HEALTHY STARTS WITH DIGESTION
God-willing, my grandmother will turn 100 in August, and she didn’t grow up eating most of what’s available today. In 1950, the amount of sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals added to food began to increase, and growth in the last 50 years has been staggering. Our digestive systems simply haven’t been able to keep up. So if you find yourself sick often, needing caffeine throughout the day, gaining weight, or have chronic health problems, it’s (in part) due to your digestion and the accumulation of a lifetime of food choices.
Food contains the building blocks of our body’s tissues and is the source of our energy. But our bodies weren’t designed to eat chemically-laden, ultra processed food. When you start eating different things, you start building different kind of cells and having a different kind of energy. And there’s an entire cascade of effects that ultimately results in chronic inflammation, immune system dysfunction, weight gain and disease. But it can take years to see those effects so we don’t often link them to our food choices.
First let’s talk about preservatives — we don’t preserve food the way we once did, and we eat a lot more of it than we used to. Chemicals are added by big food manufacturers to almost everything you buy in a box, bag, or can at the store, and it’s taking a massive toll on our health. I don’t believe it’s intentionally done to harm us. It’s just the nature of business, because well… they want to sell food. And we want to buy it packaged for convenience. They want the food to stay fresh longer so they have a larger sales window because that helps them make a profit, and they need a profit to stay in business.
The problem is that those chemicals make it harder for our bodies to get the nutrients out of those foods. So then…if not nutrients, what are we building our tissue from? How are we converting it to energy? It’s different than it would be without the chemicals. It may be subtle, and you may not see it for years, but it has to be different because it’s being built from different things. Our cells are regularly replaced with new ones and what we build them with matters.
Also, when you’re not getting enough nutrients (due to malabsorption from chemicals or just lack of variety), the body starts to hold on to the fat it has. It’s protecting itself in case nutrients stop coming in because it’s not able to absorb the nutrients we are giving it. It can make it seem almost impossible to lose weight. Have you heard me talk about this country being over fed and yet malnourished? This is one reason why.
Fortunately, God gave us a solution to help fight what we are up against.
Digestive enzymes like amylase, protease, lipase, and bromelain found in fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and sprouts aid in digestion of proteins carbohydrates and fats and can help reduce inflammation.
But… it matters how they are prepared: cooking in high temperatures, processing, refining, or preserving with chemicals can destroy those enzymes and reduce their health benefits. So, eat them raw and/or in minimally-processed, low-heat dehydrated, powdered form as often as you can.
Of course, eating cooked or frozen is always better than none at all — just because you don’t get the enzymes, doesn’t mean you don’t get other vital nutrition. And it also helps “crowd out” less optimal choices.
Your saliva also contains digestive enzymes. So chew your food well! This one is a doozy for me! I race through meals, and I definitely don’t practice mindful eating as much as I should. I used to even add digestive enzymes to my pre-meal regimen. I’ve done enough healing on my gut now, and I get enough nutrition through a variety of whole foods that this isn’t necessary anymore. But it can be a short-term option while you heal if you think you need some extra support.
Another digestive problem I see a lot with people is candida, a form of yeast that lives in our digestive tract along with trillions of other bacteria. A small amount is ok, but an overgrowth can spill into your bloodstream causing all sorts of problems, including hormonal changes, food cravings, brain fog, weight gain, inflammation, slowed metabolism, sluggishness, etc.
Candida feeds on sugar and sweeteners, and they are in EVERYTHING these days! HFCS is cheaper and 20x sweeter than sugar, so it’s only natural that food companies use it. Fructose isn’t really even recognized by our brains – it confuses the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin which tell you when your hungry and full, and it can really cause craving problems.
Probiotics can help, and in some instances they are necessary (make sure it’s quality, quantity AND variety and reach out if you need a good one), but I hesitate to even go down the probiotics road because then clients don’t focus enough on what really matters ➡️ Eating more plants! I can’t stress this enough…you really want to focus on feeding the good guys (prebiotics) with more variety of plants.
I hope this helps inspire you. Getting healthy can seem confusing, but it’s really just about making small incremental changes, and eating more variety and more colors. That being said, if you need some accountability, guidance, or a plan, reach out for a free consultation!