Originally created 11/22/05

Savor feast by taking your sweet time



"I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food."

- Erma Bombeck

You might be wondering whether you have enough time between now and Thanksgiving to prepare your stomach for overindulgence.

You might be wondering whether there are any insider secrets to chowing down and packing it away.

You might be thinking there is some little-discussed technique to stretching your stomach.

OK, maybe you weren't wondering, but I was, so I went to the expert, and here's what I learned.

There isn't.

But Dr. Robert Schade, the chief of section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Medical College of Georgia, says the best advice is the usual advice. Eat slowly. Enjoy your meal. Take your time.

"My advice is to spread the meal out over time. Take part of it. Wait an hour. Eat slowly. ... Enjoy the company of the people you're with," he said.

The stomach, Dr. Schade said, is a reservoir. It grinds up food until it behaves like a liquid, then it empties that liquid. Chewing your food well makes it more liquidlike and allows it to empty from the stomach a little more quickly.

Also, fat or high-calorie food takes longer to break down, so it stays in your stomach longer, and that slows down the process, too.

Again, he said, the best advice is to eat slowly and perhaps sample a little bit of everything.

Thank you, doctor. That's my new strategy.

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The secret to reducing stress: Never pass up an opportunity to go to the bathroom.

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MAIL AND MOVEMENT: Janelle and Michael Taylor, of Grovetown, send a postcard from Tucson, Ariz. They write: "White Sands, N.M., was bigger and better than last visit. Fall colors Ala., Miss., La., and east Texas. At a RV rally here ... had a run-in with Africanized bees in a park - Got in a car!"

Nancy Frey and Barbara Hogan, of McCormick, S.C., are in Myrtle Beach having a "post hurricane season mini-vacation on the beach ... actually here for our annual Seaside Stitchers Gathering - We cross stitch!"

And world traveler Harry Mercer sends a card from Spain, where, he reports, the weather "is surprisingly warm."

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TODAY'S JOKE: Four-year-old James was listening to a Bible story. His dad read: "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt."

Concerned, young James looked at his dad and asked: "What happened to the flea?"

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.