There's something to be said for saying grace before eating, but even if praying isn't for you, taking a moment to calm yourself, center and breathe before eating will do wonders for your digestive system.
Your digestive track only works when you’re in a parasympathetic state. In other words, if you are stressed, driving (one of my classic eating practices before I knew any better!) or shoving food in your mouth while you’re running out the door, your digestive track is essentially out-of-commission until you settle down. Thus, all of that food sits in your gut putrefying and waiting for a relaxing moment. So, take a seat, take a breath and enjoy your food. Your digestive track will thank you a million times over, and you will feel so much better.
Chew slowly: about 30 - 60 chews per bite. It’s helpful if you set your fork down after each bite and take a deep breath as you chew.
One of the first things I tell my new Nutritional Therapy clients is "cut out the sugar!" Well, I don't say it quite like that. I break it to them gently and say "Don't worry! You won't even miss it. We will give you all sorts of yummy things to eat to make up for it." Sugar has an incredibly detrimental affect both on the digestive system as well as on the endocrine system. And what's challenging for the endocrine system is life-changing for the hormones and for your ability to deal with stress. One of my clients just recently cut out the processed sugars in her diet, and right away she noticed she was much more patient with her children, had more energy and was dramatically more productive. Honey is a wonderful replacement for sugar and has so many health benefits to boot! However, please read the research below if you are tempted to replace your sugar with artificial sweeteners. In addition to being toxic to your system, artificial sweeteners are a tease for your body. Your brain tastes sweetness and is expecting sugar. When it doesn't get it, it craves sugar more and more. It's better to eat real-honest-to-goodness sweetness at the front end, rather than trying to trick your body. Our bodies are way smarter than we give them credit for!
A comment on artificial sweeteners:
Problems associated with aspartame consumption are neatly summarized in the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. “Aspartame. . . is a neurotoxic substance that has been associated with numerous health problems including dizziness, visual impairment, severe muscle aches, numbing of extremities, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, retinal hemorrhaging, seizures and depression. It is suspected of causing birth defects and chemical disruptions in the brain.
“Researchers at Utah State University found that even at low levels aspartame induces adverse changes in the pituitary glands of mice. The pituitary gland is the master gland upon which the proper function of all biochemical processes depend.
” When aspartame is digested it breaks down into the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid, plus methanol. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a known poison. Methanol is also found in fruit juices, and our regulatory agencies have seized upon this fact to assure us that the methanol by-product of aspartame is not harmful. They fail to point out that the methanol content of a diet soft drink is 15 to 100 times higher than that of fruit juices.”(17)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines the “safe consumption level” of methanol at 7.8 milligrams per day. One liter of a beverage sweetened with aspartame may contain as much as 56 milligrams of methanol. (18) Other sources also link aspartame consumption with Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and the Gulf War Syndrome experienced by U.S. soldiers after serving in Iraq during Operation: Desert Storm. (19)
According to Dr. Christine Lydon, an accomplished aspartame researcher: “Aspartame’s breakdown products, or metabolites, are even scarier than its components. Phenylalanine decomposes into diketopiperazine (DKP) a known carcinogen, when exposed to warm temperatures or prolonged storage. Even if products are consistently kept at cooler temperatures we are not safe. At cold temperatures, methanol will spontaneously give rise to a colorless toxin known as formaldehyde. Independent studies have shown formaldehyde formation, resulting from aspartame ingestion, to be extremely common. It accumulates within the cells, and reacts with cellular proteins such as enzymes and DNA. This cumulative reaction could spell grave consequences for those who consume aspartame-laden diet drinks and foods on a daily basis.” To read this entire article please visit: http:// www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/sugar-free-blues-everything-you-wanted-to-know-about- artificial-sweeteners/.
I would also recommend reading the book: Sugar Blues by William Dufty.
A lot of people are stunned by the amount of water they should actually be drinking in a day. The so commonly recommended eight glasses of water a day thing just doesn't cut it. Many, many, many illnesses have been completely cured by just drinking enough water as recorded in the book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj.
How much water should I be drinking?
A good rule of thumb for determining how much water to drink per day is to take your body weight and divide it by 2 = oz of water to drink per day. As an example, for a 150lb person, the recommended amount of water would be 75oz of water per day. Please keep in mind that any other beverage you are consuming other than water has a diuretic affect. If you have an 8 oz cup of coffee, you actually need to drink 1.5 times that amount in water to rehydrate. That's an additional 12 oz of water!
Listen to your body. Your urine should be a very light colored yellow. If you ever have dry mouth, you’ll know that you’ve actually passed the point of needing water and you should drink some water to catch up!
Also, it’s best not to guzzle water while eating. Taking a few sips though out your meal is okay, but try to leave a 15 minute window after eating to allow your digestive system to work.
Make water a priority, continually sip it throughout the day and watch as your skin rejuvenates, your headaches go away and the weight drops off.
Make water yummy again!
One of my personal favorites is to add fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt to my water for a post-workout recovery drink.
Fill a water jug with fresh berries, cucumber or mint and let sit over night. You will have the most deliciously infused water in the morning.
Fat has gotten a really bad rap over the last fifty years. The low-fat craze has left a cascade of health issues in it's wake and has spawned an entire economy around processed foods masquerading as health food. If you're thinking, "I thought I was supposed to eat a low fat diet?" Think again. Have you ever noticed that those low fat crackers you buy at the grocery store also have sugar as one of their main ingredients? not to mentioned grains that have been molested to the point of being harmful rather than helpful to your body. Oh, and did you notice that soybean oil? Yeah, that stuff is really not good for you. Do you think fat makes you fat? You're in luck! It doesn't! You can enjoy your food again and stop depriving yourself of what naturally tastes delicious. Fat!
Fat is imperative to good health. Fat is the foundation of every cell and every function in our bodies. Fats dictate our hormonal health, blood sugar regulation, gallbladder health, immune response, etc. , etc. , etc! HOWEVER! Not all fats are created equal and many “fats” that are found in processed foods are incredibly detrimental to your health. All processed fats like margarine, canola oil and soy-based oils should be eradicated from your diet and replaced with beneficial fats like butter, animal fat (chicken, goose, lard), fat from whole dairy, olive oil and some of the more fragile oils like flax seed oil and cod liver oil.
Read the label! Here's what you're looking for on your healthy fat label: organic, first-cold pressed or cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, unrefined, extra virgin. Here's what you want to avoid: refined, hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated, cold-processed (Looks a lot like cold-pressed. Don't be fooled!)
Cooking with Fat: the best fats to cook with are saturated fats. If you're concerned about heart disease, avoid hydrogenated oils. Saturated fat is fuel for your heart and essential to your health. Different fats are good for different temperatures:
Ghee 480 degrees
Macadamia Nut oil 410 degrees
Beef Tallow 400 degrees
Duck fat 375 degrees
Lard/bacon Fat 375 degrees
Avocado oil 375 degrees
Coconut oil 350 degrees
Olive oil 350 degrees
Walnut oil 320 degrees
Butter 300 degrees
Best for drizzling over food and not cooking with: flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, pumpkin seed oil.
WHY BONE BROTH?
If you are struggling with digestion, tooth decay, lack of energy, blood sugar handling or any assortment of health concerns, bone broth is a wonderful tonic and should be drank throughout the day, especially with meals. The fat, protein and mineral content in bone broth makes it an ideal food to heal the gut if you have leaky gut and also acts as a great snack for busy people. I warm a pot of bone broth up in the morning & keep it in a thermos for the day. It's the perfect food for a post-workout boost or to get me through an afternoon at work.
Some people experience diarrhea with bone broth because it has such a cleansing affect on the body. If this happens to you, just cut down your consumption until your bowels normalize. For a special treat and an additional probiotic kick, add a tablespoon of miso to your cup - just be sure the broth isn’t boiling which will kill all of the good bugs in the miso.
Challenge yourself to have 3 cups of bone broth per day and notice if you feel your blood sugar is more balanced, if you're less hungry and if you have more energy and less cravings.
RECIPE FOR FISH BONE BROTH:
My fiance is a fisherman. My freezer is full of fish. We went to Canada a few months ago and caught over hundred pounds of fish. And I got an extra special treat on this trip: fish heads. They make amazing fish bone broth! I absolutely love fish bone broth. It's comforting, balancing and you can just feel how good it is for you!
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 gallon reverse osmosis water
1 fish head
1/2 lb mussels (w/ shell)
1/2 lb clams (w/ shell)
1/2 lb chicken feet
6 stalks of celery
2 onions (w/ skin left on)
garlic (w/ skin left on)
1) Add fish head, mussels, clams and chicken feet to one gallon of reverse osmosis water. Add 1T apple cider vinegar to the water and let sit for 1/2 hour.
2) Chop carrots, celery and onions in half. No need to chop any further. Break up the garlic cloves from the head. Place all vegetables in the water.
3) Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 12 hours.
4) Revel in the deliciousness!