Chews Wisely

What’s Ayurveda’s view on chewing gum? I’m a vata dominant and I chew gum after every meal (sugar free wriggles ones that are meant to be good for your teeth) Is this ok? Thank you!

This is an awesome question! Chews Wisely! Chewing gum is something we may overlook because, well, gum is tiny. And we don’t swallow it. It’s kind of like nothing. So why would we consider chewing gum as any sort of influential factor in staying balanced? And I’m going to say, “Because in Ayurveda, everything counts!” :)

The answer is that chewing gum is vata increasing. Sorry for the news. But if you think about it, it’s kind of like fidgeting (also vata) except with our mouth. It’s constant motion, constant action, and it’s rather subconscious because we do it without really paying attention. It’s mindless action (especially for those gum snappers!) which is a quick way to increase vata because vata IS action/motion. On top of it, digestion starts in the mouth with salivation, so you are jump starting that process over and over as well as swallowing lots of air. This can cause gas and bloating (yes that tiny piece o’ gum) and also create a sense of anxiousness in the mind. Vata is the energy of movement…so the more movement you have (albeit a wee tiny piece of gum), the more that energy will increase.

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11 Responses to Chews Wisely

  1. […] on together. UmlemmethinkYES! It’s been a hard secret to hold in! So now that I can flap my gums (pun intented) about it, let me tell you what’s going on. Banyan and prAna partnered to […]

  2. Ash says:

    just read your comment that sleeping with television on increases vata. I am curious to know how.

  3. Mary says:

    if you just NEED something after a meal….try a mint leaf—I had some in my garden this year that was better than any gum I’ve ever had. And you don’t keep it in your mouth very long to get a great flavor :)

  4. Elle says:

    Yes! I’m a vata, and chewing gum literally makes me feel sick from all the swallowing of air. I’ve always found it really upsetting and couldn’t figure out how others were able to enjoy it. Then again, I’m exceptionally in tune with my body – before I had even heard of ayurveda, I told a friend that I had a preference for warm, moist foods. Anyway, so nice to hear some validation on the chewing gum issue!

  5. Tanya says:

    It’s a very good thing then that I rarely chew gum. I stopped years ago because I tended to wound myself far too often by biting my lip, or my cheek, or my tongue. It wasn’t a good thing when I was playing trumpet!

  6. Holly says:

    I’ve also noticed that it increases Pitta with regard to digestion because of those enzymes in saliva – if I chew gum, I get ‘grumpy-hungry!’

  7. Lovey says:

    On top of the act of chewing gum, what does Ayurveda have to say about all of the chemicals that nearly all gum contains? Is it overtaxing organs and potentially throwing doshas off that way? Is there a better alternative?

    • Monica says:

      Exactly Lovely. Gum is not natural and therefore is not considered to be a healthy choice – not only because it’s vata increasing but because it’s not made of good stuff either. Best alternative is not to chew it or anything else for an extended amount of time. Chewing is for eating. Second best is to chew on a piece of licorice bark/stick (ha ha! We actually chewed on these in India – super tasty – but rare to find. It’s not a great option but I had to throw it in there). Third, chew if you must but start to become aware of your digestion, moods, and the way your jaw feels…awareness is the only way we can evolve to make better choices.

  8. Becca says:

    So, what does this mean for those (kapha types) that need to increase their vata?

    • Monica says:

      Hi Becca! Well, just because you increase vata doesn’t mean it’s in a balanced way. For example sleeping with the TV on increases vata too but that’s not good for anyone. See what I mean? Overall gum chewing is too much unnecessary action. Does this help?

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