Digesting the Holidays
Updated: Jan 27, 2020
In loo of the holidays, we are going to talk about digestion. The bulk of us who follow the Standard American Diet, or the Western Diet suffer from digestion issues every single day. This could be in the form of
But if you are one of the lucky few who don’t suffer daily from one or more of these, there are a few times of year you are suffering like the rest of us. Happy Holidays!!!
Here are some tips to get through the post-mealtime blahs.
Start With a Salad
Have you ever noticed that a proper multi-course meal always starts with a salad? There is a reason for this - whether the originators realized it or not. This is because it is much easier for the body to digest a meal when you start off with raw vegetables. You see, our stomachs have to be a certain PH level to process the food we eat. In order to begin the digestive process, the stomach needs to drop down below 3.0. We eat a lot of foods with higher PH levels. When these foods enter the system, they neutralize the super strong stomach acid that comes in to start the process. When that happens, the stomach has a very difficult time dropping down to the necessary PH level to begin digestion. This then leads to food putrifying in the digestive tract. The stomach pushes it through after so many hours whether it digested or not. When that happens, it opens the doorway to a host of problems - specifically leaky gut. Leaky gut is what they are beginning to attribute as the cause of most chronic diseases. If it weren’t for leaky gut, the body would have a healthy immune system capable of fighting off all of the daily bombardments of crap we subject ourselves to. Salad is full of plant material, which the stomach can break down very easily. This paves the way for all those juices to flow for when the heavy stuff comes in - like turkey and potatoes and ham and more potatoes.
Similar to salads, this sets your tummy in the right mood to begin digesting what’s to come. In addition to lowering the PH level in the stomach, lemons have a slimy mucus that in the wild, is a natural mechanism for saving the rest of the fruit if a portion of it becomes damaged. This same slimy substance can have beneficial effects on our stomach lining, coating it with a protective layer to aid in the digestive process. It is important to use fresh lemon and not lemon juice in a bottle from the store. Most of those have citric acid and other additives that will only tear away at the digestive lining, causing your symptoms to be worse.
Apple Cider Vinegar With the Mother
This seems so counterproductive - drinking vinegar, which is highly acidic to reduce heartburn?? It’s wild, but it’s true. I had always heard that you should combat acid reflux by neutralizing it with a base such as baking soda (think TUMS), but this can actually make the problem worse. The reason you are getting stomach acid shooting up from the stomach into your esophagus is that it’s trying it’s damndest to digest the foods in there. The food that went down had such a high PH, the 1.5 stomach acid that shoots into the stomach is being neutralized on contact, so the body shoots in more, and more, and more until it’s crossing through into the parts it is never supposed to come in contact with. This causes immense pain and even leads to damage to the enamel on your teeth. Not good! So, as counterproductive as it sounds, adding a little apple cider vinegar to your stomach, helps to lower the PH of whatever deliciousness you just consumed. This means that when the body shoots in it’s highly acidic stomach acid to begin digestion, the stomach acid can actually do it’s duty. Ideally we want our stomachs at a PH of 3 or 4 when we eat. Unfortunately, the bulk of what we consume keeps our stomachs at it’s neutral 6.5-7, which is too high for any type of digestion to take place. ACV with the mother also adds beneficial bacteria into our system. I’ll explain more with #4.
Kombucha (or Kefir)
This takes on a whole different approach. Instead of playing with the PH level of our stomachs, this adds lots of little helpers to help with digestions. We are only about 40% human. The rest of us is composed of an entire eco-system of critters that make up our bodies. Are you totally disgusted yet? Our micro-biome is the world of living organisms that make us who we are. Every mammal on the planet, along with all of the fish, and a majority of plants are all composed of micro-organisms that keep us alive. This is symbiosis at it’s best! We need these little critters to stay alive, and the more diverse they are, the better. It’s the same with the soil. We’re finding out that mono-culture farming depletes the soil of a lot of key nutrients which end up killing future crops. If we keep the nutrients in the soil diverse and full of life, then the soil will continue to provide us with food year after year after year. Our bodies work the same way. The more diverse and full of life our individual bodies are the longer we live, and the happier we are. By adding probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics we are indulging our microbiome with extra life. Our digestive tract contains trillions of these microorganisms. This, of course, depends on age and what we ingest. There are certain foods we commonly eat that kill off these organisms, sometimes in large numbers. Processed grains and sugars are a huge factor. Alcohol also plays a big role in the dying off of species. But the worst offender is antibiotics. Our digestive tract is loaded with bacteria - 500 different identifiable species in the healthy human, to be exact. When we take antibiotics, designed to kill bacteria, we do a full blown massacre on our microbiome. This can have devastating effects on our internal system and our overall health. The best way to combat a sneak attack? Adding bacteria back into our bodies in the form of fermented foods and the like. Kombucha is a perfect bubbly to drink with dinner on such a special occasion. So drink up!