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Digestion & Weightloss

It's a few weeks into January and the excitement of the new years resolutions are wearing off. The counting calories and daily gym routine is likely loosing its appeal. Especially if the scale does not seem to be moving in the direction we think it should.

Instead of talking about weight loss in the traditional manner, lets look at it from a different angle. Most of us know that the "eat less, move more" does not work for every one. We are unique. What works for one person may not work for another. For some, extra weight can be a sign of nutritional deficiencies. Have you ever heard the term "starving in the midst of plenty"? It is a common thing to see with today's Standard American Diet. And before you ask, no, a multi-vitamin will not solve the issue. I do believe in supplements, but just as a one size fits all weight loss plan does not work for everyone due to bio individuality, neither do multivitamins. But, this blog today is not about supplements. It is about making sure we get the most nutrition from our food and that the experience satisfies us on the physical and emotional level. In the South, food is about comfort and is usually a social event. And changing diet and lifestyle can be impossible if we feel that it alienates us from those that we love.

With that being said, lets talk about digestion. Implementing a few of these simple tips may make a new commitment to health a little easier.

Digestion is a north to south process. This means it starts in the brain. Yep, you read that correctly. The body 's parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) must be active to efficiently digest food. The PNS is only active when we are not stressed. Lets quickly look at the actions of the PNS-

"Parasympathetic fibers slow the heart, stimulate peristalsis, promote the secretion of lacrimal, salivary and digestive glands; induce bile and insulin release; dilate peripheral and visceral blood vessels; constrict pupils, esophagus, and bronchioles; and relax sphincter during micturition (urination) and defecation."- Moby's Medical Dictionary 

Simplified, this means that we need to be relaxed in order to produce the saliva needed to moisten our food, to produce enough stomach acid for the food to move from the stomach to small intestine in a timely manner and leave the colon efficiently.

Steps for enhancing digestion-

1. Be present with your food. Turn off all electronics. Avoid unpleasant topics and conversation if eating with family and friends.

2. Chew your food. Digestion is a mechanical and chemical process. Chewing is the mechanical part, saliva and stomach acid are part of the chemical process. So be kind to your stomach, it does not have teeth :) I recommend completely putting the fork or spoon down between bites. Don't pick it back up until your food is thoroughly chewed and swallowed.

3.Celebrate your food. Stress is stress. If you are stressing or feel guilty that the food in front of you is not the wisest choice, you are not going to digest it well or enjoy it that much. 

If you follow the above steps you will find that you naturally eat less and are more satisfied at the end of your meals. More than likely your bowel movements will become more regular and efficient leading to less bloating and a flatter stomach. Who doesn't want that?!

*This is just a very brief look into the digestive process. If you have digestive issues please keep an eye out for my next Digestive Wellness class. I am also available for one on one consults.

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