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    Natracure Blog — digestion

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    How to Improve Your Digestion

    Somewhere along the line, many of us develop poor eating habits: emotional eating, stress eating, mindless eating. Over time, these habits end up causing issues like moodiness, stomach aches, and excess weight. Also, many people end up taking over-the-counter meds to treat the body’s reaction to mindless overeating. These medications may have long-term consequences on your digestive system, especially when used frequently. I don’t advocate any of these types of “solutions”; they have negative side effects and can confuse and muddy our ability to understand what’s really going on in our bodies. Most importantly, most of these issues can be resolved without popping a pill. For most of us, bad eating habits become a never-ending cycle of negative emotions that take up a huge amount of mental space. It goes like this: You hate yourself because you know you should be eating better and the fact that you’re not is your fault. You don’t think you have the willpower or strength to follow through on what you plan to do. So, you feel guilty, and in order to resolve that guilt, you turn to cookies or a bag of chips. But here’s the truth: Lack of willpower is not the reason why you eat this way. The Food and Brand Lab is a research department at Cornell University that examines all the different elements that affect how much and which foods we eat. Their research is astounding. For instance, do you know that the color of your plate matters? It does! (Hint: Choose soothing colors like blue over yellow, as bright warm colors naturally stimulate appetite.) Cornell has tons of such studies, which all support the fact that our environment has a crazy amount of power over our eating habits. Another example, if a friend says something that stresses you out at dinner, you’re more likely to order the mac and cheese instead of the veggies and fish. When you consider the results of these studies, you might rethink those bad habits you’ve developed over time. They’re definitely not all your fault! So let’s end the blame game. It. Stops. Right. Here. OK? In one of those classic Sex and the City scenes that is imprinted in my brain, I fell in love with the image of Carrie Bradshaw standing in the kitchen of her stylish apartment, eating saltines with jelly (a college favorite of mine) as she flipped through fashion magazines, something she described as “Secret Single Behavior.” It seemed so glamorous to me; it was such a marker of the independent, cool, city girl. However, this is what we do, us on-the-go-gals: we stand and eat with one hand while texting with the other. Maybe you feel busy and important and in-demand (and you are!) when that phone lights up every minute, but let’s take a second to be present with ourselves and of course, our food. HOW TO: MINDFUL EATING So what to do? First, chew. Chew until your food is mush or liquid, and eat more slowly. Use your new chewing habit to slow it all down—the whole experience. Next, it’s time to turn off the TV. It is way harder to know when you are full and satiated if you are wildly distracted as you eat (not to mention all the appetite-stimulating commercials and shows you wind up watching). When you eat with distractions, you wind up feeling as if you never ate at all. You tend to eat much faster and chew less. Practicing mindful eating is the best way to change those habits that no longer serve you and counteract the subconscious factors that get in the way of achieving your health and wellness goals. I know that the sheer mention of mindful eating usually results in an eye roll and probably a sigh. I thought that way too, before I learned what mindful eating truly was. Even after I became a health coach, I used to think I ate mindfully. I was wrong. The first time I really “got” mindful eating, I was at a retreat at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts, taking one of my continuing education programs for nutrition professionals. After I completed my own eye rolls and got to work, I realized how transformative an experience mindful eating can be. The teacher had us each take one almond in our hands. She instructed us to really look at it. What did we notice? How did it smell? How much could we observe before taking our first bites? I quickly realized how beautiful nature’s foods are. The striations in the almond, the lovely light brown color; this one little almond was a little piece of art. Next, we tasted. Anything we noticed there? Was it smooth? Rough? How exactly could we describe the texture? And then finally, we chewed. What flavors did we immediately notice? What flavors did we notice after it was completely chewed until liquid? Were they different than what we noticed at first? It blew me away how sweet the almond tasted the more I chewed—something I never really noticed before. It had taken me 10 minutes to eat one almond. It was an experience I’ll never forget. The more I incorporated mindful eating into my routine in a natural, innate way, the easier it was for me to be happy and satisfied with so much less. By Robyn Youkilis via Yahoo Health

    The Innumerable Values of Yogurt

    From an energy science point of view the IC bladder pain syndrome( interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, chronic prostatitis, IBS, GERD, and fibromyalgia) is a Vata and Pitta provoked disease, that is, too much hot and mobile qualities in the urinary tract - an imbalance created by the foods consumed. So the obvious first step is to reduce those foods that are Pitta and Vata provoking. When first getting started to get some relief from the burning sensation you can begin with just a Pitta pacifying nutritional format as at but as you progress using a format that is appropriate for you energy constitutional makeup can be found at after taking the test. One particular thread that I have seen come up is the question about IC and yogurt. How should it be used and whether it is safe in IC, that is, whether it is Vata and Pitta provoking, causing bladder pain. Yogurt is an amazing food and many ethnic cultures on the planet use fresh yogurt and kefir as health promoting foods in their nutrition. And there are very good reasons for doing so but due to the Pitta aggravating nature of yogurt, freshly made is the only way to go in moderation.

    Helping Restore Imbalanced Agni

    The value of yogurt is that it serves when freshly made a rich source of probiotic which is a population of "good bacteria" that reside in the bowel. "Bad" bacteria at times overgrow the gut flora leading to poor digestion, absorption, and assimilation so it's important that the good flora flourishes and the bad are kept in check. As I've alluded to in the past, bacterial growth is a major part of our digestive strength that needs to be nourished. This is particularly important if you have GERD, IBS, and fibromyalgia associated with IC since the digestive fire is significantly compromised in these dual conditions. Regular use of freshly made yogurt insures that the "good" bacteria are consistently replenished. Agni is always compromised in these conditions and since the bacterial flora is part of agni it's important to supplement with probiotic foods such as yogurt. SIBO(small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is commonly thought of as the root cause of many bowel diseases but from an energy science perspective it's just saying that agni is disturbed. You may have heard of yeast overgrowth and this is yet another factor that can lead to poor digestive fire(eliminating yeast laden bread products is a good idea in that it gives us more than we need so flatbreads are best or at least toasting yeasted products). This candidal imbalance in bowel flora much like SIBO is a result of poor agni. So building up agni is one of the central therapeutic themes in the management of the IC bladder pain syndrome. Bowel flora is important in the concept of digestive fire and aids in bowel digestive function as well as providing important nutrients for our nutrition. Pasteurized yogurts should be avoided as pasteurization kills off the beneficial probiotic component of yogurt.

    Making Digestion Easy By Predigestion-Optimizing Digestive Strength

    The value of yogurt comes in the predigestion of lactose and casein which we talked about a couple of days ago. Hence the bacteria during the incubation phase of creating yogurt use the sugar lactose and break down the protein casein. The lactose then doesn't bother the lactose intolerant and the casomorphin derivative from casein digestion can be less, hence affecting us less. Why freshly made? From an energy science view the build up of acidity occurs with aging yogurt even if refrigerated becomes inflammatory and thus Pitta provoking. You also get the maximal amount of probiotic in the yogurt(some bacteria die off after 4-5 days). Even though fresh yogurt is not very acidic(sour taste) it still can be Pitta provoking if used daily. Hence home made yogurt has its consumption limitations. By Dr. Bill Dean via

    Dairy Myths You Need to Stop Believing

    MYTH: SKIM MILK IS THE HEALTHIEST OPTION Is skim milk the healthiest choice? Will dairy make you congested? This might just change your mind. Truth: The health benefits of fat-free dairy may be overstated. Recent research has found that people who eat full-fat dairy aren’t any likelier to develop heart disease or diabetes than people who eat low-fat dairy. Other data has linked full-fat dairy to lower odds of obesity. The reason: Certain fatty acids in dairy may be linked to fullness; when you eat fat-free versions of milk, yogurt, and cheese, you may feel less satisfied (and eat more later). Low-fat milk helps your body absorb key nutrients from milk, such as vitamins A and D, as well as important fatty acids, says Katherine Tucker, PhD, nutritional epidemiology professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. MYTH: MILK CAUSES CONGESTION Truth: Dairy won’t make your cold any worse. Any uptick in congestion you feel after drinking dairy is probably in your head. Milk drinkers with the common cold didn’t experience more coughing or runnier noses than those who didn’t drink dairy, according to a Swiss report. The only people who reported increased respiratory problems after drinking milk were those who believed dairy produces more mucus, the report found. Try these home remedies to relieve a stuffy nose. MYTH: MORE MILK MEANS STRONGER BONES Truth: Study results are mixed when it comes to the skeleton-strengthening benefits of calcium. A BMJ study published in 2015 found that middle-aged adults who took calcium supplements or who got high levels of calcium from their diet were as likely to experience fractures as people who consumed less calcium. 'Dietary calcium intake is not associated with risk of fracture, and there is no clinical trial evidence that increasing calcium intake from dietary sources prevents fractures,' the study authors concluded. 'Evidence that calcium supplements prevent fractures is weak and inconsistent.' More research is needed to determine the best ways for adults to maintain strong bone health—and prevent fractures—into old age. Weight-bearing exercise (walking, running, dancing), as well as exercise that emphasizes balance (yoga, tai chi), appears to be critical. MYTH: MOST PEOPLE CAN’T DIGEST LACTOSE WELL Truth: The body can adapt to tolerate more milk. Even people who have a hard time digesting lactose rarely show symptoms with a small serving, especially when the dairy is paired with a meal, says Dennis Savaino, PhD, a nutrition science professor at Purdue University who has been studying lactose digestion for more than 30 years. 'Every poison—or food—has a dose,' Savaiano says. 'With lactose or milk, there’s a dose that gives symptoms, and that’s usually more than a cup.' Drinking milk regularly can make your body more used to digesting lactose, even if you’ve shown signs of intolerance before, he says. If you’re a dairy lover with lactose intolerance, talk to your doctor about ways to safely dabble in dairy without causing stomach upset or other symptoms. MYTH: MILK IS THE BEST BEVERAGE SOURCE OF CALCIUM Truth: Other drinks have comparable amounts. With 30 percent of your daily value of calcium in one cup, milk is by no means a shabby source of the mineral. But it’s not your only option for calcium, which helps bones, muscles, the heart and nerves. A cup of calcium-enriched orange juice has 35 percent of your daily need, and enriched soy milk can serve a whopping 45 percent. Check out these other calcium-rich foods. MYTH: ALL DAIRY PRODUCTS HAVE THE SAME VITAMINS AND MINERALS Truth: Milk and yogurt are more nutrient-rich than cheese and cream, Tucker says. Cheese is a middle ground between cream and milk; it has more nutrients than cream, but is not fortified with vitamin D the way milk often is. 'Cheese is still a good source of calcium and a reasonable source of protein,' she says, 'but there’s not as much vitamin D or magnesium because it’s diluted by fat.' By Marissa Laliberte via