Posted by: lornasass | December 12, 2011


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What does a person do about heartburn?  Take Zantac, of course.

At least that’s what everyone, including two doctors, suggested.  So I went on the drug and sure enough, I wasn’t aware of any heartburn most of the time.

However, being of a skeptical nature about drugs, I searched the internet and found some very distressing news about the long-term use of Zantac. So after the recommended 14 days, despite the fact that the ENT doc said I could stay on it indefinitely, I decided to quit taking Zantac. 

It’s one thing to use a band-aid to cover an open wound, but the presumption is that the band-aid will come off once the wound is healed.  In my case the “wound” wasn’t healing because as soon as I went off Zantac, the heartburn returned.

I’d already given up coffee, tea, and chocolate (boo-hoo).  I was already taking digestive enzymes with each and a good probiotic every morning. What else was left to do? I diligently researched low-acid diets.  There was so much confusing advice about which foods to avoid, that I gave up in frustration and decided to call my friend and culinary colleague  Annemarie Colbin, author of the groundbreaking Food and Healing, and founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute of Food and Health.

After inquiring about my current diet, here’s what she said:  “Chew your food 35 times and drink a full glass of water after each meal.”

“What,” I thought. “That’s it?”

Dear reader, have you ever tried chewing each mouthful 35 times?  Let me tell you, it is quite an adventure.

First I noticed that it was extremely difficult to remember to chew food that much. My ancient habit had been to throw food down the hatch after mashing it only 2 or 3 times between my teeth.  I also had the bad habit of shoving more food into my mouth before the prior batch was swallowed.  What was the hurry?

I’m now 4 days into the chewing adventure and here’s what else I’ve noticed:

1)  When I’m eating, I find it difficult to just eat.  Give me a book, a computer, company for conversation…

2)  Paying attention to the textures of different foods can be fascinating once you get into it.

3)  When I’m chewing that much, it’s easier to take smaller mouthfuls.

4)  The food  becomes liquified (pre-digested) and slips down the gullet.  I barely have to swallow.  (This liquifying technique is a lot more efficient than using a masticating juicer and there’s no clean-up!)

5)  Sometimes I’m holding my stomach in when I’m eating.  Hmmm…what’s that about?

6)  It takes about 20 minutes to chew a full portion.

7)  There is something very peaceful about actually being there, paying attention when I’m eating.

And guess what?

The heartburn is much improved!

So, dear reader, the lesson I am taking from this story is to be where I am and do what I’m doing, wholeheartedly and with conscious intention. 

Given these conditions, my mind and body have an extraordinary ability to heal.

And it’s always healing to smile, so have a listen to this delightful thirties song about chewing, provided by my Sweetie, Michael Steinman, jazz blogger extraordinaire at Jazz Lives.  Please disregard what the singers are chewing on!



  1. You said a mouthful!

  2. not sure if I’m ready to chew 35 times, but your words of wisdom make me smile Lorna…. Janie

    • Lovely to hear from you Janie. That made me smile!

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