“Sit up straight. You’re going to have round shoulders when you grow up.” Do you remember your mom telling you that all the time?
Well, perhaps we should have listened to her instead of rolling our eyes, not because we would have prevented having rounded shoulders, but because sitting tall can help our digestion.
Are you trying to resolve chronic (or occasional) digestive issues?
Gas, bloating, belching, reflux, heart burn, constipation, loose bowels, gastrointestinal pains, IBS,…?
These are obvious digestive disorders.
But don’t forget, excess weight, difficulty losing or gaining weight, auto-immune issues, cardio-vascular issues, geographic tongue, allergic conditions (particularly hay fever, acne, asthma and eczema), diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia and even cancer can also all be diet and gut related.
You know I am all about eating REAL food because it’s meant to be enjoyed and because doing so is key to combating these disorders. (REAL food being the food that God gave us in the form it’s supposed to be eaten.)
But HOW we eat is also crucial to good digestion and vibrant health.
Are you sitting up tall or slouching when you eat?
Food needs to travel downward. Slouching or reclining while you eat decreases the foods’ natural movement downward through the digestive system.
This slows down digestion and can cause food to sit in your stomach or small intestine too long. The longer it sits there, the more it festers. The more it festers, the more gas, belching and bloating.
Most often reflux is caused by the fact that our food sits in our stomach too long. It sits in our stomach too long because we have too little stomach acid.
And because there is too little acid, the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus doesn’t open in a timely manner. In the meantime, pressure builds up and forces food and stomach acid back into the esophagus which of course causes burning. So, more often than not, reflux is a result of too little stomach acid, not too much.
And when food sits in the small intestine too long, it irritates the lining of the small intestine, which eventually leads to gut permeability (aka leaky gut).
According to Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, anyone with any of the disorders listed above has leaky gut.
Not relaxing when one eats and not sitting up straight can be huge contributors to this problem… two habits we have control over.
So, why suffer from these disorders when there are practical steps we can take to alleviate them?
Start with the basics:
- Sit down at the table instead of standing.
- Take a few deep breaths to begin to calm yourself down. Observe what you are about to eat. How does it look? How does it smell? What are the colors like? What loving hands had a part in getting it from farm to table?
- Now give thanks for what you observed and for God’s provision.
- Chew, chew, chew your food. Chew each bite 25 to 30 times, making sure the food has been liquified before swallowing. Practice putting your fork down between bites. If need be, sing the alphabet song in your head from A to Z to give yourself sufficient time to chew.
- Don’t talk with food in your mouth, this increases the amount of gas to your stomach.
- Don’t hold gas in. Get up and excuse yourself until your pelvic floor muscles are relaxed enough to allow gas to leave silently.
- Keep your spine up tall (avoiding tucking your tail or rounding your back forward) so food can move down properly and so that your organs of digestion have amble space to function.
- Take a slow, leisurely walk around the block afterward to enable the food to move down easily.
Once you got the basics down, start working on the following:
- Avoid eating on the run or in the car
- Avoid multi-tasking. Turn off cell phones, computers, television, etc.
- Lightly rub the area just behind and below your earlobes. This helps stimulate the vagus nerve, which stimulates the digestive tract to do its job.
- Observe your food as you eat. What are the textures, tastes and temperature like? Savor what you are eating like a fine wine.
- Whenever possible, enjoy your meal with family or friends. This can increase gratitude, mindfulness, and relaxedness.
If you suffer from chronic constipation and you have addressed diet, drinking plenty of water, and exercising, consider how you hold your stomach on a normal basis.
Do you hold your stomach in? Sucking your stomach in (the telltale sign of “sucking in” is a tucked-under pelvis) causes an upward force that works against the digestive system. You are basically pushing food back into your body, so when you go to the bathroom there is no relaxed pathway out of the body.
This is probably a lifelong habit that will take some time to undo. But it is possible. I will address how to do so in another blog.
In the meantime, begin by standing in front of a mirror and relaxing your belly, letting it drop all the way out and down. You will see that your stomach moves down lower than the level of your belly button. This is a great check to see if you are pulling stomach up and in.
If you are indeed habitually doing so, practice this action of relaxing your belly WHENEVER you think to do so.
I have outlined simple actions that can potentially relieve those chronic “digestive” issues you struggle with.
As mentioned earlier, digestive issues are more than just the obvious gut related problems. They can be almost any disease under the sun. More often than not though, we fail to make this correlation.
As Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) stated over 2000 years ago:
“All disease begins in the gut.”
If you would like to work ono-on-one exploring your gut issues, book your free 30-Minute Discovery Call now.
Peace and grace,
P.S. For more tips on maintaining a healthy digestive system and to understand why we must be in a rest and digest mode when eating, check out my blog: The Immeasurable Benefits of Giving Thanks
 Proteins putrefy, fats rancidify and carbohydrates ferment.
 Campbell-McBride N. 2020. Gut and Physiology Syndrome. Medinform Publishing.
 Bowman K 2016. Alignment Matters. Propriometrics Press. p. 143
 Bowman K 2016. Alignment Matters. Propriometrics Press. p. 144