A little digestion love to help you ABSORB the nutrients you eat.
In nutrition school we learn, you are not what you eat; you are what you digest and absorb. We also learn that the gut is the 2nd brain of the body – it is so vitally important in helping us to sustain good health. We are taught in clinic that if your unsure what to treat, just treat the gut!
Your gut is the key to good health.
The purpose of good digestion is to turn the food you eat into fuel for your body’s cells. Many people I meet have poor digestion and what happens when we are not efficiently turning the food we eat into fuel? We feel fatigued, foggy, bloated, experience flatulence, endure nutritional deficiencies, constipation, diarrhea, reflux, weight gain and an inability to lose weight, cravings, low immune function (because the immune system lies in the gut…did you know that??!!) and hormonal imbalances – just to name a few.
In fact, we make serotonin (the feel good hormone) in our gut, so this may be why so many people with digestive or gut problems experience low and depressed moods.
How well are you digesting your food? If you are experiencing the symptoms above, it is most likely that your gut needs some loving!
The secret to healthy digestion and absorption lies in…
Here are my top tips that can improve your digestion and keep the health of your gut in top shape:
1. Apple cider vinegar – 1 tbsp in warm water on rising or use as salad dressing. This stimulates the hydrochloric acid in your stomach for digestion.
2. Probiotics – I take a probiotic supplement everyday. It repopulates the gut with good bacteria.
3. Eat probiotic whole foods- Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir – found at most health food stores. Also eat prebiotic wholefoods – these foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria such as onions, garlic, dandelion greens, artichokes and bananas.
4. Supplement with– digestive enzymes, slippery elm or glutamine. A nutritionist or naturopath can support you with these supplements.
5. Lemon juice in warm water on rising – which stimulates gastric juices.
6. Eating slowly in a relaxed environment – the blood diverts away from digestive path in times of stress, oh yes it does!
7. Not drinking with your meals – 20 minutes before and after. Water dilutes the gastric juices that are vital for the break down of our food.
8. Cutting back on gluten containing foods. The gut just does not love the protein found in gluten.
9. Drink aloe vera juice in the morning – your health stores will assist you finding this. It is very soothing for the gut.
10. Start each meal with something raw (e.g. salad) to get your digestive enzymes fired up and ready to break down your food! I often chomp on a celery stick or cucumber before my meals.
11. Chew your food 10-20 times…before you swallow…please! You will put much less pressure on your digestive system by doing it.
12. Soak your grains, nuts and seeds for better digestion. Soaking them removes the nutritional inhibitors/phytic acid that the body struggles to break down.
13. Learn to love sprouts. You can add them to your salads. Sprouts are rich in enzymes.
14. Alkaline your body- avoid acidic foods like alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt and wheat. Stay away from the processed and packaged! Sugar feeds the bad bacteria!
15. Lay off the ant acids as they decrease the hydrochloric acid in our stomachs e.g. Gaviscon/Mylanta/ Nexium.
16. Lay off the antibiotics – they effect the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut.
16. Try to eat fruit on an empty stomach – not straight after a meal as it ferments in the stomach and can irritate optimal digestion.
17. Do not eat late at night – aim to eat 2-3 hours before bedtime.
18. Drink up! And with filtered water if possible! Fluid helps to remove excess waste and keeps our bowels healthy!
19. Have a cup of chamomile tea at night – it soothes and relaxes the bowel wall – and aids constipation!
20. Increase your fibre intake! Eat plenty of fiber. This not only keeps your bowels moving, but also helps eliminate excess hormones. Love your Flax and leafy greens- they are high in fiber!
Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time. My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.
With kindest regards Samantha
I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.
When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.
I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.
Hey Jessica! I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again
I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!
Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.
Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!
I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).
I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud
My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.
I want to empower you to make good choices, every day. I want you to enhance your understanding of health and nutrition. I'm committed to making sure you live the best life. Because you deserve it. Are you ready to start feeling great?
Let me know your email address so I can send you an eBook '7 Days on my plate' - a little gift from me to you!