Practical Guidelines: Healthy Digestion

Healthy digestion is when you get the most benefit from the food you eat.

The result of healthy digestion:
* Abundant energy
* Feeling of lightness in the body
* Clear eyesight
* Sharp mental function
* Balanced emotions

Healthy Digestion =
1. Break-down of food in the mouth, stomach, and the small intestine +
2. Proper absorption of the broken down food +
3. Proper elimination of the waste.

The following healthy habits aim to improve digestion in all of the above three areas.

Yogi Mir on Healthy Digestion

But first!!! ...

These four simple actions may take care of your digestive problems. Just try them for a few days and see... (If it doesn't help, then move on to other healthy habits).

1. Chew all food really well.
2. Lessen the amount of your meals. Smaller meals are easier to digest.
3. Eat simple meals with fewer than three types of food (i.e. veggies, beans, grains, fruits, etc.)
4. Don't snack between meals. (Eat four small meals if you have to, but don't graze all day).

Healthy Habit #10-1 Chew the food well.

Chew until you can 'drink' each bite: 20 to 100 times!

Good digestion begins in the mouth. Especially for complex carbohydrates, which digest only in the mouth and the small intestine.

The stomach acids DO NOT break down carbohydrates!

If you don't chew the carbs (greens, salads, grains, and beans) you probably will not digest them. So you may experience gas, bloating, and slight pain in the belly.

In fact, those symptoms are very common due to the way we eat: little chewing, on the go, multi-tasking.

Chewing also gives notice to the body that food is coming down, so the stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, etc., all get ready, and bloating is avoided.

Carnivorous animals don't have to chew. In fact, they can't, as their jaws don't move side to side. They rip the food instead. They eat mostly fats and protein, which get digested in the stomach just fine.

Herbivores (like chimps, gorillas, horses, cows, giraffes, elephants, AND humans) have to chew.

All herbivorous animals chew. Sometimes for hours. Have you noticed that? Except for us, humans. Somehow, we have ignored to observe nature and our obvious biology.

The enzyme Amylase in the salivary glands is responsible for digestion of carbohydrates in the mouth. Without chewing, Amylase secretion is poor, and healthy digestion is compromised.

Healthy Habit #10-2 Consume enzyme-rich foods
or take enzyme supplements.

Without enzymes, no digestion can take place.

Enzymes are special proteins necessary for every chemical reaction in the body including digestion, breathing, thinking, and immune defense.

Only raw foods contain enzymes. To learn more, please go to Take Enzymes for Healthy Digestion.

Healthy Habit #10-3 Drink a tablespoon of
raw Apple Cider Vinegar
diluted in a glass of water
first thing in the morning.

Apple Cider Vinegar also works well to stimulate healthy digestion at any other time of day.

You can find it at most health food stores. The raw kind has strands of pro-biotic culture, often called 'the Mother', which supports healthy intestinal flora.

Unless you have serious indigestion, taking Apple Cider Vinegar once daily is enough.

Healthy Habit #10-4 Eat less.

Smaller meals are easier to digest.

History shows repeatedly that people who eat fewer calories and little in general, have fewer diseases and live longest.

Healthy Habit #10-5 Eat simple meals
with less than three types of food.

Types of food are vegetables, greens, legumes (beans), grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, dairy products, and meats.

Each kind of food requires different digestive juices and enzymes. When too many types of foods are eaten together, digestion is compromised because different enzymes may interfere with each other's digestive functions.

Healthy Habit #10-6 Drink hot tea,
or water with lemon.

If you have eaten too much rich and fatty food, get some hot water with lemon as an after-meal drink. You can also try seltzer with lemon, or peppermint tea.

Lemon helps cut the grease, and according to Chinese medicine, the sour taste stimulates the liver.

Healthy Habit #10-7 Do not snack
between meals.

When you snack, you don't let the body and the digestive system recover and rest.

That recovery and rest are essential for healthy digestion.

Healthy Habit #10-8 Eat pro-biotic foods
a few times a week
to maintain healthy bacteria
in the large intestine.

Healthy intestinal flora helps digestion.

In addition, it's able to 'produce' certain enzymes and amino acids, otherwise required to obtain from food.

I've heard that healthy bacteria (created by green raw foods and raw pro-biotic foods) is able to make Vitamin B12.

B12 is essential for the red blood cell production, and is known to lack in the vegan diet due to the cleaning and disinfecting of our food.

Pro-biotic foods: Kombucha (fermented tea), raw Apple Cider Vinegar, raw Sauerkraut, Kim-Chi (Asian sauerkraut), yogurt (soy or dairy), cottage cheese, miso, and tempeh (fermented soy beans).

There are a few other cultural foods obtained through fermentation.

Old cultures have always had one or two pro-biotic foods consumed on a regular basis. They must know better.

Pro-biotic Supplements:
Personally, I don't recommend them UNLESS YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.

This could mean:

a) you have indigestion: gas, bloating, distended belly, intestinal pain, chronic fatigue;

b) you took Antibiotics, which 'sweep' your intestinal tract clean of anything bad and good. So now, you'll need to replace it with the good stuff.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are based upon the opinions, research, and experiences of Surya (Slava Kolpakov), unless otherwise noted. The information on this website is not intended to treat, prescribe, diagnose, or replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or yoga therapist and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.