Do you struggle with uncomfortable bloating, constipation, abdominal discomfort, and other digestive issues?
Maybe you exercise regularly, get a full 8 hours of sleep, and have tried practically every diet under the sun, but you know that your metabolism and digestive system is sluggish because no matter what you do the stubborn weight around your stomach doesn’t seem to budge...
Then you remember reading somewhere that eating small meals every few hours throughout your day increases your metabolism!
So you decide to try it out.
It works for a little while, but then your weight plateaus again! You still aren’t happy with how you look or feel and you’re back at square one.
I hear this story often from my clients: “ I eat small meals frequently throughout my day to increase my metabolism.”
Though it is true that eating more will jumpstart your metabolism, it also sends your digestive system into OVERDRIVE!
You might be thinking, “I will take an overworked digestive system if it means my metabolism increases!”
The truth is, you cannot achieve great metabolic health if your digestive system is overworked or not working properly.
But the good news is that optimizing your digestion is as easy as remembering 5 simple words!
Below I have laid out the 5 C’s to digestive health.
Read through these simple and sustainable tips to get your digestion in amazing working order:
There are so many choices that you can make about the food that you put into your body.
Choosing the right food is really important - so be sure to make the choices that are consistent with who you want to become. I recommend choosing whole foods that are full of fiber, healthy fats, protein, and nutrients.
Beyond choosing the right foods, you also need to choose when to eat, and how you feel about the food you’re eating.
It is really important to give your digestive system adequate time to rest and recover after eating.
So instead of eating small meals throughout your day, it is best to narrow down your window of eating to high noon.
High noon is not necessarily 12:00pm, it just means the time of day when the sun is highest in the sky. This is the optimal time of day to eat your meals. If you eat one meal each day, you should aim to eat it during this time.
If you eat 2-3 you should plan to eat them all within a few hours of high noon to optimize your digestion.
Finally, It is up to you to decide how you want to feel about the choices that you make.
You can be miserable and view eating as a punishment, or you can be grateful and excited about the food that you choose to nourish your body. The choice is yours!
This is an easy one. Chew your food! Your stomach doesn’t have teeth so it’s essential that you chew your food completely before you swallow.
By not chewing your food thoroughly you are actually wasting lots of metabolic energy...
Chewing is necessary to extract as many nutrients as possible from your food. Our saliva alone cannot break through the cell walls where all of the nutrients are contained, so we need to physically break through by chewing.
Remember this: in order to chew your food properly, do not swallow until you have achieved the consistency of salsa (approximately 30-45 bites). You might also consider minimizing your water intake while chewing to discourage swallowing too early.
This will slow down your eating and help you to achieve the next tip- a relaxed state!
In order to optimize your digestion, make sure that you are feeling relaxed and can chill out.
Mealtime is important- this is when you are fueling up your body and creating more energy to get you through your day.
Give your meals the time they deserve. Instead of eating at your desk, or on the way to drop your kids off at their activities, take the time to sit down at a table and relax while you nourish your body.
You must be in a relaxed state in order to send blood flow to your digestive system instead of your arms or legs. If you’re standing while you eat, your stomach just won’t work properly.
Though it may not seem like it has anything to do with digestion, cherishing the food in front of you changes our experience with the entire process of eating and digesting.
This goes back to that idea of choice. How we feel about our food sets the tone for how our body will respond to it.
Be grateful, not only for your food, but grateful for the process in which your food went through in order to arrive on your plate.
We live in a time where our food requires many people to grow it, harvest it, process it (if needed), sort it, sell it, and prepare it! Showing your gratitude for this process will give you a greater appreciation for the food that is available to you.
Taking the time to cherish your food will help you achieve a parasympathetic state which will greatly aid your digestive health.
This tip may not be your favorite, but it is really important. Check your stool.
Yes, part of reaching optimal digestion is to visually inspect your stool. This is an easy way to decipher what you did and did not digest properly.
You want to check for any undigested food, the color of your stool (dark, light, strange color, etc), the consistency of your stool, and the odor.
It might surprise you to learn that when you are properly digesting your food, your stool will actually be relatively odorless.
Beyond your own inspection, it is also wise to have a microscopic inspection of your stool.
You can ask your functional medicine provider to order a stool test in order to identify if there are parasites or pathogens going on that cause inflammation or issues at a biological level like leaky gut or a bacterial imbalance.
In order to maintain optimal digestive health, ask your functional medicine provider to order a stool test annually!
I love sharing simple and actionable tips just like the 5 C’s of digestion with the people in our awesome Living Proof Community.
If you want more tips to improve your digestion, optimize your metabolic health, and start living your best life, then I invite you to join the Living Proof Community on Facebook!
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