A change I made for my health

Hiiiiii :) Happy Thursday! Hope your day is going well. So stoked you liked the chopped salad recipe. Let me know if you give it a whirl!

Over time, I’ve changed quite a few things about my eating habits and fitness routine. A lot of this came from things I read or had learned, while others occurred intuitively over time. I’ve found that our bodies have a way of telling us what they want; it’s up to us to listen.

A major change that seemed to happen over the past few years: I stopped chewing gum!

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Photo source

Back in the day, I was GUM OBSESSED. Pretty much at any point during the day, I’d have a piece in my mouth. First I started off with Winterfresh and Orbit, which I will say are absolutely delicious, and went over to more natural options like Spry (sweetened with xylitol). When I got pregnant, I tried to be more mindful of my artificial sugar intake and realized that I didn’t need to chew gum 24/7. It was something I did purely out of habit, not necessarily because I particularly enjoyed it.

Gum

What I noticed since I stopped chewing gum:

-I don’t crave sugar as often. Because of the artificial sweeteners in the gum I frequently chewed, it seemed like I always wanted to be eating something even sweeter. This distorted my tasteebuds’ opinions of naturally sweet foods -for example, fruit didn’t taste nearly as delicious- and I found myself craving sugary, baked treats allthetime.

-I’m not as bloated. Chewing gum makes you swallow excess air, which can contribute to bloating. 

-I don’t have jaw discomfort. After chewing gum constantly for years, I noticed some jaw soreness. It wasn’t painful or alarming, but just something that I noticed. Since I stopped chewing gum so often, it has helped a quite a bit.

-There are other ways to have minty fresh breath.

Some of my favorites:

-Eat a few sprigs of fresh mint. The real stuff really works!

-Drink mint and citrus infused water. Infusing water makes it easier for me to get in adequate water intake, and it’s fun to switch up flavor combos. Usually I’ll make a flavor variation in the fridge to enjoy that day, or just add berries and herbs to my water bottle. They have some fancy water infusion bottles now, too.

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-Floss and brush during the day. If I eat something particularly garlicky during the day (love dat garlic), I’ll brush my teeth afterwards instead of noshing on a piece of gum.

-Oil pull. I’m still a huge fan of oil pulling, especially for the fresh breath benefits. 

-Go for a natural option. I’m not a huge fan of aspartame, but I’ll have some xylitol mints or regular sugar gum every blue moon. It’s not an all or nothing thing, but something I’ve learned how to enjoy in moderation. 

Are you a gum fanatic? What’s your favorite flavor or type of mint?

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. Ugh you just reminded me that I need to get back into oil pulling. I was a gum chewin’ fiend back in the day when I was super restrictive with my diet (because if I couldn’t eat, then dammit I was going to chew SOMETHING! haha), but rarely chew it any more. These days I get achy and bloated if I chew gum….not worth it!

  2. Amber Schumann says:

    iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinteresting!

    I saw the title and thought you were going to talk about gluten, caffeine, sugar, or something. Never woulda thought.

    Great perspective! Thanks!

  3. Great post! Like you I was gum addicted– sometimes more than a pack a day. I chewed when I was anxious bored or hungry. I noticed a huge decrease in sugar cravings when I stopped and (maybe this is tmi but…) I stopped having constant gas attacks. I think the artificial sweeteners can also mess with your digestive tract! My health, stomach and my wallet are thankful I stopped my gum habit!

  4. I never thought about chewing gum making you consume excess air…wow! Looks like you learn something new everyday.

    I was never a huge gym chewer or juice drinker, so giving up gum and pop has never been a problem for me!

  5. No gum for me! Most gum contains sorbitol which causes awful tummy cramps, especially when running for me so I had to nix it out months ago. It was kind of funny – I spent 2 weeks running with awful cramps and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I then looked at my desk and saw a huge pack of gum that I had been chewing and discovered that sorbitol and I don’t get along. Nixed out the gum and boom, tummy back to normal!

    I like altoids! or however you spell them

  6. How did you stop?! I chew gum so often, I call myself a Chain Chewer.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i gradually cut back and focused on drinking water or having fresh mint instead

      • I’m going to pretend it’s Lent season and give it a go. Thanks, Gina!

        • Fitnessista says:

          let me know how it works out for you!! :) xoxo

        • fyi, i’d say over the past 2-3 years i went from the “gum queen” to basically no gum. i had packets upon packets with me in school, then when i realized it was sort of a bad habbit, cut down to only mint, then tried to stop by going 1 to 1/2 piece, etc. so it will take time!

  7. OMG…Reading this after I ate an entire pack of Trident cinnamon throughout the day–and I have been so gassy/bloated and just not a happy person. I know gum is not good for my stomach….Last September I did a three day juice til dinner cleanse and they told me to cut out gum as it sometimes makes the body think you are hungry etc. Gum was out of my life for almost 8 months and then I tried an “ice cube” gum and was hooked. I have no ability to just have a single piece and now after reading your post, I am dumping my gum cold turkey. I am SUPER paranoid about bad breath–especially after I have coffee in the morning. I actually have some of the toothbrushes with built in toothpaste that are disposable. Going to make sure to have them with me at all times. Thanks for the needed push Gina.

    Lauren

  8. I can TOTALLY relate to this post! I, too, used to be gum obsessed. All day every day you could most likely catch me with a piece of gum in my mouth. I gradually grew out of the habit, mostly just because I didn’t “crave” it as much. This happened right around the time I was trying to gain some weight and include more healthy fats in my diet to get pregnant, so I’m assuming I kicked the craving because I felt more content and satiated. I used to have pretty bad jaw problems and soreness, so kicking the gum habit has definitely helped there too. Not to mention, it gets expensive when you buy pack after pack of gum. I’ll still chew a piece every so often, but it’s rare these days. Great post!

  9. This is something I need to be more mindful of. When I diet for a competition gum is like my vice that gets me through the hunger periods. Even now out of prep I still rely on gum all of the time purely as habit!

  10. I stopped chewing gum a few years ago too. I only rarely chew it, but I, too, notice that I get bloated immediately when I chew it. I think you have convinced me to try the oil pulling technique….so curious!

  11. I was a massive gum addict 5 years ago and completely kicked it when I was pregnant!

  12. Oh I couldn’t have written this better! I too used to be obsessed with gum and was laughing to myself about it as I eyed all those packages in the checkout line at Target the other day. I’m sure I spent hundreds if not thousands on gum in the past! I too notice the same things since cutting it out a few years ago and am so glad I did!

  13. I stopped chewing gum years ago for all of the reasons you listed above. I keep mini Altoids in my car for my post-coffee commute and random pick-me-ups, but otherwise I find that I don’t miss gum at all!

  14. Oh man, I was in the same boat with the gum chewing. I was addicted. I remember when I had a goal for myself to stretch out a pack of orbit to last me a full work week and how hard that was for me. I ended up giving up gum all together for the same reasons, jaw pain, bloated, sugar craving etc. Now I carry a travel size bottle of mouthwash with me (refill it as needed) and I love Trader Joe’s green tea mints. They aren’t in your face and not as addicting as some mints with all the crazy artificial stuff in there. Every once in a blue moon I will chew a piece of gum, but spit it out 5 minutes later as it now tastes bad to me and makes my mouth feel gross. Funny how much that has changed!

  15. I rarely chew gum. It always seems to make me hungry. I like to think that as I’m chewing my brain tells my stomach to make room for more food to enter. But no food enters because I’m just chewing on gum. Then i end up prematurely hungry. I’m not even sure if this is scientific or completely made up by me. :) either way I do best to avoid gum.

  16. Wow! I’ve been considering giving up my gum habit, but haven’t done it yet. In fact, a few months ago, I did some research into gum chewing and wrote a post on it here: http://aladygoeswest.com/2014/03/21/is-it-bad-to-chew-too-much-gum/

    Gum is totally my crutch for fresh breath, and I reach for it all too often. Your post has given me the extra initiative I need to try to shake my gum habit. Thanks!

  17. i had a dear friend in college who was ALWAYS chewing gum. to each her own, but good for you for making a change!

  18. Carrie Wright says:

    Not a gum chewer at all. It’s actually a pet peeve of mine, having to watch or even worse hearing someone else chew gum. I think it’s an annoying habit.

  19. I’m a big gum chewer but I hate the taste of mint! It’s sugar free bubble gum for me. Like some others, I chew it to keep myself from eating. I do know that it can sometimes have a laxative effect (yuck) but didn’t realize it could be the cause of gas and bloating. Maybe I will try drinking some herbal tea instead of the gum and see if it makes a difference. I also always chew gum at the gym, especially during Zumba class, because it keeps my mouth from getting dry. Bad habit!!

  20. I too had to give up my gum habit due to intestinal problems and major jaw pain…I really missed it for a while but now I pop a tic tac for a quick mint fix. Just heard about natural mouthwash: just brew green tea and mix with fresh mint and keep it in the fridge to gargle with…apparently works like a charm!

  21. I switched to Spry gum awhile ago. I found it at Whole Foods and never looked back. I only have a few pieces a week but I like that it’s all natural.

  22. i didnt know you oil pulled! could you do a post about it?

  23. Yaara Leve says:

    OMG–I used to be totally totally addicted to sugar-free gum!! I was chain gum chewer. I would literally chew an entire pack–sometimes 3 in a matter of 3 hours. I’d chew until the flavor ran out and then pop in another 2 pieces. It was awful! I was soooo damn bloated all the time. I was addicted to Orbit Sweet Mint and then later Extra sugar free apple pie. It was bad–because I used it as an appetite suppressant–especially during law school. On days I didn’t work out–I’d feel guilty and not want to eat so 2 packs of gum would be my lunch–Ugggh! I feel like vomitting now just thinking about it. –lol
    I don’t know what happened–one day–I think my jaw and teeth were just seriously aching too much and I couldn’t stomach it anymore. It’s also pretty gross when you think about it–I think I read an article once that it’s basically tire rubber. We’re chewing tire rubber!! That alone just grossed me out and also all the waste that accumulates. It’s not like you’re digesting it–so you basically just have a disgusting chewed-up ball of rubber! Blechh! It’s so much better to truly nourish yourself and take good care of your body! :)

  24. Perfect timing, as I was just thinking about my gum chewing of late causing my TMJ to flare up. And that I need to give it up once and for all! Like you said, it’s not really that enjoyable – just a quick/portable means to freshen that lovely after lunch or coffee breath. ;-) Spry mints in lemon are my go to. Delightful!

  25. A friend started growing chocolate mint & introduced me to it. It’s delicious & easy to grow! I add to smoothies or just chew it- delicious!!!!

  26. I don’t like to chew gum anymore either! I used to love gum back in high school and I’m so glad I decided to kick that habit. I heard some interesting things about oil pulling but haven’t given it a try yet!

  27. I was the SAME way! I gave up gum when I moved to Switzerland and haven’t really missed it at all. I have to get back into oil pulling!

  28. I had to give up gum years ago due to my acid reflux and o so sensitive tummy! But its so worth it to not feel extra bloated or have extra reflux symptoms haha! I don’t miss it at all!

  29. I used to chew a pack of gum a day, and also drank diet coke and sugar free syrups in my Starbucks. Horrible I know! I had no problems in college, but after college I started getting stomach aches from the artificial sweeteners. Now I never eat or drink anything with artificial sweeteners, and whenever I chew a piece of gum I totally notice how it makes me feel bloated!!! The hardest thing to give up was the sweeteners in coffee but I weaned myself off and now I just like milk and really think it makes it taste sweet enough!

  30. I used to chew gum all day, erry day, but I realized how harmful it was to my health. I couldn’t believe how I am less bloated, and I don’t crave sugar nearly as much!

  31. I feel like I chewed sooo much gum when I was a student. I guess maybe the chewing helped me concentrate?? Who knows. Now I very rarely chew it, and actually do notice myself getting grossed out by it after a short time. I mean really… This wad of tacky stuff flying around in my mouth? When I overthink it, it definitely starts to gross me out haha. Heading to med school next year, so hoping my habit doesn’t return!!

  32. Very interesting! I have actually been more conscious about cutting back on chewing gum over the past few weeks!! I was basically going through a pack a day at work and it was getting annoying and costly to keep buying all that gum! I still chew a little .. maybe 3 pieces a day, but I am noticing that I am not as bloated. Definitely a welcome change!!

  33. Katherine says:

    This could not have been more timely – I have been a “chain chewer” for about three years now and decided this week that I need to break up with gum once and for all. I find it’s an incredibly tough habit to break! I started chewing gum to distract me whenever I felt hungry between meals, and still rely on it when I’m bored or really need to concentrate at work. It was sobering to realize that I used something seemingly so innocuous as a crutch to ignore my body’s otherwise obvious hunger cues, and my relationship with food has suffered as a result over the past couple of years. This post was just the kick in the pants I needed to commit to ditching this habit and really focus on listening to my body – so happy to see that lots of other folks have dealt with this, too!

  34. Ugh, I hate gum. It’s such a pet peeve of mine! If someone is chewing gum while they are talking to me, ALL I can hear and see is their gum. I think I have misophonia.

    And if I step on gum, forget it!

    Good info, though!

    • Yeah, I find it’s a really unattractive habit. It reminds me of cows. And the sugar alcohols cause gas, cramps and diarrhea in many. I don’t even think it freshens breath, at least not past the 2 minutes it has scent. I’ve had worse habits myself, though!

  35. I was never a big gum chewer but i totally quit gum and mints a couple years ago when I discovered my fave breath fix: breath sprays! Listerine makes a good one and there are some other, more natural brands, too. they are portable, quick and easy. Love them- they definitely get rid of the garlic! Also, mint flossies. Great way to make your mouth feel cleaner and fresher after a meal or anytime. I always carry some with me!

  36. I too was once gum obsessed but have since quit the habit. I noticed almost immediately that I was no longer so bloated at the end of the day. It was such a relief to figure it out! And so simple :)

  37. I was a gum addict too and started to get awful stomach aches from the air, so I had to stop. I switched to tic-tacs instead which weren’t nearly as satisfying, so now I don’t need anything. Out of sight, out of mind. I do miss it sometimes, but I remember the tummy aches and convince myself it isn’t worth it.

  38. I used to be a gum chain-chewer. Out with one, in with another. Now I hardly ever chew gum (especially because it gets stuck in my teeth and then I have overly-minty breath all day).

  39. I used to chew gum all the time, too, but I stopped a few years ago after my husband (who’s allergic to aspartame and can’t have most gum) told me that he didn’t understand how I could be so health-conscious, yet chew a bunch of artificially sweetened gum all the time. I really don’t miss it at all!

  40. My gum habit honestly kinda grosses me out! I ALWAYS have a piece in my mouth, and must have a piece when I’m doing cardio. Ha weird, I know. My go-to is Trident and usually peppermint or spearmint. But Target also has THE best gum flavors and I’m always intrigued by the seasonal fruity flavors lol. #kidatheart

  41. I might use this post as inspiration to quit chewing gum. I have been chewing gum nonstop for years. I used to go through 5-6 PACKS of Orbit a day! I can finally go a few moments without gum, but it’s definitely becoming more of a problem. My family members and my boyfriend always give me the stink eye when I replace the gum I had in my mouth with a brand new piece. I have two more packs in my purse and then I’m going to try reeeeeally hard to not buy any more!

  42. I used to be a gum addict, I would Need a piece everyday after lunch. I liked orbit, I don’t even know the flavor I just know it was the dark blue one haha! I started to get daily headaches after. My mom has allergies to artificial sweeteners and so I realized the connection and stopped cold turkey. I didn’t miss it too much, just the fresh breath for the remainder of the day. Then I noticed something, my teeth were yellow in pictures! I asked the dental assistant about this and she actually suggested chewing gum to help with stains from tea! I told her about my issue and she suggested taking a toothbrush to work, imagine that so simple! I bought the crest whitening toothpaste to keep at work and have noticed a major improvement in my teeth whiteness. I also switched (mostly) to green tea to help out with the staining.

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