doesn't mean that you are healthy. Every cell that makes up every tissue, that makes up every organ, depends on the body’s Digestive System to provide the nutrients it needs to keep on functioning.
FACT: You can be the healthiest eater, the cleanest chef, the most organic grocer or the highest Paleo master.....but guess what? If you are not digesting your food properly, you certainly are not going to reap the benefits from your dedication to clean eating. You also could be putting yourself at risk for some potentially harmful situations.
Digestion is a commonly overlooked concept in our busy on-the-go world. However, it is perhaps the most important!
Digestion is a NORTH to SOUTH process
Did you know? Digestion actually starts in the BRAIN?
Step 1: Relax
Put your Brain into a Parasympathetic State
1.) Relating to the part of the automatic nervous system that counterbalances the action of the sympathetic nerves. It consists of nerves arising from the brain and the lower end of the spinal cord and supplying the internal organs, blood vessels, and glands.
When we consume food under a “Sympathetic” state = fight or flight stage, rather than a “Parasympathetic” state = rest and digest, many of the necessary processes of digestion cannot occur. This can start all the way at the top when the salivary glands cannot excrete enough saliva, all the way down to a lack of the necessary hormones such as pepsin, gastrin and CCK not being released down south. Everything has a chain reaction and ultimately it boils down to not having sufficient HCL, or stomach acid, in order to carry out several necessary processes of digestion.
Step 2: Chew Your Food!
Do me a favor, think back to something that you saw on a plate or on a menu and thought, daaaannngggg that looks so good! What happens next? Your mouth starts to water and your belly begins to get excited. This is a perfect example of your brain triggering your mouth to produce saliva, or salivary amylase, which begins the chemical breakdown of carbohydrates.
"Drink your solids and chew your liquids.”
Now that we have covered the first two steps to proper digestion....What happens when these steps are overlooked? = Dysfunction.
Result: Too L I T T L E stomach acid.
This is a very common misconception. Especially in the medical field. Doctors are commonly misdiagnosing and prescribing acid blockers, when the real problem is people do not have ENOUGH stomach acid.
If the REAL problem is too little acid produced in the stomach, why do antacids seem to relieve the symptoms?
THE LUCRATIVE ANSWER
Antacids, acid blockers, etc. raise the
pH of chyme to neutral, so it doesn’t
burn the esophagus. However, now the
chyme is much too alkaline for the
What is this doing to the rest of your digestive system while you are popping antacids?
Stomach acid, or "HCL" (Hydrochloric Acid) is needed for proper digestion, absorption of nutrients, and protects our bodies from infection. From our gastric juices, when the bolus enters our stomach, HCL is produced and is needed in order to activate pepsin. Pepsin is the enzyme that is needed to break down proteins. If our bodies are unable to break down proteins, we are not able to absorb the needed amino acids for our bodies function or even detox. HCL also protects our bodies by killing harmful bacteria, and protects our digestive system from bacterial overgrowth.
Do you drink too much water or soda with your meals?
Another common inhibitor of stomach acid is the way in which our culture guzzles down liquids with our meals thinking it will "help get food moving." Well, think again. Small amounts of water with a meal are ok, but most people drink far too much water while eating. Water can inhibit the gastric juices from doing their job. What about soda and carbonated water? Also a NO while eating. In general, consuming to much carbonation can produce negative effects. Soda = obvious answer! The phosphoric acid and sodium bicarbonate act as a pH neutralizer and further inhibits digestion by keeping HCL from being produced.
Undigested Foods Are Dangerous
When HCL is inhibited and certain important processes cannot occur, such Chyme breaking fats into fatty acids and glycerol molecules, the undigested foods start to essentially rot. Carbohydrates ferment, proteins putrefy and fats become rancid. Not only to do these undigested foods cause problems like reflux, (GERD), bloating, inflammation, and abdominal pain, but it can also lead to leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut?
Undigested foods impact the villi and microvilli of the small intestine, basically breaking down the protective lining in the stomach. When this lining is not strong enough, selectivity of what passes through the lining is lost. All of a sudden we have an opening from the intestinal lining into the bloodstream, where potential harmful bacteria and large sizes of proteins and fats become harmful to the immune system.
When the intestinal lining is permeable and allows foreign foods and nutrients into the bloodstream, the immune system sees this as an invader and goes to attack it. However, often times instead of attacking this food foreigner, the immune system attacks certain parts of our own body and organs, leading to Autoimmune Diseases.
Yes, certain foods are easier to digest
First off, it is important to know that everyone is Bio-Individual. This means that what works for one person, might not work another. This is true with food, lifestyle and even supplements. Everyone's body will innately need something different when it comes to nutrient support. That could mean Adrenal support, Liver support, Endochrine support etc. I work with clients to figure out those details and deficiencies through Nutritional Therapy. What I can tell you though, as an overall recommendation; I believe that a relatively anti-inflammatory diet is going to do you more good than bad. Certain foods are marked as "inflammatory" because they can be hard to break down, contain toxins, or on a case by case basis, cause an allergic or histamine response.
FUN FACT: You can only be truly "Allergic" to proteins! Proteins = amino acids. Can you be allergic to Melon? Nope! Can you be allergic to nuts or eggs? Yup!
The most common inflammatory foods are:
Pasteurized, homogenized, skim, and low‐fat milk
Toxic Additive & Colorings
Refined Table Salt
What are the best sources of foods? = Properly prepared, nutrient dense, REAL foods!
Organic Fruits & Vegetables
Whole, Raw, Unrefined and Cultured Foods
Probiotic Rich Foods
Pasture-Raised Poultry & Eggs
100% Grass Feed Meats
Soaked or Sprouted Nuts, Seeds & Grains
Natural Minerals from Spring Water & Pink Sea Salt
Tip: Avoid the Microwave. Microwaves alter the elemental food substances, causing digestive disorders. In addition, the chemical alterations to the food may cause lymphatic malfunctions, significantly reduces the nutritional value of food & has been shown to cause trace minerals in plant substances to form cancer‐causing free radicals.
So! That was A LOT of information, I know! But when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating, you can see that it is way more involved than simply choosing the right foods. Your brain is the bus driver and your gut is the co-pilot. All of your other cells and organs are the passengers. Each one of these players are involved in driving a healthy body to a thriving destination!
Questions? Send me an email!