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Optimizing Digestion

 

We all have heard the saying "you are what you eat". Well in Ayurvedic Medicine we say "you are what you digest". 

Proper digestion is at the heart of Ayurveda. In this system of medicine the majority of disease and disorder arises originally by the faulty functioning of our GI tract. 

 

I get asked all the time what the healthiest diet is, vegetarian, meat, vegan, raw, etc. My main answer is the food that your body is able to digest is the best. You can eat the most nutritious foods but if your digestive system is not able to properly break these foods down you will not get the nutrition that you desire out of these foods. And worse off, if these foods sit too long in your GI tract they may start to ferment and proliferate bacterias or fungi we do not want in large quantities in our gut. These organisms can start to wreak havoc on our inner chemistry and tissues of our body.

 

Ayurveda goes to great lengths to do things to optimize proper digestion. It starts with knowing your body type and eating in accordance with it. This article is not intended to go into great depths into each of the body types. There are plenty of articles on-line for that. Along with a simple book by Deepak Chopra called Perfect Health, you can be on your way in that arena. 

Instead I want to focus on the many other ways we can support our bodies whether we know our body type or not.

 

Just some of the signs you might have, that would signal poor digestion:

Bloating, gas, heartburn or indigestion, inability to lose weight or gain weight, blood tests show low in certain vitamins, diarrhea or constipation, feeling tired after meals, bad breath, body odor, coating on your tongue(best seen right when you wake up in the AM) stinky poo, brain fog, feeling heavy in the body, joint stiffness, emotional instability or issues, depression, quick to anger or react, increase amounts of colds & flus, decrease in immunity.

 

This week we introduce things that will allow your body to digest its food better.

 

First we start with how we are eating our food. See if you can start to implement these fine habits to eating:

 

1)Sit down to eat. Turn off the TV, don't read. Focus on your food and chewing slowly.

2)Do not snack during the day.

Leave 4-5 hours between meals so the body can sweep the Small Intestines of bacteria and toxins.

3)Do not drink lots of water with a meal as this waters down your digestive acids and enzymes. Especially avoid iced or cold drinks as this douses your digestive fire.

4)20-30 min before a meal drink water with either 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or 1/2 squeezed lemon. These help to increase the acids in your stomach to break down your food.

5)Sip warm water during meal or one of the teas suggested in this newsletter. 

 

Supplements:

Take a digestive enzyme formula that has Betaine HCL. Unless you are taking aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil or other corticosteroids on a regular basis, as it can increase risk of ulcers or GI bleeding.

 

Trikatu- is a great herbal digestive aid herbal formula you can take with meals, long term. You can find this at most New Seasons or Whole Foods

 

Add sea salt to the cooking of your food. Not to the top of the food after cooking.

 

Spices aid in the digestion of food. Black pepper, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne, fennel. Most spices have a digestive property, get creative.

 

Add small amount of sauerkraut to your meals.

 

Prepare your food for easier digestibility:

Avoid raw foods. Steam your veggies.

Soak your beans 12-24 hours or sprout them before you cook them.

Soak your nuts(in salt water) 12-24 hours or sprout them.

Soak grains 12-24 hour in whey, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and water. Before you cook them.


 

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