We’ve all heard the phrase, “You are what you eat”. In the nutrition world there is much more to this phrase that should really read, “You are what you eat, Absorb, Assimilate, and Eliminate”. The elimination part of the equation is questionably the MOST important part, which is what I will focus on below. Poop, BM, number 2… Whatever you call it, it can be one of the most informative pieces of communication you get from your body. When we eat food, theoretically, our bodies digest & process it using as much of the good stuff as possible and eliminating the rest. For many varied reasons this may not be the case. Changes in food processing, preparation, and lifestyle mean our stomachs don’t always react well to everything we eat. Unknown or mild allergies and sensitivities to certain foods can create an internal environment which does not allow your body to make the best use of what goes in.
Some Rules of Thumb:
Fried and fatty foods are hard to digest, slowing the process way down
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for healthy digestion
Take your time when eating.. Shoveling in food won’t allow for proper digestive juices, etc. to do their job properly
Steer clear of too many starchy & Salty foods i.e. potatoes, corn
Apple cider vinegar is a great digestive which helps to boost stomach acid allowing for better digestion of proteins in the belly
What’s the word on Fiber??
Fiber is the general name for material in vegetables, fruits, and grains that our bodies can't digest fully
Soluble fiber breaks down into a gel in the intestines. As it passes through your GI (gastro-intestinal) tract, soluble fiber absorbs water and slows down digestion. Soluble fiber is found in oatmeal, nuts, beans, apples, and blueberries amongst other fruits, veggies, nuts and legumes.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t really break down in the intestines. It passes through the body mostly intact. Insoluble fiber speeds up digestion -- it causes what’s called "intestinal hurry." Insoluble fiber is in foods like seeds, grains, and the stringy parts or skins of fruits and vegetables, i.e. DON’T peel your fruits and veggies!
~ For general digestive health, it’s important to get plenty of both kinds of fiber ~
Try your BEST to:
- Get 25-30g fiber/day
- Drink lots of water!!
- Exercise 30-40min/day
Foods that *in general* support digestive health & help you Poop:
Pears, broccoli, raw carrots, beans, peaches, pineapple juice, figs, whole grains, juiced leafy greens, peppermint tea, sweet potatoes (highest accessible fiber)
Foods that are *in general* terrible for digestion:
~ High fat & Fried foods ~
~ Careful with chili peppers... They can irritate the esophagus ~
~ Alcohol... Too much too often can damage the stomach lining ~
PreBiotics vs. ProBiotics
Our digestive systems are occupied by trillions of little critters (or bacteria if you will) that keep our process of digestion running smooth. Unfortunately, modern medicine, with its use of antibiotics can do a real number on the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. In fact, too many medications and eating too much sugar and processed foods can actually suppress this protective gastrointestinal bacteria army. This makes it incredibly important to bring balance and stability back to your gut for optimal health so you can avoid things like diarrhea and even diseases. Many of these probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods will not only support the internal environment but can actually help you glow on the outside too!
Probiotics & cultured foods: Feed healthy gut flora = healthy BM's!
Live bacteria in yogurt, other dairy products and in pill form
Can be killed by heat, acid or passage of time
Contain from one to a few species of bacteria which are added to the colon when they are ingested
Occur naturally in fermented foods
Impact bad bacteria by crowding them out
Eat: Kefir, Yogurt, Saurkraut, kimchi, Miso soup
Prebiotics: Support internal environment for gut bacteria to stay healthy and vibrant!
Specialized plant fibers that beneficially nourish the good bacteria already in the large intestine and colon. The body itself does not digest these plant fibers, they act as a fertilizer to promote the growth of the good bacteria already in the gut
Not affected by heat, cold, acid or time
Found usually in very small amounts in foods
Foster an environment in the colon which is hostile to bad bacteria
Eat: lentils, asparagus, artichoke, and bananas!
***BOTH are supported by extensive research***
***BOTH must be ingested in sufficient quantity to have an impact***
Recipes Included.. Check out 'Recipes' on the Nav Bar:
- Chicory Root Tea
- Miso Asparagus Soup