3 Simple Diet Hacks to get over it.
Followers of our New Alkaline Diet are already well aware that your diet should be liberally supported by the ‘four horsemen’ of health, Calcium, Magnesium, potassium and sodium. Many alkaline diet promoters reckon that’s all you have to do.. but it isn’t so easy – especially when we have pre-existing conditions.
Why? Because if you are already not absorbing your food efficiently, you’re stuck at the traffic lights! You can’t access the benefits of the foods!
Digestion is complex and as we learn more about the role of the bacteria in our gut, it’s getting more complex rather than less. There’s a fine and amazingly balanced interrelationship between your food, digestive enzymes and our digestive juices. If you are working perfectly all these factors just groove together to create 100% digestion.
If not, putrid food will be the result. In your gut. And putrid food has all sorts of health effects including bone scavenging.
So what are the hacks that make for easy and complete digestion vs. putrefaction? A little knowledge goes a long way, and enzymes play a leading role in the interplay.
Let’s talk about enzymes first, because the knowledge you gain will allow you to see how and why our 3 hacks work so well.
Basically, we are talking about 3 states of food in the gut:
Putrid food, and
Digestion, simply put, is the breaking down of complex foods to simpler foods.Proteins become amino acids. Starches become simple sugars.
Putrefaction causes proteins to break down using gut bacteria into chemical form, such as toxic indol and skatol. That painful gas and bloating you experience is the result.
Ordinary rotting isn’t the same as putrefaction. As food rots, it simply “goes bad”, in the same way a meat would rot if out of the fridge. Rotting naturally happens. It doesn’t need the specific bacteria involved in putrefaction.
Fermentation on the other hand, happens when yeasts turn sugars into toxic chemicals. (methane, acetaldehyde, alcohol). If you are one of the many with an overgrowth of yeast in the gut, fermentation may be performing in a gut close to you!
Digestion. What really happens down there.
Let’s look at the three main processes involved. Hopefully you’ll understand what happens to the food you toss down your throat.
1. In the mouth
Digestion really does begin as you chew your food. Thorough chewing is important – and there are many many ‘experts’ who will tell you how many times you should chew food. Good chewing permits the primary enzyme in your saliva, amylase, to penetratre and saturate your food and initiate the process of breaking down starches into sugars.
Chewing does, as we all know, break down food mechanically. Your teeth grind and incise the food into ever smaller pieces. This is the beginning of opening up the surface of the food to begin nutrient extraction. Other things also happen. Did you know, for instance thet you have a minicomputer in your mouth? Not only does it calculate the pH of the food to alert the stomach ofthe need for an exact amount of acid production.. it also tells the stomach what sort of food is coming ‘down the chute’ to further enhance the stomach’s preparation.
It’s also a digestive organ in its own right. Some nutrients and substances in food – e.g. simple sugars and certain vitamins – care capable of being absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes of the mouth.
2. In the stomach
Most of us think of the stomach as the place digestion happens. It’s not. It’s a food preparation station. It mixes food with strong acid and enzymes to prepare it for its journey of conversion to energy. Well… it is a little bit of a digester. Proteins do get broken down at this stage, and starch digestion begins.
The stomach digests food chemically and mechanically. The mechanical part is the churning that takes place using the powerful muscles surrounding the stomach.
3. The ‘Gut’. (Intestines)
Food passes through the pyloric valve at the bottom of the stomach (An intersting valve – it’s tripped to open based on pH!) and enters the small intestine. Smnall is a bit of a misnomer: it’s smaller in diameter than the colon, but far longer – about 30 feet long! It needs thirty feet to allow the food plenty of time to be broken down through the digestive process.
On the surface of the small intestine we have millions of villi – hair-like projections – effectively magnifying its surface area and therefore increasing its effectiveness.. At the right point in the digestive process, nutrients pass across the villis’ cell membranes and enter the bloodstream.
Healthy flora in the small intestine enhance the digestive process. They break down food even more, but as we are now finding, they also enhance immunity, synthesize important vitamins, reduce inflammation, and even increase bone density.
All through this process, our most important enzymes are carrying out vital digestive processes.
The Role of Enzymes In Digestion
It’s just impossible to describe every job that enzymes perform in our body. Enzymes are absolutely crucial for the proper function of all of our body systems, including digestion.
A digestive enzymes’ function is to break down chemical bonds in fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Enzymes ‘micronise’ foods into miniscule substances that are then bioavailable at the cellular level. Without them, nutrients are remain locked in the food. They will never reach the tissues and bones that need them.
The 3 Main Groups of Digestive Enzymes
Proteases break proteins into amino acids, thus separating their bonds and liberating them into the bloodstream. Pepsin begins this job in our stomach. The small intestine secretes more proteases, completing the breakdown process, and the amino acids enter the blood stream through the intestinal wall.
Lipase is produced by the pancreas. Mixed with bile, it breaks down fats into fatty acids and monoglycerides small enough to pass through the intestinal wall and into the blood. In the blood, digested fat particles produce new compounds, such as hormones and cell walls. Of course, if there are any extra fats, they get stored in the fat cells. Yes, fat, doing essential service to our wellbeing!
Carbohydrases work to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. As we spoke about earlier, amylase in the saliva initiates this process. It begins again in the small intestine. Amylase from the pancreas breaks the starches and sugars into single molecules (primarily glucose, fructose, galactose). When these simple sugars enter the blood, you are getting pure energy. Any excess is stored as fat.
What about water? Should you be drinking it, how much and what sort of water?
There are many different opinions on this topic. Somew say never drink water with a meal, based in the idea that water will dilute or change the pH of the food, ths upsetting the body’s calculations about the right amount of acid produced. The fact that all Italians drink alkaline water with their meal seems to reject this idea quite thoroughly. There seems to be no ill effect for millions of Italians!
I personally drink a glass of water before a meal. I don’t like to drink during a meal for the reasons above. Of ourse I drink hydrogen rich alkaline water. There are a few holdouts who still insist that we should be drinking distilled water.. but there are very few advocates of this today, simply because of the overwhelming science supporting alkaine hydrogen-rich water.
I always make sure to include vegetables with my meals. They are the Yin of the Yang in my diet, and provide so many health-supporting advantages, not the least being reduced inflammtion, improved antioxidant capability and better immunity.
OK. Time for the 3 Digestion Hacks.
(Hope they don’t disappoint you by appearing too obvious. The effect of following them is profound.)
Hack 1. Chew, chew, and chew.
Your mouth is where chemical and mechanical digestion begins. In our high speed polluted lifestyle, chewing is easily set aside so we can net surf more, talk more, or play more. Poor old chewing isn’t ‘fashionable’. The bicarbonate ions in your saliva also begin your natural alkalizing process. Salivary bicarbonate activates another enzyme, cellulose, which begins the breakdown of food fiber.
Hack 2. Eat Foods That Support Enzyme Production
Your body manufactures some enzymes from various substances, and some foods, like pineapple and papaya, contain enzymes.
Print out this list of enzyme friendly foods.
Coconut flesh (not oil)
Yogurt (plain, unsweetened)
Shitake, Reishi, and Maitake mushrooms
Raw foods are also a betetr source of enzymes than cooked food, so keeping up a good supportive raw food portion of your diet is a great strategy.
Hack 3: Cook to save your enzymes to save your life.
High-temperature grilling, deep-frying, and barbecuing destroy nutrients (and produce harmful substances like carcinogenic acrylamide), Use use these cooking methods sparingly.
Steaming, parboiling, and gentle sauteeng actually makes some nutrients more absorbable. In soups, water-soluble nutrients are easily absorbed. Bone broth used in conjunction with any dish as a soup or broth is a fabulous health boost.
Summarizing, a diet rich in organic grrens, raw fruit in moderation and amino-acid rich grassfed meat and dairy is going to support enzymes, and keep you supplied with a full spectrum of amino acids. And guess what that looks like? The New Alkaline Diet! (Downloadable free here)