My biggest mistake in the early days of coaching was asking people this question: “How are your bowel movements?”
They would reply, “good!”
It wasn’t until many visits in that I would then suggest, “Oh good, you’re going at least twice per day?”
Their reply, “Oh, no, no, no, I go once every few days.” They say this as if it’s normal. That is not the kind of normal we are looking for.
Digestion Begins in Your Mouth
Did you know that you begin to digest starches and carbohydrates in your mouth? Once this starts, the acid in your stomach starts to break down fat and protein, which then breaks down even further in your small intestine. Once the digestion process is complete in the small intestine, the nutrients then move through your body via blood and lymph.
The process from digestion to elimination should take approximately 24 hours. What that means is the breakfast you ate yesterday should be eliminated via your bowels after the breakfast you ate today.
If you’ve ever eaten beets, you know that these show up as red in your bowel movements, so you can use these as a motility test. Just note when you consume beets and then note how many hours later you see those bright red beets show up in your stool. I guarantee, you won’t miss it! (I always forget that I’ve eaten beets until I have a brief moment of panic during a bright red bowel movement.)
What Might Digestive Problems Look Like?
Problems with your digestive system may include: leaky gut, IBS, acid reflux, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, SIBO, celiac, and more. I know from my own healing experience how much SIBO, reflux, and IBS can make for unexpected discomforts. These concerns were part of what set me on the path to educating others on how to claim control of their health.
Common symptoms people experience with the above problems may include: constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, belching, pain, discomfort, a feeling of pressure, and belly fat.
Tip #1: Eat While Sitting
Are you a parent? Do you eat while standing, or just nibble straight off your children’s plates as you hover around the table? We have all done it. Or, perhaps you don’t have children and you’re guilty of standing at the kitchen counter mindlessly eating while cruising through social media.
Standing while eating has us eating more quickly than our digestion can appreciate, so make it a habit of sitting for a meal and see what difference that makes. You will eat more slowly in general.
Tip #2: Chew Food Slowly
Chew your food slowly, giving your body at least 20 minutes to eat that food. It’s easier to do when eating with other people, but when you’re solo, try setting your utensil down between bites, taking a breath while you’re chewing. See if you can chew your food around 30 times before swallowing. This can be really tricky, so don’t get discouraged. It’s more about being mindful when you’re eating.
Tip #3: Drink Room Temperature Water
Instead of ice water or even just cold water try drinking room temperature water. Cold water constricts your blood vessels, particularly those aiding in the digestion process.