You may recall us discussing before that skin is directly affected by the digestive system. Let’s back up a little as far as just how important your digestive system actually is. If you have ever suffered from IBS, reflux, diarrhea, constipation (by definition, constipation is not having a bowel movement at least once daily), stomach aches, or the like, please listen up! The digestive system effects EVERYTHING.
I think we can all agree that in order to get the proper fuel or nutrients into our body so that it will work properly, we have to ingest it some how. So the most efficient way to do that is to EAT, right? Great. So if you are not digesting your food properly, are your cells actually getting this nutrition? Absolutely not. Let’s take it a little further…what really is proper digestion?
1. Digestion starts in your mouth. Chew your food. I personally think the easiest way to do this is to use chopsticks. Really, give it a try. Instead of shoveling your food in with a fork or spoon in large globs, use chopsticks. You will naturally take smaller bites each time and take more time to actually chew because you’re working on picking up the next bite. Take a look at the Asian countries, do they have a 34% obesity rate? Nope, try 3%. The US has the highest rate of obesity out of all industrialized nations and Japan and Korea have the lowest. Of course there are other factors contributing to these statistics but if you’re eating with chopsticks, I can guarantee you won’t be eating a double cheese burger either. This leads to improved food choices along with improved digestion. I challenge you to commit to using chopsticks for 12 weeks. You can expect to see an improvement in your digestion as well as your weight! After 12 weeks, send me an email so I can celebrate in your accomplishments.
2. The next place the food goes is your stomach. Your stomach is by nature an acidic organ. The acid is what breaks down your food. We seem to be thinking a bit backwards on this lately. It is true that we do not want acid in the tube running from the mouth to the stomach, and we do not want acid in the small intestine, but we need an acidic environment in the stomach. There are so many people who are taking acid reducers such as Prilosec, Rolaids, Tums, etc. The problem is if we are decreasing the acid in our stomachs, we are not digesting our food which means we are not getting any nutrients. The other concern is that undigested, putrefying food is sitting in your stomach for too long and then that huge lump of yuck tries to squeeze its undigested self through your small and large intestine. Can anyone else understand why there is so much bloating, gas, and constipation around? If instead an acid environment was attained, the pH in the stomach would get back to its correct level and the VALVE that closes the top of the stomach leading to your esophagus is then triggered to CLOSE so that you will no longer have undigested food coming up your esophagus, and the food that is in your stomach will be properly digested.
I hope this gives you insight on why taking acid reducers for long periods of time can lead to many other problems in the body. Two very big concerns are bone loss (as calcium is not able to get into the bone) and allergies/asthma (as once there are undigested proteins in the blood, your body wants to mount an attack). For more information on this process, read my book The Allergy Cure (find it as an ebook on Amazon).
One of the best ways to correct your digestive pH is to stop eating what one of my nutrition instructors used to call ‘white trash’. White trash is sugar and white flour. The next thing you need to do is talk with your natural health practitioner about specific enzymes or natural and gentle stomach acid boosters. When you take out the trash and replace with the right nutrients BODIES HEAL. Your entire body regenerates in 7 years. There are parts of the digestive system that regenerate in 4 days! If that’s the case, your body can heal. That’s how we were designed by The Creator. IF, however, you are not listening to your body’s signals-such as by covering them up with medications and not looking for the underlying cause of your symptoms, healing goes right out the window. If you have been taking acid blockers for a long time, it will be important to work with your practitioner and/or doctor to help you along the way.
3. Once food arrives in the small intestine, the pH should go back into a slightly alkaline level which is ideal for enzyme function. The enzymes can now come in and take the nutrients from the properly digested food and deliver them to the cells. Of course the gall bladder (bile), and pancreas are involved in this step.
4. Once we pass into the large intestine, the pH should be slightly acidic. Where are most people’s colons? Way too alkaline. This alkaline environment is a playground for parasites, and yeast/candida and the good bacteria can not survive. Lets say you wake up in the morning and have a donut and coffee. Did you know that the 1/2 life of that donut (trans fat) is 52 days?! That means that after 2 months, only half of that donut has left your body! After eating it your insulin spiked directly due to the sugar and indirectly due to the effect of the caffeine on the adrenals. So not only do we have a pancreas and adrenal crash at about 2 in the afternoon (meaning fatigue), we have toxified our system and rendered our digestive tract unable to bring any nutrients to the cells.
The moral of this story? Listen to your body’s signals. If you need help, there are natural health practitioners like myself out there who can help you sleuth out the underlying cause. No matter the step you take, just take ONE step in the right direction. Remember, a journey of 1000 miles begins with 1 step!