“I have made it a rule to give every tooth of mine a chance, and when I eat, to chew every bite thirty-two times. To this rule I owe much of my success in life.” -William Gladstone


When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. But these days most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we’re putting in our mouths.

We eat while distracted—working, reading, talking and watching television—and swallow our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only eight times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems.

There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food:

1. Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we don’t crave those after-meal sweets.

2. Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food.

3. More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings.

4. It’s also helpful for weight loss, because when we are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when we are full.

5. In fact, chewing can promote increased circulation, enhanced immunity, increased energy and endurance, as well as improve skin health and stabilize weight.

6. Taking time with a meal, beginning with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. It helps us to give thanks, to show appreciation for the abundance in our lives and to develop patience and self-control.


The power of chewing is so great that there are stories of concentration camp survivors who, when others could not, made it through with very little food by chewing their meager rations up to 300 times per bite of food. For most of us 300 chews is a daunting and unrealistic goal. However, you can experience the benefits of chewing by increasing to 30 chews per bite. Try it and see how you feel.


Try eating without the TV, computer, cell phone, newspaper or noisy company. Instead just pay attention to the food and to how you are breathing and chewing.  You can even watch a VIDEO I made about the science that supports this idea.


This kind of quiet can be disconcerting at first, since we are used to a steady stream of advertising, news, media, email and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day—why not learn to savor and enjoy it?

I’ve heard this comment from several clients and friends, “I wish I didn’t have to eat or sleep; I’d get so much more done in the day.” I’m sorry, but that sounds like a terrible feeling to live with. Why not create a space around meal time to be honored as “nourishing time” for yourself instead of feeling like eating is just one more thing you have to do in your busy day? Let it be a time that truly fuels you to live life well and kick ass at work.


Food Focus: Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is kind of a nutritional rock star these days, and for good reason.  This ancient grain is a nutritional powerhouse! It was originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago; they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein for vegetarians. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and zinc.


While quinoa is widely considered a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant called Chenopodium or Goosefoot, related to chard and spinach. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and has a similar effect as other whole grains in helping to stabilize blood sugar.

It has a waxy protective coating called saponin which can leave a bitter taste. For best results, rinse quinoa before you cook it or even soak it for a few hours or overnight. When cooked, it has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. Try it in soups, salads, as a breakfast porridge or as its own side dish.


For quinoa, and whole grains in general, the majority of digestion occurs in the mouth through chewing and exposure to saliva. For optimal nutrition and assimilation, it is vital to chew your grains well and with awareness. A great meditation is to find a calm place, without distractions, to sit down for your meal. Make it a habit to chew each bite 20 times or more. See how this simple practice can help your digestion and overall focus for the rest of your day.


Recipe of the Month: Quinoa Pilaf

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings



1 cup quinoa

2 1/4 cups water or stock

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

pinch of salt



1.   Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.

2.   Boil the water and add quinoa and salt, cover and reduce heat.

3.   After 15 minutes add cranberries and walnuts to top; do not stir.

4.   Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.

5.   Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.


Ok, now what to do with this newsletter?

1. Forward to a Friend. It’s such a pleasure to help those closest to us become happier and healthier. Please forward this newsletter to friends, family members or colleagues who might be interested and inspired by it. Or feel free to reach out to me about my one-on-one or corporate health coaching programs.


2. Join Sarah on the next Yoga & Adventure Personal Growth Retreat

Who: Women only, all levels of yoga experience welcome to attend.
What: a 7 day, 6 night retreat in a unique locale hand-picked for you as a place of healing, growth, adventure, and restoration
Where: Costa Rica Yoga Spa in Nosara, Costa Rica, about 2 hours from Liberia International Airport
When: June 20-26, 2015

Why: Why not? For example: “I’ve been on several retreats, bar none this was the most unforgettable experience, extraordinary group of diverse kind souls who all gelled. I learned something valuable from each and every one of you. Thank you to Sarah for pulling together such a strong team to guide us and taking the time to have every detail thought out.” Danielle (Pilates Instructor, New Jersey)

How: Go HERE and register by making your deposit.

Because I have been on an odyssey and know how scary it can be to navigate those rough waters alone, it would be a disservice for me NOT to offer these programs to you.I want so badly for everyone to realize they can create the life they want.  
The goal of my coaching program (and my retreats) is for us to co-create an action plan you’ll actually follow, and for you to develop a TRUST IN YOUR OWN BODY again. We will educate your mind and body so they’re giving you reliable signals you can actually read.  I’m not here to be the boss of you. You need to be the boss of you when it comes to your health and fitness.

Plus, you’ll have an awesome group of people to support you on your journey as well!

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One last thing – Are you curious about “coaching?” Do you want to learn how to make positive choices in your own life with the grace and grit of a loving and intelligent coach by your side? Want support in creating your healthiest, happiest life ever? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!  Email me at Sarah@SemperSarah.com.
About Me. I am an Optimal Wellness and Resiliency Building expert. What does that mean? Well, I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the only school in the world that integrates over 100 of the latest nutrition theories with coaching and business skills. Additionally, I was a United States Marine for nearly seven years and a Military Olympic Athlete. I am also an RYT500 registered yoga instructor, am currently obtaining my Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver, and frankly, I’m a survivor and thrivor of many things. I have a passion to help you shift your behaviors to develop lifelong, sustainable healthy habits and a deep understanding of your mental, physical, and spiritual needs. We’ll work together to create lasting changes to your health, energy, and well-being because “small changes make big differences!”