Health – Galloping Consumption

Has anybody noticed the “galloping consumption” taking place at our food tables and eateries?

“It is often asserted that the present generation lives more in twenty-five years than our ancestors of two centuries ago did in fifty. It may be said with equal truthfulness that the present generation eats as much in twenty-five years as our forefathers did in fifty, and in one half the time.

“Haste in traffic, haste in business, haste in education, haste in pleasure, have led to haste in eating, drinking, thinking, sleeping, until physical degeneracy and premature decay stare us in the face on every hand. But of all the evils resulting from the terrible momentum of modern life, hasty eating is the most far-reaching and the worst.

“That nature intended man to find a real pleasure in eating, is evident from the fact that natural foods are variously and delicately flavored, and that man is endowed with the sense of taste to appreciate these flavors, and with the sense of smell to enjoy natural odors. The surface of the tongue is the seat of the sense of taste; hence the pleasure that attends eating does not consist in the amount of food that can be disposed of, nor in the rapidity with which it can be eaten, but in the length of time it remains in the mouth, stimulating this sense of taste. It would be well for the rapid eater to take notice that the taste buds are on the tongue and not scattered throughout the length of the esophagus or in the walls of the stomach.” The Practical Guide to Health by Frederick M. Rossiter, B.S., M.D., Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1910, pgs. 555, 556.

I think each one of us has noticed this “galloping consumption” activity either in our own homes or at fast food places and restaurants. When you go out to eat you will see many people gulping down their water or coffee to help “wash” the food down. It seems as if many cannot get the food down fast enough.

“Nature furnishes man with thirty-two teeth, some for breaking off pieces of food, and others designed to crush it. The entire anatomy of the mouth clearly indicates that food should remain in it some time before being swallowed. If food remains in the mouth only a few moments, an insufficient amount of saliva is secreted, and mingled with the food; hence salivary digestion is but partially performed. If mastication is neglected, the food is not properly crushed and so is not readily acted upon by the saliva or by the gastric juice. Food that is poorly masticated is swallowed in chunks, which resist the action of the gastric juice for a long time, and produce irritation of the walls of the stomach.

“Hasty eating produces a sensation of thirst, hence the common practice in America and other countries of rinsing down food with tea, coffee, ice water, etc. This delays digestion by diluting the little saliva and gastric juice that have been given time to form; the cold drinks also lower the temperature of the gastric contents, so that digestion is completely at a standstill until the temperature at which digestion takes place is restored, and the fluid has been absorbed.

“Hasty eating leads to overeating, so that the entire digestive system is overburdened, causing all the organs to do too much work—to put in extra time—to rid the system of this surplus food. Excessive consumption of food eventually leads to a consumption of the tissues, either in general or in part, because of the poisons circulating in the fluids of the body and retained in the tissues.

“The galloping consumption of food, or eating on the run, is not only a great physical evil, but is a social evil as well. We have come to such a pass that conversation at the home table, if no guests are present, is very little practiced; for galloping consumption and fluent conversation cannot be carried on at the same time. Thus far it is the conversation that has suffered, while the consumption is increasing at a high rate, the hearty laugh, that proverbial digestive tablet, and the light and airy table talk that make the charm of social eating, are in these days classed among the luxuries of life, and made the accompaniment of evening dress, cut glass, and three-hour banquets or elegant dinners. But they really belong among the necessities, and should accompany slow eating, careful mastication, and a quiet frame of mind. A longer time spent at the table every day in thoroughly preparing food for the different processes of digestion, would save many a man and woman years of misery, ill health, and disappointing, ineffective work.” Ibid., 557–559.

Understanding a little bit more about how we are to chew our food in preparation for digesting it, let us not be part of the galloping consumers at our tables. We are to give glory to God in all areas of our life, which includes the chewing of our food.  Let’s try a little “trot” instead of a “gallop”.