Gina Moore (copy)

I love food, and I love trying new dishes.

We all know we should eat more leafy green vegetables, so when I saw a Brussels sprouts salad in a Memphis deli a few years ago, I decided to try it.

I sure enjoy roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts, so I was eager to try this salad version.

I’ve always heard raw vegetables are supposed to be super healthy, yet I don’t usually opt for the uncooked versions.

But I was game. And the beautifully vibrant green freshness beckoned me.

So, the Brussels sprouts salad tasted pretty good, but what I quickly keyed in on wasn’t the taste as much as the work required to chew all those leaves.

As I chewed and chewed, I told myself this could be the solution to slowing my eating.

You know what they say - eating slowly is better for us, giving our bodies time to realize we’re full before we’ve overindulged.

Well, I know I don’t always heed the advice I hear. Do you?

I kept chewing … and thinking. Yep, eating that healthy salad took more time and work than probably anything I’ve ever eaten.

It didn’t just slide right down like a juicy cheeseburger and fries. And oh, how often I reach for the ooey-gooey stuff that slides down easily!

But that heavy feeling always comes when that stuff hits the bottom, doesn’t it? Then I’m left asking myself whether it was worth it ... were those few minutes of taste-bud bliss a wise investment for my health or my waistline? Sigh.

Maybe I do need to add more fiber, more bulk, more to chew on in this new year, replacing the rich, greasy comfort foods for which I so often reach.

Yes, I really should be willing to chew on those nutrient rich leaves. And, you know what else? The same is true for my spiritual life.

We may ask ourselves how we’d characterize our spiritual diets: Fast food? Junk food? Spoon-fed? Bottle-fed? Meat and potatoes? Bland? Spicy?

Maybe I need to add more fiber and bulk there too. And just how willing am I to spend time chewing on that?

Inspiring this piece, a devotion I read this morning referenced an article about the importance of chewing food longer:

 “Chewing food thoroughly increases its alkalinity, which not only helps the rest of the digestive process but helps us avoid things like acid reflux and indigestion. Also, thoroughly chewing food releases enzymes that help the stomach digest it more easily and prepare it for the body’s absorption.

“And new research suggests chewing food for a longer time may boost the mouth’s immune system, helping us fend off illnesses.”

Wow - how obvious are the parallels of chewing food and chewing on God’s word (like those raw, nutrient-packed vegetables!)

When we take time to meditate on what we read from the Bible, our digestion and absorption improves! For me, it is during this pause that I hear the Holy Spirit.

Just as many believe smaller, more frequent meals are better for us than gorging ourselves at an all-you-can-eat buffet or even eating a few big meals, just maybe focusing on fewer verses but allowing time to thoroughly “chew on them” can prove more effective and overall healthier than gulping down the next mouthful of scripture, binge-eater style.

I love how the devotion writer concluded: “When we do, we allow his Word to implant itself in our hearts, to penetrate our minds, body and soul, and to distribute its powerful nourishment throughout. When we consume scripture thoroughly, it boosts our spirit, fortifies our faith, and helps us fend off the enemy.”

Maybe it’s not too late to add a New Year’s resolution.

After all, the vibrant freshness of the nutrient-rich, living words found in the Bible beckon!

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” - Joshua 1:8

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” - Matthew 4:4

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” - John 16:12-14

Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 26 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.