10 Steps To Better Digestion

Good digestion has a lot to do with clean eating. When you consume clean whole foods you experience significantly less digestive issues.  This is one of the things I love about the detox program, it challenges you to cut out many of the foods that typically cause digestion problems.   After the detox you can then add in one new food type at a time to really isolate those foods that are causing you digestive issues.

During the detox you really learn to pay attention to the following:   Do you feel like your food is just sitting in your stomach for hours after you eat? Or is the opposite happening, and are you running to the bathroom before you have even finished your meal?  If you are experiencing these issues, you are not alone  and there are things you can do improve the situation.

Here are ten steps to take now to get things moving properly through your gut:

  1. Food Combining – When foods are combined properly, they do not sit in your stomach and rot. That rotting food feeds the bad bacteria and yeast that everyone has residing in their digestive tract. To combine food, you eat protein with vegetables or grains with vegetables, never proteins & grains together.
  2. Fermented Foods – These are naturally fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, etc., that, when eaten, will feed the good bacteria in your gut and balance your inner ecology.
  3. Enzymes and Probiotics – While not everyone needs to take digestive enzymes all the time, they can be helpful in digesting certain foods, such as cruciferous vegetables.  Probiotics also help with the digestion of  food and build up your immunity.
  4. Water – We all know we need to drink plenty of water. A little known Ayurvedic trick is to drink a glass of water 15 minutes before your meal. This will get your digestive juices flowing and your food will get digested better.
  5. 80/20 – This rule is to eat until you are 80% full. That leaves 20% of the room left in your stomach for your digestion to work. No one likes that uncomfortable full feeling and your tummy will thank you if you stop just before you are full.
  6. Eat Loads of Fiber – Your body needs fiber to carry out toxins, excess hormones, and junk. Eating lots of water-soluble fiber, found in veggies, will ensure that you get plenty of fiber. Just don’t forget step #4! Drink lots of water, too, so that you don’t end up with bulky stool.
  7. Short Fasting Period – Don’t worry, I am not suggesting that you don’t eat for a day. What I am suggesting is that you take some time between meals. Give your system about 3 or 4 hours to let the food get assimilated. When your gut is constantly bombarded by food all day long, it gets confused and doesn’t work properly. Give it some time to work on that last meal before you head to the kitchen for a snack.
  8. Cut Sugar and White Carbohydrates – These foods will feed the bad guys in your gut. Avoid them for less gas and bloating – and you don’t want the insulin spike that comes with them either.
  9. Gluten – A large percentage of Americans are gluten intolerant and do not know it. Try going without and see if your digestion works any better.
  10. Bone Broth – The #1 most soothing and healing drink that you could ever ingest. Homemade bone broth contains all of the nutrients you need to heal your gut if it is leaky and also provides the minerals you need for strong bones. It’s a win-win, must-consume food!

BONUS: Eat Mindfully.  I discussed this a few weeks ago, but can not stress the importance of this. Not only will slowing down, sitting down and chewing slowly, help you eat less, and be more aware of what you’re eating, you will digest your food properly and are a lot less likely to suffer from a stomach ache.

If you incorporate some or all of the tips, you will ease in to better digestion and the tummy troubles will disappear.

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An Exercise In Mindful Eating

If you have been following any of my posts this week, you can see that eating mindfully is a whole new way to approach food. I talk a lot about awareness with my clients and in the detox.  The more awareness you have, the less likely you are to make poor choices in food and in life.  Mindful eating is a significant piece of this, and may really be the final piece in healthy eating.

I know that I am personally guilty of mindless eating more than I care to admit.   Not so much in the way of  eating junk food, but in the way of eating on the go, rushing through meals while I multitask,  and not truly taking the time to taste  and enjoy my food.

The first time I  heard about mindful eating was a couple years ago from Jon Kabat-Zinn (one of my very first meditation teachers).   He has a very simple exercise he starts with when teaching meditation, called ‘The Raisin Consciousness”.    This is definitely an experience to try and if you don’t like raisins feel free to use another similar dried fruit.

Raisin Meditation

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair.
  2. Place a raisin in your hand.
  3. Examine the raisin as if you had never seen it before.
  4. Imagine it as its “plump self” growing on the vine surrounded by nature.
  5. As you look at the raisin, become conscious of what you see: the shape, texture, color, size. Is it hard or soft?
  6. Bring the raisin to your nose and smell it.
  7. Are you anticipating eating the raisin? Is it difficult not to just pop it in your mouth?
  8. How does the raisin feel? How small it is in your hand?
  9. Place the raisin in your mouth. Become aware of what your tongue is doing.
  10. Bite ever so lightly into the raisin. Feel its squishiness.
  11. Chew three times and then stop.
  12. Describe the flavor of the raisin. What is the texture?
  13. As you complete chewing, swallow the raisin.
  14. Sit quietly, breathing, aware of what you are sensing.

Jon Kabat Zinn explains the exercises purpose as follows:

“The raisin exercise dispels all previous concepts we may be harboring about meditation. It immediately places it in the realm of the ordinary, the everyday, the world you already know but are now going to know differently. Eating one raisin very, very slowly allows you to drop right into the knowing in ways that are effortless, totally natural, and entirely beyond words and thinking. Such an exercise delivers wakefulness immediately. There is in this moment only tasting.”

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