As most of you know, I am wrapping up my diploma in Natural Nutrition (!!!!). I’ve learned so much over the past two and a half years; it’s been pretty eye opening, and definitely life-changing.
One of the biggest aha moments for me occurred when I was studying digestion. Pretty much every one of our ills can be linked back to digestion.
The stomach, small intestine, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and large intestine are the primary participants in our digestive process. But did you know that the emotions, stress level, and balance of the endocrine and nervous systems also affect digestion?
And did you know that the area of the body most affected by stress is our digestive system? Yup!
Amazing digestion is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight. All the more reason to get your digestive system running efficiently, like a well-oiled machine!
My best tips for getting your digestion running like well-tuned engine!
1. Do a seasonal detox or a cleanse. Sign up for an online one guided by a certified nutritionist. Try Healthful Pursuit, Hol Fit, Replenish PDX, or Joyous Health. It’s best to do one of these with a professional so you know you’re getting the nutrients you need. Detoxing your body is so important, but it can easily go wrong if you’re on your own or misguided. One of the main reasons for doing a detox is to give your digestion a little breather.
2. Chew chew chew chew that food. Chewing your food ignites enzymes needed to digest that food. It also prevents your stomach from working overtime and getting assaulted by large food particles. I often tell my kiddies, your tummy doesn’t have teeth. All that work needs to be done in your mouth.And guess what, you even need to chew your smoothies! They’re harder to digest than the average juice so your body still needs those enzymes to do their thing.
3. Focus on what you’re doing – digesting. I know it’s really hard to take a break and just eat. We’re really good at eating on the go, aren’t we? Eating in our cars, eating while we’re watching television, or eating while we’re working on our computers (ahem surfing facebook). All of this activity distracts your body and doesn’t allow your digestive system to get all of the attention it needs to do its thing. Much-needed attention. Sit quietly and eat or eat a meal with your family at the dinner table.
4. Eliminate stresses while you’re eating. This is similar to #3 but it has to be said. If you’re stressed while you’re eating, your digestive system is stressed. All of your body systems are stressed. Nothing will function at it’s best and your whole body will feel the effects of that stress (hello chronic inflammation). Try to eat in peace and make sure you relax. Take some deep breaths before biting into that kale salad.
5. Don’t drink too much while you’re eating. You don’t want to add too much liquid to your stomach while it’s working away on digestion. It’s like putting out a fire; you need that digestive fire to stay brightly lit! Sips of tea and water are ideal, but there’s NO reason for that extra large pop. Nope, that’s a fast food creation.
6. Give your food plenty of time to digest. Snacking in between meals is important, but not if it’s 20 minutes after you ate a meal. Consider this when it comes to meals and snacking:
You put a load of laundry into your washing machine. 20 minutes later you realize you forgot to add some jeans and t-shirts so you throw them in. What’s the big deal? Well, nothing gets properly washed, that’s the big deal. The first set of clothes were 20 minutes into their cleaning cycle. But now you’ve interrupted that by throwing dirty clothes on top. Your washer will do its job, but nothing’s going to get properly cleaned. Your digestive system works the same way. Don’t throw a handful of nuts on top of food that’s been partially digested. Nothing will get properly digested.
Follow? This is perhaps the most important tip I can give you. And when I applied it to my digestion, I saw huge differences in how I felt and I even lost some weight.
We’re good at eating when we don’t need to. Time to rewrite that story and be good at eating when our bodies really need us to eat.
Interested in detoxing? Check out Mark Hyman’s new detox book The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body’s Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast