Monday, May 31, 2010

Digest With Ease - Part III

Greetings Everyone! Here's hoping your Memorial Day is sunny, beautiful, and relaxing. Let's all remember the reason for the holiday and honor those who have fought for our freedoms and pray for a safe and speedy return for those who are still in harm's way.

Today, we conclude the topic of "Digest With Ease" by discussing the importance of your liver. It is a vitally important organ to your overall health and wellbeing - especially where digestion is concerned - but gets forgotten and mistreated.

Love Your Liver

Your liver, located on the right side under your lower ribs, is the most metabolically complex organ in the entire body. Explains Dr. Richard Schulze in the May 2000 issue of his newsletter Get Well!, the liver "Detoxifies, metabolizes, renders harmless and eliminates harmful toxic poisons, chemicals, and substances from your blood. It produces many different enzymes that actually convert toxic poisons into harmless chemicals and then they are eliminated in the bile that your liver excretes."

QUOTE: "To eat is human; to digest, divine." - Charles T. Copeland

Your liver does so much for your body that I'd need an entire book to explain all of its functions, but suffice to say it is vital that you keep it healthy for good digestion. To encourage liver health, eat a nutritious diet consisting of whole, organic, high fiber foods and plenty of purified water. Avoid junk foods, alcohol, fatty and fried foods, processed and chemical-laden foods, smoking, and drugs. Remember, a sluggish, clogged liver, produces a sluggish, unhealthy, lethargic you!

Don Ollsin, herbalist and author of Herbal Healing Journey, suggests organic dandelion root tea and diluted lemon water as daily tonics for the liver. The lemon water is important for its natural hydrocholric acid that the liver converts into some 6 billion different enzymes. Dandelion root and young leaves are first class liver cleansers and tonics. Dandelion provides a rich source of easily-absorbable minerals, clears congestion of the spleen, gallbladder, pancreas, bladder, and kidneys, and is rich in organic sodium being of tremendous benefit to the stomach and intestines.

A fresh dandelion greens salad in springtime is as delicious as it is good for you . . . full of vitamin C and beta-carotene, blood-building chlorophyll, minerals, and acts as a mild diuretic to rid your body of bloat. Take care when consuming dandelion root tea. Don't simmer the dried or fresh root for more than 20 minutes and don't drink more than 1/2 to 1 cup per day as it can have a laxative effect. If you need a gentle laxative, then this is the tea for you, if not, it just might "clean you out". Here's to your healthy liver and comfortable digestion!

NOTE: The above article was written by Stephanie L. Tourles and adapted from her book, "How To Feel Fabulous Today", copyright 2001, Storey Publishing. The information is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' knowledge. All recommendations are made without guaranteee on the part of the author. Ms. Tourles disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Digest With Ease - Part 2: Guide To Digestive Bliss

Hello All:
Here in northern, coastal Maine, we are having an unusually warm, dry spring. This just doesn't happen in May. We're usually cool, damp and foggy. Thus, this lovely weather is allowing me to have a jump-start on the growing season. I've been a busy-bee these last few weeks planting my two large gardens. I'm adding "hidcote" lavender and "anise hyssop" and a medicinal "hyssop" plus "lady's mantle" to my herb garden. My "elecampane" has multiplied nicely since last summer and I now have five large plants. The fragrant "white mint" is spreading her wings and going nuts . . . taking over as mints like to do. I've had to cut her back dramatically so she doesn't consume all of my garden space over time! Please plant some medicinal & culinary herbs, even in pots, if you don't have garden space. They're wonderful to add to foods and use in teas. Mints, rosemary, thyme, lavender, and anise hyssop are terrific used as digestive teas . . . which is our subject today: Digestive Bliss.

Guide To Digestive Bliss

Repeatedly reaching for a commercial antacid is not the answer to digestive problems. The answer lies in simply observing the rules of civilized eating and allowing your body's chemistry to do what it's designed to do, ensuring complete comfortable digestion. Below are some tips that I find helpful if suffering from digestive discomforts . . .

1. Always sit when eating - When I'm super busy, I find that I often eat while standing and trying to do other chores - usually gulping my food and swallowing lots of air. This makes for an unsatisfying meal and frequently ends in severe indigestion accompanied by burping and gas. I notice a big difference in the way I feel if I simply take 20 minutes to sit down, relax, and enjoy my meal.

2. Say grace - Offer a few words of reverence or have a moment of silence for the nourishment you are about to consume. This simple act alone causes you to pause before eating, thereby putting your digestive system at ease.

3. Give yourself an enzymatic boost - I find that when I suffer from an occasional bout of indigestion, a couple of plant-based enzyme capsules taken right after my meal really do the trick. Available in health food stores, they assist the digestive system naturally without disrupting the acid/alkaline balance.
Typically, I take one capsule daily of a product called "PB 8" (though, not an enzyme) to ensure that I get the appropriate amount of good flora in my gut. It contains eight different strains of probiotics and I find that I don't get yeast infections, colds, or digestive upsets when I keep up my intake of this wonderful product.

4. Eat raw veggies - Begin your meals with a raw veggie salad or glass of freshly made raw vegetable juice, such as a carrot, celery, and apple blend, Chew or sip very slowly and thoroughly. Raw foods, which happen to be severely lacking in the American diet today, are chock-full of live enzymes that aid in the digestive process. As a bonus, you'll tend to eat less if you fill up on a large, fiber-rich salad first!

5. Eat in a quiet atmosphere - Turn off the TV, silence the cell phone, put away the newspaper, and eliminate other distractions. A little soft music is nice in the background - if you wish.

6. Heed nature's call - Make time to go to the bathroom. Sounds like an odd statement, I realize, but some people will just hold it all in - in an effort to get more work done. By all means, don't do that! You'll just be miserable. Regularity is one of the keys to a happy, proper functioning digestive system and a flat abdomen!

7. Chew, chew, chew! - Digestion begins in the mouth. Chew each bite until it is nearly liquefied, then swallow. That way the enzymes present in your saliva have a chance to initiate the digestive process. Thorough chewing also promotes slower food consumption - thus you eat less.

8. Don't eat when angry, stressed-out, or physically exhausted - Digestive juices are suppressed during emotionally or physically demanding times. Digestion requires lots of energy. Wait until you are relaxed and calm before you eat.

9. Don't drink lots of fluids during your meal - Sipping is okay. A stomach full of liquids slows the digestion of solid foods and dilutes the digestive juices. Also, avoid ice-cold beverages; they interfere with digestion. Think of your stomach as a crock pot. It needs to maintain an even temperature in order to cook or "digest" the food within. If you add cold water to the crock pot, it takes it a while to get back up to temperature and continue cooking the food. If you did this, the crock pot might not even cook your food properly and allow it to sour. Thus with your stomach, if you accompany your food with iced drinks, it lowers the stomach's temperature, and slows digestion. It really is true. The teachings of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine always stress drinking liquids at room temperature or slightly warm.

10. Try to eat at approximately the same times each day - Your body likes rhythm. Mother Nature has her natural rhythms and so does your body. Your digestive system functions better on a regular schedule. You know what happens when you travel and upset your normal eating patterns . . . digestion tends to go awry and stomach / intestinal upsets occur.

11. Leave the table - When you think you could still stomach a little bit more food, stop eating. It takes your brain up to 30 minutes to register that it is full.

NOTE: This article was written by Stephanie Tourles, lic. holistic esthetician, aromatherapist, herbalist, & nutritionist, and adapted from her book, "How To Feel Fabulous Today", copyright 2001, Storey Publishing. The information in this article is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author. The author disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Digest With Ease - Part 1

Spring Blessings & Greetings To All . . . Today we will begin Part 1 of a 2-part discussion on the topic of digestion and the importance of achieving digestive bliss to encourage proper nutritional uptake and a harmonious working, comfortable body.


The adage "You are what you eat" should actually be, "You are what you properly digest, assimilate, and eliminate." No matter how healthy your diet, if you can't properly digest your food, then you can't a ssimilate the necessary nutrients to keep your body functioning at optimal levels.

Your digestive system consists of a 25 to 35 foot long, winding, twisting tube that receives at one end (the mouth) and eliminates the spent product from the other end (the anus).

Indigestion is a major problem incurred by a large percentage of the population, especially the over-40 crowd. The manufacturers of popular antacids are quite aware of this dilemma and are quick to capitalize on America's discomfort. Just turn on the television and their ads instantly appear right after lunch and dinnertime. They offer quick, albeit temporary, relief to those who regularly gorge themselves on massive quantities of greasy, excessively spicy, or fiberless foods, or those you lead stress-filled lives, smoke, drink alcohol on a regular basis, and eat on the run. If you continually stuff yourself past the exploding point, eat too fast or under stressful conditions, or make poor food and lifestyle choices, your body is bound to rebel.

Travel often? Then you've probably suffered more than your share of digestive distress. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, by plane, train, bus, or car, simply being away from home base for any extended amount of time takes your body out of its comfort zone. A toll is always to be paid by your digestive system with new dining times, potentially lots of sitting, unusual foods, eating on the run, new water, jet lag, and new sleeping environment.

Disorderly conduct . . . Digestive disorders left untreated can eventually lead to serious problems, such as cirrhosis of the liver, jaundice, hepatitis, diverticular disease, and cancers of the digestive system. Anyone suffering from chronic digestive problems can attest to how unbearable the disease makes everyday life!

In my next blog, Part II of "Digest With Ease", I will give you handy, easy to apply tips to bring more comfort to an often uncomfortable situation - digestive difficulties. My Guide To Digestive Bliss will also offer ways in which to prevent indigestion in the first place.

Until next time, have peaceful experiences, pray for peace, spread peace among all living beings.

NOTE: This article was written by Stephanie Tourles, lic. holistic esthetician, aromatherapist, nutrition specialist, and herbalist, and has been adapted from her book, "How To Feel Fabulous Today!", Storey Publishing, 2001. The information in this book is true and complete to the beset of Ms. Tourles' knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author. Ms. Tourles disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.