The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is very catchy and seems accurate. But when you take a closer look at it, it makes no sense. In this article, I will try to avoid talking at length on the science behind chewing and digestion. I would like to be extremely brief and cut straight into the meat of the matter.
Eating as we generally know it, is putting food in your mouth, chewing it and then swallowing it. So when a client tells me that they have been eating healthy, that is what they mean. As a coach, my thinking has to go beyond that, in order to really help my client make some progress. Eating does not end with just swallowing. My concern begins from after the food is swallowed. Then I ask myself, “now what”? What happens to their food after swallowing is very crucial and key to weight loss and ultimate health. Allow me to briefly explain my reasoning.
You see, the main reason why we eat is to provide our bodies with energy. If we lack energy, our brain does not process information well and we end up making wrong choices. Our general activity level slows down; we rather sit or lie down than move around. This eventually results in either weight gain or hardening of arteries and increase in overall blood pressure.
I hope you can now clearly see that you are not what you eat. More accurately, I would say that you are what you can digest. I would even go further to say that you are really what you can use. Simply because, you may not even be able to use that nutrient for one reason or the other, once the body absorbs it. But for the sake of simplicity, let us focus on digestion here.
Digestion of your food actually begins in your mouth. Your food relies on what is known as enzymes to properly break down what you eat, in order to produce energy. Some foods come in with their own enzymes. This is the case of raw foods. This is why eating raw is so efficient. When you cook your foods, you either destroy the enzymes or you slow down their effectiveness. Age also affects enzyme availability. As we grow older, it diminishes. How then do we help our body produce more enzymes to help us break down our food properly? I will briefly list three tips below. In the future, I plan to blog on each of these extensively.
#1 Drink before and not during your meals. Drink plain water, water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or apple with freshly squeezed lemon or lime about ten minutes before you start eating.
#2 Chew your food slowly. There is a reason why we completely mashup baby food. Their digestive system is not yet efficient. Same as an adult whose digestive system is compromised and does not work too well for one reason or the other.
#3 Eat fermented foods. Most fermented foods help to balance your gut or stomach bacteria which helps promote optimum digestion. Eating things like yogurt, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), or ijebu (sour) garri are extremely helpful.
#4 Learn to manage your stress. Food doesn’t digest well when you are stressed. Have you realized you have more gas, boating, constipation or even diarrhea when you are more stressed? These are signs of inefficient digestion.
Hope you can clearly see now why digestion is very crucial. If you want to really take your wellness to another level, pay attention to what you are digesting. Your doctor or other medical professionals are great resources to help you understand your unique digestive pathway. More on this subject in future blogs.
WLS, FNS (NASM)