Suggestion – Digestion and a Blast From the Past …

Digestive system from, Diet and Health.net

A healthful environment in the body at the cellular level is crucial to health, according to Dr. Fuhrman. Here is an excerption in response to someone at his forum struggling with letting go of processed foods and not losing weight right off the bat (it takes time!):

“Its not the calories we want to change or reduce it is the digestive and cellular environment right now and have your body really get a cellular cleaning.”

Of course, this was referring to a specific case; nevertheless, a proper environment is important. This is just an example. Clearly, this person needed some time to get her body “clean” and functioning properly. Only way — and I mean, the ONLY way — is to eat the nutrient-dense way; in other words, Eat To Live. When you eat your Nutrients high you cannot help but get healthier. The wonderful side benefit is…

Eating for nutritional excellence will protect your precious health, and it just so happens, when you eat so healthfully you will lose weight until you achieve your ideal weight.”

One of the more profound things I’ve learned from Dr. Fuhrman is that yo-yo dieting is extremely DANGEROUS:

It has been observed by scientific studies that overweight people who go on and off diets and yo-yo their weight lay down more atherosclerosis than those who did not diet and kept their overweight condition stable.”

That was a REAL EYE OPENER for me. I  used to yo-yo a LOT; and I thought just “getting back on track later” was good. Mama, Mia….

Remember: H = N/C. Period! End of argument. Do IT 😀

Okay…SO, eating properly is first and foremost. To help you along…

Some helpful things for creating a positive, healthy body ecology — VEGAN way, of course 😉 — I know of and some I like (These are based on my personal experience with these foods and are by no means meant to be taken as general “truths” for everyone):

Raw Cultured Vegetables: Sauerkraut, Kim Chi, etc., are examples of cultured veggies. Easily made at home, it’s next on my list; soon to be posted 😉  Rejuvenative Foods is SOoooo convenient, and I’m glad it’s still around! I get the unsalted, of course, and I use it in my dressings. I don’t consume straight vinegar in my salads because it would be too much direct contact with my teeth for good oral health. For some reason, the kim chi, while “vinegary,” does not affect my teeth (make them hurt) when blended into my dressings; I do, however, avoid eating it straight. It’s savory and delicious in dressings, acting very much as the vinegar. Makes an excellent Asian soup broth base, too: think hot and sour soup, raw or cooked ;^)  Remember you want, raw, unpasteurized for this and all the food/beverage probiotics. This is excellent for the digestion and stomach flora. Love it.

I make my own now — see these blogs about it:  Cultured Veggie-A “How To” and More on Cultured Vegetables

Coconut Kefir: I could go on an on! MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE — no contest! Better than kombucha, way better than any of the rejuvelacs, it’s made from the water of young coconuts and kefir starter, coconut kefir is the best probiotic drink one can consume. It’s so unfortunate that it is not widely available. I’m lucky to have been exposed to it from a health market nearby which carries one of the very few brands available, “Tonix” Coconut KefirDelicious stuff. BUT, as you imagine, very expensive. I decided to make my own; post soon to follow ;^) I kid you not: This is my go-to beverage of choice for any unwellness, especially with the tummy. If struggling with going off plan and eating poorly, I  suggest to call it a day and drink kefir before bed and first thing in the morning — new day, new start, fresh tummy back in order and quickly! 😀 Post on my own coconut kefir to follow! Whoo Hoo!

Kombucha; Kombucha has been around for ages, too, but it sort of becoming — yep, trendy!  Reputed to be a powerful detoxifier, it’s all the rage. I drink it only occasionally. I like Millenium GTS’s, Multi-Green Kombucha (of course 😉 ) but there are some yummy flavors too, such as ginger. It is started with tea and some tea remains, but not a lot, so very little caffeine in the resultant product. It is made with sugar, which is consumed by the mother spore, “SCOBY,” and so, again, not much remains as a result. I like this, but don’t find it particularly advantageous enough for me to include it regularly. Many claim it does wonders for them, though; so, I think occasional consumption is okay. Most are raw and are labeled as such.

Rejuvelac: Either love it or hate it! I’ve had success with mine :^).I think it depends on how it turns out rather than the drink itself. It’s a fermented, fizzy grain beverage — like a light effervescent drink; referred to as the “champagne” of raw foodists :). It can be flavored as such; makes a nice substitute with some experimentation.  I like the traditional wheat okay, but soft spring wheat is what I would make for myself, nowadays; but, I lprefer the combination of rye and spelt best. I can drink it straight, but, it’s usually summertime when I get a hankering for rejuv, so I usually add lemon or lime, bit of fresh ginger, and some stevia. It’s fairly verstatile: it can be used to make really excellent raw vegan “cheeses,” and can be used as a base for dressings as well. Choosing the right grains for you and your taste is also important. It’s easy to make rejuvelac, too.

(It’s interesting that this company recommends it for weekly consumption, as opposed to companies, hawking a product, which always seem to over-sell and have very high recommendations for consumption.)

Coconut Vinegar: Raw coconut vinegar would be similar to the apple cider in its effects, just better ;^) It is an interesting flavor; I love it.  It is both very mild yet flavorful at once…I think I would say, it is “mild” more because of the acidity — very low; and there is a flavor that comes through, and it can alter a recipe’s results. It’s great in a vegan mayo or dressing. I also use it as a between meals drink to help with tummy issues, such as is recommended with raw apple cider vinegar. One tablespoon in a glass of water; or you can start with less, if you like.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: What can be said?! This stuff is and has been purported to be the panacea, lol. Great-great-infinitum Grandmothers used this stuff 😀 It is good for heartburn, gas, digestion, appetite suppression — these, as far as my experience; but the claims go far beyond! I have no knowledge of them other than my own experience and utilizations of RACV. It’s good in-between meals or 20 minutes before to aid digestion of those meals. One Tablespoon in a glass of water. Of course used in recipes too.

Miso – It’s a healthful food used for the Ages; however, it is high in sodium; but, if one is going to use salt, this would be a healthier choice. I really love(d) miso, but definitely preferred a high-quality such as South River Miso. If I were to go back to consuming salt, it’d be miso all the way ;^) Miso is a living food; not a “raw” food.

Natto: A Japanese fermented soybeans condiment. It’s not caught on with the Western palate! The viscousy — very — and mucousy texture is what seems to be the offputting element — well, for me, I would say. One could blend this into things, if desired, as well. I don’t like it, myself.

Food Combining: Some folks take this to a strict level and employ it as their way of eating. It is based on the varying times which foods digest;  and which should and should not be combined so as to facilitate the most efficient digestion.  I don’t follow it strictly; but, rather, I do find that some of the “rules” apply to me. So I follow those signals. For example, I will not eat fruit, especially a melon, after a meal. It causes a lot of bloating and, inevitably gas; some fruits are worse than others. If I were to have fruit later, it would be at least 4 hours after a meal. I do prefer eating fruits as a mono-meal, but not necessarily mono-fruit meals. So, in other words, I’ll have a bowl of mixed fruit, whereas a mono-fruit eater would consume only a bowl of one type of fruit. Whatever works for ya ;^) For me, fruit is best before a meal or as a meal by itself, or 4 hours after a meal. Dried fruit is another big gas producer, it seems, and for me it certainly is. And its challenge, compounded when mixed with fresh fruits and/or vegetation. Dried fruit is best eaten alone. Soaking and blending helps; so, add it this way to a dressing, soup, or sauce. It’s not in my diet (with the exception of goji berries in small amounts on a rare occasion in a smoothie) and I don’t miss them (or the wind!)

Amazake: Loved this stuff! I haven’t had it in years, actually, but it’s delicious. Better than any yogurt drinks or thick-dairy drink-stuffs! Known mostly in Macrobiotic circles, it’s a fermented rice beverage — no sugar or salt added; yet it’s delicious and lightly sweet. It’s thick and is satisfyingly filling. A very good drink for kids too, instead of say, a sugary yogurt drink or flavored milk! It originated in Japan, where it remains popular. Found in the fridge section of healthier markets in plain and various flavors. You can make your own amazake out of grains as well as rice — millet is a good one — with koji cultures. This is what’s used for fermentation to make sake, too. (I loved amazake so much I named an adopted dog “Koji” 😀 )

So instead of the new “yogurt for digestion/enzymes/health” trend so obnoxiously pounded into our heads as the vogue “health product du jour” right now and funded by the Dairy Industry, try some amazake :^) You might want to blend in some whole fruit for a fruity one, add stevia, or other flavorings to make substitutes for those yogurts so poplular now, or yogurt drinks. This, by the way, is not a raw food.

 

Probiotics, Supplement: Nature’s Way “OPTIMA” is the best I’ve tried. It is pricey, but good. Very effective. It’s in vegetable capsules and needs to be refrigerated. On the other hand, I don’t believe one would need this as some sort of life-long supplement if following a nutritious way of eating for life. I think it would be fine occasionally or as needed, or if someone needs to get their system healthy again or are starting a new healthful way of eating for life (Eat To Live) (and not just a crash diet), then this would be great. There is a less expensive one offered by Nature’s Way, “Primadophilus, Original,” but, in my experience I needed 2 capsules to get good effects, whereas the Optima required only one. But with time, when you reach a state of higher health, you don’t really need any ;^)

Dr. Fuhrman also has a probiotic, Favorite Flora. It tastes exactly like the Nature’s Way, Optima (Yes, I open the capsules 😉 ), it comes as a powder and must be refrigerated, as well.

Enzymes: Well, I don’t use them regularly; but when I needed them MRM Digest-All was the (only) one that worked for me.

Good Fruits and Herbs: Ginger and Tumeric are excellent. There are lots of herbs and spices such as fennel, anise, peppermint, etc., which are great for gas, bloating and other ramifications of a sluggish digestive system. A good example of sources for digestive enzymes from fruits would be papaya and pineapple. Add them to a Green JUICIE Green SMOOTHIE with a small piece of ginger and you’re good to go! I sometimes use the kefir in my GJGS’s too, as well as herbal tisanes; so that’s another way to get some in.

Chop Raw Food Well. When I slice my veggies, I like textures, but I also know, with the size of ETL salads, I’m going to be doing a LOT of chewing. So I find slicing very important in helping with digestion. I recall my mother telling me to chew each (modest) mouthful at least 25 times before swallowing; she probably learned that from Jack LaLanne, lol. Wow, he was a head of his time, no? Several months ago, I came across some of his old tv shows on YouTube. WOW. He is preaching very close to what Dr. Fuhrman’s research and experience has proved about health and nutrition. Almost. He was (still is?) a little high on the “more protein” thing (and recommends meat and a bit of dairy); but, then again, athletes seem to feel they need extra protein, (the myth that never dies…or at least you’ll die before it does, if you adhere to it) which, we all (should) know by now is NOT necessary. But, anyway, who can not respect Jack? What a fabulous man. Anyway…that was my little “Blast from the Past.” Watch some of these and be amazed yourself :^) Enjoy!

Now, back to chopping — If you have a food processor, USE IT! The shredder blade is great. You can get cabbages so thin and light, they are a pleasure to eat instead of a chomping exhibition! (Ever try to eat a humongous salad in front of guests?! How about a date? Lol.) So, think “slaw” for some of the gassier veggies like the cabbages; they are much easier chewed and digested shredded.

Sprouts/Living Foods: Another “light-bulb” for me recently was the discovery of how incredibly easy sprouts are to digest! Maybe because I have a healthy system by now, but I have to say, I imagine they would be easier to digest for anyone, simply because they are a living food. Anecdotally, I have also noted a marked increase in strength :^O Seriously. I am lifting more since adding them, feeling strong and fantastic! I’ve posted on them quite a bit here! Very easy to grow and you will save a bundle while becoming more healthful. Often people complain about the cost of good organic produce — heck, GROW YOUR OWN. You don’t need a garden or a balcony. You need a kitchen; if you don’t have a kitchen, I bet you at least have a sink/faucet somewhere in your dwelling. That’s all you need 😉 No EXCUSES.

Exercise: Speaking of NO Excuses 😀 Good for digestion too 😉

BREATHE!! 😀 Do remember to breathe correctly  while exercising: you should be inhaling (breathing IN) through the nose and exhaling (out) through the mouth. Now, here’s the rub: On the INHALE your tummy should extend (go out/get bigger) and on the EXHALE your tummy should go in…this is opposite of what we learn somewhere, somehow along the way to ‘adulthood.’ We are born breathing correctly 🙂 You know how when someone sticks their stomach in? Firstly, they hold their breath, but the also breathe in as they do it — WRONG! Should be breathing OUT. Okay, got it? 😀 Anyway, the point is, breathing incorrectly — in through the mouth — is bad for bloating and gas issues as well. If you do this while exercising, you exacerbate the problem. This goes for weightlifting — you should be EXHALING on the EXERTION, the lift; and inhaling on the letting down — as well as cardio <– very important. You swallow a lot of air when getting your heart rate up. And when you breathe — basically backwards! — you are taking air into the stomach. Eegads! So, BREATHE CORRECTLY all the time, and be especially mindful while exercising 😀

I’ve read that yogic exercises are also very good for digestion. I don’t do a lot; however I do streamline and do the most effective 😉 . That would be The Five Tibetan Rites — FABULOUS, and I’ve found many of the claims are true. (See animated demo here)

Beans: I could write a chapter. Even though I’m high-raw now, as a vegan “foodie” in the past, I certainly mastered the stove-top bean ;D  Here are some recommendations, if you eat beans. Remember, if you have issues with them, introduce them slowly, in small amounts to  your diet and increase them as your body acclimates. Here are some of my tips, with a primer on beans cooking 😀

What happens for most is that it takes a couple weeks of consistent eating to live to acclimate the body to the foods.
The gas will go away eventually.

Some things to do:

Eat slowly

Eat with your mouth closed

Eat mindfully, chewing and tasting every bite

Chewing your food to or almost to liquidity before swallowing

Speak after you have thoroughly chewed and swallowed (in between bites); don’t talk with food in your mouth or talk and chew — ew! — you’ll swallow lots of air.

Do not drink with meals; drink before and after, if you do need to drink at all.

Try to manage stress if you have it

Try not to eat while upset

Try to eat as simply as possible (meaning don’t get too crazy with combinations of foods that give you problems…for now)

Do Green smoothies for getting your raw greens in (the chewing of raw veggies that is required causes air swallowing); the blending does all the work for you )

Take smaller bites

Try not to slurp or gulp drinks or soups

Avoid gum chewing (LOTS of unintended air swallowing)

Avoid gassier fruits — grapes, apples, etc.

Overeating — this is a HUGE contributor to gas, amongst other things…yikes.

Using a straw also causes air in the stomach; so limit use of them. (I use them for green smoothies, though, to keep the acid and/or green off my teeth. But I at least rinse right after ). For now, though, try not to use them. Eventually, if this is the only gas-producing thing you do, it will be pretty insignificant.

BEANS:

I always:

Soak for 24 hours (Overnight works too, but longer is better)
Drain/Rinse
Refill pot with fresh water
Add a 1- or 2-inch piece of konbu (kombu) and/or sprigs of epazote
Bring to a boil
Reduce to a simmer level
Cover
Cook til done

I never:

Bring to a rolling boil (breaks them up)
Do the quick-soak method
Simmer too high
Over-cook
Add salt (pre-ETL, this would only be added near the end of cooking — last 15 minutes or so, then cook till done so it can absorb it)
Add citrus (tomatoes) until they are almost or already done

The last two nevers (salt and citrus), are hotly disputed by cooks! However, I find it’s best to do this — better safe than wasteful.

Chew to Liquid: Don’t forget the most oft-neglected commandments: chew thoroughly! One also extracts more nutrients from foods through better, more efficient, thorough chewing, according to Dr. Fuhrman. Not only aids the body in digestion, but one avoids swallowing air which is probably one of the biggest contributors to bloating. Don’t eat mindlessly and hurriedly. Chew food to liquid, then swallow. You’ll be SO glad you did. Getting into the practice of this will do you good, I promise!

World’s Healthiest Foods has a nice read and animation about digestion.

Hara Hachi Bu: “Eat to 80 % fullness.” This has been one of the most wonderful most powerful, empowering things I’ve ever done for myself. If you get to a point of health where this is doable, meaning you  have overcome, completely, overeating and toxic hunger, this is a gift, really.  I employ it  myself and it is just another fabulous step toward optimal health and excellent digestive system. The body should never be overloaded with food to digest. This accelerates the aging process. Who wants that? And “aging” is not meant only in regard to aesthetics; this is not a vanity issue (though it could be, and so what?). One is aging the body’s organs by overworking them.

Hara Hachi Bu is also a very healthful exercise of control — control of mind, body, and self. Build a strong mind 😉 . Eventually, it becomes normal, though, and no longer something that takes effort or discipline, as your body and, probably more your mind, adapt. Also, always — whether practicing Hara Hachi Bu or not — take your time; don’t ever rush when eating.

For me, as my journey progresses into greater levels of health, I find that I have slowly, without realizing it at first, eaten less and less over time. Once you have saturated your cells with nutrients, it begins repairing whatever damage you did. It may take a while! Some folks take years of having to eat optimally to get to a level another, less toxic or maybe just less prone-to-damage person may be. It’s all up to the body AND how well you feed it. Dr. Fuhrman says the most important thing is CONSISTENCY. I agree. If one is constantly see-sawing and going off-and-on, bingeing, “falling off the wagon” — I always hated that expression — then you are actually setting yourself back further than if you’d never started the health journey to begin. And that’s a scientific truth; it’s not a psychological/mental  metaphor — refer back to my EYE OPENER quote from Dr. Fuhrman at the beginning of this post for the 4-1-1; or should I say, “the 9-1-1”?!!

Here is a quote from Dr. Fuhrman:

“As the nutritional quality of your diet improves and as your body’s nutrient levels increase, you can be satisfied with fewer calories.  The goal is to be satisfied nutritionally, physically, emotionally, getting pleasure from eating, not feeling deprived, while at the same time consuming less calories, but not wanting more.”

It happens, People! Believe me, it does.

Conquer overeating, get your digestion in good order, say goodbye to fake “hunger,” — all achieved through adherence to “nutritional excellence” via Eating To Live, and begin a hara hachi bu practice ;^) A similar practice was employed by the Israeli Essenes: Two thousand years ago the Essenes in Israel taught that we should, “Eat your fill at one meal, noting the quantity of food you consume. From that time on, eat a third less.”  Good advice!

Pox
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3 Comments

  1. M.Morgan said,

    July 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    like your site

  2. October 21, 2008 at 10:06 am

    […] my previous post about digestion , I mentioned Rejuvenative brand of raw cultured veggies. Very good and definitely my go-to source […]

  3. October 27, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    […] apple cider; and I do choose the fabulous raw coconut vinegars, I’ve mentioned before in my Suggestions for Digestion Post. The coconut especially has more to offer than any regular ol’ vinegar. The addition of fruit […]


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