We have all heard it from a parent at one time or another… In the middle of horking down a meal, the direction from a loving parent, “Slow down and chew your food!” It is likely that our parents are simply mimicking the same directive they got from their parents and so on…But why?
Well, our stomach doesn’t have teeth because our mouth does! If we don’t chew our food enough, which most of us don’t, we end up with food chunks hitting our stomach that end up rotting and decaying in there (that’s where some not so pleasant sound and smell effects can come from, later on). No, the hydrochloric acid in our stomach wasn’t intended to do what our saliva and teeth do.
Saliva is an incredible mixture of enzymes. If the right enzymes aren’t release in saliva and the food isn’t chewed long enough for saliva to do it’s work, undigested starches make it to small intestine and then a gut bacterial party begins. This party can cause serious health issues over the long run.
So let’s just do the easy thing and Chew Your Food at least 20 times. It will take some getting used to. Most of us probably only chew 3-5 times before a swallow. Test yourself and see!
Digestion is a North to South process.
And then…well, you know…Out.
Anywhere along the way, if there is an interference, the system becomes compromised and we will know of dysfunction by way of symptoms. One of the keys to healing is to know why and where a problem is originating. One of the great benefits of nutritional therapy is analyzing where the problem is originating and restoring balance to the digestive process so the body can do what is made to do…FUNCTION!
Did you know that your brain is the first organ of digestion? Not your mouth, tongue, stomach…But your brain! When you smell food, think about food, feel hunger, you are mentally preparing the digestive process. The brain responds by starting the chemical process for properly breaking whole food down into smaller particles for absorption.
When you find your mouth watering, that is the brain signaling saliva to release, which contains the first round of enzymes needed to start breaking down food. Sometimes it may not happen. The reason our mouth may not be READY to eat, could be that we are not mentally preparing ourselves to start the very important process.
We are a busy society, conditioned to grab food on the go, or drive thru a fast food window, eat standing up, or driving. These behaviors are actually very disruptive to digestion. Food isn’t properly broken down, therefore not properly absorbed. Burping, farting, heartburn, indigestion….these are all signs of improperly digested food. Or rather non-digested food.
The symptoms don’t stop there. You will learn much more about this process on this blog.
Take a break. Sit down.Smell your food. Look at it. Fantasize about how good it will taste. Just give your brain a small minute before you eat to get the juices of digestion flowing.
Often we see scenes in movies, depicting a character who just received challenging information or experienced something unexpected, saying, “I need a drink.” Although we are quite familiar with the intended “drink” reference being alcohol, our body is really signaling us to hydrate with water for that “drink” instead. Dehydration has an exponential effect on the stress response and the associated hormones that manage stress. Hydration helps our body do what it knows how to do best-FUNCTION!
Endorphins, cortisol, prolactin, and vasopressin are some of the powerful hormones released when a body is under physical and/or psychological stress. Dehydration alone will trigger the stress response in a body.
As the body enters into any triggered stress mode, it actually needs water to supplement the process of handling stress byproducts and waste material. Those stress hormones work hard and fast and like any good machine, create some waste that needs to be cleaned up. It uses up water to help the situation come to completion. If water is already in high demand elsewhere, or not available, the cycle cannot complete and it is left in this loop that initiates degeneration, dysfunction and even diseased states.
We have enough “stress” in our day-to-day living to trigger this innate response system. Understanding that dehydration not only triggers that powerful system, but also exacerbates it, is reason alone to drink a cup of water every hour of the day.
“A cup of water an hour, gives you stress management power!”
Drink water. Better yet, drink filtered water. Drink the best quality water you can. Free from chemical additives such as chlorine and fluoride.
Water, properly and frequently ingested, offers preventative protection against many dysfunctions and diseases. The body is predominantly water, 75%, and all the systems of the body require water to perform their functions.
Take your weight. Divide it in half. Use that number as the number of ounces of water to drink daily.
One of the body’s basics and absolute necessities is proper hydration.
There has been a statistical abnormality present over the last several decades. As the grocery store shelves increase in low fat food options, our national obesity rate has soared! How is it that a population that has become so inundated with fat free and low fat options, struggles more than before with not just a few extra pounds, but severe obesity? And at epidemic levels among our children? Well here’s the skinny on our increasing obesity rate:
As our low fat and fat free food markets emerged, the increase in sugar content to those fat reduced products grew. You see, fat carries flavor beautifully, naturally. It also provides satiation. It triggers our digestive system to know the feeling of being full. When you extract the fat, the flavor plummets. But by adding sugar, the flavor is restored. Unfortunately sugar, doesn’t provide the trigger for natural satiation the body was programmed to recognize. So this is just one piece of the sugar/fat puzzle.
Our bodies only need a certain amount of energy that sugar(glucose) provides. And when the cellular work is done that requires energy from glucose, it has to convert any excess sugar (glucose) to fat for storage. Our blood can only have a very limited amount of sugar floating around in it at one time. Diabetics know all about this topic. Sugar can kill us, if present in excess. So our bodies send messages out to insulin to be release from our pancreas. Insulin converts any excess glucose (sugar) into fat to be stored in our fatty tissue for a rainy day. (We can only hope we have enough rainy days to use up all the excess sugar storage).
As we can deduce from this very brief explanation, our low fat food selections have more sugar than the naturally occurring food. We eat more low fat food because we are less satiated (not to mention, seriously addicted to sugar in general…more on that later). We ingest more sugar than we need. The excess sugar is stored as fat. And here we have one of today’s serious health epidemics, obesity….
Sugar a.k.a Fat
Fat is not the enemy our current dietary ideology has made it out to be. Yes, too much fat, physiologically present in our tissue and organs can pose serious problems, but so can too much water, or too much salt, or too much sugar, etc….
Fat is an essential element in the healthy function of our bodies and minds. Lipid (fat) layers are what each cell membrane is made of. It provides the flexible strength to the cell membrane. If we don’t consume good quality dietary fat, the membrane of every cell in our body is compromised. And compromised cellular structure gives way to real enemies…dysfunction and disease.
Learn more about why fat is important. Don’t be afraid of fat. Be picky about the kind of fat you consume and choose fats that our bodies know what to do with. Those are friendly fats! And they have been around for thousands of years. Some examples: Pure, cold pressed nut and seed oils, butter from grass fed cows, pure high quality olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, just to name a few.
Never eat margarine or spreads. There are chemically created and highly processed. No fake butter out there is good for you. And get rid of your shortening while you’re at it. Again, highly processed and highly toxic to your body.
Rule of thumb: the further from nature something is through stages of processing to get it on the grocery store shelf, the more of an enemy it is to your body.
There are 4 grams of sugar per 1 tsp.
The next time you pick of a soda, yogurt, package of cookies, candy bar, etc. look at the nutritional label. If the sugar content says 32 grams, do some quick math. 32 grams / 4 grams = 8 tsps….. yes, that means 32 grams of sugar is 8 tsps of sugar in that cup of yogurt, can of pop, or whatever.
You now have the ability to know how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming in any product you place in our mouth just by using the data on the label. It might help you decide to say “no” to that item and replace it with a better option….less sugar option:)
Pick something fresh today to eat! It doesn’t need to be really sweet.
In 1821, the average person consumed 10 lbs of sugar per year. USDA statistics in 2005 stated the average person consumed 199 lbs of sugar per year! That is a little over 1/2 lb of sugar per day!
Any way to cut back on the sugar you consume each day, will reward your body in the long run.