This is one of my most favourite topics to write/ talk about. I have personally struggled with digestion issues and I know the extreme discomfort it can cause, so I wanted to try make things easier if you guys ever struggle with digestive issues too.
Our bodies are complex and we have been designed so intricately by our Creator. I fully believe we weren't created to feel out of balance with our bodies natural rhythms. We were made to honour God with the bodies we have, and for me that looks like living with intention in a lot of different ways, one of the main ways being the foods I choose to eat.
I want to preface before diving into the 9 different tips, that I am not a health care professional. This post is for education purposes only and any lifestyle changes you decide to make should be discussed with your GP or holistic health practitioner first.
Drink more water
I know you have all had this drilled into you before but it is honestly so important to be keeping up with your water intake every single day! If you drink water after your meals, it helps to break the food down and ensures you are receiving all those beautiful + beneficial nutrients. It's going to help the food move through you easier, not to mention it's going to soften your poop and help prevent constipation!
Find what works for your body
This one is important. In a world that pulls us in a million and one different directions when it comes to food choices, different diets, what to eat and what not to eat, it can be super overwhelming.
At the end of the day it is your body and your body knows what is best for you as an individual. As I stated above, we are complex and we are all created so uniquely. This means a style of eating that might work for someone, won't necessarily work for someone else.
Let's take dairy for instance. I am personally not able to digest lactose. It causes me severe stomach pain, constipation and breaks me out in a rash. Those are clear indications of an intolerance but that doesn't mean dairy has that effect on everyone. My Husband can digest dairy just fine and eats a variety of dairy products everyday.
This is the same for people who choose not to eat meat. Although I love eating it and it sits perfectly fine in my stomach, doesn't mean it's going to do the same for others.
My best advice surrounding this topic is to just stay in your own lane and focus on what works for you. Stop casting judgement on others food choices, give people grace and let people make their own decisions for themselves.
Reduce refined sugar intake
It's no doubt we know the terrible implications sugar has on our bodies, yet it is still being consumed in copious amounts and people wonder why they are winding up with chronic diseases, acne and hormone imbalances.
Sugar has been proven to have the same addictive effect of humans beings like cocaine does. Once we consume a little bit, we just want more and then we enter a vicious cycle of binging. Here is an interesting and large study all on sugar and the effects it can have on humans (1).
While we are on the topic of sugar, let's go through a few of the different names that come along with sugar. The very first thing you should be looking for when you pick up packaged foods is the ingredients list. Sugar can be masked underneath different names, which is quite a scary thought!
High fructose corn syrup
Brown rice syrup
That's just to name a few. Not trying to knock America, but the fillers, sugars and preservatives used in foods over here is honestly atrocious. It's not food, it's food like substances (as Michael Pollen would say).
Another note on sugar that might surprise you! Stay clear of fruit juices, even if they are cold pressed. This is a subject that leaves me feeling so frustrated. Drinks like this are labelled + marketed as healthy, but they still contain an insane amount of sugar. The rebuttal argument is always: "But it's just from fruit, so it's healthy". It's definitely health(ier) but the reason sugar in fruit (in moderation) is okay for us and easily digestible, is because of the amount of fiber that comes along with it. Without the fiber, you are still drinking sugar.
When I consume sugar I usually stick to coconut sugar, raw honey and very occasionally maple syrup + dates. I will also have cane sugar every now and again when I buy dairy-free chocolate chips but I have been using 100% dark chocolate lately, which contains no sugar!
Stop eating foods containing refined vegetable oils
This get's me fired up. The oils sound healthy and are sold at such a cheap price that it's just convenient for people to purchase but if you get anything from this post, please try make the swap to healthy oils like extra-virgin olive oil, extra-virgin coconut oil, avocado oil and even ghee.
Vegetable oils + hydrogenated oils wreck havoc on your body, more importantly, your digestive system. We need both Omega 3's and 6's to function optimally, but in this day and age we are consuming many more 6's than 3's. These oils are fulllllll of Omega 6's and cause extreme inflammation in the body.
Eat probiotic-rich foods
I love this point. We all know that consuming foods rich in probiotics helps to nurture the good bacteria in your gut-microbiome. Foods like whole-fat greek yoghurt (unsweetened), sauerkraut, kimchi, organic tempeh and kefir are amazing options for supporting your digestive health. Alternatively, you can purchase a high quality probiotic in a capsule from the store but I believe eating a whole food source is your best option.
Always remember if you are taking capsule probiotics regularly, make you are switching brands every few months to ensure you are getting a variety of different strains!
Eat your veggies + seeds
We've all heard it countless times, but seriously, eat your freaking vegetables! They are fillllled to the brim with so many amazing vitamins, mineral and nutrients, not to mention fiber!! Which we have already learned about with the juicing + fruit in the sugar section of this post! Because vegetables have so many incredible nourishing benefits, eating a wide variety is going to do wonders for your gut flora and your overall wellbeing.
Seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids, this means they contain anti-inflammatory properties and they also contain a lot of fiber which can help keep you regular. Along with that they are just a great addition to your diet.
Move your body
Movement is an important and I believe vital part of living a healthy lifestyle. I know if I do at lest 30 minutes of exercise a day I always notice a massive improvement with my digestion!
Chew your food
This one might sound silly but it honestly makes such a difference. Without sounding totally woo-woo, try to be present when you are consuming food. I love eating and I'm notorious for eating too fast, so I have to take my own advice on this point. Chewing your food is essentially giving your body a head start in the digestive stage. It's also much better to eat slower because it's easier for your body to recognise your hunger signals.
Manage your stress
Our bodies work in such a beautiful harmony. This means if one system is down, it can very easily disrupt other systems of the body. Managing and being on top of your stress levels is a massive contributor to better wellbeing. It directly effects the gut because of gut and our brain are connected. I have a post coming over on the Stand Unshaken blog in the next few months on this specific topic, if your interested follow along over there. I'll leave the link to the site below.
LINK :Stand Unshaken
Ways I keep my stress levels at bay is by:
Spending regular time with Jesus -- In prayer and through bible reading
Taking a bath
Doing a face mask
Working on creative projects
Moving my body
Making healthy recipes
Those are the 9 tips I stand by and integrate into my daily routines for better digestion. I would love to know if you already do any of these things or if you've learned something new from this post!
As always, my heart behind everything I do is to ultimately help you flourish!
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