Why Your Digestion is Sluggish and 4 Simple Ways to Fix It.
What if I told you that your digestion was probably sluggish in some way? Would you believe me? Our diets have gotten so far away from natural state that our digestive systems are paying the price. The average diet has some amount of foods that are dehydrated or foods that paralyze our gut muscles. Inside of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, we have muscle contractions that influence the passing of our food through the intestines. This muscle contraction activity is called peristalsis.
The contractions move in a similar manner to a wave inside of our gut. Unfortunately, many things that we come in contact with daily paralyze this movement, which causes food stagnation within the body. Some of these agents include meats, dairy, refined carbohydrates, some dehydrated foods, and low fiber foods. When food stagnates inside of your digestive tract, this is the perfect breeding ground from parasites and putrefaction that can lead to other complications. Additionally, some of these foods also lead to low activity levels, which also influence peristalsis.
We further compound that by not giving the body time to fully assimilate and eliminate what we eat by just eating whenever and typically eating large portions. This is the equivalent of endlessly stacking a conveyor belt with items. There’s no end to digestion in sight.
When your body can only focus on digestion, it begins to break down. Digestion is a very intensive biological process requiring the teamwork of many different systems. If all of the teams are devoted to digesting in some way, who’s devoted strictly to shipping and cleanup?
Just like your mind, your digestive system and eliminating systems do much better when they are allowed to focus on doing one thing. If you’re constantly focused on digesting, you can’t be focused on clean up and that is an excellent recipe for the imbalance called disease. Your body is actually quite intelligent. When left to its own devices, its waste removal system is excellent. Most diseases are a result of some kind of imbalance or build-up over time. When the body is allowed to focus strictly on clean up, it gets to work quickly and efficiently.
So how can we give our body a break digestion so that it can get to cleaning itself up? Good question. Let’s run through a list of 4 things to get your digestion back up to snuff.
1. Reduce your portion size- This is a no-brainer, but typically difficult to execute because of increasing portions in fast food culture. Common sense says the less food you have to take in, the less food your body has to digest. The less food you have to digest, the faster your body can start cleaning up. This doesn't mean that you're strictly on stir-fried air and diet water, just that you don't have to eat until you're full. One way to help with overeating is to drink a 16 oz glass of water before eating your meal. This induces a fuller feeling faster that can help someone that is just starting to tame their portions out.
2. Intermittent fasting - IMF is in some ways the precursor and successor to regular fasting. IMF typically employs a window of food consumption with a window for assimilation and elimination. That’s typically an 8hr consumption/16hr assimilation and elimination schedule. You can play with the numbers, but I like an 8/16 window at bare minimum. Obviously, when you decrease the eating window, results are better. At 4/20, excess weight melts off and your hormones begin to re-balance as well. Intermittent fasting allows your body to clear the conveyor belt and spend a couple of hours cleaning up some things. If you've bought a fixer-upper as a house, you know that every problem can't be solved in a day. A slow and steady approach is best. The same thing applies with rejuvenating your digestion.
3. Exercise- Exercise is one of the best methods for rejuvenating your digestion. Physically, up and down and side to side movements push food through your digestive tract for it to be eliminated. Biochemically, your digestive tract works harder to extract the nutrients from your food needed for optimal performance. Exercise also gets stagnant lymphatic fluid moving, which assists in overall detoxification of the blood and tissues.
4. Juice fasting- Juice fasting is an excellent way to still feel like you’re eating something, but giving your body a much needed break from digestion. Vegetable and fruit juices are packed with vital vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein, and natural sugars your body needs. Not to mention that fresh juice contains a high amount of electric water known as EZ water due to being birthed from Mother Earth herself. This is a video of Dr. Gerald Pollack discussing the benefits of EZ water.
Celery juice lowers your stomach pH to help you digest food more efficiently. Pineapple juice contains the powerful protein cutting enzyme (peptidase) bromelain that can clear undigested food from your GI tract. Grandma didn’t put pineapple on the holiday ham for no reason. Cucumber juice provides vitamin K, a vitamin that many people are deficient in that promotes skin elasticity. Watermelon juice contains an abundance of the amino acid citrulline that helps with liver detox, which also aids in digestion.