This being my first article, I thought it would be best to start off where good eating habits really count………..proper digestion.
We all know the saying ” you are what you eat”, right? These are some wise words. This phrase comes from another phrase that is just as relevant today as it was back in 1826. Brillat-Savarin wrote ” Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are”. Most of the cells in our body are being regenerated at different rates (feed these cells deficient foods, feel deficient, feed them nutrient rich foods, feel great). If you’ve been eating a calorie rich and processed (CRAP) diet most of your life, you may be dealing with some health issues that are quite frankly, making you feel like crap. The good news is that you can regain your health just by incorporating more natural foods and forgoing all those tempting foods that we all love but in reality, aren’t going to love us back.
Choosing healthy foods is only the beginning to good health. Even if we are eating nutritious foods and taking good quality supplements, as much as this helps a bit, we can often find ourselves deficient in certain vitamins and minerals or notice that we’ve started to develop a food allergy or an intolerance. If we aren’t properly digesting our food , we aren’t absorbing many of the nutrients being consumed. How we eat has as much importance as what we eat.
How you can improve digestion with a few simple tips?
*Try to fill up your day with nutrient dense foods, these foods weren’t made in a factory or sprayed with chemicals. Foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds are some of the most nutrient dense foods. There are also great products at your local grocery store in the natural foods isle that were made in a factory that do contain all or mostly natural foods, these are great for busier days.
*Try to check your stress at the door. It can only put out your digestive fire, so its best to slow down and relax during meal time. I know easier said than done when you have kids and a busy schedule……..but don’t stress about stressing out! I need to mention that these recommendations aren’t an all or nothing. When you take the first step your already one step closer. When you start to improve your health, even if you’re taking baby steps, you start to feel better and this will lead to you wanting it more.
*Chewing food thoroughly, this helps to coat our food with digestive enzymes. When we chew our food longer it helps to break it down even more ( I know, doesn’t sound exciting…..but consider the health benefits! 🙂 ). The larger the food particles going down means it takes more energy to digest them. Continuing this way can result with our stomach waving the white flag in surrender and letting undigested foods pass on down through the digestive tract where they become food for the bad bacteria.
*Skip the drinks at meal time…..SAY WHAT!?!? But doesn’t that help wash down the food?? That’s just it, along with “washing” down food, we are also washing or watering down our HCI (hydrochloric acid). HCI oh glorious HCI, how we can’t live without you? Think of your HCI as a currency, you don’t want to spend it all in one place. Most of us don’t make endless supplies, especially as we age. Without HCI we can’t properly digest our foods and you know where this is leading…… say it with me “no digesting, no absorbing”. If you’ve been drinking fluids with your meals most of your life and this seems like a chore, try taking tiny sips here and there and make sure to drink all your water throughout the day.
*Over eating, especially heavy proteins, regularly. These are big HCI and energy suckers. Ever feel that you don’t have a whole lot of energy after a heavier meal? This is a good indication that your stomach is being over worked.
I hope these tips find you well. Remember It’s not all or nothing. I love the saying “how do you eat an elephant? ( don’t ever eat elephants, by the way!!!) one bite at a time”. Making small changes will put a spark in you to make bigger ones!
Stacy Unruh, R.H.N.