Digestion: Energy Intensive Activity
You wouldn’t probably guess it but one of the most strenuous activities the body performs is digestion, taking up to 80% of all of the body’s energy. This is because digestion is one of the most important processes including breaking down the food you eat into all the nutrients your body needs, getting those nutrients to where they need to go and carrying off waste and toxins to keep the body pure and healthy. Anytime digestion is not working optimally energy, health and the ability of the body to heal and renew is impaired. The digestive system also houses more then 80% of the body’s immune system, so when digestion is not healthy the immune system suffers.
Digestion is impaired in many ways, mainly how and what we eat. If we eat too much processed foods that have lots of toxic chemicals, skip meals or eat heavy meals your digestion system goes out of sync. If any of these activities goes on for too long digestion can be significantly impaired long term. We all know that after eating a large holiday meal we feel sluggish, tired and not our best. This is a good example of how not taking care of our digestion can effect every other area of our health. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, stated, “All disease begins in the gut.”
Triggers for Digestion Imbalance:
For all of us there are times when we may eat more than we should, eat junk foods or skip meals because we are busy or stressed. When any of this happens our digestion is thrown off and our health begins to decline. Indigestion, bloating, acid reflex, constipation, catching every bug that goes around, taking long periods of time to heal and low energy levels are all signs that the digestion system is in distress.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the 5,000 year old system of medicine in India, there is a 3 day digestion reset process that is meant to allow our digestion to stop, heal and rest resulting in increased energy, health and healing.
Digestion has its own energy and daily rhythms which rise and fall, making you slightly hungry in the morning, very hungry midday and moderately hungry at the end of your day. In between these times, digestion shuts down your appetite so it can digest what has been eaten. When the digestive process is complete, your appetite renews. If this process is interrupted or thrown off, your body becomes confused and appetite and digestion start to overlap which decreases your digestive power and your body’s overall vitality.
The Simple Digestive Reset Process:
Simply follow this process anytime you know or feel your digestion is suffering:
• Eat a normal breakfast and lunch
• Breakfast should be eaten 1-2 hours after rising
• Lunch should be your biggest meal of the day
• Do not have an afternoon snack or any alcohol after noon
• Eat a light nourishing dinner, satisfying but not heavy, at least 2 hours before you go to bed
• Follow dinner with two glasses of tepid water
Before digestion can be reset it must be lowered which is done by not eating meals and only drinking liquids.
• Take a short walk in the morning or afternoon
• Juice in the morning, afternoon and evening
• 3-4 more glasses can be drank throughout the day between meals, as you feel hungry or as desired
• Drink water freely, especially water with fresh lemon
• Spend the day relaxing, performing light activities and taking it easy
Now you want to restart your digestion and allow it to return to its normal cycles.
• Eat a light breakfast 1-2 hours after rising
• Do not eat again until midday. Midday have a good lunch, satisfying but not heavy
• Do not eat again until dinner. Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bed. Dinner should be smaller than lunch.
Now that your digestion is reset your hunger cycle will make you naturally want:
• A light breakfast eaten 1-2 hours after rising
• Substantial lunch, eaten at about the same time every day, midday
• A light dinner, eaten early and at the same time every day.
Following this process anytime you know you have thrown off your digestion can help to heal digestive problems, increase energy and increase longevity.