Tag Archives: digestion

  1. Happy Hormones: The Importance of Digestion to Hormone Balance

    This is the third Happy Hormones post in our Hormone-Focused Series from Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Brynn D’Avello. I suggest reading the first post The First Step to Happy Hormones and then the second post where we tackle how Blood Sugar Imbalance Affects Your Hormones before you dive into this post covering the Importance of Digestion to Hormone Balance.

    Eat Your Hormones: The Importance of Digestion to Hormone Balance

    As we discussed in the previous post in this series, as important and crucial as blood sugar regulation is to hormone balance in this latest installment we will discuss how digestion is a very, very close second. Since I know Beth has done a killer job breaking down the digestive process in her Digestion 101 series I am only going to touch on the highlights…. with a very special emphasis on the liver.

    Digestion is a North-to-South Process, and to help strengthen it effectively we must naturally start at the top and work our way down. Most of us would assume that the first step to digestion is in the mouth, but you actually have to go a little bit higher than that. The brain. To activate salivary enzymes your brain must be engaged. That’s why your mouth waters when you smell something delicious. It’s getting the signal that food is coming its way, and saliva, in addition to chewing thoroughly, helps start the breakdown of food into useable nutrients. (You can read more here about the roles that our brain and mouth play in digestion) Once our food gets to the stomach, gastric juices go to work on proteins and then it gets passed on to the small intestine.  Here is where the gallbladder kicks in. Bile is secreted to emulsify the fats in our food to assimilate the necessary elements, to be used effectively. Without good quality bile, fats are not digested properly. Fats are absolutely critical to the entire endocrine system. Our body cannot produce hormones without fats.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  2. How-to Make Sauerkraut {+ Video}

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty YummiesHow-to Make Sauerkraut

    Sauerkraut and all it’s live culture, raw, funky smelling goodness, it’s been a favorite of mine for sometime. But, it wasn’t until this past year, while taking on the arduous task of healing my gut, that I have truly learned to love and appreciate this stuff for all of it’s magical healing qualities. I have shared this simple tutorial at workshops, including retreats I have hosted and cooking demos. It’s a very simple process, a food that has been around for thousands of years that produces incredible, tasty and healing results. While not very cumbersome at all, sauerkraut is a timely process, but I can tell you that patience is very much a virtue in this game. It’s worth the wait. For those new to sauerkraut, I do recommend starting out consuming a very small amount, a tablespoon or two, used as a condiment of sorts. As with any fermented or probiotic rich food, too much too soon, even when it’s good bacteria, can have some gnarly affects on your gut. More isn’t always better. Take it slow.

    This tutorial offers the step by steps on making small batch sauerkraut, in a glass mason jar. To make a larger batch in a fermentation crock, you can just double or triple the recipe, as necessary.

    How-to Make Sauerkraut

    All You Need:

    1 or 2 quart wide mouth glass canning jar or 3 pint size glass jars, with tight fitting lid(s)
    1 medium head organic cabbage
    1 tablespoon sea salt
    additional spices, vegetables or fruit you wish to add
    glass mixing bowl
    sharp knife and cutting board (or food processor with shredding plate)


    Letting the cabbage ferment at room temperature invites beneficial bacteria to grow via lacto-fermentation. These microorganisms feed on sugars in the vegetables and raise levels of lactic acid, giving fermented foods their tang while also preserving them. Most commercial sauerkraut is required by the FDA to be pasteurized—which effectively destroys all the bacteria in it, including the beneficial bacteria— so making your own sauerkraut at home is definitely a better choice to improve your digestive health.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  3. 5 Mealtime Tips to Improve Digestion

    Digestive dysfunction is easily the most common chronic ailment I encounter working as a Nutritional Therapist. As a follow-up to my in-depth series Digestion 101, I wanted to offer five, simple actionable steps that you can take right away to immediately begin the improvement of your digestion.

    Digestive dysfunction can have many faces – gas, bloating, stomach aches, indigestion – we’ve all been there. Yes, there are plenty of quick-fix, short term “bandaid” approaches to managing the symptoms, I see so many people that often pop antacids, take anti-gas, diarrhea or constipation meds just to get through the day.  Sadly this only manages the symptoms of a larger problem and more often than not the root cause of the dysfunction is left untreated and the problems still persist.

    Rather than popping pills or difficult, unnatural approaches, here are 5 simple, meal-time tips to improve your digestion, naturally.

    5 Mealtime Tips to Improve Digestion

    Read the rest of this entry »

  4. Digestion 101: A North to South Process // Part 5: The Large Intestine

    Digestion 101: A North to South Process // Part 5: The Large Intestine


    Digestion 101: A North to South Process

    Here we are, at the end of the road. The large intestine is the final step in the process of digestion. By this point you probably more than understand the concept of digestion being a north to south process. We have talked about it at length starting first the brain and the mouth, and the importance of being in a parasympathetic state and properly chewing your foods, then of course the stomach and the dire need for proper hydrochloric acid production, how the accessory organs, the pancreas, liver and gallbladder  continue the process of digestion, releasing bile, enzymes, various hormones and allowing the small intestines to finish digestion but more importantly do it’s very important job of assimilating nutrients and finally last but not least, the large intestine.

    See Part One: The Brain and The Mouth

    See Part Two: The Stomach

    See Part Three: The Accessory Organs: Pancreas, Gallbladder and Liver

    See Part Four: The Small Intestine

    How it Should Work

    The large intestine, or the bowel, is compromised of 3 sections, the cecum, colon and the rectum. The leftover chyme from the small intestines, passes through the illeocecal valve and first into the ascending colon. At this point in a healthy digestive system, what is left as chyme (the digested food) after the small intestines, is indigestible fibers, lots of water, sloughed off cells and bile. The large intestine is all about absorption and recycling.

    As in the esophagus and the small intestine, the contents of the large intestine are pushed forward by a sequence of muscular contractions called peristalsis (a type of motility or muscular movement). After passing through the illececal valve the remains travels from the ascending colon, across the transverse colon where waste forms, into the descending colon, to the sigmoid colon and then the stool moves out of the body.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  5. Digestion 101: A North to South Process // Part 4: The Small Intestine

    Digestion 101 // Part 4: The Small Intestine




    Digestion 101: A North to South Process

    As we continue more south in digestion, after first the brain and the mouth, then the stomach we move from the first part of the small intestines, the duodenum and it’s interaction with the accessory organs, the pancreas, liver and gallbladder and into the function of the small intestine.

    After we leave the duodenum, the small intestine is less about the actual process of digestion, from a sense of breaking down the food we eat and it is more about the assimilation and absorption of nutrients.

    The first part of the small intestines, the duodenum, acts more as a part of the stomach than the small intestine and the jejunum, ileum and villi are responsible for assimilation.

    See Part One: The Brain and The Mouth

    See Part Two: The Stomach

    See Part Three: The Accessory Organs: Pancreas, Gallbladder and Liver

    Digestion 101 // Part 4: The Small Intestine
    How it Should Work

    The small intestines have a dual role as an organ and a gland.

    As we talked about in the previous post, The Accessory Organs – The Pancreas, Gallbladder and Liver, the small intestine releases mucous to keep things moving and it also releases two hormones: secretin and cholecystokinin.

    Secretin stimulates the pancreas to release bicarbonate to lower the pH of the chyme and pancreatic juice. The CCK stimulates the gallbladder to release bile (to read more about these processes please see post #3).

    By the time that the chyme has left the duodenum, thanks to the processes of the accessory organs, the chyme should be almost entirely digested.

    • The carbohydrates have been broken down into glucose molecules
    • Proteins are broken down into amino acids and polypeptides
    • Fats are broke down into fatty acids and glycerol molecules

    Peristalsis, a series of wave-like muscle contractions moves these absorbable molecules into the jejunum and the ileum, the middle and end parts of the intestine.

    Within the small intestines, we have millions of villi, tiny finger-like projections that protrude from the epithelial lining of the small intestines. These villi and their microvilli absorb the nutrient molecules directly into the bloodstream, where they are carried throughout the entire body.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  6. Digestion 101: A North to South Process // Part 3: The Accessory Organs – Pancreas, Gallbladder and Liver

    Digestion 101: A North to South Process // Part 3: The Accessory organs, Pancreas, Gallbladder and Liver

    Digestion 101: A North to South Process

    As we continue more south in digestion, after first the brain and the mouth and then the stomach we move onto the accessory organs, the pancreas, liver and gallbladder

    As we move further south from the stomach, while the small intestines are next in line for the food, but we first take a small pause/detour to discuss “the accessory organs of digestion”. The pancreas, liver and gallbladder, each play a very important role in the digestive process and each can be affected with their own dysfunction as well.

    The stomach, small intestines and large intestines are all part of the system of digestion we call “the alimentary canal”, “the gut tube” or “digestive tube”. Between each of these organs we have valves or sphincters that keep the food where it is supposed to be and move it along when the time and the environment is right. These accessory organs are not a part of this tube or system but they play a major role in the process.



    There is a synergistic and symbiotic relationship with the small intestines and these accessory organs, so we will discuss first how these play a role before we move into the function of the rest of the GI tract.

    The duodenum is the start of the small intestine, but it almost acts more as part of the stomach, in it’s roles of breaking things down further playing a larger part in the process of digestion, vs the rest of the small intestine being less of a digestive organ and more about absorption or assimilation.

    See Part One: The Brain and The Mouth

    See Part Two: The Stomach

    Digestion 101: A North to South Process // Part 3: The Accessory organs, Pancreas, Gallbladder and Liver


    How It’s Supposed to Work

    When the pH of the chyme (the digested food moving from the stomach into the small intestines) is in it’s normal range, 1.5 – 3.0 , which we talked about in the stomach post. This is very acidic and necessary to the stomach performing it’s duties. As it hits the pyloric valve and into the duodenum with it’s proper pH, this is where the roles of the accessory organs come into play. This highly acidic chyme is what triggers these functions.

    The duodenum no longer wants this highly acidic chyme and in order for the enzymes to work correctly it has to take that chyme to a neutral pH of 7.0. This happens by way of sodium bicarbonate, which is released by the pancreas to alkalinize the chyme. This release of sodium bicarbonate is signaled by secretin, a hormone released by the small intestines, which as you might have already guessed, is triggered by the (proper) acidic level of the chyme, that pH of 1.3 – 5. (Ahem, here is that reminder to look north, if the stomach isn’t producing proper HCl, then none of this will function properly, either!!)

    Read the rest of this entry »

  7. Digestion 101: A North to South Process // Part 2: The Stomach

    Digestion 101 // Part 2: The Stomach

    Digestion 101: A North to South Process

    As we continue more south in digestion, after the brain and the mouth, next up we have the stomach. Before we get started, I wanted to remind you that you will constantly hear me reiterate as we go through this step-by-step process to “always look north” and I want you to truly understand what this means, exactly. I am referring to the fact that often times dysfunction that presents itself from further down the line, is actually due to a malfunction more north. For example, as you will read about in this second post and as we talked about briefly in the first, (the brain and the mouth), if you are eating in a stressful state and your body doesn’t make the necessary switch to that parasympathetic mode (rest and digest), then before your stomach ever had a chance to function properly, the brain basically threw it under the bus. So, while the symptoms may present themselves in the stomach (or even further south) it may not make sense to supplement, treat or approach the symptoms specifically until we instead move more north to investigate if these malfunctions are treatable with just some simple lifestyle and mindset shifts.


    This is not at all to say that all digestive dysfunction starts in the brain, that would make my job and my own healthy journey so much simpler. In fact, there are many reasons why dysfunction can exist, as you will see, but beginning the investigative process at the start, way up north, allows us to rule out the possible, more simple resolutions before we move deeper and into more challenging treatments.

    See Part One: The Brain and The Mouth

    Digestion 101 // Part 2: The Stomach


    How it’s Supposed to Work

    After we chew our food, it turns into what we call a “bolus”. The bolus passes through the esophagus and the cardiac valve (the lower esophageal sphincter) and the bolus then enters our stomach, At this stage gastric juices are released. I like to think of the stomach as a blender. Mucous, pepsin and hydrochloric acid are all released for the “churning and burning” stage of digestion. Both mechanical and chemical breakdown happens at this stage.

    The hydrochloric acid (HCl) being the most important of these gastric juices as it creates an acidic environment that disenfects the food and aids in the breakdown. Despite popular belief the stomach is absolutely meant to be acidic. In a healthy individual the pH of the stomach during digestion should drop to 1.5 to 3. We have a thick mucosal layer in our stomach, that acts as a barrier that protects the cells from the acid.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  8. Digestion 101: A North to South Process // Part 1: The Brain and the Mouth

    Digestion 101 // Part 1: The Brain and The Mouth

    As many of you know, my digestion has been the source of much on and off distress over many years of my life. While I found the greatest relief by going 100% gluten-free after discovering an intolerance over 11 years ago, my digestion in the time since, has still not been without challenge and discomfort and at times, straight pain. As I began the journey to heal my body of my newly discovered autoimmune condition last year, we first needed to address my still, not-so-great digestion. This foundational approach to the healing of consequences, such as autoimmune conditions, by first treating digestive dysfunction – is a common approach, especially for functional and naturopathic doctors and nutritionists, who know that without properly functioning digestion, we cannot expect to ever find health and vitality. Without proper digestion we can be sure that we aren’t going to adequately assimilate the necessary nutrients through the food we are eating, no matter how healthy we eat and no matter what supplements or medications that we take. In working with a naturopathic doctor, we discovered early last year that I was struggling with leaky gut, and even found at the start of this year, after a year of dealing with the leaky gut, yet still not feeling 100%, that I had an unwelcome parasite and an excess of pathogenic bacteria (both likely the results of having a leaky gut, for who knows how long). It’s been a long year, to say the least.

    Through the process of my own personal journey, I have and I continue to learn so much about digestion. This personal, ongoing path towards healing and all of the knowledge and know-how I have collected along the way, is what ultimately prompted me to go back to school to become a certified nutritional therapist. I wanted to truly learn and understand all of this in much deeper and fuller way, to allow me to not only continue to help and heal myself and my loved ones, but to also share this knowledge with others and hopefully help them help themselves, in the process.

    So much of what we have been learning in school, about nutrition and more specifically, digestion, has really struck home for me. Much of what we cover are very simple concepts that I truly believe most people need to understand, and support – all of this ultimately has inspired me to share with you guys more about the process of digestion! I know so very many of you, too, are plagued by these varying epidemic levels of dysfunction and I want to empower you with the knowledge to overcome them.

    In this series of posts I am going to break down the north to south process of digestion, covering how proper function should occur and also discussing the typical dysfunctions that can derail this process along the pathway. I am also going to offer advice, tips, foods, supplements and other remedies, both traditional and not, to hopefully bring you healing.


    Digestion 101: A North to South Process

    Digestion is a north to south process, it begins in the brain and ends in elimination. More often than not, while we feel the signs and symptoms of poor digestion further down the line, in the stomach or the upper or the lower GI, simply treating those symptoms with band-aid-like approaches, natural or not, likely won’t get to the root of the problem. To properly address any digestive dysfucntion and truthfully many other nutritional deficiencies, dysfunctions, illness, allergies, etc – we must first start up north, acknowledging possible dysfunction and continue moving south until we address all possible culprits.

    Just as proper digestion is a north to south process, so is dysfunction. So, to properly understand and diagnose digestive dysfunction, we have to start all the way at the top, up north in the brain. Yes, the brain is one of THE most crucial elements of digestion. One of the most important take-aways, I hope this first post gives you, is an understanding that remedying digestive malfunction and dysfunction doesn’t always rely on supplements and major dietary changes, oftentimes if can be simple lifestyle changes that can make all the difference in the world. All of the tips I offer in this first post, won’t cost you a dollar, you don’t need to track down supplements or special foods and in fact, you can start today. So, let’s peel back the layers of digestion, before we supplement our way out and instead, let’s support the process as it’s supposed to happen.

    As a side-note, these northern-most points in the digestive process are probably my most favorite to cover, they are the starting points of the entire process, but they also require so little, in terms of support.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  9. The Benefits of Collagen

    The Benefits of Collagen

    By now you have probably heard from myself and other bloggers about collagen and gelatin and of course, the fanfare around bone broth, etc. Some of you may already know the many benefits of collagen, but even I didn’t know it’s full potential until earlier this year. Collagen is vital for our body and is the basic building block of skin, hair, nails, bones and joints and it plays a very important role in gut healing protocols.

    Our ancestors utilized sustainable whole animal nutrition, which provided an abundant amount of collagen.  Over the past century however, modern food processing has removed this natural and healthy protein from our diets.

    This superfood supplement has provided much healing for me over this last year as it has become part of my daily gut healing protocol, so I am excited to share with you some of the research surrounding it. Beyond finding healing for my gut, the marked benefits in my skin, hair and nails have been the wonderful icing on the cake!

    The Benefits of Collagen

    What is Collagen?

    Collagen is an important structural protein that makes up one third of the protein in the body and up to 70% of the protein that makes up skin. Collagen is the basic matrix of the connective tissues, skin, cartilage and bone where it comes together to form scaffolding to provide strength and structure.

    As a protein, collagen contains significant amounts of amino acids proline and glycine, which are harder to find in other protein sources and serve as a protector of your gut.

    The Benefits of Collagen

    Read the rest of this entry »

  10. The Benefits of Probiotics

    I am very excited today to share this post with you. Not only is the lovely Eliza Schneider of Embodied Emergence joining us again, to share her thoughts on probiotics, but I am also sharing some great probiotic encouraging recipes from some wonderful friends of mine, as well. Probiotics have single-handedly changed the game for my always troubled gut, my only complaint of probiotics is that I didn’t learn of them sooner. I am so happy Eliza took some time to explain probiotics and share all of the amazing benefits we get from them.


    If you’re interested in taking better care of your digestion you’ve surely been hearing buzz words like “probiotic,” “prebiotic,” “digestive enzymes,” “intestinal flora”… don’t be scared by these terms!   You’re not alone if you’re thinking “WTF is this biotic stuff all about?  Should I be taking supplements? Do I need this stuff?  What kind should I be getting?….!!??”

    Don’t fear! The digestive detective (my new self-title, haha) is here to “break it down for you,” so to speak.

    Today we’re going to focus on your intestines.  These windy, long intestinal tunnels have villi (tiny hairs) capture the nutrients and send them into your blood stream.  These villi are covered with tiny bacteria (probioitics).    The probiotics repel yeast, bad bacteria, and fungi from getting into the blood stream.  It is VITAL that the nutrients are able to absorb into the blood stream at this point in the digestive process, and the probiotics assist in allowing this to happen.  The intestines are the final frontier for the digested food before it’s moved into the colon and then released as waste.

    On average, we have over 1,000 different types of bacteria that live in our digestive track and help to break down food and absorb nutrients! (Amazing, right!?)  But sadly, things like antibiotics and diets filled with processed foods can cause these helpful bacteria to die off.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post on POO, foods that cause inflammation in the body can cause the villi to be covered in a mucous that prevents mineral and nutrient absorption!  This in turn can cause problems like constipation or diarrhea, IBS, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating and other not-so-fun digestive problems.

    Something to be aware in today’s factory-farmed world is that there can even be trace antibiotics in the meat you are eating.  Conventional farmers often add antibiotics to animals who are grown close together and are prone to bacterial infections.  Also, some fish are packed in antibiotics so that they don’t develop bacteria on them as they are shipped to stores.  By choosing organic fish and meats you’ll avoid these risks.

    The GOOD NEWS is that probiotics (supplements that help rebuild the intestinal bacterial [AKA flora]) can relieve many of these problems!  Probiotics are microorganisms that offer some form of health benefit to the host.  Prebiotics, on the other hand, are a special kind of dietary fiber that nourish the existing bacteria already living in the colon.  They are naturally occurring in many plants.  Basically, prebioitics are fibers (non-living) that help feed the good bacteria (probioitics!).

    In this post, we are going to focus on PRObiotics, the actual beneficial bacteria that we ingest either in foods, or through supplements and are produced naturally (in a healthy body) in our intestines.

    The Benefits of Probiotics

    Some foods with natural probiotics in them are:

    • Plain yogurt (Be sure to pick one without too many filler sugars and that says something like “live and active cultures” to be sure you’re getting good bacteria!)
    • Kefir (fermented milk drink made with kefir grains)
    • Fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, etc
    • Miso (fermented soybean paste… makes great soups, and yummy dressings!)
    • Tempeh (fermented soybean)
    • Kombucha (basically bacterial cultures that in a tea-based drink)
    • Dark Chocolate (YESS!!!)
    • Olives (also go through a brine-fermenting process) Read the rest of this entry »
  11. Fermented Salsa – Gluten-free, Vegan

    Fermented Salsa

    First off, I know for many of you, your very first question will likely be “Why?” Why would you ferment salsa? Well, I suppose that could be asked about many things. Why ferment? Admittedly, fermentation and cultured foods is something I am newly interested in and I am still learning a lot about. So, I will just share some of what I have learned about why fermented foods are so good for us.

    There is so much more to having a balanced and happy gut than we realize. It is now estimated that over 500 species of bacteria are present in our intestinal track with reports of 50 – 75% of our immune system activity residing there. In our modern world filled with antibiotic drugs, chlorinated water, antibacterial soap and pasteurized foods, we are killing off all of the good bacteria we need to maintain good health and digestion. If we don’t actively replenish this good bacteria that we need, we won’t get the proper nutrients out of the foods we are eating.

    Why Ferment?

    There are so many healthy enzymes that flourish and live cultures that are created when vegetables are fermented, creating an environment full of probiotics, enzymes and minerals which are important in maintaining healthy digestion and a healthy body. These live cultures, usually bacteria or yeast, that fermented foods contain, help balance the microflora are a little city of tiny organisms in our large intestine that, when working well, help digest fiber, protect us from things we’d rather not absorb like carcinogens, and keep the bowel healthy.

    The probiotic good bacteria and enzymes in fermented foods help to populate our gut and intestines with Lactobacilli which are really important for healthy digestion. They also help to eliminate toxins from our body, so eating them will allow your intestines to detox, which is a really good thing! All of this beneficial bacteria (or probiotics) have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion, and improve immunity! I am a huge proponent of taking a daily probiotic, which has changed the way my gut feels on a daily basis.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  12. Green Goddess Juice

    Green Goddess Juice

    Yup – I am still on a major juicing kick. I am loving it. I am so full of energy, I feel totally content with what I am eating otherwise and I have no cravings at all. I think by cutting back on some things but not going into a full on cleanse or detox, I am able to reap many of the benefits without putting my body through hell of those rough few first days and I am not taxing my digestive system, which is already a bit grumpy. I didn’t want to do that to my body right now.

    I am excited because every day my tummy is feeling better and better and I am really able to notice what is triggering it when it does get upset again. The juicing has really given my digestive tract the rest that it so badly needed. This Green Goddess juice in particular is full of so many of my favorite things and it really made me feel great, on top of the energy I am already bursting with, this juice actually made me feel like I had more! That’s why I decided to call it Green Goddess Juice. Truthfully I really wanted to call it “Green Superheroine Juice”, but that just didn’t have the same ring to it, but it did make me feel like I had super powers! I once again included fennel in this juice, I have been trying to include it in every juice I am making right now since it is so great for your digestion, plus I am really loving the unique flavor it adds.

    We had a very busy weekend filled with tons of home projects like ripping up carpeting, reflooring our bedroom, moving furniture around and work for clients. While doing all of those things, I have been ridding myself of so much stuff, both in my personal life and my digital life. I have been going through all of my clothes and accessories and getting rid of things I no longer need or wear. I have donated so many bags of clothes and other goodies to the Salvation Army in the last few weeks and yesterday I did the same to my computer. Well kinda. I backed up and removed over 200 GB of files on my computer that I really didn’t need on there, so my computer can perform better. I streamlined my already existing backup system to be even more thorough and easy to manage. I also organized my email inbox and archived old emails. I took my inbox from over 4000 email down to 81! It feels so good to be lightening my baggage in all of these areas of my life, it is instantly therapeutic and cathartic. It only takes a few bags full of stuff and a handful of gigabytes for you to feel that liberation and suddenly you find yourself looking at everything and thinking “Do I really need that?”.

    Since we plan to move later this year and we are in the process of finishing up a few projects to the house that we have to do before we put it on the market, there really has never been a better time to do all of this, than now. I have been putting it off because it takes time and some tough decision making to decide what things in your life you don’t need, but once you start, it really gets easier and easier.

    Now I can walk into a room in our house and feel the weight that has been lifted. There is still a lot of stuff that we need to go through and I actually can’t wait! It is ironic the timing on all of this, with me deciding to also take out things from my diet that I really don’t need. I think I can say the same for my eating as my house, I was putting off removing certain things but now that I have, I feel great! I honestly haven’t felt as good as I do right now, in years. So, if there are boxes you need to go through, piles of shoes you know you don’t wear, an email inbox that is jammed full of messages, etc – make the time to go through it. It doesn’t take as long as you think, in the last 3 days I have gotten rid of more stuff from my life than I have in the last year plus I still had time to grocery shop, go to yoga, bake bread, make soup, watch a movie and some football with my hubby and more. Don’t talk yourself out of things, don’t put them off, just do them. It feels better to accomplish something than it does to sit down and feel guilty that you aren’t.

    I plan to continue purging things from my life this upcoming week and I am looking forward to it instead of dreading it and I also plan to continue juicing, so look for more recipes.

    Have you gotten rid of anything in your life lately? How does it feel?



    [print_this]Green Goddess Juice

    Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller (it makes about 1 quart)
    (if you want less juice go with 1 cucumber and 1 stalk of celery)

    2 cucumbers
    1 granny smith apple
    1/2 or 1/3 of a large bulb of fennel (stalks and leaves included)
    2 stalks of celery

    Juice all of the ingredients, saving the celery for last since it is stringy and can sometimes clog the machine. Serve immediately.


  13. Digest Ease Juice

    Digest Ease Juice

    As I have previously mentioned this week, I have been on a bit of a healing path for the last few days. Trying to ease my digestion woes caused by a grumpy ileocecal valve. In addition to avoiding all dairy, I have also cut out caffeine, alcohol, sugar and chocolate. I am also avoiding roughage like raw leafy green vegetables, raw whole nuts and seeds and spicy foods, among other things. One of the things I have been doing every day is after my morning yoga practice, I come home and make a smoothie or a fresh juice blend. This has been a nice way to get some necessary nutrients and to also give my upset digestion a little rest. I have really been enjoying it. Then I have a light lunch and a light dinner. I have been drinking a lot of water, not really snacking much and making sure to self-massage my abdomen (you can read more about that in my last post).

    In my research to find the best ingredients for juicing to help with digestion, the ingredients I used in this particular juice seemed to be at the top of many of the lists. Here is just a tad bit of info about each ingredient from what I have read. I’ve learned that carrot juice is considered the golden juice of healing, it is an excellent tonic for just about every ailment imaginable. It can be consumed in large quantities as well. Carrots are a natural blast of high energy and they are a powerful internal cleanser and detoxifier and they can help an inflamed colon (I dunno if mine is, but it can’t hurt either way).

    Apples remove toxins from the intenstines; stimulate peristalsis and bowels; flush kidneys; natural acids for digestion. Apples contain pectin which is a form of soluble fiber. This helps with the detox flush that removes cholesterol and toxins through the liver and kidneys. Apples also contain a substance called malic acid, that helps maintain liver function and improves digestion.

    Celery has been known to help in diseases of the kidneys, pancreas, liver and gallbladder. The nutrients in the fiber released during juicing, aid in bowel movements. Celery promotes healthy and normal kidney function by aiding elimination of toxins from the body. While eliminating toxins, it also prevents formation of kidney stones. Celery actually boasts a very very long list of incredible powers, these are just some of the many.

    Fennel is probably best well known as a digestive aid. It can help with trapped wind, poor digestion and more painful conditions such as gastritis and enteritis. Fennel is also a diuretic and therefore is very effective when dealing with kidney or bladder troubles and fluid retention. It is also a general pick-me-up and helps to combat general tiredness and fatigue.

    Ginger helps to soothe and improve digestion by increasing secretions of digestive juices in the stomach. It also aids blood circulation and metabolism, increases the immune system and strengthens the internal organs of the digestive tract.

    When juicing you always want to use organic produce whenever possible and regardless if produce is organic or not, you always want to thoroughly wash it. I am absolutely no expert on juicing so please use your own judgement and do your research before jumping into any sort of juice-only cleanse or detox. Leanne of Healthful Pursuit, a holistic nutritionist, has been doing an enlightening series of posts this week talking about her own journey to healing her digestion. Leanne’s posts have all been very thorough and provide some really great information about what she is going through, how she feels and what she is doing. Yesterday’s post (the third in the series) features some really great information as well as two great juice recipes. Be sure to check it out and follow Leanne along her journey, as I am.

    Look for more juice recipes from me over the next two weeks and hopefully in that time my photos of said juice will get better. After I was about halfway done with this glass of juice and was looking at the photos, I realized how boring and blah they were. I need a fun glass or I should have put some of the ingredients in the background. Ah well.

    What is your favorite juice combination?

    [print_this]Digest Ease Juice
    serves 1

    1/2 to 1-inch piece of ginger
    1/4 to 1/2 of a large fennel bulb (about 4 oz), I also included some stalk and leaves
    3 carrots
    1 apple (I used a honeycrisp)
    2 celery stalks, with leaves

    Juice all of the ingredients, saving the celery for last since it is stringy and can sometimes clog the machine. Serve immediately.


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