7 SIMPLE STEPS TO HEALTHY DIGESTION!
1. CHEW, CHEW, CHEW
Use your teeth for what they are made for! Chewing your food completely breaks it down into smaller pieces and allows the enzymes in your mouth to start the digestion process. Chewing tells your body that food is coming, so be present while you eat, enjoy and savor the food instead of trying to eat it as fast as you can like it’s a race. This allows your lower digestive tract time and energy to prepare for the daunting task of digestion. Softer fruits and veggies need about 5-10 chews and more dense foods such as meat could take up to 30 chews before swallowing. Your jaw is going to hurt if you’re new to this, so be mindful, take your time, and practice. Next time you eat, imagine how many times a giraffe chews their food!
2. PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING
Put your phone down, stop watching TV, don’t eat in your car! Soak your senses with the smells and tastes of that delicious food. Keep a positive attitude towards your food decisions. Eat on a schedule, respecting your body’s needs. Recognize your emotions before eating and accept the present moment in every bite you take. Recognize foods that are considered unhealthy, but don’t judge yourself when you eat these. “Relax” to help your body process and heal. Mindful eating is a skill that can be learned through practice. You can reduce weight and binge eating by learning how to listen to your body.
3. EAT ORGANIC NON-GMO FOOD
Eat Organic Non-GMO Food Don’t you want to have the least amount of toxins in your body! Non-Organic GMO foods are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides which have been linked to chronic and autoimmune disease. If you can’t afford or find all organic produce, then be sure to follow the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Guide for a breakdown of what foods you must buy organic. Keep your gut healthy by limiting the amounts of toxic chemicals you are directly eating from your food!
4. CREATE A FOOD JOURNAL
This valuable tool empowers you to take control of your life by becoming aware of how foods can affect your emotions, energy, and stress. It also gives your doctor an idea of what you’re eating and the type of elimination you are experiencing. Ready to get started? First, write down the date and time of when you eat. Next, jot down the foods, fluids, medications, and vitamins including the amounts. Be sure to include the contents of the food, for example instead of “vegetable soup”, write “soup with vegetable broth, carrots, onions, garlic, etc.” for foods with multiple ingredients. Most importantly, write your feelings down before and/or after you eat, or whenever you feel a change at all. For example, “high energy, sad, happy, irritable, poor sleep, runny nose, tired, want to nap, itchy”. Next, list out your bowel movements, urine voids, and any gas, complete with symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, or urinary changes. Finally, list your activity level throughout the day (i.e. sedentary or active).
5. READ FOOD LABELS
The best food doesn’t have a label, but let’s be realistic. Most of us will eat some type of packaged food once in a while. So we must read and understand nutritional labels since most are deceptively labeled. Here are some tips.
Do not trust what’s printed on the front of the package. Always read the ingredient list.
Read the serving size and amount in each package. Compare the amount you eat to one serving. It may say 100 calories, but if
you eat 3 servings, then you are taking down 300 calories.
Stay away from products that have added sugars Sodium content per serving should not be more than the number of calories per
serving Dietary fiber is great, the more the better
Do not eat hydrogenated fats/oils.
6. EAT A COLORFUL, RAINBOW DIET
Consuming a diet rich in different colors creates a diet with many different phytonutrients, allowing your body to maximize the nutrients from your food. This doesn’t mean you can eat a cake that food coloring with all the colors! The best way achieve this is by rotating your fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Here are some examples of the colors with their specific foods that are recommended to incorporate eating this way.
Green: Spinach, Avocado, Cucumber, Green apples, Squash, Kiwi, Pumpkin seeds
Red: Strawberries, Pomegranates, Tomatoes, Raspberries, Red peppers and chillies
White: White onion, Garlic, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, White beans, Pumpkin seeds
Yellow: Sweet potato, Carrots, Oranges, Mango, Papaya, Yellow peppers
Blue/Purple: Kidney beans, Blueberries, Purple carrots, Purple broccoli
Black: Black beans, Blackberries, Black tea, Black mushrooms, Black figs
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