We’re going to make an analogy to a bonfire here. If you have a bonfire that is burning nicely and you throw another piece of wood on it, what happens? The piece of wood catches on fire, burns efficiently, produces a lot of heat, and leaves behind only ashes. If, however, your bonfire is going out and there are only a few embers, and you put a piece of wood on it, you won’t have quite the same reaction. The piece of wood may eventually burn, but it will do so at a much slower rate, it will be less efficient, it will produce less heat, and it will leave behind unburned remnants.
You can look at the digestive process in much the same way. You want your digestive process to be functioning like the nicely burning bonfire, so the food (wood) you put in digests (burns) efficiently, produces a lot of energy (heat), and leaves behind only good waste (ashes). If your digestive juices are only burning a few embers you are likely to have symptoms of indigestion, like gas, bloating, belching, cramping, and heartburn. Plus, if you have undigested food particles that get left behind, these lead to indigestion, food allergies, candida, leaky gut syndrome, and many other issues.
So we’ve all heard the term, “You are what you eat”. This is true, but there is more to it than that. What you eat is only part of the equation. It is actually only the first step in the digestive process and it is the only step that we have any control over. That’s why it is the most important phase to think about with each dietary choice you make. With each bite/sip you put in your mouth, you are deciding whether you want to support your health, optimal aging, weight, vitality, and energy, or whether you want to challenge your body and give it a “hard time”.
There are 5 phases of digestion:
1. Consumption/Ingestion – the foods and drinks you choose to consume.
2. Digestion – the breaking down of food into particles suitable for absorption by our cells.
3. Absorption – once broken down, the nutrients enter the bloodstream.
4. Assimilation – the conversion of nutrients into bodily tissues.
5. Elimination – the removal of waste products.
Digestive enzymes are very specific proteins that break down complex substances into simpler ones. No food or drink will be broken down by your digestive system without enough appropriate enzymes. These enzymes are your digestive “fire”.
So, are you what you eat? Of course. Your body obviously can’t process what you don’t put into it. But your food choices must be processed the right way, in the right digestive organ, and in a timely way for proper conversion to usable nutrients by the cells in your body. And waste products, toxins, or other unwanted substances must be properly processed and removed from the body in a timely manner to avoid them entering body tissues and creating issues.
Tomorrow we will talk about the journey of food.
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