Happy Monday, friends! With my book manuscript coming due soon, I need to start hunkering down and working on it, so over the next few weeks you’ll see a couple more guest posts than usual. I apologize in advance for taking a bit of a step back - but we’ve also been working on scheduling great yoga content so that you’ll continue to get your yoga blog fix. I promise to be back in a more fully present way in the coming weeks and thank you in advance for your patience.
Today my very dear friend Carley Smith, a GAPS certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, will be stepping in for part one of a three part series that discusses easy ways to get your health on track. Carley has worked with me in recent months helping to identify the last pieces to my puzzle on my health as I transitioned off the GAPS diet. She is extremely knowledgeable, caring, and positive. She’s one of those people who walks into a room and lights it up with her smile and when you’re feeling kind of blah, believe me, that’s the person you want in your corner. She sees clients via Skype, writes the blog Fairy Gutmother, and has a drool-worthy instagram account. Hope you love her as much as I do. xo
Hi, guys! In this three-part series, I will discuss simple ways to improve your health through three commonly overlooked but essential topics: digestion, hydration, and stress.
Digestion and our health
Digestion is fundamental to optimum health. Plain and simple: if you’re not digesting your foods, you’re not absorbing the nutrients. If you’re not absorbing nutrients, your body is not receiving the tools it needs to function properly. Meanwhile, undigested foods are seeping into your system which can cause problems like autoimmune attacks, leaky gut, allergies, nutritional deficiencies, and much more. So many health issues start with digestion.
So, how do we fix this? There are a few ways to help with digestion.
1. Did you know your body needs to be in a parasympathetic state in order to start digesting foods? This is just a fancy word for telling us we need to be relaxed and calm in order for gastric juices (stomach acids that break down food) to be released. In fact, taking 3 big deep breaths before each meal can make big difference in digesting foods! So many of us are eating on the go which unfortunately does not allow us to calm down and properly digest our foods. So next time you eat, just relax! Try sitting down, taking deep breaths, and chewing your food well for better digestion. If relaxing before meals is something you struggle with, you may want to try a drop of Parasympathetic essential oil behind the ear before meals.
2. If taking a few deep breaths isn’t enough (which for most of us it’s not) then I suggest taking digestive enzymes or bitters 30 minutes before meals. Two products I like best for supplementing digestion are Hydrozyme and HCL Plus. HCL Plus contains Hydrochloric Acid and Pepsin, two gastric juices naturally secreted in the stomach to digest foods. Hydrozyme, on the other hand, is essentially the same as HCL Plus but also contains Pancreatin, a digestive enzyme, that further helps support digestion. Digestive bitters are similar to digestive enzymes in that they stimulate digestive secretions to help break down and absorb food. Urban Moonshine makes a variety of bitters and Tonics that are to be taken before meals, helping with digestion.
3. It’s truly amazing how important stomach acid is to maintaining optimal health. Not only is it essential in properly breaking down foods, but maintaining the proper pH level of stomach acidity is equally as important. Many factors contribute to lack of stomach acid or an imbalance in pH levels, such as: stress, medications, processed foods, and antacids to name a few. In fact, antacids neutralize the pH level in your stomach, further inhibiting proper digestion. A major reason for heartburn or acid reflux is actually undigested food seeping into the esophagus along with the stomach acid which burns the lining.
The common misconception is you have too much stomach acid, but the opposite is usually true. Most of us suffer from too little stomach acid which is further diminished by the use of antacids. The solution? Getting your body into a parasympathetic state and boosting your stomach acids by taking digestive enzymes or bitters! I always feel like this is a good starting point for proper digestion and overall better health.
Give it a try and let me know how you’re feeling! Or, have you taken bitters or enzymes before? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor when making any changes to diet or supplement intake.
About Fairy Gutmother: Hi! I am Carley, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and Certified GAPS Practitioner (CGP). I became interested in health and nutrition after battling Lyme disease and using food as thy medicine to help heal my body. You can read more about my experience with Lyme on my website. I truly believe the words of Hippocrates that “All disease begins in the gut” and once you begin to heal the gut, you can start to heal the body. Feel free to contact me here if you’re interested in learning more about healing. I look forward to hearing from you and working together to restore your health!