Gut

Healthy Gut, Happy Life Principles for Plant-Based Eaters & Everyone!

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So Much of Digestion Can Be Correlated to the Healthy Gut, Happy Life Principles

The digestion system is one of the most important parts of your body. It takes in food, digests it, and draws in vital nutrients and fiber. Whatever is left over is efficiently expelled as waste products. Your gut is filled with living organisms that help with proper digestion. Vegan and vegetarian lifestyles can optimize these organisms. These are things that you probably learned in high school biology.

What you may not know is that your moods can be controlled by your digestion system. According to an article from WebMD.com, 95% of your serotonin (the happy hormone) is manufactured in your gut. Mercola.com reports that 80% of your immune system is also made in your GI tract. This means that your mental health and immunity depends on a healthy gut.

Our focus is on strengthening this part of your body– the gateway to your health. You will boost your immune system, lose weight with ease, feel less bloated, uncover hidden food allergies, and, most of all, digest and assimilate with ease. A good digestive system can help you look better and feel fabulous!

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Optimal Digestion Comes From Good Eating Habits

Even when you are eating the proper foods, you may hinder the process by bad eating habits. Your digestion system depends on you to take time to let it do its job. Here are some useful tips for optimal digestion in alignment with the healthy gut, happy life principles:

Above All, Slow down

Rushing through your meal in order to squeeze in an errand, meet a deadline, or get to an appointment is futile. It is also unhealthy for you. If you want your digestive system to heal, you need to slow down. Start the process with your eating. Stop and actually sit down when you eat. Your body needs you to be calm to actually digest your food. If you are nervous, your digestive system will go into “fight or flight” mode. The digestive system cannot work properly when it is stressed. Digestion is about transforming your food into fuel.

When you get stressed, tired, or even nervous, your digestion system will not work properly or optimally. It is really important to slow down so you can have more energy. You can avoid indigestion, bloating, acid reflux, and gas.

Before you eat, try and remember to take a deep breath. Be grateful for the food you are about to eat, and also check in with your whole body.  Try to focus on being present in the moment and fully aware.  Again, we find the healthy gut, happy life correlation in how we eat.  Avoid shoving the food in your mouth as you are running out the door. Do not eat while you are standing at the counter.  Everyone has done it—including myself. It is something I have done more times than I care to remember. Being mindful makes your meal and its digestion a better experience.

Simple Awareness Exercise to Help You Slow Down

Try this amazing exercise I learned during my time at nutrition school to develop your awareness and start to slow down:

  • Sit in a relaxed, comfortable position. Breathe through your nose, and notice how the air is slightly cooler going in and slightly warmer going out.
  • Place one hand over your heart and one hand over your belly.
  • Feel your heart beating, and thank your heart for being there for you all day –every day, pumping your blood and keeping you alive.
  • Feel your belly, noticing the rise on the inhale and the fall on the exhale.
  • Thank your belly for digesting all the food you eat.
  • Sit silently with your eyes closed, and allow yourself to be completely present.
  • When you feel ready, take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Open your eyes, rise, and move back into your day.

AND REMEMBER: The calmer you are, the better you will digest your food. Ironically, slowing down means a FASTER metabolism, and that can lead directly to more weight-loss.

The Importance of Chewing (and More Chewing!)

Digestion begins in your mouth. Remember when you were little and your mother would tell you to slow down and chew your food so that you would not choke?  That always annoyed me as a child; but Mom was making a great point.  Once again, we return to the healthy gut, happy life principle.

When you do not chew your food well, it sets the stage for poor digestion. Poor digestion opens the door to let in the unwanted: weight gain, acne, poor sleep, hormonal issues, adrenal fatigue, constipation, IBS, low sex drive, mood swings, and food allergies, reports Immunedisorders.com. Serious health issues are not far behind. Most importantly, when you do not digest properly, your body cannot transform your food into energy.

Another good idea is to minimize the amount of liquid you drink DURING your meals. It is not advisable to dilute the digestive enzymes when eating. It is best to consume your liquids between meals.

Make Time for Eating and Focus Completely On Your Food

Yes, you heard me. Put down the phone, blackberry, and iPad. Turn off the TV, sit down, and just enjoy the activity of eating. Give yourself some quiet time so you can de-stress and digest! I know life gets busy. I am a full-time mom, business owner, wife, athlete, and health coach. I get it. I know what it is like to be busy and constantly planning ahead for the next moment.

But living and eating this way is causing you to miss being in the present moment. To be present is a true gift. If I do not give myself a little “check out time”, I get tired, moody, gain weight, feel depressed, and have poor digestion.

Why? It’s so simple: when the body is stressed, it cannot digest, function properly, effectively transform food into energy, or perform all of its other jobs and metabolic processes. Digestion is not just about digesting the food on your plate. It is also about digesting the life you live. Start by taking just one minute out of your day to breathe and think of anything that makes you happy.  Remember the healthy gut, happy life correlation!

cartoons of bugs in gut

Get Cultured to Support Your Gut Bacteria (Microbiome)

Find out different foods that you enjoy which contains healthy microbes. Incorporating cultured foods and drinks to your life are a great way to improve your digestion and overall health. These include cultured dairy and non-dairy products, vegetables, and other culture-rich foods. These foods have been around for centuries, says medicinenet.com.

When you add these foods or other high-quality probiotics to your diet, you can lose weight, absorb vitamins better, sleep tightly, have healthy skin, and less inflammation in your body. The Greek meaning of probiotic is ‘for life’. So, give yourself the gift of a healthy life and get cultured.

Taking care of your digestion system takes a few lifestyle changes. You should notice a marked difference when you follow some of these suggestions.  A healthy gut is a happier you (and a Healthy Gut, Happy Life)!

You may be interested in our 100% vegan, comprehensive, easy-to-follow Gut Restore Program that can help you rebuild your gut. Poor gut health is known to be the root cause of many chronic conditions including weight gain. This fabulous program takes you through eight weeks of rehabilitating your gut and reclaiming the life you deserve. 

Our program is designed around the concept of bio-individuality and will teach you which foods SERVE your unique body and which foods HARM your unique body. Learn more about this 8-Week Gut Restore Program by clicking here.

 

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Thriving on Plants is a resource for a whole food, plant-based way of eating and living. Here we celebrate all things plant and honor the power of informed awareness and a diet focused primarily of unprocessed vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains to support good health and happiness. Discover what a little more plant can do for your life!

Disclaimer

This website is for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing presented here should be construed as a substitute for medical advice. Before beginning any type of new diet (natural or conventional), it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed physician, nutritionist and/or healthcare professional.
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