Taming the Tongue

Recognizing the Power in Our Mouth

                Though it is small, the human tongue is a powerful muscle.  It plays an extremely important role in our ability to speak and communicate.  Although the thoughts we wish to communicate come from our minds, the articulation of those thoughts come through the mouth, manipulated by the tongue.  The tongue is so powerful in our imagery, that we attribute our speech completely to it as though it operates of its own free will. 

                Although the tongue is powerful and the words it produces can build up or tear down, this article addresses another powerful aspect of the tongue, its ability to taste.  Sight, smell, and taste all contribute to our interaction with food.  However, how food taste is the component that determines if we return to a food previously eaten.  Oftentimes, like with our words, we give our tongue the power to determine which foods we eat and do not eat.  This power affects our ability or level of willingness to make healthy food choices.

                In the United States and other Western countries there is an abundance of items to eat.  We have food on the brain, or is it just eating we love?  There is a plethora of dietary options available; some promoting a nutritional advancement over another, while other choices just make us feel good. We love to eat and for the most part will eat almost anything that is visually promoted through advertising.

                While I was caregiver to my husband, I began to look at my own health choices and how my body was responding as I was getting older.  I observed my sister, who had been a vegan for a few years, lose weight and take on a glow of health like I had never seen.  She seemed to have more energy and she displayed a happy disposition.  So, I took a thirty-day vegan challenge from vegan foodie Tabitha Brown. I began to lose weight and feel better.  I too was more energetic and felt satisfied when I ate, eliminating my need to eat constantly.

                I have since then eaten meat, but my meat intake is extremely limited and often I opt for vegan options.  I practice what I call a “plant centered,” lifestyle.  My eating plan begins with a small plate that is at least fifty percent vegetables.  If meat is included, the portion is small and not the entrée.  Processed foods, which is not food at all, are extremely limited and almost non-existent.  Water is my drink of choice.  I strive to only eat when I am hungry and stop eating the moment my hunger subsides. I sit when I eat and intentionally think about what I am eating.  I read food labels, the fewer the ingredients the better. I google unfamiliar ingredients to understand their dietary contribution or if they are harmful.

                These changes in my eating habits along with intermittent fasting have given me more energy and clarity of mind.  I am also able to sleep soundly through the night. Coming from a family prone to diabetes and heart disease, my determination is to live long and strong and work to break the cycle of lifestyle disease.  Yes, I have lost weight, a wonderful result, but not my primary focus.  My goal is to be healthy enough to completely fulfill the purpose for which I exist and to be a good steward of this body I have been given.

                Yes, I engage in some form of exercise daily.  But no matter how much you exercise, you cannot outrun your food choice.  Food is the fuel your body needs to produce energy for body functions.  There are many people who look fit and fine on the outside but are falling apart at the cellular level due to poor eating choices.

                Just as the words that come out of the mouth and spoken with the tongue are a choice, so is the food that enters our mouth and begin the digestion process with the tongue.  Taming the tongue is essential for good health.



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