Digestion by Design: Part 2

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By Melanie Stewart, Yum Tum Nutrition

Ghandi gave some really good advice when he suggested that we drink our food and chew our drink. As we continue our digestive journey (please see Part 1, Destin Life January 2019 p. 12 at MyDestinLife.com), we arrive at our favorite organ of digestion – the mouth – where we get to taste all of our delicious foods! Mother Nature is certainly generous in providing us with an amazing variety of whole natural foods, each with a unique set of healing assets, vital nutrients and fiber, all of which contribute to positive health.

Beyond deliciousness, though, quality foods are needed to provide the raw materials to build and run our system. These include the elements needed to make units for energy production, the raw materials (amino acids, fatty acids, glucose) to build structures like enzymes or cell membranes, the chemical components (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc.) necessary for good heath, and the fuel for the bacteria in our microbiome which provides assistance in nutrient absorption.

Most importantly, food is the form in which our surroundings penetrate into our bodies in rough, big quantities giving us information about the world around us and influencing genetic learning. In fact, as the foundation for the environment for our cells, food is more influential than our genes because it influences which genes express and which don’t. Therefore, food can be our greatest health asset or our greatest health foe.

One of the most important facts of positive health is that it is dependent on an alkaline environment, while disease states thrive in an acid environment. To achieve an alkaline system, we need LIVE foods that are nutrient dense, enzymatically active and energizing. LIVE foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, or miso, and raw foods. Other alkalizing foods include peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs, seasonings and healthy fats.

Your goal is to consume a minimum of 50% LIVE foods daily, working your way up to 75%.

DEAD foods, on the other hand, are devoid of enzymes and thus rely on our bodies to provide the enzymes necessary for their break-down. With the exception of cooked proteins, which provide amino acids, they are typically devoid of nutrients, harder to digest and are acidifying. As a result, they can drive disease, destroy our system and can even lead to cell mutation and death. Many processed and packaged foods fall into this category as well as all high sugar or refined foods, junk foods and most fast foods.

However, no matter what you are choosing to eat, the primary purpose of your mouth is not just to taste but to chew your food. Chewing well does major things for us that you might not have considered:

1 – Enhancing digestion and nutrient absorption. The more we chew the more surface area we expose on our food. The more surface area we expose, the easier it is for the small intestine to access those vital nutrients.
2 – Slowing us down, allowing us to enjoy our meal.
3 – Preventing over-eating. When we eat slowly we give our brain the opportunity to notice when we are satisfied.
4 – Making us more attractive because, well, stuffing our face and gulping down huge bites of food is generally not very attractive! But also, when we give our stomach a more liquefied food, rather than large chunks, we reduce the risk of suffering symptoms of digestive distress including indigestion, cramping, bloating, belching and gas, NONE of which are attractive!
5 – Best of all, chewing, well, can potentially save your life! Not just by reducing the risk of choking, but by stimulating the parotid glands which signal the immune tissue in your gut to turn on. Why? Because food can kill you! Not just the garbage foods that are DEAD and are killing us too, but any food can harbor bacteria or other foreign matter that can hurt us. Remember, food is a major invader of the body. As a result, the gastrointestinal tract has more immune cells and activity than anywhere else, a deliberately designed and engineered miracle!

So, while it is of the utmost importance that we choose healthy foods, it is equally important that we “chew” them well, too!

Melanie Stewart has written two books for children (Yum Tum, Good Food is Fun! and Yum Tum, We Get it Done!) and one for adults (Yum Tum For Everyone!) all available on Amazon or at https://www.yumtumnutrition.com/. All content is commentary or opinion and is protected under free speech laws. It’s not meant to give individual medical advice or to make any health claims on the prevention or curing of diseases. For more information, you can email melanie@yumtumnutrition.com.