We have all learned that digestion starts in our stomach.
But does it?
Turns out that digestion starts before the food even touches our mouths!
Thanks to the invention of fire and cooking food, the brain has had to focus less and less on nourishment and digestion. While that means we get to do things like advance society and invent new creations, it means that some necessary tasks have been forgotten about. Hence - the food baby.
For your body to digest properly, two very important things need to happen.
What? Not everyone lounges in a chair being fanned while someone puts grapes in their mouths?
OK but seriously. Eating under stress or on the go is horrible for you.
For you to be able to digest, you need to turn on your parasympathetic nervous system. Which means you need to be relaxed and at rest. Part of this is because it takes SO much energy for your organs to do the intricate and difficult process of breaking down food and soaking up the nutrients while expelling the waste.
If being totally relaxed at every meal sounds impossible for you, try to incorporate deep breathing right before you eat.
Breathe in for 4 counts as deeply as you can, hold it for 7 counts and as you hold it slow down your counting and find the tension in your body where you can relax it, and then exhale for 8 counts at the new slow tempo. Do this three times.
Yes, I know. You're going "duh or I'll choke."
But that's exactly it. We chew just enough to be able to swallow without the heimlich maneuver.
Unfortunately, that puts way too much pressure on your stomach to do all the work.
Ever feel exhausted after a meal? Yep. You need to chew more.
Try to do at least 12 chews per bite, more for tougher foods.
Hate chewing? Make more food like smoothies and soups.
Digestion starts before you even start eating. Try to remember to take deep breaths and to actually chew your food. If you still need help digesting, you can always add in a digestive enzyme like this one from Dr. Jess that has been a huge help in improving my gut health.