It’s a beautiful morning!
I started off my day with a large glass of room temperature water with a splash of organic lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper. This combo flushes out my liver and digestive system to prep it for the day. Then my husband and I take our miniature dachshund puppy on a walk – it’s steamy out there – summer in Florida!
Returning home, juice kale, celery, ginger root, cucumber, carrots and an apple (I change it up daily to ensure that we are getting all colors of the rainbows and a variety of vegetables – my goal is 200 different types of vegetables by the end of the year!)
I felt like I was KILLING it - doing it all right!!!
Pro tips highlights:
1. Drinking lemon water with cayenne is best done first thing in the morning upon rising on an empty stomach.
2. Exercise is beneficial just about any time of day, but research shows early am exercise has the most benefits.
3. Sunlight exposure within the first 30 minutes -1 hour of waking has the greatest benefit for your circadian (or sleep rhythms). If you are heading out for a walk or run leave the sunglasses at home – your eyes need those some of those beneficial rays too!
4. Encourage a loved one or friend to join you with exercise to make it more enjoyable (so you do it more consistency) and to hold you accountable (often the missing link with habit building).
5. If you opt to juice, use all organic ingredients, ideally a slow, low temperature press type, mastication juicer (avoiding the higher heat centrifuge style which damages the precious enzymes, produces less juice and more waste which equates to higher expense for you in the long run); compost the pulp or save for thickening soups or adding to smoothies! Drink the juice on an empty stomach (ideally in the morning) so the nutrients can be absorbed immediately, and you get sustainable energy!
6. Eat the rainbow! Select fruits and vegetables from all different colors every few days. Switch it up, ideally selecting what is locally grown, in-season, freshly picked and organic.
7. My goal of 200 different vegetables is a lofty goal! I found that I was eating the same 15-20 veggies but I know better! Our bodies, especially our microbiome (uber important) LOVES diversity and this is gained simply by consuming the widest variety of VEGETABLES!
I heat up 2 of my banana muffins and start to make my power kave – purity coffee (certified organic, low mold, and no contamination coffee) with grass fed butter, pink Himalayan sea salt (amazing source of electrolytes and super beneficial trace minerals), organic mushroom powder (super immune boosting), and either grass-fed or marine collagen powder blended in – yum yum yum!
I start off with my HCL and digestive enzymes, grab the rest of my morning supplements and then I sit down with my computer on the couch and begin eating my muffins, sipping my coffee and working…
but it hits me – I’M DOING IT ALL WRONG!
I know better!
25-30% of our digestion is triggered before food even reaches your stomach. You know that sound – your stomach growling? That’s the digestive process getting revved up!
So, what triggers it? The entire process of planning, preparing, smelling, seeing and the initial taste of your food. Even though it may seem that your mouth is, actually your brain is the starting point of digestion. Your brain sends signals to your stomach and pancreas to begin making digestive juices and prepare for food. If you are taking digestive enzymes and/or hydrochloric acid, it is the most beneficial to take just prior to your meal for this reason – that’s when we naturally create it.
Let’s deep dive into these two – digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid:
1. Raw vegetables and fruits contain enzymes in quantities equal to what is needed to digest that food. When we cook veggies, their enzyme levels decrease and sadly often are completely eliminated. When we consume grains, nuts, and meat products additional enzymes are needed.
2. Hydrochloric (HCL) acid is your first line of defense to pathogens in your beverages (especially water) and on your food. It is also necessary to properly break down iron, protein and minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc., so your body can actually absorb them. Deficiencies in these can lead to decreased immune system function, fatigue, muscle cramps, thinning nails, etc. HCL acid also helps to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria within your microbiome (super important!)
What reduces our natural supply of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid? Time, unfortunately they both decrease with age, but also with stress, trauma, injury, not activating the initial phase of digestion mentioned above (I’ll dive deeper into it in a moment), medications (even over-the-counter like tums, Pepcid, Tylenol, etc), alcohol, consuming the standard American diet (SAD) of processed/packaged/cooked food products, sugar, etc.
How can you optimally support your digestion? Rev up your digestive system before food enters your mouth with these tips:
1. Plan out your meal. This includes searching through recipes, making a shopping list, going to the grocery store, and selecting the ingredients needed to make your meal.
2. Prepare your meal, smell the aromas, even freshly cut vegetables and fruit have a delicious bouquet. Invite your loved ones to assist you. NOTE: if you are at a restaurant or ordering take out you can hack this step by looking at food porn – yes that’s a thing – visualize your food, the process of making it, and jumping into tip #3 being grateful for the people who harvested, shipped, and are making your food for you.
3. Be grateful and mindful. Sit down at the dining room table (wait what?!?) Light some candles. Bring out the fancy china (what else are you doing with it?) Turn off the tv, put your phone/tablet/laptop in the other room (unless of course you want to snap a picture of your creation for IG – create your own food porn!) Also avoid hot topics during your meal discussions – like politics, finances, major decisions – these should probably wait until the after dinner walk to discuss.
4. Take digestive enzymes and HCL acid just prior to your meal.
5. Limit your fluid intake. Drinking while eating dilutes your precious digestive juices!
6. Actually chew your food. Your food should be the consistency of baby food or puree before you swallow. Rushing through and not chewing your food properly puts a huge strain on your digestive system.
7. Avoid consuming the offenders listed above like sugar, alcohol, processed/package/pre-made food products.
8. Don’t engage in intensive exercise or sleep right after eating. Wait ideally 3 hours after dinner to go to sleep. A brisk walk is great after eating but I would avoid running a 5K.
👉🏽 👉🏽👉🏽 Your challenge:
Pick 1 (yes, just one for all you over-achievers) and devote yourself to it this week. Maybe you are going to consume a few new veggies, maybe you are going to dust off your juicer, maybe plan an after dinner walk a few nights a week…whatever seems like it will fit easily into your schedule, resonates with you, or you feel will have the biggest impact for you – start there!
Once you have that mastered, tackle another one. The lists above are the optimal recommendations, but they may not all be realistic for you right now or fit into your daily life. It is better to master a few then to give up because you can’t do all of them.
Email or DM me if you would like to discuss any of these topics further. I’d be happy to offer my recommendations for digestive enzymes and HCL acid – not all supplements are created equally (more on that later). DrAnyaSzigeti@gmail.com
Quick note - there is A LOT of information provided here - I will unpack these topics over the next couple of weeks and months and I have some amazing programs in progress and in the works for you to take deep dive in to optimizing YOUR digestion and YOUR health because we are all unique and YOUR health care plan including diet and lifestyle should be as beautiful and unique as you are!!!!
👉🏽 Progress, not perfection!
I’m here with you! 🥰
Yours in health,
If you are ready to get started, use this link to set up a complementary consultation to discuss how we can transform your health today: https://backtohealthfunctionalmedicine.janeapp.com/
Photo cred the amazing Cara Nobles captured this moment - that moment you realize you aren't killing it - and even My. Mylo realizes it and is jumping ship