Your 30 Foot Long SuperhighwayNov 15, 2022
Hiya Wellness Warrior!
Do you ever think about the superhighway that your food must travel once you take a bite? Well, that chicken salad you had for lunch goes on quite a journey…
Did you know that the digestive system of adults is about 30 feet long?
Imagine the height of a telephone pole. That’s how far your food has to travel in order to be successfully processed, digested, absorbed, and excreted. This makes for a very long path, from “chew to poo," with many stops along the way. Each stop is a critical stage in optimal digestion.
Optimizing digestion and healing the gut are ALWAYS the first step in treating any condition…from autoimmune disorders, to depression, to weight loss resistance and every other condition under the sun. The proper functioning and health of the digestive system and the gut cannot be bypassed.
If you’ve been in this community a while, you’ve no doubt heard me talk about the import first steps in good digestion:
Being in a calm state prior to and during a meal
Taking small bites and setting your fork down between bites
Not eating in the car or in a rush
Chewing each bite 30 times
Not returning to stressful situations after a meal
Each of these affect only the very first stages of digestion, but if the first steps are missed, the rest will suffer as well. I recently met with a wonderful lady who has had terrible G.I. issues. In fact, she’s been hospitalized multiple times for intense gastrointestinal pain that occurs after eating. She has had bowel obstructions and chronic constipation that leaves her doubled over in pain. Misery! She dreads meal time because, in her words, “Eating means pain.” It broke my heart to hear this, especially since enjoying food is one of my greatest pleasures. I can’t imagine associating food with pain.
In our consultation together, she shared, among other things, that she has several missing teeth in the back of her mouth due to some dental issues that have plagued her for years. Despite hospital visits and labs and years of frustration, there is was! The lightbulb went off for me. This poor woman cannot mechanically break down her food because of dental challenges! This has been going on for years, and her body finally threw up the surrender flag.
Food that is not properly broken down in the mouth by chewing leaves the mouth too large, and also cannot be sufficiently covered by necessary salivary enzymes. Because of this, the food then travels down the digestive system in a state that further impairs the duties of the stomach, and the small & large intestines. If this happens day in and day out, the results can be: poor nutrient absorption, leaky gut, constipation, pain & inflammation, obstructions, and weakening of the immune system…..all because food was not chewed properly.
So, going back to my sweet client, the issue was simple. We had to assist her body in proper digestion even though her dental issues were creating a road block. We implemented digestive bitters, enzymes, consuming softer foods like soups and smoothies, taking small bites and chewing thoroughly, breath work prior to a meal to help calm her nervous system, and even exercises to strengthen her abdominal muscles to assist in the mechanical breakdown once food is ingested.
The results have been astounding. No more pain. No more hospital visits. No more fear around food….even before her dental issues were resolved.
We cannot take digestion lightly. The downstream effects of poor digestion are MANY. I’ll say it again: The proper functioning and health of the digestive system and the gut cannot be bypassed. Optimizing digestion and healing the gut are ALWAYS the first step in treating any condition.
In case you missed it, here's a LINK to a fabulous episode of “The Coming Unglued Podcast” with Dr. Sterling Foster, a.k.a “The Gut Whisperer.” This convo is jam packed with insight into digestion and gut health, and if you want to shore up your digestion, book a consult today with me by replying to this email.
In Good Health,