Without proper food, medicine is of no use; And with proper food, medicine is no need.- Ayurvedic Proverb
In the business of wellness, I see many people (across the lifespan) dealing with sickness regularly.
- IBS, Constipation, Indigestion
- Seasonal allergies
- Food allergies
- Stress & anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Depression and mood disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
- Celiac disease
- Hormone imbalances
- Blood sugar handling difficulties
- Skin conditions (Eczema)
- Fatigue and low energy
- Autism spectrum
- Failure to thrive
…Just to name a few.
And a common question I often ask during our initial session is:
How is your digestion?
And, 9 times out of 10, clients respond…
“Hmm…I’ve never really thought about that.”
- Leaky gut
- Poor excretion
- Sluggish digestion
- Food sensitivities
- Undigested foods in stools
- Hard stools or watery loose stools
- Easily nauseated
These are some of the common symptoms these folks report upon reflection of their daily bodily to-do (digestion).
So, when I tell them, “It’s NO WONDER you are presenting with other conditions”…they are shocked!
“Really? My digestion is linked to how I am feeling?”
The gut immune system hosts 70- 80% of the body’s immune cells.
AND, if that’s not enough, it also is the MAIN location of your body’s serotonin production. At least 90% of your serotonin is housed in the gut, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements.
(Note: Serotonin is responsible for ‘good feelings’, happiness and overall well-being; most often correlated with your mental health and brain function)
Sooooooo…when your gut is stressed, or less than optimal, the rest of your body (and mind) suffers.
This phenomena does not occur over night either.
It is attributed to multiple factors that have led to a more weakened gut, and consequently, poor immunity, including:
- Not chewing your food thoroughly or slowing down during meal times
- Lack of nutrient-dense foods in your diet
- Undigested foods because you don’t have the enzymes to break them down
- More ‘bad bacteria’ than ‘good bacteria’ in your gut
- Higher intake of gut-irritating foods than your gut can handle (grains, dairy, sugar, legumes—not properly prepared and soaked)
- Chronic stress (preventing the production of stomach acid needed for digestion)
- Outside toxins (harsh chemicals in some foods/processed foods, eating out more than enjoying a home-cooked meal, cleaning products, pollution)
- Consumption of ‘fake’ foods (lots of bars, shakes, frozen meals, packaged/processed goods)
While ‘a little dirt never hurt’ (after all we can’t live in bubbles people), ARMING your body and your digestive system with some EXTRA STRENGTH, and focusing on repairing your leaky gut, or improving your digestion will tremendously help you improve NOT only your digestion itself, but your body’s immunity and the prevention of disease, allergies and illness.
Here are 3 SIMPLE STEPS you can take today to begin healing your health (and your gut).
Happy tummies=enhanced quality of life!
- Chew Your Food. Chew, chew, swallow, chew, chew, swallow. Unfortunately, more often than not, due to our ‘on the go’ lifestyles, or just improper habits around food consumption…our poor chewing contributes to the poor formation of a bolus (the thoroughly chewed food to be transported to the next stage: the stomach). When our food is not properly chewed…our digestion is going to struggle with the chore of having break down the food more so than usual in the stomach and intestines (i.e. something not in its original job description). Put your fork down between bites. Chew your food until you can no longer tell what it formerly was (i.e. a piece of chicken should taste like chicken still…but be like a wad of saliva-glazed chicken after you’re finished chewing). I know that sounds gross, but chewing can make or break your digestion in a positive way if you let it!
- Drink More Water. It’s totally not a ‘sexy’ point—as in, it’s boring. Drink water sounds so simple that you already do it…right? You’d be surprised! If I had a dime for every time I spoke with someone who THOUGHT they were drinking enough water, and they actually came to realize they are NOT, I’d be a rich woman! In fact, according to a recent study from Boston College, TWO-THIRDS of Americans do NOT drink enough water. How much water do you need? (Cricket, cricket). Half your bodyweight in ounces is the MINIMUM—not factoring your exercise or heat outside in! And this water does NOT include tea, coffee, protein shakes, Diet sodas, Crystal Light, etc. It means water! (perhaps fruit or cucumber/mint infused if you need to ‘spice it up’!). A simple step you can take towards this goal? START your day off with 16 ounces of water, while getting ready for the day, before putting anything else in your mouth. Hydrate your body…improve your digestion. Win-win!
- Take one. It’s a ‘buzzword’ that get’s a lot of hype (kind of like “super foods”), but what is it really? And what can it do for you? Probiotics essentially are BACTERIA…but they are GOOD BACTERIA…much needed good bacteria to stave off and counteract all the really bad bacteria in your gut. Your gut is home to 100-TRILLION strands of bacteria (crazy talk, huh?). It’s like a tropical rainforest of diversity down there. Therefore, by taking a probiotic (or even better: eating probiotic foods), you arm your gut with some extra ammunition for killing off any bad bacteria from toxins (undigested food particles, chemicals in your food, pesticides, etc.) that otherwise want to take your gut down. There are a handful of great brands out there (Note: NOT all supplements are alike, just like a McDonald’s hamburger is wayyyyyy different in quality from an organic grass-fed, homemade bison or beef burger). Check out pharmaceutical grade: Prescript Assist, Transformation Enzymes Digest, and even the off-the-shelf Jarrow or Inner-Eco (double the dose for adults) not horrible. Begin by taking one in the morning and one at night before bed. And, if you aren’t into taking pills, the BEST option? Eat fermented foods. Whole Foods and many local grocers go ahead and sell fermented vegetables for you to take the labor and time out of it (beets, sauerkraut, any veggie really) or you can make your own (check out this article). Other probiotic foods include: Kombucha (2-4 ounces max—not the whole bottle at once), full fat raw plain yogurt and Kefir (no added sugar) and even homemade bone broth (made with chicken or beef bones). Eat 1-2 of these foods daily to get your stomach pumping some iron (i.e. warding off bad bacteria).
These three steps alone are a great jumpstart to getting your gut well on its way to healing and improving your immunity and all around health.
Age old wisdom that has been replaced by NSAIDs, SSRIs, other prescription meds, inhalers, Tums and more for far too long.
Take the reigns back on your health today.