Our first step to break through plateaus and improve health is to fix digestion. Simple as that. Otherwise, it’s like running on an empty tank. And flushing your cash down the drain when it comes to supplements.
This begs the question: how do you stoke the digestive fire?
The first step, and it is an important one, is to optimize your stomach acid production. Digestion is an intricate process. And numerous things can go awry.
HCl production is the proverbial first domino that will set the whole process in motion. This is why we always start with increasing the HCl production in order for our clients to make gains. If you absorb more nutrients, then your body can use more.
The first phase of digestion is called the cephalic phase. This is actually the place we can influence the most. This phase is the most important since it predicts as much as 30-50% of the overall gastric acid production.
And your intervention is going to be lifestyle related.
The cephalic phase appeals to the senses of smell, touch, sight and most importantly taste.
This phase is governed by the parasympathetic system. The rest and digest part of our nervous system. The vagal nerve is the main player here. It is activated by breathing, and mastication as well as calmness. All of which are a rare commodity in our fast-paced society.
So, step one would be to take the time to prepare and cook the food and engage your senses while doing so. This remains, as corny as it sounds, a sure-fire way to improve digestion.
Another, trick worth mentioning is to chew the food. We are mammal not anacondas. Chewing stimulate the vagal nerve and ensures food is accessible to enzymes and HCl. A trick Charles used with success was to ask the ‘worst chewers’ to count the time they chew food and try to beat the numbers with each meal.
Another useful tip is to stimulate the bitter taste. Traditionally bitter herbs are used as a starter. Think dandelion, kale, arugula salad, endive, chicory. As far as veggies go, you have: radish, celery, artichoke, cucumber, Brussels sprouts. Grapefruit do a great job as well and can be served as an addition to a salad. Spices of course can be used: curcumin, saffron, ginger…