11 Steps to Good Digestion

1. Eat Whole Foods

  • Eat a NAG Diet, natural, alive, good quality foods
  • Eat organic as much as possible – begin the transition to organic with animal products (meats and dairy), fruits and vegetables where the skins are eaten, and root vegetables that grow in the ground

2. Proper Chewing

  • Possibly the single most important thing you can do to improve digestion
  • Food should be chewed until a paste forms in the mouth
  • Carbohydrates start their digestion in the mouth and continue in the small intestine…they do not get broken down in the stomach

3. Eat Only When Hungry

  • Your body will signal you when you require nutrients
  • Sometimes thirst is confused with hunger
  • In between meals, have a drink of water, if you are still hungry 10 minutes later, have a healthy snack

4. Don’t Overeat

  • Exercise portion control
  • The stomach is the size of a closed fist, but over time, it has the ability to stretch significantly

5. Avoid Drinking with Meals

  • Liquids dilute the digestive enzymes making digestion more difficult
  • Caffeinated beverages are particularly bad, since they promote the premature emptying of the stomach

6. Food Combining

  • Fruits should be eaten alone, because they digest within 20 min.
  • Protein and starches should be eaten separately because they require different enzymes to break down the food and protein takes longer to digest than starchy carbohydrates
  • Vegetables can be combined with either proteins or starches
  • Legumes (beans and lentils) are half protein and half starch

7. Conscious Eating

  • Taste your food so that you can recognize your body’s reaction to certain foods
  • You may notice that you don’t enjoy some of the foods you thought you liked, when you take the time to really chew and taste them

8. Fast for a minimum of 12 hours per day

  • The process of digestion involves many organs (stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas), it is a good idea to give them an opportunity to rest daily so that they can function optimally
  • Allow 3 hours between your last meal and sleep so that the food will have had time to digest
  • If your digestive system is not busy working, you will have a more restful sleep

9. Detoxification

  • Support the liver and other organs responsible for eliminating the toxins we ingest with a proper detox, typically done twice a year
  • Water with lemon juice first thing in the morning (20 min. before food) is a gentle way to regularly support the liver in between semi-annual detoxing

10. Gratitude

  • Taking the time to appreciate the abundance we have is important
  • Eating in a calm state helps us eat more consciously and therefore, make better choices with our food and portions

11. Exercise Daily

  • Getting at least 30 minutes of daily exercise will help maintain muscle tone, improve circulation, improve sleep, aid with digestion and elimination
  • Light to moderate exercise is best for most of us, examples include: walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi, qigong – just do what you love : )