The Digestion Question: Who are We Really Feeding?
Stepping into the health arena can be a bit daunting, especially with the overflow (though wonderful) of nutritional info. Where does one begin to look when they want get well or just feel better and what’s really going on… down there? Let’s take it slow and start from the beginning:
Chew, Chew, Chew
In order to reap the benefits of the food we consume, it’s not just about what we eat, but how we eat it. Taking the time to carefully chew our meals means more uptake of nutrition to our cells. Gorging our meals isn’t getting the job done. With so many rushed mornings, hurried lunches, and vacant family meals, it’s no wonder our stomachs get a little upset.
Step 1: Make a Meal Plan
Creating routine will help establish healthy eating habits. Take a look at your schedule and fill in the blanks with the right dishes. Here are some quick tips to get your creative (and intestinal) juices flowing:
Shake things up with a Morning Smoothie: Make the most out of your morning with a mouthful of mitochondrial boosting botanicals like avocados, an assortment of berries, coconut oil, nut butter, and a protein powder. Add a base of kefir or green tea, blend, and you will be glowing out the door this morning!
Pro-tip: Beginning the day with fruit is a fun way to mix up your routine. If you are feeling tropically inclined or a bit backed up, indulge in a kiwi. They are loaded in the enzyme Actinidin which improves constipation symptoms.
Say Goodbye to Boring Salads: Take a deep dive with your fork into the anything but ordinary hot salad. Yes, some like it hot. Wilt some leaves and steam veggies of your choice (spinach is a stellar option), drizzle with good quality olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of the ultra anti-inflammatory turmeric for a gut-flora friendly lunch that is easy to digest.
Pro-tip: Ditch the fork for a while and try out chopsticks. This daily discipline will teach you to take smaller bites and savor more slowly.
Celebrate the Sacredness of Dinner: Our ancestors sat by the table with an assortment of fermented foods like sourdough bread, fermented olives, and pickles. Jams and jellies were even fermented! This act goes beyond tradition, but in fact amplifies our digestion. Rather than perpetually running around in a state of fight or flight, celebrating the sanctity of a sit down meal actually prepares our bodies for rest and digest. Swap out condiments like ketchup for flora friendly foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented olives.
Pro-tip: Harmonize your digestive system and optimize your nutrient absorption before each meal with a great quality enzyme supplement, like MassZymes.
Step 2: Stop Stressing.
This principle is paramount, not only to the amplification of your digestion, but of your overall health and wellbeing. Our gastrointestinal tract directly relates to our emotional status. Consider the feelings of getting “butterflies in the stomach” or situations that make you feel nauseous. The distinct gut-brain connection (aka gut brain axis) is one of the reasons why it is essential to rethink our stress-relief methods. Finding creative ways to combat stress is key. Taking up yoga or dance classes, discovering meditation and mindfulness exercises, or other creative outlets can help ease our anxiety. They key is to find things that are fun and bring us enjoyment.
Pro-tip: the use of essential oils and bitters is an excellent way to aid in digestion and in easing the mind. Consider ginger, fennel oil, lemon, or frankincense as a loving addition to your medicine cabinet. Even a couple drops to the palms of your hands and deep inhalation can relax tense organs. Bitter tonics can be bought or foods like dandelion greens and broccoli rabe can be added to your daily dose of veggies.
Love Your Gut and Your Life
Living in the modern age means adjusting to new systems of living. Readdressing habits of our predecessors and ancestors can in fact move us forward at an even greater and more profound level. Maintaining healthy eating habits and disciplines, adding the right foods and supplements like MassZymes and above all a high-quality spore probiotic, and staying hydrated will help keep your gut happy and manifest a more enjoyable life as well.
Perhaps the great poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best:
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
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