I absolutely LOVE giveaways! Foot Super Highway I feel a small dose of pre-Christmas gift-giving excitement rise up in me every time I think of a fun giveaway, so be on the lookout for regular features where I share my favorites with you! A big congratulations to Lindsey B.
Foot Super Highway for winning the Oh She Glows cookbook and Williams Sonoma apron! I can’t wait to hear about your favorite recipes Lindsey! Thank you to all who entered. It was really fun to read about your favorite kitchen tools – a few that I didn’t have but are now added to my wish list!
On to one of my favorite topics – digestion. Seriously! My college roommate would be quite proud of me for embracing some bathroom talk (I was always the shy one.;)) but no need to worry, I’ll be taking a more clinical approach here. Let’s start off with a little pop quiz.
Digestion begins in the:
- A.) Small intestines
- B.) Mouth
- C.) Iliogranum
- D.) Stomach
If you said iliogranum….you’re wrong. I just made that word up.;)
Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where the enzymes in our saliva begin to break down food. Gravity and muscular contractions begin to propel food down our esophagus into our stomach where it is met with hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes to begin the process of breaking everything down. The partially broken down food then moves along to the small intestines where nutrients begin to be extracted in order to be used throughout our body.
These nutrients are transported through the bloodstream to the liver for detoxification. The liver has other responsibilities as well, such as the production of hormones, proteins, and bile. Additionally, the pancreas has several responsibilities, but today we’ll note its role in providing enzymes that are crucial to the digestive process.
Next, wavelike contractions called peristalsis, that I’ve mentioned before, move everything to your colon. This is where water is absorbed from the stool into the bloodstream and everything is transported to the….well, finish line.
Whoa! Can you believe all of that (and actually so much more!) takes place within the 35 feet of the winding digestive system within you?! It’s truly amazing what our bodies do without us even giving a thought to it.
his really shows how important understanding and caring for our digestive tract is for overall health because truly,
Foot Super Highway – All health begins in the gut.
The nearly 37 trillion cells in our bodies are truly the “building blocks” for all of the body’s functions. These building blocks need nutrients to do their jobs well and these nutrients come from the foods we eat, which as you now know, are absorbed through a well functioning digestive system.
So where do we start?
The nutrients we’re talking about are nutrients found in whole plant foods – vegetables, fruits, beans & legumes, whole grains, and nuts & seeds. These are the foods that will not only fuel your body at the cellular level but also aid in healing your digestive tract and eventually promote greater overall gut health. You can find a comprehensive list here for download.
Move toward more of the whole foods I mentioned. Swap your more processed granola bar for an apple or banana with almond or peanut butter.
Add beans to your main dishes (also great for lowering cholesterol and weight management!)
Chew your food – take the time to eat rather than inhaling your meals. When food is chewed well it is able to be broken down better, digested more efficiently (think less gas & bloating), and absorbed more easily.
Try this Happy Digestion Smoothie from Angela Liddon. Loaded with digestion-enhancing foods that are more easily absorbed since they are blended.
Be patient with yourself. Digestive healing takes time, but your body will thank you in the long run!
For more in-depth information on digestion health, check out Dr. Robynne Chutkan’s site. She’s an expert in her field and makes learning more about gut health easy and enjoyable.