“Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Look at the types and quality of foods you are consuming at present. Are they drawing you closer to health or further away? Foods can create health within the body, such as those packed with minerals and vitamins. Alternatively food can be a drug and cause disease and ill health if consumed regularly and in quantities. So if food is a drug, what drugs are you choosing to allow into your body?
Our digestive system is the first line of defense for our body, since it serves to assimilate and process incoming food which is subsequently turned into energy. Approximately 80% of our immune system is contained within the mucosal lining of the gut. The gut is the second brain. When our digestive system is working in harmony and balance, our entire body is renewed with an energetic life force and sustained health. When digestion is out of balance, numerous diseases and illness take hold. Listed below are some symptoms due to an unhealthy digestive system:
- Lower abdominal bloating
- Belch or burp after meals
- Frequent gas
- Headaches after eating
- Cravings for certain foods i.e. bread, chocolate, other
- Excessive appetite, never feeling full
- Abdominal pain, cramps, distention and discomfort
On a personal level, over the years I have eliminated certain foods from my diet and have found that as I get older, I have retained much of my strength and stamina especially during exercise. Like most things, certain foods did not serve a place in my life anymore and I said goodbye to them. It took some time and persistence to wean them out, since I had been consuming them for years. These foods included: wheat, dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine and sugar as the primary food groups.
Now I know many of you are crying ah, how will I start the day without caffeine? You might be interested to know many years ago I worked for an Italian fashion company. We had the best coffee machine and coffee to match. We even hired a professional barista to make the coffee for us. Coffee was without a doubt, my best friend at the time. However, over the years I discovered it was a bad habit I’d formed during the week, since I didn’t drink caffeine during the weekends. As I began consuming less of it, I found my digestion improved, my moods were better, my energy levels skyrocketed and most importantly for me, my performance on the bike vastly improved since my body was running clean and free of toxins. These days if I put any toxic food into my body it lets me know about it within an hour of ingesting it. People will call you sensitive. I always say, yeah sensitive to good food!
My suggestion is to find your place with what works for you. I will not advocate what is good or bad for anyone. I will present you with the information, perhaps give you my experience and ask that you conduct your due diligence and investigate further. So start your own journey (there is no destination) of health and wellness. Identify those stressors which are causing your body harm. If you’re unsure what they are, seek assistance from a health professional versed in the area of natural remedies. Without the risk of beating up the medical community, it is my opinion that some GP’s are not well trained to give nutritional advice. Their nutritional education warrants very little training in this area, unless they choose to continue with further study post Medical school.
My suggestions in the interim would be the following:
- Find a good probiotic to take that will balance your internal flora. A natural health professional can assist you with this.
- Abstain eating foods which irritate your gut. Conduct an allergy & intolerance test to determine which of those items they are.
- Drink plenty of natural spring water sourced from an artisan well where possible. Use the following formula to determine your daily requirement of water intake: 0.033 x your body weight (kg) = litres
- Eat at least 80% organic foods which are free from pesticides and are labeled accordingly.
- Eat regular meals throughout the day and listen to your satiety signals (feeling of fullness).
- Develop a relationship with your body as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts.
- Have fun, enjoy life. You’ll make mistakes. Learn from them and don’t take yourself or the world too seriously and watch your life take on new meaning.