How to Optimize Digestion

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We are all in this together! We all have issues. With our digestion I mean.  Either we talk about them and get to the bottom of the issue or we suppress it and it becomes a "norm" for you. What is your "norm" these days?! Don't worry! It's not a bad thing. The best thing you can do for yourself is pay attention to what's going on and fix anything that seems wrong. 

My "norm" changes for me. I've been experiencing digestive issues for as long as I can remember. Honestly, until I was diagnosed with MS I never gave my digestion a second thought. Whether I had a bowel movement that day or not was not something I payed attention to. Boy is today different! I don't see it as a stressor in my life to think about this stuff, but if something is off, I try to get to the bottom of it and pay attention to where my body needs attention.

Your gut is your second brain. What we eat gives our cells the knowledge it needs to keep our bodies functioning at its best. So why not make your digestion the best it can be? Healing your gut is the best thing you can do for yourself to prevent disease. Your digestive tract and gut impact every single function in your body from how well you sleep, handle stress and even your weight. Do your best to pay attention to any changes good or bad. Here's some advice to make the most of your amazing body. ;)

5 Ways to Optimize Digestion:

  1. Slow down: As Americans, we are known for 'grabbing' a bite, fast food and even eating 'on the go.' These are actually the complete opposite actions that our bodies need to thrive from the foods we are shoveling into our mouths. I want you to ask yourself, "Is this food nourishing me or just sustaining me?" Eating on the go creates an environment of stress on your digestion.  It's putting you into 'fight or flight' mode instead of 'rest and relaxation' that you need to process what you just ate. Taking your time eating is one of the best things you can do for your entire body! Also, take a seat and relax!
  2. Stop and smell: Did you know that digestion actually starts with your eyes?! Have you ever put more on your plate than you can eat because you thought you were that hungry? It happens to all of us. We use our senses to make choices for what we want to consume. So next time you are cooking a meal at home or being served at a restaurant, take a few seconds to smell the food in front of you. Think about the flavors you are about to enjoy and appreciate the food for how it makes you feel. :)
  3. Get help: Many of us have digestive issues. Depending on what's going on with you (bloating, constipation, SIBO, leaky gut) you could use help (I def do!). Digestive distress can cause a lack of enzymes which help you break down your food to gain its nutrients.  One of the best ways to do so is to incorporate digestive enzymes. They come in the form of pills or liquid bitters that you take before a meal to increase enzyme production. 
  4. Chew: Chew, chew, chew your food!!! It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is even full. Also, the particle size of your food effects the bio-accessibility of the energy of it, so the more you chew the less is lost and the more nutrients you will gain from your food. My recommendation is to chew eat bite of food until it becomes mush or liquid. Put your fork and knife down in between each bite. Take the time to taste your food.
  5. Hydrate: You are drinking the right amount of water every day and keeping track so you stay properly hydrated. But...did you know that drinking too much liquid while eating can actually diminish the necessary enzymes needed to break down your food? Keep chugging that filtered water all day/everyday and before you eat but during mealtime, try to limit liquids to a total of 8 ounces (water or whatever else you're drinking).  

Next steps?! Keep a food journal. Write down what you're eating and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Track your water intake and sleep. Start listening to your body. You only have one and it should be here to help you feel your best!

Comment or send me a message and let me know how it's going for you! I want to know :)