food

It isn't all about food

What you eat DOES matter, but it isn't the whole picture.

The world of nutrition is jam packed full of different people preaching different approaches. You can find whatever you are looking for - articles to support your beliefs - to tear them down - whatever you need the internet has your back.

My standpoint is that you need to find what works for you. And what works for you today, may not work tomorrow - also what does "work" mean? Health? Weight? 

These clarifying questions are excellent to ask when you are trying to create change.

Now, back to my point.

It isn't all about food.

What do I mean by that? Well. I could tell you THE PERFECT DIET FOR YOU and if you are so stressed out following that diet, it isn't going to work.

If you follow that diet, but still only manage to get 5 hours of solid sleep that night. It isn't going to work.

If you follow that diet, but keep supporting bad relationships in your life. It isn't going to work.

If you follow that diet, and have a terrible internal monologue. It isn't going to work

If you follow that diet, but don't believe you can actually change. It isn't going to work.

Food plays an important role in healing.

But your mind.

It is more powerful.

Learning how to be kind to yourself. Kind to your path. Your progress. Developing patience. These things can be more impactful than the perfect meal plan.

Food is hard so I might as well just eat Twinkies

Nutrition is tricky.

But then again it isn't.

The problem shows up in looking for the quick fix, the perfect diet, or the holy grail of food. 

There is no perfect.

There is no diet that suits everyone.

And there is no magic food. 

When first delving into understanding food better there is A LOT of conflicting information.

It can be paralyzing.

Fat is good. Carbs are bad.

Fat is bad. Carbs are good.

Protein is great. 

Red meat will kill you.

Kale is a superfood.

Kale will kill you.

Lemon in water is excellent!

Lemon in water is terrible for your teeth.

AHHHG! It is maddening.

So. I might as well go eat Twinkies, and Skittles, and Fruit Loops, and Lunchables, and Fruitsnacks, and... EVERYTHING.

Makes sense.

Perfect logic.

:I

No.

Highly processed refined foods are not the answer. This is something - in the vast world of nutrition - pretty much everyone can agree on.

As for the rest of it the body craves balance. Going too left (aka a million green kale smoothies all day er'yday) or going too right (aka all meat no veg all the time) is generally not the best place to land.

You will eat differently at different times in your life.

What you eat should be dictated by your needs and goals.

There are times when more restriction makes sense.

There are time when a therapeutic approach makes sense.

There are times when you can get away with indulging yourself. 

And there are times when you cannot.

Figuring out what you need for specific weight loss goals, health concerns, and/or performance CAN be tricky and take time and experimentation to figure out (I can help you).

But, in broad strokes eating foods that are high quality, foods that are whole, avoiding refined grains and sugars MAKES A LOT OF SENSE and is something you can do if you'd like to push the pendulum toward health. 

I would like to eat all the cereal

I love cereal. Love it.

I remember watching cartoons and digging into bowl after bowl.

Eating it by the gallon in college. A versatile food serving as a snack, a breakfast, a lunch, or a dinner. 

I remember coming home a little (okay maybe a lot) tipsy from the bars back in my twenties and being so proud for grabbing the cereal versus a pizza. And. Just. Chowing. Down.

So many delightful cereal memories. 

My super big weakness is Fruity Pebbles a serving size is 3/4th cup which yields about 10 servings per box.

HA.

HA.

HA.

I have never experienced a reality in which I could get 10 servings out of my box o' pebbles.

And this is the big reason why I do not indulge in cereal. It is a trigger for me, I also don't think it is the best choice for getting quality nutrition into the body, but most important it is a trigger.

Do you know your triggers?

How do you choose to interact with them?

What goes down, comes back up aka REFLUX

You know that feeling, that burning in your throat.

That feel of acid warming the base of your esophagus as if to say HI! HOW ARE YOU! I EXSIST!

mmmm... tasty nachos... 

mmmm... tasty nachos... 

You might chalk it up to some spicy food you overindulged in (nachos ARE delicious) or it might just be a pretty normal occurrence for you.

"I AM CURSED," you might think and just reach for some Pepto or Tums or some other type of calming agent. Calm the acid cure the symptom. Rinse repeat.

But did you know that burn is often because of TOO LITTLE stomach acid rather than TOO MUCH?

What? I know.

So here is the deal. Continuing from my post of CHEWING YOUR FOOD. The next step in digestion is the stomach.

The stomach is a powerhouse that crushes food into tiny food bits so that it can go through the rest of the system and be optimally digested and utlized. 

It is meant to be highly acidic in there so that it CAN break down your food. 

You chew your food, it goes down the esophagus where it encounters the esophageal sphincter which opens up to permit the food inside (I know, I know "sphincter" what a word).

The food is now in the stomach. The stomach goes into action releasing a ton of different gastric juices from tiny gastric glands in the its lining. This breaks down the food even more and turns everything into a paste we call chyme

When the chyme is acidic enough it triggers the pyloric sphincter to open up and allow the chyme through to the small intestines for further digestion (more on that later). 

When you have LOW stomach acid this whole process goes sideways. 

The food doesn't get fully digested from the acids so it sits in your stomach. What happens when you leave food in a warm place? Well. Not good things.

Proteins putrefy, fats go rancid, and carbs ferment.

This means that the mixture in your tummy starts to bubble up and though it IS NOT ACIDIC enough to trigger the lower sphincter to open it IS ACIDIC enough to burn your upper sphincter at the end of your esophagus.

Which is what you feel.

That burn. 

And then you take some sort of calming agent that DOES relieve the symptom, but doesn't help food to get to the level of acidity it needs to be to be in able to continue the digestive process.

This is bad news. The food eventually continues through the system, but not fully digested. Having protein putrefy produces acids that actually hurt the mucosal lining of your stomach which allows microorganisms such as h-pylori to exist.

This on a chronic level is terrible for your gut as h-pylori leads to ulcers. No one wants those.

Here is the thing. There are SOME people with legitimately too much stomach acid, but they are the anomaly. Much more common is to have too little.

I know! Crazy! But if you think about it, it really does make sense. You might want to check out this book "Why Stomach Acid is Good for You" if you are interested in learning more.

Chew your food. No really chew it.

One of my LEAST favorite words is masticate, even writing it gives me chills of ewwww. 

That said. It is really important.

Digestion begins in the brain. You see the food. You smell the food. You want the food and your body is like YEA FOOD!

And it begins to produce saliva (another gross word). This is GREAT! Salvia is a special cocktail of electrolytes, hormones, and enzymes (with names like salivary amylase). 

We like the salvia because next up you put the food in your mouth. Which brings me to my earlier point.

CHEW.

This breaks down the food and it mixes with the salvia and the aforementioned salivary amylase which is fantastic at breaking down carbohydrates.

If you do not chew. You get big food chunks.

Big food chunks are bad because the rest of your system is not really meant to handle them.

And as your food chunks go down your system (next stop STOMACH) they are not fully being broken down. More enzymes are thrown at the chunks by the pancreas TO NO AVAIL!

Your chunks soldier on to your small intestine where the carbs (aka starch) are now UNDIGESTED and continue on to the colon that way (gross)

Why is this bad?

Well this bad because this type of starch FEEDS unwanted colon passengers like Candida (Yeast Overgrowth) and other kinds of dysbiosis.

The moral of the story. Pause, slow down, chew, and enjoy your food. For me. Because I wrote this post with words I hate. Because I love you. Because this is important.

MORE TO COME ON DIGESTION and ACID REFLUX... get excited.