Think Outside The Plate: 4 Tips to Improve Digestion Without Changing What You Eat
It's no secret that I've dealt with digestive issues for most of my life. I seriously cannot remember life before it. Years upon years of suffering, and doctors giving me the BS diagnosis of "IBS", and saying that it's normal, and that there's no cure, and sending me on my way.
Over the years, I have figured out what works best for me, and makes me feel my best. I don't believe there's one single way of eating that will fix everyone's digestive issues, or any health issues for that matter. Last week, I spoke about how Ayurveda and eating more
cooked/warm foods instead of cold smoothies and salads everyday helped me out, but that doesn't necessarily mean that would work for you!
Although the food we eat may be different, the way we eat is the foundation of it all! Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, pescatarian, a carnivore, only eat chicken fingers, or none of the above... I've got a few tips to help you think outside the plate and naturally improve your digestion!
Rise & Hydrate - Start every morning with 16-20oz of water. When we sleep, we go about 8 hours or more without drinking any water and then we wake up pretty dehydrated. Starting your day with an extra large glass of water will hydrate you right from the start, which will help kickstart your digestive system and tell it to start flushing out any toxins.
Focus on the Food - As in, take away the distractions. We're all guilty of it: one minute we're swiping through Instagram stories and checking our emails, and the next we look down and our plate is clean. While you're eating, do just that, eat. It's really not a time for multitasking. Think about what you're eating and notice the taste, the texture, the smell. Eating without distractions will allow you to eat more mindfully. When we eat more mindfully, our body is ready to digest.
Chew on This - Chew each bite at least 20 times. Count them out, and you'll realize that most of us don't chew a fraction of that. The more we chew, the more our saliva can break down the food AKA prep it for the rest of our digestive track AKA make it easier to digest AKA better digestion! Now during meals I remind Peter (and myself), are you chewing, otherwise we will devour our dinners in 5 minutes.
Slow Down on the Snacks - Your digestive system needs about 4 hours to digest a meal fully. If you're eating small snacks in between meals and throughout the day, your body never gets a break from digesting. There's some strong diet-culture marketing that's drilled into our heads that we should be "grazing" throughout the day to speed up our metabolism - but that's not true. As soon as food enters your mouth your digestive system gets to work, and if you interrupt that process by eating again, the first cycle of digestion is never completed. Try eating more filling meals so you're not reaching for snacks after a few hours. Many times, we aren't even hungry, we're just bored or using snacks to deal with stress throughout the day.
Following these 4 tips is a simple start to better digestion, and better digestion means a happier and healthier you, which means you can go do so many more awesome things!