5 Steps to Better Digestion
Since making yoga and nutrition a fundamental part of my life, I have become privy to “insider secrets” like how seldom some folks are actually able to enjoy a proper bowel movement. I hear more and more people coming out of the closet and murmuring about their digestive issues and inability to poop. The word “poop” is usually said in a lower tone than the rest of the sentence as if a bad word were being said. What’s interesting though, is that most people I speak to about this matter seem unusually grateful to have someone to talk to about their bowel movements.
The truth is that people want help with their stinky little secret. They don’t want to feel like they are carrying around a two pound baby in their belly that they can never give birth to. People want to sit down to eat a meal and not have to worry about being backed up from it. Bottom line: everyone wants to poop…unfortunately not everyone is willing to make the necessary changes in their diet to make that happen as often as they would like. Read on for tips to help you jump start your engine!
WARM WATER with LEMON
Start your morning off with a cup of warm water and lemon. While you don’t want the water to scald your tongue, a little steam coming off the top is good. The warmth of the water will help to stimulate the flow of digestive fluids in your body. The lemon alkalizes the body, provides you with a dose of vitamin C and promotes absorption of nutrients by 5%. Follow the warm cup of water with at least 1 liter of room temperature water over the next 45 minutes to prepare for your morning cup of juice. Strive to drink at least 128 ounces, or one gallon, of water throughout the rest of the day.
JUICE IT UP
A “Not Yo Mama’s Green Juice” or an “Agni Power” juice are great for breaking your fast in the morning.
Both juicing and blending your veggies help aid in digestion and also helps the body to assimilate the nutrients it needs for other important bodily functions. Blending will help you to stay full longer while juicing will allow you to consume larger quantities of fruits and veggies for optimal vitamin uptake! For best results: all juices should be drunk on an empty stomach to maximize nutrient assimilation.
INCREASE YOUR FIBER
You have heard it said before but the truth is that adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet will help you move the caboose along the track. Plant foods offer two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Put simply, soluble gives you that “full feeling” while insoluble aids in digestion and keeps the bowel movements regular. Legumes, fruits, and oats are examples of soluble fiber while insoluble fiber can be found in whole grains and vegetables. Adding ground flax seeds to your smoothies each morning or kidney beans to your salad in the afternoon is a great way to get that train choo-chooing again!
BE MINDFUL OF FOOD COMBINING
Food combination has to do with the body’s chemistry and the digestive enzymes needed to breakdown the various foods we eat. I’m going to try not to get too technical but this is important stuff to know; especially if you want to optimize your digestion. An acidic environment is needed for proteins to digest while starches like rice and pasta require an alkaline environment. When these two foods are eaten together the stomach releases enzymes to accommodate digestion but guess what happens? The digestive enzymes are neutralized when combined and no digestion occurs. The food just sits there in your stomach, fermenting and putrefying resulting in that awesome smell we love so much: gas.
I realize that not eating beans and rice or spaghetti and meatballs may seem contrary to your eating habits but when we are honest with ourselves we can see that poor digestion is directly connected with the foods we eat and the way in which we eat it. Don’t be afraid to let go of old habits even if they are rooted in cultural traditions or because it’s the way you have eaten so long. You wouldn't be reading this article if you were not ready for a change; so just go for it!
LIMIT ANIMAL PROTEIN
Animal protein takes a longer time to digest and if you are not actively following step four and combining your food properly, the meat you eat can putrefy in your belly. Point to consider: research shows that animal protein can also contribute to smellier bowel movements. That’s not as important in the bigger scheme of things but I thought I would share that tidbit.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
It is important to follow all of these steps if you want to promote healthy digestion. If, for example, you chose to just juice but decided not to combine your food and ate a diet heavy in animal protein, you may potentially cause more damage to your body than if you had not juiced at all. This is because juicing helps to cleanse the blood and the body by dislodging toxins. If those toxins are not removed via defecation because the colon is clogged up, the toxins are released back into the body further polluting the environment; making it ripe for disease. So you can see why this is such an important issue. This leads us to the next frequently asked question: How often should I poop?
There are many different views about how often a person should have a bowel movement. Some doctors say once or twice time a day is healthy, others say three to four times a week. In Ayurveda, an ancient system of healing, it is believed that having at least one well-endowed poop a day is indicative of a healthy digestive system. I tend to agree with that latter and believe that daily bowl movements can be achieved when you combine a well-balanced plant based diet with plentiful amounts of water each day.
Thanks for reading and remember:
Go NUTS for your health because you are worth it!