A Question of Good Digestion
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
“A good digestion turneth all to health.”
-by George Herbert
What's The Secret of Health?
A lot of us fail to listen to the bells and whistles the gut sends when it is hungry and like to eat at odd times. When this happens we ignore the warning signs of poor digestion like gas, bloating, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, ulcers, heartburn, and food lethargy. Instead, we tend to treat the symptoms by reaching into our cabinet and chugging down a couple of drugs-- which frankly, work our guts more than a pill cutter!
So, what is the secret to true health?
If the body cannot break down the food you give it into nutrients-- it cannot use it to fight disease or to store energy in the cell. Period.
The Origin of Disease
The origin of disease can be an elusive hunt when we approach the subject holistically from a perspective of body and mind. By this I mean suppressed child hood trauma, repressed anger or unreleased regret. Most diseases however, originate from a deviation in the normal circadian rhythm of the body-- causing the abnormal, erratic secretion of hormones at inappropriate times that inadvertently disrupt the proper functioning of their related organs. Too much. thought to digest? Forget it, just know stress is the number 1 culprit. Disease or 'not feeling at ease' is felt in the initial stages of the body's attempt to end the underlying symptom of imbalance.
In Ancient Ayurvedic texts, a plant and herb based system of healing and strong digestive fire or ‘Agni' within an organ that is well hydrated so that the digestive juices can flow seals the foundation of a healthy and robust physiology.
Your gut, comprised of -- your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon-- works to turn the food you eat into nutrients your body uses to thrive. Disease is eliminated when we give our gut fresh nutrients it can digest from whole, alive, natural plant sources and not from dead foods.
found in a cardboard box
enhanced by chemicals or
with a far reaching expiration date enhanced by several taste enhancers.
multiple additives and chemicals (read labels!)
Unwanted inflammation is caused when we give the gut food it will digest.
Burdening and overloading the stomach beyond its capacity results in inflammation of the said organ and if left unchecked can progress into systemic inflammation and wreak havoc.
According to studies by Harvard Health, Inflammation is the body's response to an infection, injury, or some other stimulus that the body perceives as harmful (4). Undigested food can result in unwanted inflammation when it cannot pass through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream because it is unnatural.
'Backed-up food becomes a target for destructive bacteria and starts fermenting and deteriorating in the gut. These destructive bacteria also produce poisonous gas and toxins that can damage the intestinal lining reducing the intestines durability even further. Since less food is used by the body and more toxic waste generated in the gastrointestinal tract-- the food you ate at this point turns into poison (5)'.
Historical studies, cross investigation of cultures from across the globe are convinced the root cause of all disorders is linked to a faulty digestion.
It makes sense when you think of how you fuel your car. You wouldn't expect it to take you farther if the engines were not well maintained or you didn't have access to the correct fuel. That brings us to the most important feature of anti-wellness- a constant exposure to toxins. We will take this discussion forward using Ayurveda as our vehicle.
The most common type of toxin is ‘ama' which is a sticky, heavy waste product that builds up in the digestive tract when you eat the wrong foods. This can be seen as a malfunctioning gallbladder. If the toxin is not cleared through ‘clean eating' or ‘rest eating’, also known as intermittent fasting for periods of time, then it can become sluggish and mix with body tissues where it becomes reactive. This is known as amavisha.
The third type of toxin comes from poison overload from environmental pollutants such as food additives, eating old foods depleted of nutrients, eating foods with preservatives and hormones, exposure to household products and synthetic drugs, contact with synthetics in clothing, detergents and polluted water and air.
Timely Eating- know your digestion
Timely digestion of a diet rich in nutrients can strengthen the digestive fire and allow food to become readily available to the cell for energy and enzymatic reactions. There are more than 3,000 types of enzymes in the human body, playing key roles in more than 4,000 biochemical reactions from digestion, nutrient absorption, cell repair to hormone production.
You should avoid combinations of foods that create toxins or ‘ama'. The major nutrients your body needs are carbohydrates (for energy), fats (fuel and storage form of energy) and protein (for building muscle). Include nuts and seeds.
Different people within varying activity levels and organ functional levels digest the same foods differently.
This is why for example, you do not offer an avocado shake to someone with kidney failure. The potassium in avocados packs ~982 mg of potassium making them more of a potassium hero than banana. Still scratching your head? Damaged kidneys can't filter out potassium effectively. High levels of potassium that are abnormal to your body can cause irregular heart beats or a heart attack.
Health Is Wealth
When you eat consciously you demonstrate wisdom towards the health and well being of each cell in your body. When you sit down to eat, you send in essence a signal to your body that a wealth of nutrients is coming by a truckload or should I say “spoon full”. In reality, it takes a very minimal amount of food to get the right nutrients, minerals, vitamins and proteins to meet your body’s demands.
Your wealth is not a magic health pill to swallow, it is not lost in a distant land, or trapped in the confines of your computer and distracting T.V series you are so committed to watching. It is not in a bank either.
In a nutshell, no good can come to this planet if you drop dead and your organs call it quits.
Health is discovered in the choice of foods you eat today.
What foods will you choose?
Will it nourish you?
Will it rebuild your ligaments?
Can it energize you?
Will it fuel your dreams and champion your athletic feats?
Is it the right food for your constitution or body type?
Will it give you energy or take it away?
Is it easy to digest???
The answer to these questions is the key to your health. Because your Health is Wealth.
To elaborate this point, my mind draws on a memory of a very rich Korean Business tycoon I once had as a patient.
One of my colleagues dropped in to make light of a situation. And as I was spiking his antibiotic solution, the nurse once pointed out how wonderful it must feel to be rich, since she knew he had tons of money from the company he ran.
To which the 48 year old Business man responded:
"Two heart attacks!"
Health indeed is the currency of true health.
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5. Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation by Andreas Moritz