Special Note: This is the second part of a 5-part series on Gut Health.
I’ve included the link for Part 1 below, and I suggest reading it first before jumping into Part 2.
Step #2: REPLACE
The second part of the 5 step protocol is REPLACE.
This step refers to “replacing” those digestive secretions that may be lacking in our body and as a result, inhibit our ability to completely and optimally digest our food. You see, in order to properly break-down and absorb the nutrients from the food that we eat, we need sufficient amounts of digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid (HCL), and bile that may be depleted due to poor diet, medications, aging, certain disorders, or diseases.
Taking supplemental digestive enzymes, HCL, and/or bile salts can be a helpful remedy for many individuals who struggle with digestion. HOWEVER (yes, it’s a big one!), it’s imperative to address the root of the problem because these supplements, although very helpful in many cases, are only band-aids at best if the underlying cause isn’t also addressed.
For example, you might not consider your liver, gallbladder, or pancreas to be associated with your digestion since they sit on the periphery of your intestinal tract, however, these glands are directly involved in the digestive process as they produce and/or secrete bile, digestive enzymes, and bicarbonate (to neutralize acidity) where they’re then delivered to the duodenum, aka the first part of our small intestine, where much of digestion takes place.
If these secretions are inhibited due to faulty gland function (i.e. a congested liver, pancreatitis, or gallbladder issues), OR, delivery of these secretions are inhibited due to a blocked bile duct, for example, the digestive process will begin to break down.
All that to say, it’s important to also consider supporting the health of these glands when you’re considering a digestive supplement protocol (and your diet!).
Furthermore, bitter greens, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, teas such as ginger or fennel, or supplemental bitter herbs taken in tincture form 10-15 minutes prior to meals can all be supportive aids in stimulating your own digestive secretions. Not to mention adding culinary spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, and turmeric to your cooking.
Taking this another step further still…(because you know I can’t leave it at that)
Consider “replacing” eating habits that inhibit digestion with ones that support it.
This is where practices such as properly chewing your food, limiting too much liquid with meals, correct food combining, as well as avoiding any of these eating habits come into question.
Hint: If you do a search for “digestion” on my website you’ll find lots of tips to help you in this area.
Well, there you have it – that’s the 2nd step in healing your gut!
Just a head’s up, rather than draw this series out for a whole 5 weeks I’m going to be back later this week with Part 3, and next week with Part 4 and 5, because you know I hate to leave you in suspense ;)