Does your belly ever bloat after meals?
Do you run to the bathroom after eating? Or are you the opposite and would you LOVE to just be able to poo?
How about belching? Excessive gas? or the inability to feel hungry or full?
If you answered any of these “Yes!”, you’re one among the large majority of us that suffer from poor digestion.
First, what causes poor digestion:
Poor digestion can be caused by/can cause a slew of things: leaky gut, hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid), inflammation, processed foods, additives, just to name a few!
With our Standard American Diet (SAD), we are more inclined to have poor digestion! Often this type of diet, one high in processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugar, and poor fat choices, is just asking the body to become compromised.
Poor digestion leads to poor nutrient absorption, leading to nutritional deficiencies and imbalances; poor hormone production, leading to weight gain, PMS, low-testosterone; leaky gut which leads to autoimmune disease and inflammation throughout the body; digestive distress such as the rancidity of fats, fermentation of carbs, and putrefying proteins; blockage of the detoxification pathways through slow moving stool (aka constipation, aka why you haven’t gone number two in a few days)
Why does this matter to me?
Do you care about your weight or if you can’t fit into your favorite pair of pants because you’re bloated? Does autoimmunity run in your family tree or are you concerned about the fact that your toxins are backing up because so is your poo?
THIS IS WHY DIGESTION MATTERS!
Proper digestion ensures our body is receiving and utilizing important fuel! It is processing and breaking down our food from the moment we begin to sit down and think about it! Literally!
If you care about absorbing all the precious vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients from your food (especially if you’re investing in local, grass-fed/free-range meats, organic produce, and quality supplemetion ) you want your digestion to be optimum. If not, you’re just putting more of a burden on the body instead of helping it. Poor digestion causes your body to only use a portion of what you’re putting into it and potentially harming the rest of it!
How does it work?
This portion is for my fellow geeky people who enjoy knowing why and how things work!
I much prefer to explain this in person, because it’s more fun and more tailored to your specific digestive needs. If you are my client, you’ve likely gotten the hand motions that I love using for explanation. If you aren’t my client yet, don’t worry, I won’t leave you out when the time comes.
Digestion is a north to south process.
Think about it like this:
Brain: Digestion begins with a parasympathetic state.
Example: SIT and RELAX while eating your meals. Take a moment to breathe, check out your plate of food, be thankful for it, and enjoy.
Don’t: Eat while driving. Eat while upset. Eat when stressed.
Mouth: Chewing is the first mechanical breakdown of our food.
Example: Chew until your food is liquid and your liquid is more liquid-y. The breakdown of carbohydrates begins with salivary amylase and by chewing your food. You are also aiding your body in recognizing it’s being fed and helping the more southern processes by doing much of the work for your body.
Don’t: Chew once, Swallow, Inhale Plate (Men, you tend to be the worst at this. It’s not a race 😉 )
Belly: The churn and burn.
Example: Your body begins to breakdown and incinerate your food. The stomach increases hydrochloric acid and turns your food into acidic mush. This is where the magic begins to happen. The body is brilliant and is setting you up perfectly for the next phase of digestion: absorption.
Don’t: Let anyone tell you stomach acid is bad for you. It’s not. You need it and it’s important. Also, be careful drinking too much around meals (especially if you don’t produce enough stomach acid.) And you shouldn’t be drinking soda anyway, but if you are, around meal time is especially damaging.
S. Intestine: Absorb all the Things
Example: 70% of your nutrients are absorbed in the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum). Your chyme (the fancy word for what your stomach acid created) goes back and forth until you’ve absorbed all that you can. The leading roles in this show are the villi and microvilli. They act as little finger-like projections that soak up all the goodness!
Don’t: This is the point in digestion where things really can start to go south (pun always intended). If the upper part of digestion has been off at any point, this is where it can become critically damaging. Too much for this blog post, but man, it’s fascinating. Side Note and Fun Fact: this is also where my Celiac Disease is located!
L. Intestine: Recycle and Eliminate
Example: the large intestine is a recycling fanatic. It won’t let anything go to waste and will reabsorb anything it can while it has the chance: water, vitamins, bile, etc. We don’t want stool to sit too long though, then things can get a little rough. We also don’t want stool to go through too quickly, then we don’t absorb what we need to!
Don’t: Hold yourself. If you gotta go, you gotta go! I don’t care if it’s out in public or the first time you’re visiting a new boyfriend or girlfriend’s house, act like Elsa and let that crap go! (I’m hilarious today)
Toilet: Well, we all know what this means.
Example: Don’t think it’s weird to check your stool. Because it’s not. Your poo has clues! There is so much you can tell about your body by what it expels. I talk about bowel movements on a regular basis so if you have any questions about why yours floats, sinks, or is nonexistent, please, let’s talk nutritional therapy. I’d love to chat.
Don’t: Forget about the squatty potty! If you have difficulty using the bathroom, check out this nifty little invention.
There ya have it, folks! Digestion!
I like to think that digestion is a speciality of mine. I gravitated to it the most while I was in school and I have personal experience in healing leaky gut, putting autoimmunity into remission, and being an *expert* poo interpreter.
If you have any questions or are curious on how nutritional therapy could help you better your digestion or health, please, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer free, 15-minute phone/Skype/in-person consultations to see how nutritional therapy can work for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out!
Thank you all again for reading and I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday! Don’t forget to check out my 2 Minute Tuesday over on FaceBook for new tips weekly!
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Disclaimer: None of this information is intended to diagnose or treat any type of illness or disease. Always consult with your physician before making any decisions regarding your health.
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