Gulp or Savor
From the moment you put food, or drink, into your mouth, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to register the feeling of being satisfied as the result of information being sent from your stomach. Receptors inform the brain that your body is receiving nutrients by sending hormone signals. The hormone cholecystokinin is released by your intestines and the hormone leptin tells your brain about your long-term needs and overall satiety based on how much energy your body is storing. Leptin amplifies the signals that cholecystokinin sends to enhance your sense of fullness and helps the neurotransmitter dopamine give you feelings of pleasure after eating or drinking. If you eat, or drink, too too fast, these hormones will not have enough time to properly communicate.
My father taught me that water was for quenching our thirst. In fact, it is the only liquid that truly can satisfy our thirst. Other liquids may taste pleasing to the palate because they have flavoring, carbonation or sugar added, but shortly after consuming them you will still feel thirsty.
He also taught me that beverages, other than water, were a delight, not a necessity; something that should be enjoyed with the meal and not consumed as a meal. Additionally, these delightful beverages could also be appreciated as an adjunct when communing with others; such as having a cup of coffee when chatting with friends. Simply put, slow down, sip and do not gulp them down like someone who has been in the desert for days without water.
I stand in amazement of children, and even some adults, who will swig a glass of soda with the gusto of a drunk chugging down beers during “Happy Hour.” Of course, 5 minutes after they guzzle down a serving of their preferred beverage they will crave more! Why? Remember, anatomically speaking it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that something delicious passed across your palate and into your stomach.
At mealtimes, my father would not even allow us to touch a glass of any beverage, except water, before we began eating and the last swallow of that beverage would only occur after the last bite of food. How many have been the times I have witnessed children in a restaurant gulp down a glass of milk, juice or soda before the meal was served and then inform their parents that they are no longer hungry when the food arrived at their table.
Such guidance taught me to appreciate those things which are outside the realm of our normal activities of daily living. Water is a necessity and soda is not. Food is a necessity and ice cream is not. When simple disciplines are taught to children they will mature into adults with a deeper appreciation for those things that are special. One must be taught to discern differences. Teach them to savor the flavor and stop gulping down food and drink.
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (Titus 2:2)