Nutrition isn’t just about what’s on your plate – it’s about how well you digest, absorb and utilise that food.
Here are some tips to help you make sure your food is nourishing you, and to prepare your body for supplementation.
1. Create a calm space around eating
– stress diverts energy away from digestion
– if you can’t find a peaceful environment to eat in, then imagine a bubble of calm around you
2. Eat consciously and mindfully
– just thinking about what you’re about to eat, smelling it, looking at it and tasting it sends powerful messages to your brain, which then tells your digestive system what kind of conditions and enzymes it needs to prepare for this particular meal
3. Chew your food well, and sit up straight!
– chewing triggers further enzyme release and further digestive processes
– chewing also stimulates peristalsis, the wave-like contractions that propel everything through your digestive tract – this means that chewing can also help with constipation
– good posture is important to allow food to pass through your digestive tract unhindered, and to allow your digestive organs to function well
4. Keep hydrated between meals
– this will help provide the fluids you need to make gastric juices, pancreatic juices, enzymes etc.
– drinking lots of water during a meal may dilute your stomach acid, however, so drink mostly between meals
– don’t drink more than a litre in the space of an hour
5. Soothe and heal your gut
– Linseed tea (recipe below) is very hydrating and soothing
– Bone broth (recipe below) is healing, soothing and helps balance bowel flora
– Make an anti-inflammatory paste of turmeric, black pepper and coconut oil to add to soups, curries, casseroles, smoothies, porridge etc.
6. Support gut bacteria:
– The balance of bacteria in your gut is involved not just in digestion but also your immune system, hormonal balance and a whole lot more
– Stress and emotions can affect your gut bacteria, and your gut bacteria can affect your emotions and behaviour
– Balance pH: increase vegetables and perhaps supergreen powders, alongside smaller amounts of good quality proteins
– Add in small amounts of fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, tamari etc. Also see the fermented vegetables recipe below.
7. Reduce/avoid things that may irritate your digestion, such as:
Any meat or fish bones, plus some of the meat
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1-2 strips kombu seaweed (preferably Icelandic – buy online)
Large handful herbs, e.g. rosemary, sage, thyme
Vegetable peelings and offcuts e.g. carrot tops and peel, kale/cabbage stalks
Simmer or slow cook in plenty of water for at least 6 hours for chicken, 8 hours for beef or just 20 mins for fish
Strain and leave too cool before refrigerating or freezing
You can drink this in a mug or use to make soups and casseroles.
Bring to boil then switch off IMMEDIATELY
Leave for 12 hours
Simmer gently for 1 hour with the lid on.
Try a cup a day on an empty stomach, warm or cold (keeps for 3-4 days)
Fermented vegetables / Sauerkraut
Have 1-2 spoonfuls a day
1 litre good quality water*
2tbsp good quality sea or rock salt*
selection of other chopped vegetables e.g. cauliflower, cucumber etc.
herbs and or spices, e.g. dill, thyme, coriander seeds, juniper seeds, peppercorns etc. (optional)
Optional: you could also add in a probiotic supplement to help the process along
Place vegetables in a glass storage jar with a sealable lid. If using herbs or spices, use these as a bottom layer.
Stir salt into water until well dissolved and add to vegetables.
Weight vegetables down with a couple of large, clean stones or a small saucer. It is important that the vegetables are covered with fluid at all times.
Seal lid and store at room temperature for a few days. Once a day, open the lid for a few seconds and then replace. After about 3-7 days it should be ready and will keep refrigerated for a long time.
*Alternatively use freshly pressed cabbage juice or celery juice.