: something to chew on :


The human body is a fascinating apparatus, particularly the digestive system. It converts the food we eat into nutrients for energy, growth, and cell repair. But it’s a messy, skeevy process, one rarely discussed in polite conversation. Fortunately, I’m not polite and this isn’t conversation, it’s a monologue.

There are actually two types of digestion: mechanical (chewing) and chemical (enzymes). And the process begins with your first whiff of something delicious or clapping eyes on a favorite food. You start salivating and digestive operations kick in to prepare for that first bite. You eat until you’re full and go back to business.

Your body, however, spends the next day or so converting and transporting the food you just ate. It’s quite a rigmarole and involves the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas, in addition to the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (colon). Here are a few of the more interesting details:

Transit time, from eating to elimination, averages 30 to 50 hours — shorter for kids.
The entire digestive system from entry (the mouth) to exit (the toilet) is about 30 feet
Food doesn’t need gravity to reach the stomach; the muscles in your esophagus push the food along in a wavelike manner called peristalsis.
Our salivary glands produce 1.5 ± liters of saliva daily to assist in the swallowing process.
Once swallowed, it takes about 7 seconds for food to travel through the esophagus and land in the stomach.
When empty, an adult stomach has a very small volume, but can expand to hold 1.5 litres of food when full.

Nevertheless, try as I might, there are some things I just can’t swallow no matter how hard I try: oysters, head cheese, and Trump as president. Nope. Can’t. Won’t.  Go to happy place … sandy beach, blue sky, palm trees, pool boys …

copyright © 2017 the whirly girl

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5 Responses to “: something to chew on :”

    • the whirly girl

      Can you believe there’s 30 feet of digestive tubing? I can’t. I’ve tried and I can’t. That’s ten yards — enough for a first down. It blows my little mind 😳

      Liked by 1 person

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      • Straddle the Turtle

        I wonder if your main point here is that it’s not easy to stomach the behavior of our president. Still, I want to share that I’m becoming quite the student of the digestive systems of standard poodles. First of all, the two that I’m privileged to observe first hand are not the same. Roxy can ingest road kill, whole bars of soap

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  1. Straddle the Turtle

    …as I was saying, whole bars of soap, wash rags, flower pots of dirt, etc. and within a 24- hour period poop them out no problem, usually still intact. Not her brother, Ringo. No. So sensitive just a bit of grass causes gagging, or upchuck of a complete meal. If he is naughty and eats goose poo he gets a syndrome that causes initial explosive diarrhea and then days of bloody stools. I know I shouldn’t have shared that part, but I’m trying to show how involved I am in this research – I watch it come out because I clean it up to be discarded once a week by the garbage pick-up service.

    Ringo’s digestive issues are pricey $$!! (lab work, meds & special vet food). But I experimented & gave him Greek yogurt. It worked! In fact within two feedings of yogurt (probiotics) he pooped normal! Sorry to go on about this, but it made me realize the power of yogurt for myself. Just thought you might want to know :)

    Liked by 1 person

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    • the whirly girl

      Wow! No more goose droppings for me. I’d never have thought to try yogurt. That was pretty brilliant.

      But get this. The other day I heard a story about a type of snake in the Everglades. It’s big enough to strangle alligators and is capable of digesting deer. I fainted and missed the bowel discussion. Thank god.

      Liked by 1 person

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