In a very real sense, thinking about our food, pondering it, giving a moment to let our physical senses be affected by our food thoughts, prepares the body for digestion in the best of ways.
When you have experienced your mouth watering while someone is describing a dish, or your are looking through a magazine and see a juicy picture of some wonderfully prepared food, you are experiencing the body engaging in stage one of digestion. The brain is sending a signal to the salivary glands to release saliva. The first contact food has with digestive breakdown is in the mouth. Saliva contains a complex mixture of electrolytes, hormones and enzymes. Without the enzymes, particularly salivary amylase, the carbohydrates (starches) do not chemically breakdown. This leaves undigested starches to make their way into the colon. Candida and general dysbiosis is fed by undigested starches.
I have referenced this topic in a previous post, but I feel the more in depth we can go into each stage of the digestive process, in small bites, gives us more understanding about how and why our body was intended to work the way it does. With a good understanding of our physiology, we can make sure not to interfere with a wonderfully innate system that can keep us healthy….if we let it!
Food for Thought: …think about your food, smell it, look at it, before it goes in your mouth!
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.