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Digestive Health 101

Digestive Health 101

Digestive health is a topic that I’m very passionate about because its one that I’ve struggled with myself for years. Your digestive health is truly a indication of your overall health. Over the years I’ve uncovered some gems of practical tools that have transformed my digestive health. It all comes down to getting back to our roots and keeping our lifestyle as simple as possible.

I’m going to give you my top six tips to maintain healthy digestion because keeping everything running smoothly down there makes life a whole lot easier! Plus feeling light, regular and keeping the bloat away is always nice too.

Watch my YouTube video outlining my experience and tips here

DEALING WITH DIGESTIVE UPSET

Almost all of my clients have had some form of digestive upset. A combination of processed foods, stress, lack of movement and overuse of anti-acids are a recipe for disaster that far to many are familiar with. As mentioned, I’ve definitely experienced lots of ups and downs in my life when it comes to my digestion. Being chronically bloated, constipated and in discomfort after meals is a way of being that use to be my norm. It wasn’t until I got in touch with which foods and lifestyle habits were triggers for me that I was able to heal this chronic ailment.

I see so many people IGNORING their bodies subtle cues of discomfort. Soon they are completely oblivious to the fact they are keeping themselves sick and their bodies subtle cues turn into serious distress. Colitis, crohns, chronic constipation, diarrhea etc. are all a BIG red flag that your diet is needs some serious LOVE.

COMMON CAUSES

The causes of digestive distress can vary greatly from person to person as we are all so unique but there are several foods + lifestyle habits that contribute greatly. By limiting or avoiding these causes altogether you will begin to heal yourself at the root.

  • Chronic stress
  • Over eating
  • Eating to quickly
  • Not chewing thoroughly
  • Sugar/processed foods
  • Anti-biotic use
  • Alcohol
  • Insufficient fiber intake/low carb diet
  • Bad food combinations
  • Ant-acids

You could be guilty of 1 or several of these habits, but getting real with yourself as to WHY your experiencing chronic digestive distress is the first step in your journey.

MY TOP 6 TIPS FOR HEALTHY DIGESTION

The following tips have quite literally transformed my body. I will say when I veer away from these habits that my body responds pretty quickly. This is why I’m passionate about respecting my body with gentle nutrition and intuitive movement. Those “cheat” days have become less and less frequent and I can say that I’m 100% OK with that because I would much rather feel fantastic in my body.

Being able to detox properly via regular bowel movements is one of the most important aspects of a THRIVING body.  Though the body has several detox symptoms, having healthy poos is key to rid the body of toxins. When ever I become irregular, I now know that something has gone array in my diet or lifestyle in the past few days and try to pin-point what changed so I don’t repeat that same habit. The more intuitive you become with you body the easier this will be and soon you’ll know your digestive system like the back of your hand!

Here are the habits that have aided in my own digestive health:

  1. Hot lemon water up waking. Drinking warm or hot liquids first thing in the am is a gentle way to kick start your digestion. Cold water can shock the system and is hard on the spleen, so I always stick to warm filtered water now. Adding in the juice of a fresh squeezed lemon, will alkalize the body and assist in the detox process as lemon is a natural diuretic.
  2. Proper food combining. Always break your morning fast with a light sized meal. Fruit or a smoothie are the easiest types of food to digest. In the winter months, instead of a smoothie or cold breakfast opt for a warm one to keep your digestive fire high. This could be stewed apples, a room temperature fruit bowl or oatmeal topped with fruit. As the day goes on slowly make your meals “heavier” and be sure that between 12pm-2pm you consume your largest meal of the day. This is when your metabolism is at its highest.
  3. Relax during meal time. Our digestion works best when it is focused on enjoying the meal in front of us. External distractions like TV, phone, etc. pull us away from our meal and can create unnecessary stress. Saying a blessing over our food along with 3-5 intentional deep breaths will automatically calm your nervous system and increase digestive fire. Well chewed food lessens the work our digestive organs must do and increases the efficient extraction of nutrients. Chewing also warms chilled food.
  4. Decrease the amount of liquids and cold foods. Contrary to belief, drinking water during meal time can actually dilute your digestive enzymes. A little warm fluid with a meal is helpful, but too much dilutes the Spleens action and weakens digestion. Most fluid is best consumed between meals. Again too much raw or chilled food/fluid will weaken your system. The digestive process needs warmth. Prolonged or excessive use of chilled or raw food will eventually severely weaken the digestive fire, leading to a collapse of spleen function.
  5. Increase digestive enzymes. As mentioned keeping your digestive enzymes strong is key to maintain healthy digestion. When you get recurring heartburn this is often a sign of NOT enough digestive enzymes in the stomach to break down your food properly which then leads to fermentation in our gut. Instead of popping a TUMS which will only weaken your enzymes even further, begin taking digestive enzymes prior to meals. Betaine HCL 15-20min prior to a meal will naturally raise your stomach acid, which will then efficiently break down each bite. Papaya enzymes after a meal or ginger capsules are also a great option to aid in digestion.
  6. Probiotics daily. I’m a huge fan of probiotics to strengthen your digestion, alieve IBS and build a flourishing gut. As you increase the good organisms in your gut, the bad ones that cause cravings and digestive upset will eventually be crowded out. I’ve experienced incredible results with a soil based probiotic and recommend them to all of my clients. Increasing your intake of naturally fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and even dark chocolate (yay!) can balance your gut.

**Click on the supplements above in BOLD to be directed to my recommended supplements off Amazon**

WHAT IS YOUR GUT TELLING YOU?

If you are out of touch with your digestive health or tired of dealing with distress then I urge you to tap into the health of your gut. Ignoring it’s signs and symptoms will only lead to a downfall in your health. If your having a hard time pin-pointing the cause then keeping a food journal for 1 week and document your bodies feelings after each meal. This can assist you greatly in your journey. No one knows your body like you do. Become EMPOWERED with the ability to transform your health by implementing these 6 tips.

This is the beauty of living a intuitive life. You will soon learn each food and lifestyle habit that is a trigger for you and how to quickly resolve the issue WITHOUT the use of a expert opinion or prescription medication. My hope is that through this journey you will become inspired to share your new knowledge with others. Get back to your roots and TRUST your bodies innate wisdom. From healing to THRIVING, each day you will become stronger.

Have you tried any of these digestive system hacks? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Let me know what’s worked best for you. 🙂

If you have any further questions on this topic or want to delve deeper then reach out to me directly at samkalawart@gmail.com.

xx,

Sam

 

work cited
6 Reason’s You Should Care About Your Poop Health. (n.d.). In Precision Nutrition. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
Leggett, D. (1994). Helping Ourselves- A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics. England: Meridian Press.

 

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