We chew. But we don’t eat. Our food is eaten for us. I did not know this. I mean… I did… but not exactly.
I’ve always had this picture of my food: chewed and travelling down a perfectly straight esophagus, dropping into that wine bag of acid, where it is liquefied, and from there, dispersed to, well… wherever. Some scientist on N.P.R. was kind enough to explain differently, elaborate.
Now, I know we have bacteria in our stomachs, flora. What I didn’t picture was that these little guys, these bacteria, have mouths and butts. I always pictured them looking like, well, yogurt. Nor did I envision that the food we chew is actually eaten by these bacteria, not just magically dissolved. Eaten, digested and pooped.
As if that wasn't gross enough, the scientist went on to explain that after the first bacteria's meal and subsiquant defication, along comes another, smaller bacterium. This smaller bacteria eats the first bacteria's poop, digests it and poops it out too. Then another. And another. And so on—I think the scientist said, eight or ten times—until the food we put into our mouths is broken down, 'digested', enough for us to use.
Life is so crazy-beautiful.