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Better Digestion for Improved Weight-Loss
The New Year is here and with it the resolution to lose some of the weight that was put on during the holiday season. You can be eating the healthiest foods and taking the best supplements but if you are not paying attention to your digestive health – you are missing a big piece of the weight-loss puzzle. Why is this so? Health begins in the gut! If your digestion is not at an optimal level, you are not able to get the most out of your nutrition and supplementation.
There are four R’s of a healthy digestive system:
Remove Problem Foods
Reduce or preferably eliminate the problem foods from the diet. Problem foods are:
- High in sugar
- Those you are allergic/intolerant to
The idea is to eat as healthy as possible to give your digestive system a chance to recover. Here is something interesting to consider. You can be eating foods that are certified organic and still having troubles with your digestion; chances are you are allergic/intolerant to them. As the saying goes ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’.
Now that you’ve started to eliminate problematic foods from your diet, it’s time to help boost your guts natural abilities to digest. A healthy digestive systems consists of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid. Digestive enzymes are secreted by the pancreas and help in breaking down your food so that it can be absorbed into your body. Hydrochloric acid helps to break down proteins and activate these enzymes.
There are several ways of improving your digestion:
- Eat more raw fruits and vegetables as they are naturally high in digestive enzymes. Just stay away from those that are high in sugar i.e. have a high Glycemic Index (GI). For a list of foods and their respective GI, visit David Mendosa’s site at: http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm
- Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to 8oz of water and drink it about 15-20 minutes before each meal.
- Take a high quality full spectrum enzyme with each meal.
- Take hydrochloric acid (HCI) tablets with your meals.
Good vs. bad bacteria.
We all have 3-4 pounds of bacteria in our digestive system. The good bacteria is responsible for helping to make vitamins, run metabolism and protect against infection. The bad bacteria prevents good bacteria from doing its’ job.
Bad bacteria feeds on:
- antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals
Good bacteria feeds on:
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso and kimchi
- Total number of microbes per serving
- How many different strains contained in it
When it comes to Probiotics, there are several things to consider: I suggest speaking to a naturopath to determine which probiotic is best for your specific needs.
The final step in the 4 R’s is repair.
Repairing the gut involves:
- Smaller, more frequent meals
- Not overeating
- Chewing your food so that it’s liquid and is easier to digest. *Many of us are guilty of taking a few bites from our food and swallowing immediately instead of breaking it down as much as possible in our mouth prior to the food entering the stomach. Keep in mind that the more work you do chewing the food – the less work your digestive system has to do.
- Taking supplements that heal the gut lining – l-glutamine, aloe vera, vitamin C, B complex vitamins, fish oils. Speak to a naturopath to determine which supplement(s) would be most helpful for your specific needs.
There will often be times that you are tempted to go back to your old way of eating. Just recognize it for what it is and don’t give into it. Ask yourself this question: “what’s more important in this moment? My health and all the hard work I’ve put into it or giving into some cravings/temptations?” Living moment by moment makes it easier to stay on track with your weight-loss and fitness resolutions.
George Stavrou, BA, Psych is a certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant, and Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. George is the author of the “The Stavrou Method: A 12 Week Day By Day Guide To Health, Wellness And Fat Loss For All Levels”, available at www.thestavroumethod.com.
We are donating a percentage of the net profits from all our products/sales from The Stavrou Method to the following four organizations:
- YMCA (Greater Toronto Area)
- The Scarborough Hospital Foundation
- York University (Faculty of Health)
- Centennial College (the School of Community and Health Studies and the School of Communications, Media and Design)
Our goal is to donate $100k equally between these four organizations by June 1, 2014.
Visit our link below for more information on our project and charitable efforts!