It’s that time of year again – when we strive to make sweeping changes for the better, often to see our resolve crumble in a matter of weeks. As we’ve suggested before, try implementing smaller changes, and set yourself up for success. If making a change in diet this year consider the following:
- Cleanses should be supervised by a Medical Doctor. Otherwise, imbalances can rapidly occur.
- Consider fresh vegetable juices for a rich daily mega-dose of phytonutrients, but as a supplement to regular healthy meals, not instead of them. Juices provide nutrition while giving the digestive system a break, but the missing fiber means it’ll still need to be consumed in other foods you eat such as whole grains, beans, or whole vegetables.
- A whole foods, or Mediterranean style diet rich in plants is well-tolerated by most of us, but be mindful of the order of food consumption. Fruits and vegetables are most easily digested. Juiced forms of both are more digestible still. If you consume your fresh phytonutrients after something more “tube-clogging” they will oxidize and ferment in the warmth of your system while they sit in a “traffic jam”, and the full nutritional benefit will be lost. What’s worse, the fermenting veggies will begin “off-gassing” resulting in indigestion, heartburn and gassiness. The optimal consumption order for digestion and assimilation of nutrients is:
- Fruit and vegetable juices – fully digested in an hour or so
- Whole fruits
- Whole vegetables
- Whole cooked legumes
- Whole cooked grains (not processed as in breads or pasta)
- Breads and pastas
- Beef and pork – these remain in the gut for days, sometimes longer if insufficient fiber is consumed
Each person’s body is different, but being mindful of the general rates of digestion helps. Juicing (removing the pulp) is one way of beginning the digestive process, as are cooking and thoroughly chewing food before swallowing. These “pre-digestive” practices will reduce the duration of digestion for all foods eaten. Fermented foods like natural pickles and other probiotics will also assist digestion. The process of digestion is laborious to the system when a traffic jam occurs, and will lead to fatigue among other maladies.