6 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Digestion Without Changing Your Diet
One of the things I love telling people the most (because it shocks them so) is that I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2015 after being on a digestive healing diet with no grains or sugars for a year. I was eating the ‘cleanest’ I ever had in my life, and then became the sickest I had ever been.
So obviously, eating “healthy” isn’t the whole answer. Here are some cool, quick tips that can help improve your digestion and health without changing anything about what is going into your mouth. Pretty neat, eh?
One: Speed of eating
About 98% of our patients are fast eaters. Why does this matter?
It is super important to break things apart in the mouth, our first stage of digestion. If we leave food in big chunks, by the time it gets to our small intestine, those chunks are like a huge buffet for all sorts of nasties (bad bacteria, yeast, etc.). They are not good to feed, as the small intestine is where the base of our health starts! Plus , we can’t access the nutrients properly without chewing well.
So how can we fix this situation?
Put down utensil (spoon/fork) in between bites; count how many times you chew (depending on the type of food obviously!); go for baby food texture; chew even when drinking smoothies, as the action of moving your jaw lets your brain know it is eating time, helping your body release enzymes (chemicals to help break down food)
Two: What are you doing WHILE you are eating?
This is a super tricky one in our fast-paced world! Why does it matter what you are doing while you are eating? Our brains are not as sophisticated as we think…when we are distracted, like watching a movie, looking at our phones, driving or walking and eating, our blood is diverted from our digestion to our outer limbs. Our bodies think we are running from a sabre tooth tiger like back in the cave people days!
So, what can we do?
Be AWARE: simply knowing how often you are distracted while eating is a huge step towards change.
Compromise and chew slowly and well without any distractions for at least part of the meal. Or dedicate one meal a day where it is easiest to eat non-distracted and start from there.
Eat somewhere else (like a cafeteria or a lunch room or staff room). Carve out an extra 5-10 minutes to eat breakfast at the table at home instead of while driving. Or you can have a bulletproof drink for breakfast and practice intermittent fasting, eating your next meal when you have more time to digest.
Three: Eating too much
We can find ourselves eating too much because of stress, dealing with emotions, or pressure from others, particularly family members.
Tips to help:
You are NOT responsible for anyone’s feelings other than your own.
You can say, “I really appreciate the offer, but I am ok. Thank you though!” OR “I really appreciate the effort you put into this. Can I take some home instead of having some right now?”
Add a splash of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or put fresh ginger in your water/tea to help stimulate digestion; use a salad side plate instead of a dinner size plate; don’t going back for seconds; if you have more protein, veggies and whole grains, they can help you feel fuller (compared to sugar/simple carbs); be very aware of body and its signals, try to stop eating when you are 75% full.
Remember: it takes 20-30 minutes to get the message from your stomach to your brain that you are full!
Four: Timing of your eating
I used to sit and watch tv with my chocolate and chips from about 8-11pm every night for years. All that food I was consuming fed bacteria and yeast in my intestines that created my headaches, my skin issues, my brain fog, my bloating, my depression and my hormone imbalances.
Quick tips: pay attention to your body cues and see if you are BIOLOGICALLY hungry, i.e. your stomach is growling, you are having trouble thinking, etc. Parents: PLEASE don’t force your children to eat food they find disgusting, not only will they not digest it but the food then can feed the nasties in their intestines and compromise their health.
If you are eating after 7-8pm at night, that food is not being used for nutritional value, it is emotionally connected. Eating higher protein snacks instead of carbs can help curb the sugar cravings.
The #1 suggestion I give to my patients and I will offer to you is: you are the expert for YOUR body; if you are not hungry, DON’T eat!
Five: How to you FEEL about what you are eating?
Some of the patients I see have ridiculously “clean” and “healthy” diets but are very, very sick. Part of it has to do with hidden infections that they have in their gut for sure, but another piece of the puzzle is their attitude toward food.; I had the same issue when I was flaring with the Crohn’s.
Be aware of your feelings about the food you are eating. If you are feeling resentful, scared, guilty or shameful, you won’t digest the as well. View what you are doing in a different, more positive light and/or make sure you have food that you really enjoy so you don’t feel like you are missing out.
Six: WHAT are you eating? Raw versus cooked!
It takes more energy to break down raw food, so if you are already having trouble digesting (and are suffering from constipation or diarrhea, bloating, acid reflux, etc.), eating food cooked can help support your digestion. Even blending your raw food to break apart the walls and make it easier to digest or cooking fruit before putting it in a smoothie can ease up the burden on your digestion.
Have you been trying all these ideas and still feel like you need help with your digestive health? Book a free discovery call to see how we can help you get to full health! Go to www.becomelivingproof.com
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can take better care of yourself through self-empowered health, join our FREE 30-day program where I share my best personal self-care tips by clicking here: www.30in30.org
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