Week 1 – Introduction to Healthy Digestion
Feeling bloated after meals?
Do you have chronic stomach pain?
Tired of diarrhea or constipation or alternating?
Are you feeling nauseous after basic meals?
Digestion problems are widespread in America today. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease stated that 60 to 70 million people in the U.S. are affected by some sort of digestive disease. In 2010 48.3 million ambulatory care visits were made for symptoms from a digestive disease. The statistics for digestive troubles in the U.S. are astounding.
So what is the problem? Why are so many people experiencing digestive issues? For each person the answer is a little different. There are a range of causes, the most common being improper diet, although there are often multiple factors. So what is the solution?
Traditional medicine offers solutions through medications that one can take to improve symptoms. The catch is there often can be intense side effects involved. Medications in some situations are appropriate. With that being said there are more natural ways of addressing digestive symptoms. These methods address the root cause of digestive problems and don’t just put a band-aid on the problem. In using the natural tips in this guide people see results quickly. We have helped many people treat digestive problems.
A 45 year-old mother of three older children who had a history of constipation, bloating and fatigue for about 10 years came to see us. She was tired of taking miralax for the constipation and going to the GI doctor with no positive changes. As we met with her we began working with her on cleaning up her diet. We also started her on some digestive enzymes and other supplements. Within two weeks she was feeling better and was having regular bowel movements everyday. Not only did her digestion improve, but she increased in energy and is feeling more confident about her self-image. She felt more empowered by her choices and how they affect her everyday life.
So are you ready to make some simple changes in habit to eliminate your own uncomfortable symptoms and improve your digestion? While changes in habit aren’t always a breeze, making one or two adjustments each week in your daily health practices can make a bigger difference than you may realize. With a few simple habit changes, after you go through this four week guide, you could have less stomach pain and bloating. Going to the bathroom could be less of a trip and gas could be less of an issue. It is important to remember for some that with any change in health habits it may take a little longer for the body to adopt those changes. In other words, if the results aren’t immediate, give it some time and remember that your health is worth investing in.
A Few Things to Remember
The human body is truly amazing in its ability to heal. The body is constantly healing and repairing but sometimes that process can be hindered or blocked. Our task is to remove those blocks and vitalize that healing ability. Looking at the different aspects of your health can give insight; your physical structure, your emotional/stress status as well as your own biochemical makeup (like your diet). In the interest of supporting yourself in each of these areas ask yourself: are you moving in a functional way everyday? Do you drink enough clean water? Are you applying stress management skills each day such as breathing deeply? As you try some of these you will be supporting your basic health needs. When you do that you build a foundation on which you can heal better.
Natural Solutions For Better Digestion
Sit down and take a few deep breaths before eating. Take time to smell your food as you do. Next, try this exercise as you eat: chew 30 times for each bite of food at one meal.
Smelling your food starts a cascade in your brain that starts up your stomach like warming up on a car in the winter time. It is important to get it warmed up or it does not run as efficiently. When available, cook your food so you can smell it first. Chewing (mastication), is the second stage in digestion which breaks up the major components of food and gets the food closer to smaller pieces so it’s able to be used for energy. Chewing your food stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. That system is how you rest and digest which is where you heal.
Avoid Major Inflammatory Foods
Pick one or two of the following foods to avoid for next week: corn, soy, wheat, dairy, and sugar. As you progress through the next lessons each week, try adding a third and fourth to avoid and so-on.
Corn: The chemicals used in production, genetic modification and a mostly mono-crop, meaning no variation in the kinds of corn, all lead to lots of inflammation and problems for most digestive tracts.
Soy: Genetic modification causes problems. It also needs to be fermented to be fully utilized.
Wheat: Genetic modification, mono-culture and chemical usage.
Dairy: Cow’s commonly have a high inflammatory diet of corn and grains vs. clean grasses. Most dairy products go through ultra pasteurization as well. Due to high production demands the industry uses alpha cows vs. beta cows leading to more inflammatory milk production.
Sugar: Leads to inflammation in the whole body and is addictive.
Digestive Enzyme Supplements
1-2 tablets with each meal
There are many different kinds of digestive enzyme supplements and most are decent. Enzymes support the pancreas’ ability to break down foods into smaller pieces. When foods are not broken down fully they recruit the immune system to get involved which kicks up the level of inflammation in your digestive tract. Inflammation in the short term can be appropriate but long term inflammation leads to destruction of tissue and dysfunctional digestion.
One step at a time...
We hope you have enjoyed learning a few simple tricks that you can try at home to change your digestion. Don’t feel like you need to implement these all at once. Instead, try one or two at the start of the week and maybe add or change tips through the week. You can try writing down a plan to implement which ones you select. Also remember that your health is something worth your investment.
To cover additional natural solutions for better digestion, covered in lessons two through four, you can access them for free by signing up with your email. We’ll also talk a little bit about what we do in our clinic to help our patients improve their digestion and lessen their uncomfortable symptoms. If you need any help finding some of the items mentioned in this lesson, you can ask for our help emailing us on our contact page or call our office at 360-698-4141 during business hours for a live person to help you.
Please note, this guide is in no way a diagnosis of your individual symptoms. If implementing these tips into your daily life does not provide a resolution of your symptoms, it is important to visit with a health care provider for further help and evaluation. There may be important pathological issues that need to be diagnosed and treated with a trained healthcare provider. Please refer to your physician before starting any supplements or lifestyle changes. Here at Equilibrium Natural Health we are committed to helping patients find the root cause of problems. We are available to help you get well. Visit our website at www.equilibriumwa.net to learn more or call the office today to book an appointment at 360-698-4141. We have Naturopathic Primary Care available to help patients reach optimal health.