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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Speed-eating further subjects us to the risk of choking on our food, since we don't take the time to chew it properly. Choking is currently the sixth highest cause of accidental death in the United States

Regina grew up in a large family and remembers well the humorous grace before meals in which she prayed: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the one who eats fastest gets the most." While we are on the subject of childhood memories, picture, for a moment, the family gathered around the dinner table. The TV sitcoms and romantic novels suggest that they are discussing what the children learned in school today, the literary merits of a current best seller, or plans for the summer vacation. More realistically, if they eat together at all, they may spend mealtimes watching high-speed car chases on the television, arguing over whose turn it is to do the dishes, or worrying about whether the money will hold out long enough to get the car repaired or the phone bill paid. Sound familiar? It certainly doesn't make for relaxed, aware eating.

Since mealtimes provide some of the rare occasions for getting together with loved ones, and can be tax write-offs for business, they are often used as opportunities to discuss "big deals" or to deal with problems. Handling hassles over lunch is an effective way to increase stress and give yourself an upset stomach.

Where you eat can also contribute to stress. The availability of fast food has made it possible to buy and consume a meal without ever leaving your car. Simply driving your car through the city, or on freeways, in so many places in the United States today can be a very taxing experience. Eating your meals while doing so rings the bell at the top of the stress scale. The food served at fast-food establishments are usually highly refined, filled with sugar and chemical preservatives, and loaded with unnecessary fat, which makes it even worse.

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