Digest with Ease for No Disease
With knowledge I’ve gained through research and working with clients, it is becoming increasingly evident that many symptoms, ailments and diseases stem from a failing gut microbiome overpopulated with bad bacteria. There are varying degrees of symptoms and a variety of diseases associated with the onset of this predicament. I’m talking about Dysbiosis, SIBO, Colitis, IBS, IBD, autoimmune disease, and even cancer. Without a balanced gut microbiome you simply cannot reach ultimate health. I want to give you my five most common words of advice for almost anyone that comes into my office. Five steps to follow for three weeks to promote good health.
Research proves (and holistic and functional medicine practitioners will agree) that improving digestion and nourishing the microbiome will definitely improve your health. Maybe you are worried about your bone density levels, maybe you have severe digestive or colitis problems, or you suffer from uncomfortable feelings of IBS or GERD. Maybe you are looking to lose some weight or have a hard time getting to or staying asleep. Keep reading to find out how my five steps to aid digestion will improve your life.
What is the Microbiome?
The microbiome is a collection of cells predominately made up of bacteria in the gut. The microbiome is very important for our overall health. It is responsible for aiding in the digestion of food (especially protein, vitamin K and B vitamins) and protecting the immune system. It also plays an important part in the development of the large intestine, liver, heart, lungs, lymphatic system, and mesenteric lymph nodes. As you can see, it’s very important. When our microbiome is out of balance or when an over population of harmful bacteria and an under production of good bacteria in the microbiome is present in the intestine, Dysbiosis occurs creating a multitude of problems in the body when not addressed. I invite you to check out the docuseries Interconnected for more scientific based information on the power of the microbiome and its interconnection with all aspects of health.
If you suffer from bloating, gas, acid-reflux, allergies, a leaky gut, auto-immune disorders or a compromised immune system the root cause is likely planted in the health of your microbiome. The presence of Dysbiosis and an under-active stomach (not producing enough digestive enzymes and Hydrochloric acid (HCL)) is likely present.
Dysbiosis can occur for various reasons: a diet rich in preserved foods and cooked produce, overuse of stimulants (coffee, tobacco, refined sugar, etc.), chronic stress, hypoglycemia (blood sugar imbalance), use of antibiotics, parasites, environmental toxins and genetic predisposition. The presence of dysbiosis may manifest in diarrhea, gas, bloating, constipation, IBS, immune weakness, Candida, poor respiratory function, joint health, high blood pressure, auto-immune disease/immune health, mood disorders, stress management, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. As you can see, Dysbiosis is at the root of many health disorders.
When bad bacteria gets into the small intestine (Dysbiosis) it can cause a leaky gut allowing partially digested food to pass through the intestinal lining, causing antibody build up, inflammation, weight gain, hormonal imbalances and more.
To improve symptoms associated with dysbiosis, an under-active stomach and leaky gut, try incorporating the following five protocols into your daily routine for three weeks. By doing so, you increase the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl), nourish the microbiome, aid digestion, increase energy levels and enhance nutrient absorption. When my clients follow these protocols for three weeks they report back feeling relief from bloating, lethargy, reduction of excess weight and feel healthier overall.
DIGEST WITH EASE
5 STEPS TO DIGESTIVE RELIEF
5 STEPS TO AID DIGESTION
1. Citrus in the Morning
Rise and Shine It’s Citrus Time. Acidic foods like lemon, grapefruit, kiwi and apple cider vinegar are beneficial to consume first thing in the morning because of their ability to increase the pH of the stomach, promoting the production of Hydrochloric Acid (HCl), necessary for proper digestion. I will often recommend that my clients consume half of a freshly squeezed lemon with 1 cup of warm water before consuming anything else in the day and 30 minutes prior to meals that might take more energy to digest, particularly meals high in protein or fat, or those that combine protein and carbohydrates. If you feel lethargic and bloated after you eat, this might be a good habit for you to enhance your digestive capabilities and get the most out of the food you’re eating.
For more severe cases of indigestion, bloating, fatigue or bowel intolerance I might also recommend consuming a smoothie for breakfast and bone broth (vegetable broth for vegetarians) for a mid-morning snack. Holding off on the consumption of solid foods until later in the day will give your digestive system lots of energy to create HCl and maintain beneficial levels for optimized digestion throughout the whole day.
We want to ensure efficient digestion because we want to avoid food from fermenting in the stomach which leads to bacteria feeding and growing off of the food unable to be properly digested. As well, undigested food adds to a leaky gut and overburdens the detoxification organs.
Digest with Ease
1/2 lemon squeezed into 1 cup of room temperature water
papaya, pineapple, kiwi, grapefruit, or apple
1/2 avocado, handful of spinach, 1/2 cup celery, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2 cups water
check out my Digest with Ease menu plan for the full bone broth recipe
2. Reduce The “Anti-Nutrients”
Ditch the “Anti-Nutrients”: What are “anti-nutrients” you ask? Essentially, foods and chemicals we commonly consume that instead of adding nourishment actually overwork our detoxification organs (liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, and skin) during processing and elimination. “Anti-Nutrients” strip our gut mucosa of good bacteria thereby creating a perfect environment for pathogenic bacteria to invade. This creates a digestive environment where nutrients are unable to be absorbed properly, stripping the body of important nourishment which in turn, puts more stress on the detoxification organs making it harder for them to do the many other tasks needed of them throughout the day.
MOST COMMON ANTI-NUTRIENTS:
(vegetable oil, deep fried food)
(chemicals and preservatives)
If you are looking at this list and thinking to yourself, “I consume all these things on a regular basis”, Don’t fret! I don’t recommend quitting cold-turkey, you’ll shock your system and likely cause more harm than good. Rather, work on it slowly. Start being mindful of your consumption of these products and notice when you want them. Often times we are consuming these foods for habitual purposes. When we tap into what is triggering these habits we can work on removing them from our diet while getting to the root of a situation; the emotional, mental or energetic reasons behind the consumption patterns. For many, this is where the real healing truly begins for you to achieve ultimate vitality. You can contact me for more information and resources to help with breaking habitual consumption patterns.
3. Food Combining
When focusing on optimizing digestion to reduce the growth of problematic, pathogenic bacteria in the gut it is good to take into consideration speeding up transit time. Consuming acidic fruit in the morning and before meals rich in protein does this. You can also do this by paying attention to what foods you are eating together. Some food groups take a longer time to digest than others. For instance, carbohydrates digest much faster than protein, but when consumed together, all the digestive energy is used to break down protein in the meal. The undigested carbohydrates sit in the stomach fermenting, becoming the food for problematic bacteria in the small intestine to snack on. This leads to problems like leaky gut, and incomplete bowel elimination.
Food Combining Protocol
Avoid eating protein and carbohydrates at the same time
Eat fruit alone
Drink liberally during meals
Carbohydrates, protein and fruit all take very different times to digest in the body. Eating protein with sugar and starches neutralizes the enzymes necessary for digestion. When digestion is neutralized, food is not properly absorbed and fermentation occurs. This creates leaky gut, inflammation and a perfect breeding ground for unwanted bacteria in the microbiome to grow and reproduce. This leads to problems like candida, a sluggish liver, lethargy, hormonal imbalances, and much more. So, the suggestion I share with my clients that struggle with an Underactive Stomach (an under-production of digestive enzymes and HCl) is to try the above food combining techniques for three weeks and see how it makes you feel. This practice should speed up digestion, target weight loss, possibly eliminate food sensistivities and increase energy. Not a protocol that has to be practiced forever, but one that might help get your body back on track. It will help give your digestive system a break so it can optimize the production of HCl and digestive enzymes which improves nutrient absorption, detoxification and elimination.
Alkalize your diet. Disease is associated with an acidic body. The body is slightly acidic naturally, but when your pH is below 6.0 it is too acidic and disease can ensue. Our bodies tend to be too acidic due to over-consumption of acid forming foods such as meat, dairy, processed foods, tobacco, alcohol, etc. When our bodies are too acidic we stop producing digestive enzymes and increase the likelihood of an under-active stomach and dysbiosis. Do you wake up with a bitter or sour taste in your mouth? If so, it is likely a consequence of high levels of stomach acidity. You can take a pH test by purchasing Nitrazine paper at your health food store or pharmacy. Apply saliva or urine to the paper strip at least one hour after eating. The pH range you are looking for is between 6.0-6.8.
If you’d like to add more alkalinity into your life, make sure you eat your fruits and vegetables! Particularly the ones I’ve listed in the picture below. I’ve also added a salad to help you ‘Digest with Ease’ to promote alkalinity within the body.
Alkalize with Diet
Citrus: limes, lemons, grapefruit, nectarines, tangerine
Melons: cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon
Root Vegetables: yam, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, onion
Seeds and Nuts: pumpkin seeds, almonds
Sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, molasses
Miscellaneous : Persimmon, raspberry, lentils, coconut, apricots
*Pro-tip, you want to aim for a 20:80 ratio of acidifying to alkalizing foods.
Alkalizing Sweet Potato and Tomato Salad
1/2 large sweet potato
2 small tomatoes
1 cup of arugula (chopped)
1/4 cup basil (chopped)
1 lime (juiced)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch salt
1. Peel potato and boil for about 10 minutes (until just tender).
2. Meanwhile, dice up the remaining vegetables and mix together.
3. When potato is cooked, dice it up and add it to the salad.
4. Mix together the olive oil, lime and salt and pour over dressing and serve.
5. Fast in the Evening
Fasting ain’t a bad thang. There is lots of varying information out there about the good of not eating after a certain time of night. I recommend to many of my clients to stop eating a few hours before bedtime. You do not want your body to be digesting food while you are trying to sleep. It takes away from your bodies ability to detoxify, get a good night sleep and make digestive juices for the following day. Try giving yourself 2 hours between the last thing you eat and bedtime. If you find you are very hungry before bed, suffer from low blood sugar and/or wake up throughout the night, eat a small carbohydrate rich snack 30 minutes before bed, such as an oatmeal cookie. Carbohydrates take less energy to digest and it might be exactly what your body needs to encourage nourishment for optimized sleep which helps to harmonize your organs to help them do the work they need in preparation for your next day.
So, there it is!
A 5-step plan to increase digestive juices and get your body ready to take on life. These are your basic, generalized guidelines to help increase optimized stomach activity, to improve symptoms associated with its imbalances. If you would like the 1 week meal plan for an Underactive Stomach, click here for your ‘Digest with Ease’ meal plan. I also encourage you to book a FREE 30-minute consultation or check out my services to see what other ways I can help you to improve your health, wherever you are at.