I feel fortunate to have attended a wonderfully informative presentation on digestion and raw foods at The Body Center in Holland, MI this past Tuesday. There were two knowledgeable presenters- Marcella Clark, owner of The Body Center (also CCHT, CMMT, CRA, and more), and Kirsty Hardinge, professional chef and CCHT.
I think the many things I learned at this event are worth a series of posts so I will try to not overload you with all of the information at once. Instead I’ll start out with some very simple eating changes that you can make now to help improve your digestion. Some of these are very much common sense, but not necessarily something we think about when we are hungry!
- Get your tummy ready! Unfortunately, putting food into the stomach first thing in the morning isn’t the best thing to do. Let it warm up first by giving it some warm or room temperature liquid. Marcella & Kirsty compared the stomach after waking to a dry sponge. It needs to be wet before food starts coming at it! My new favorite morning drink, since reading You Are What You Eat by Gillian McKeith, is warm water with a splash of fresh lemon juice.
- Drink warm or room temperature beverages while eating, if you drink at all. Drinking during meals can interrupt the digestion process by diluting the acid inside the stomach.
- Chew, chew, chew! As Gillian McKeith says, your stomach does not have teeth! Chewing (thus coating food with saliva) is the very first step of the digestive process so it’s important to do a good job of it. I’ve found that it truly requires focus to thoroughly chew food instead of just swallowing it.
- Eat fresh, live food! It makes sense that if you eat fruits and vegetables that are alive, they will have the vitamins that you need to feel good and alive. If you eat only cooked food, in which many of the beneficial vitamins and enzymes are lost, you actually make the food harder for you body to digest. This point will lead the way into some “raw” discussion, which I am very excited for!
- Last, but not least, always think about why you are eating- are you truly hungry or are you eating because you are bored? Many times we eat based on moods or emotions, rather than actual hunger. Start getting in tune with your body so you can tell when you actually need food and when you don’t. This also applies to portion control- don’t let a outside party decide what quantity is right for you. Stop eating when you are feeling full and if you are not sure, wait a few minutes before deciding to eat more.