease, and 8 million with type 2 diabetes.

Studies show the dangers of a sedentary life. One study compared inactive people with those who walked briskly almost every day. Researchers found that those who didn't walk took twice as many sick days in 4 months as those who walked.

Over time, you should work up to the standard recommendation of five times a week for at least 30 minutes. Experts say that it takes a half-hour of aerobic exercise to sweep white blood cells, key immune system components that are stuck on the blood vessel walls, back into circulation.

Moderate exercise is the key. If your exercise is too intense, it can actually suppress your immune system, which is why marathon runners often get colds after a race. What defines overexertion depends on your fitness level. Consult with your doctor to determine yours before starting an exercise program.

7. Avoid Social Isolation

The cost of social isolation may be higher than we think. Studies show that the fewer human connections we have at home, at work, and in the community, the more likely we are to get sick, flood our brains with anxiety-causing chemicals, and die prematurely.

One study in Sweden showed that those who frequented cultural events such as concerts, museum exhibits, and even ball games tended to live longer than their stay-at-home peers. The key factors could be increased social contact and reduced stress. Other studies have found that people who are isolated may live only half as long as those who have a lot of human contact. Love seems to be an immune system nutrient.

The good news is that these same studies also show that the more human connections we have, the more likely we are to live longer and healthier. Connectedness is the unacknowledged key to emotional and physical health. The more ties you have, the more likely you are to stay well in the first place. Researchers who monitored 276 people between the ages of 18 and 55 found that those who had six or more connections were four times better at fighting off the viruses that cause colds.

More from Prevention: How To Keep Your Friends Close[pagebreak]

8. Junk the Junk Food

Combined with sedentary lives, a poor diet is estimated to kill between 310,000 and 580,000 Americans each year.

So, how bad is junk food for your immune system?

Experts have known for some time that when a person is malnourished, her immune system is weakened. When you restore the person to normal nutrition, her immune system improves, which is no surprise. But what they're just learning is that when you continue to improve nutrition beyond mere adequacy, the immune system continues to improve, even in healthy people.

One thing that a lot of junk food has in common is excess fat. Fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, tend to suppress the immune system. Cut your total fat intake to no more than 25% of daily calories.

Another bad component of junk food is excess sugar. Sugar inhibits phagocytosis, the process by which viruses and bacteria are engulfed and then literally chewed up by white blood cells.

9. Arm Yourself Against Too Many Antibiotics

The cost of antibiotic resistance is high, both literally and from a health perspective. Literally, while it costs only $12,000 to treat a patient who has tuberculosis that responds to antibiotics, the cost soars to $180,000 for a patient with a multidrug-resistant strain.

From a health perspective, the cost of antibiotic resistance is an increase in the seriousness of disease. For example, treating a person with tuberculosis caused by a strain that is killed by antibiotics is highly effective. In contrast, between 40 and 60% of people who get antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis die.

The cost of misuse of antibiotics can be a weakened immune system. Researchers found that certain patients taking antibiotics had reduced levels of cytokines, the hormone messengers of the immune system. When your immune system is suppressed, you're more likely to develop resistant bacteria or to become sick in the future.

Here are steps to take to use antibiotics properly:

  • Take antibiotics only for bacterial infections.
  • Take antibiotics the right way. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, it's crucial that you take the entire course.
  • Don't use antibiotics to try to prevent infection.
  • Don't save or share antibiotics.
  • Avoid antibacterial hand soaps and lotions.

10. Use Laughter to Beat Stress

Researchers have found that the positive emotions associated with laughter decrease stress hormones and increase certain immune cells while activating others. In one study conducted at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California, 10 healthy men who watched a funny video for an hour had significant increases in one particular hormone of the immune system that activates other components of the immune system.

So how can you add a little humor to your life? Simply find reasons to laugh. Rent a funny video read a book of jokes. Have lunch with a friend known for her sense of humor. Lightening up can really light up your immune system.

Xylitol Health Benefits

A xylitol sweetener has 40 percent less calories than table sugar, according to a February 2019 report in ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering. These researchers also noted that, compared to table sugar, xylitol doesn't dramatically raise your blood sugar level. They also considered xylitol inexpensive, abundant and safe.

Such benefits make xylitol ideal for people with diabetes. The low-calorie content of this sweetener will help keep your daily carbohydrates below the limit. This natural sugar can also protect your teeth. The authors of a paper published in Clinical Oral Investigations in April 2013 tested more than 200 children and found that chewing xylitol gum for six months caused a 10-percent decrease in cavities during the following two years.

The oral-health benefits of xylitol also suggest that it might have antibacterial effects. Yet the writers of a July 2014 article in the Journal of Laryngology and Otology argued against this notion. Instead, these researchers believe that xylitol enhances your immune system. Xylitol also has lubricant-like properties and prevents micro-organisms like the bacteria Streptococcus mutans from sticking to your teeth and causing decay.

Why You Should Be Picking Your Nose and Eating Your Bogies to Boost Your Immune System

This is repulsive, but the science stands up. Seriously.

The following is a little unappealing, and we apologise in advance for it, but you just might boost your immune system as a result of reading it, so try and stick with it.

According to Dr Meg Lemon, a dermatologist treating people with allergies and autoimmune disorders, you should be picking your nose and eating the bogies and whatever else you scoop out of there in order to boost your immune system. Seriously.

Dr Lemon also says that people should be eating food they drop on the floor in order to expose the body to a range of germs that could help boost the body's natural defences and make people more resilient to infections and allergies.

While Dr Lemon&rsquos suggestions may seem disguising, there&rsquos no denying that, scientifically, she may have a point.

&ldquoOur immune system needs a job,&rdquo Dr. Lemon tells science author Matt Richtel in his new book An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System. &ldquoWe evolved over millions of years to have our immune systems under constant assault. Now they don&rsquot have anything to do.&rdquo

Although, Dr Lemon&rsquos advice may not go down well in households across Britain, what she&rsquos actually talking about, albeit facetiously, is the hygiene hypothesis.

Rather than eat food off the floor, we humans eventually learned the benefits of washing our hands, sweeping our floors and cooking our food. But all this hygiene meant that we removed the regular interaction our immune system had with friendly bacteria and parasites that helped to teach and hone it, in essence training it to be more resilient.

As Richtel comments in his book: &ldquoWhen we encounter various threats, our defences learn and then are much more able to deal with that threat in the future.&rdquo

Without that training, there is evidence to say that our immune systems are weaker. Ritchel points to research that found children with older siblings are less likely to have hay fever because they were more likely to be exposed to battle-hardening bacteria.

So to really bolster your immune system, pick your nose and eat food off the floor. Just save it for the privacy of your own home, because the excuse &lsquoa doctor told me to do it&rsquo won't cut it.

You know the old adage, “If you hang with dogs, you’ll get fleas?” Well, this applies to my family and friends because they’re all pretty fast eaters (sorry, guys).

Finding someone to mimic was a challenge. Thankfully, I have friends who eat slower. Oddly, they&aposre from Ireland and Australia. We all went out for tacos one night, and I tried to pace my bites to theirs.

I have to say this felt really creepy, and not at all how someone at a restaurant with friends should act. I did it for about 3 minutes before all that focus on my friends&apos chewing paces made me feel incredibly invasive and weird.

This tip may work for some people, but all I felt was an odd sense of shame. Eating more slowly is just NOT WORTH being the weird person at the dinner table.

Chew on this: the Viva Mayr clinic’s hardcore detox comes to the UK

A cult – and very expensive – Austrian health clinic beloved of Michael Gove, Tracey Emin and the Rolling Stones is coming to London next month. But does it really do anyone any good?

No gluten, no grapes, but lots of goat’s cheese and crying … the Viva Mayr clinic in Austria

No gluten, no grapes, but lots of goat’s cheese and crying … the Viva Mayr clinic in Austria

Last modified on Tue 28 Nov 2017 03.09 GMT

T he Viva Mayr clinic, a functional-looking alpine lodge, overlooks Lake Altaussee in Austria. Here a very famous supermodel once took off all her clothes and lay down naked on the banks, toes in the water, apparently in an “extreme emotional state”. The witness, another patient at the clinic, explained that this was not an abnormal reaction to day three at the Mayr.

Viva Mayr is a health centre that specialises in a form of extreme detoxification it refers to as “the Mayr cure”. Patients consume around 600 calories a day – roughly equivalent to one Pret a Manger BLT sandwich. But there’s no gluten here. Even grapes are vetoed. Epsom salts, water and goat’s cheese (lactose-free), however, are central themes. The programme is as notorious as it is successful (Vogue staffers and oligarchs are among the clinic’s regulars), and it’s generally booked up all year.

The idea is that patients will spend one life-changing lakeside week there and return home, revived, reborn, re-educated and, crucially, thinner. In fact, a loss of appetite – along with severe headaches and lengthy bouts of crying – is apparently par for the course, particularly on the third and fifth days, presumably thanks to the stomach massages, blood tests and chewing lessons in which the clinic specialises.

Still, it certainly seems to have its fans: Michael Gove is said to have lost two stone here. The Rolling Stones are repeat visitors, model Karlie Kloss has been, Suki Waterhouse spent a summer holiday there and Tracey Emin reportedly stays every autumn (and can often be spotted taking fag breaks). Two of the most popular diets of the last decade – the 5:2 fasting regime and the alkaline plan – first found fame at Mayr. It also supposedly inspired the “Hoffler Klinik” in the last Bond film, Spectre. This form of extreme health is even proving popular among the Trump cabinet. At last month’s G20 summit, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson stayed at the Steigenberger Sanatorium, a private clinic outside Bonn known for its naturopathy treatments. He claimed all the hotels were full.

And now Mayr is coming here. At the start of April, it will open in London. The first month is already booked up. A few years ago, they tested the waters with a £950-a-go clinic at the Corinthia, a five-star hotel in Mayfair frequented by Rihanna, which tells you something about their target market. But this is the first of their foreign outposts (they have also cropped up in Istanbul, New York and Athens) to focus primarily on health rather than the “spa” element. The day clinic will test your alkaline levels, your blood and even your stress levels. Consultations start at a princely £170.

Michael Gove is said to have lost two stone at the Viva Mayr clinic. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

I spoke to a private GP – a former client who once started up her own practice in London in tandem with Viva Mayr, and wished to remain anonymous – about its success. She believes it is in part thanks to the method of diagnosis favoured at the clinic. They use applied kinesiology (AK), or basic muscle testing, for evaluating “areas of dysfunction” – if they think you’re lactose intolerant, they pop lactose on your tongue and measure your muscle reaction. It is, however, a controversial technique: “It’s commonplace in Austria, but in the UK we’re suspicious of it.” The clinic maintains it is used by many professions.

“The problem is that AK doesn’t have any scientific basis as such,” explains Dr Benn Gooch, an NHS GP, “so I would be cautious about any diagnoses made using this technique. I would take it with a pinch of salt.” Gooch is wary of the so-called “Mayr cure”, especially the controversial idea that eating alkaline foods can give health benefits. “But with regards to functional symptoms, things like chronic pain and fatigue, they may be amenable to massage and this sort of treatment. It all sounds rather relaxing, and a good holiday has obvious benefits, but I’m not sure it can claim anything more than that. The Mayr cure is a treatment for the malaise of opulence more than anything else.”

The “Mayr cure” was developed almost 100 years ago by Dr Franz Xaver Mayr, an Austrian physician who believed in “auto-intoxication”: the idea that we are poisoning ourselves by ingesting the wrong things, which we then struggle to get rid of. “Everything starts with the gut,” explains Dr Christine Stossier, assistant medical director of the clinic. She and her husband, Harald, opened Viva Mayr in 2005, basing it on the practices of the original FX Mayr health centre, which opened in 1976. “The fundamental principle is that you can improve someone health’s through digestion,” she says. Our bodies are ill-equipped to deal with what we eat, she argues – namely the quantity of “gluten, manipulated dairy and low-fat foods” – but more importantly, perhaps, the way we eat it: “quickly, as snacks, with little variety and, when we eat in restaurants, without much attention to the freshness of our vegetables”. It’s not, she says, that she is treating patients with allergies rather, she is focusing on things at the “groundwork” stage. “You can eat healthy, organic food, but if you eat it in the wrong way” – without chewing at least 30 times per mouthful no raw food after 4pm – “it loses a lot of its value.” An NHS doctor I spoke to thinks this is dubious: “I cannot see any value in timing food preparation technique with particular times of day,” he says.

A few years ago, I went to the Adler Thermae spa in Tuscany, an offshoot of Mayr. It’s less dogmatic but they instructed me to avoid lactose and drink three litres of water a day. Doctors gave me salts to drink and I went to bed hungry. But, being in Italy, I was still allowed to drink coffee. Mayr’s aim isn’t solely to lose weight, but I lost two kilos in three days. My energy levels were markedly higher, though that might have been due to extra sleep, and my eyes turned strangely white. But for those with a fixed income, a job, or a life, it all felt untenable. Extreme diets are two-a-penny, and a recent study from the University of Melbourne found that elimination diets aren’t much better than calorie-controlled ones in terms of results. Dr Stossier uses the word “cleansing”, yet the principles of mindfulness and fasting are similar. Whether this works because of the diet, or because you are alive and have a liver, is a moot point.

Mayr is viewed by many as a last straw, an outrageous luxury and proof of the survival of the richest. Others swear by it. In reality, a lot of clients are simply suffering from chronic fatigue, and need a little TLC – healthy food, fresh air and sleep. “I have a friend who goes to the Mayr clinic every year for 10 days,” says the private GP. “He drinks and smokes and says he would be dead by now if he didn’t go. What more of a reason does anyone need?” Perhaps. But it’s a triumph of marketing, too.

The Cigarette Diet

This has to be one of the most harmful diet fads ever, March says. If you light up rather than eat, you could see some weight loss — cigarettes have no calories and nicotine is a stimulant. But smoking is the cause of many deadly medical conditions including heart disease and lung cancer. In the 1920s, cigarette manufacturers promoted their weight-loss benefits, but that was long before the dangers of smoking were recognized. “Never start a habit as harmful as smoking to lose weight,” says March.

Why Chewing Gum Destroys Your Health

This is a question I get asked a lot and 99 out of 100 times I say NO!

Check out the candy aisle I visited in Singapore recently. No gum here…

Candy aisle at Target, pretty much all gum.

The reason I say no is because most people offer me gum with ingredients like this:

Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum – Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavors, Artificial GMO Sugars, Carcinogenic Sugars, Toxic Preservatives (Note – This gum has sugar + corn syrup + Aspartame)


Trident Gum Ingredients – Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavorings, GMOs, Carcinogenic Sugars, Toxic Preservatives (Note: This gum has Xylitol + 3 other sugars including Aspartame)

Bubble Yum Gum Ingredients – Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavorings, GMO Sugars, Toxic Preservatives

Orbit Gum Ingredients – Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavorings, Carcinogenic Sugars, Toxic Preservatives

Wrigley’s 5 Gum – Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavorings, Carcinogenic Sugars, Toxic Preservatives

I used to be addicted to gum. I would totally freak out if I didn’t have some in my purse or pantry after eating. But that’s before I figured out the ingredients in chewing gum were slowly sabotaging my health.

One of the reasons people chew gum is for weight loss. Chewing gum keeps your mouth occupied so you don’t reach for food, right? The main ingredient in all these gums is artificial sweeteners and consuming them will not work as long term strategy for weight loss. Artificial Sweeteners are proven to stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and promote fat storage and weight gain.

Think about it – when someone consumes something that is sweet, but it has little to no calories – their brain receives a signal to want more calories because their body is not actually getting any energy (i.e. enough calories) to get satisfied. So that person keeps looking for gratification elsewhere and ends up craving more.

Furthermore, there are more dangerous side effects from artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, which is considered one the most dangerous substances allowed in our food supply. Over 10,000 complaints have been filed with the FDA on this substance since 1980 and has actually never been proven to be safe before it was approved for use in our food supply. Aspartame is linked to diabetes, auto-immune disorders, depression (which can cause you to eat more – once again), birth defects, and several forms of cancer.

What upsets me the most is that Trident is now advertising its gum is made with Xylitol – but it still has Aspartame in it! Trident’s marketing is the best…It will fool even the smartest of people.

Another ingredient I should point out specifically that all of these gums have is BHT. It is used as an embalming fluid and in jet fuel. BHT is a banned substance in several countries and is linked to cancer in animal studies. What’s wrong with this picture?

And what’s up with the warning at the bottom of some of the ingredient lists for “Contains: Phenylalanine”? Does the average person even know what this means? Phenylalanine is added to the ingredient Aspartame and could seriously be dangerous if you have certain health conditions. Consuming this substance (if you have a condition that makes you sensitive to this additive) can cause mental retardation, brain seizures, sleep disorders and anxiety. All this from chewing a piece of gum. SCARY.

If I really want to chew gum, Spry is a “safer” brand, although it still isn’t health food or completely clean – It’s Non-GMO, has no artificial colors, artificial preservatives, GMO or carcinogenic sugars, or artificial flavors and it is made with Xylitol. Xylitol is a safer sugar alcohol and commonly used in nasal sprays as a natural remedy for allergies and congestion. Spry’s label isn’t lying to you to you either. I love the fact that it tells you which actual “natural flavor” it has in it – peppermint oil.

So is chewing a gum like Spry ok on a regular basis? Well no, not really.

Chewing gum messes with your body’s ability to produce digestive enzymes, a critical substance that helps you get all the nutrition from food you need into your bloodstream.

Every time you chew a piece of gum, you send signals to your brain that you are chewing actual food. Your digestive organs – the stomach and pancreas get ready to digest food by creating digestive enzymes your brain thinks you need. Now imagine doing this all time and every day by chewing gum that isn’t real food. You’re tricking your pancreas and stomach to produce digestive enzymes when they don’t really need to use them. Over time the digestive organs become overtaxed and stop producing the amount of enzymes they once did.

This is certainly bad enough, but as you age, you lose 1/3 of your body’s ability to produce digestive enzymes too. This is why taking a digestive enzyme supplement in your older years may improve your overall health. (That’s another topic for another time…)

Regardless, some benefits to “chewing” gum were just released in a new study that saw improved test scores in students that chewed gum 5 minutes before a test. Increasing your physical activity even as minor as chewing gum could benefit cognitive function in the brain. Studies like these are pretty fascinating, I wonder if they are conducted just to get people to buy more gum, considering most studies are funded by an interested party in the industry. This doesn’t mean you have to resort to chewing gum to get this benefit, however…

What if you could chew something just as effective that was GOOD for you, freshened your breath and helped you digest food without the threat of reducing your natural digestive enzymes?

It’s amazing what chewing on a little seed can do. I purchased this bottle of fennel seed from the new spice shop that just opened in town called Savory. I’ve kept a bottle like this in my purse at all times for years.

Chewing on fennel seed as an after dinner digestive is no secret. It has been used for many years in Asia for medicinal purposes. Fennel seed is proven to prevent gas, heart burn, bloating and upset stomach, freshen your breath, improve eyesight, relieve hypertension, and help coughs and bronchitis.

I always chew some after a big meal and especially after my fair share of dessert. Fennel seeds smell like licorice and taste a little bit like it too. I chew about a ½ tsp and it’s just enough to get my mouth instantly fresh and clean. By the way, you don’t spit these seeds like you would gum. You swallow them because they are food.

Fennel seeds can be your savior when you might be eating more than you would like or foods that you aren’t used to. You can find Organic Fennel Seed here.

So, the next time someone asks you if you’d like a piece of gum, what are you going to say?

If you find this article interesting and think it could benefit someone in your life, please share it – especially with those who are always asking you that question.

The classic holiday spice nutmeg can cause hallucinations

Nutmeg is an essential ingredient in many baked goods. It adds warm, seasonal flavor to coffee or espresso. On savory entrees like steak, nutmeg provides a slightly sweet taste that pairs perfectly with heat from peppers. But nutmeg has other uses as well. Healthline explained that nutmeg can potentially stabilize blood sugar and even improve your mood. And, well, it can also make you high.

According to an article by physician Andrew Weil, the traditional holiday spice — which is created by grinding dried seeds from the nutmeg tree — contains a natural compound called myristicin. This compound can trigger hallucinogenic episodes similar to those produced by peyote and LSD. However, getting high on nutmeg is incredibly unpleasant, ABC News warned.

The dose of nutmeg needed to make you hallucinate is so large it can cause "severe gastrointestinal reactions, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea." And after the high does kick in several hours after you've eaten the nutmeg, you can also experience heart and nerve problems. "Most people only try it once because they have such nasty side effects," Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, a poison control specialist told ABC. "The rewards are not worth the risks."

The Chewing Challenge

Gotta be honest, “chewing your food as many times as possible” has historically felt like a very boring topic to me. Maybe it always sounds too simple, maybe it sounds like it requires too much patience and focus for me to really give it a chance.

But…my friend Robyn says, “I believe that the way we digest our food is the way we “digest” our life.”

If I don’t have enough patience to focus on chewing…what else do I not have the patience to focus on!? AH. Yet another thing for me to bring up in therapy.

In all seriousness, though, Robyn usually does have a way of saying things that makes me pay attention.

I actually remember the night I tried to focus on chewing for the first time. I was at a dinner with Robyn at Supper in the East Village, and she “dared” me to chew my meal until it was liquid, just for one meal. I remember not being excited about the task at all. But I agreed to try it.

I noticed a few really interesting things:

I tasted nuances of flavors I had never noticed before. I felt like I could almost taste each INGREDIENT. Lemon, rosemary, salt – everything had a burst of flavor. Kind of trippy.

I got full halfway through my meal and simply stopped eating. It was SO much more obvious when my body was finished with the meal. I’d eaten that exact meal at that exact restaurant many times before and always finished the whole thing. Peculiar.

“Hmmm. There’s actually something to this,” I said.

“Told you,” said Robyn with her little knowing grin.

This was during one of Robyn’s past Chewing Challenges. Another one just started today (October 3rd)!!

It lasts for 21 whole days. I forgot to chew today (guilty as charged) because I had my parents over for a BBQ and got too excited. But I’m officially starting tomorrow. You can join me here (it’s free). :)

During The Chewing Challenge, you’ll learn to slow down and to reconnect to your intuition, that inner wisdom that knows which foods to eat and which to avoid, when to eat and when to stop.

What you’ll get in the Chewing Challenge:

For 21 days you’ll receive daily emails with coaching, tips, recipes, inspiration and more. Plus, you’ll be a part of an incredible community so this whole thing feels like a party and not a fruitless struggle. There will be prizes and more fun surprises along the way. Score.

Reported benefits from the chewing challenge (with no other dietary changes):

– Increased energy
– Fewer annoying digestive issues
Glowing skin
– Actually enjoying eating healthy food
Feeling satisfied with less at meal times
– Effortless weight loss

I can add to that list — the exciting FLAVOR TRIPPING PARTY you go on when you realize all the different flavors that get released from the food as you chew. It’s seriously bananas. I tried it with a maca chocolate earlier today and the flavor transformed at least 3 times as I chewed. It’s a miraculous thing to be that mindful about what’s going on in your mouth. And shouldn’t we always be!? Seriously!

Woo! I’m a little nervous but I think it’s the good kind of nervous.


  1. Forde

    This theme is simply matchless

  2. Kigarg

    I congratulate, what suitable words ..., the brilliant idea

  3. Berakhiah

    Is this accurate information? Is it really so? If so, that's cool)

  4. Meldryk

    It is not that simple

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