As promised last week, in our weekly Quality Greens blog, we will review many different health challenges and symptoms and relate how adding and removing certain foods can help with those symptoms.  The key is that improvements or results may not be immediate, but by starting and being consistent you should notice changes within a few weeks to 3 months or so.  Why does it take so long?  
We should consider that health is something we build based on the quality of our cells and the processes within which are created by those cells, enzymes and hormones.  When cells are not working optimally, and those cells create tissue, and tissues create organs, those organs create the “systems” in our bodies (digestive, immune, skin, urinary, nervous, reproductive, cardio vascular, lymphatic, sensory, etc).  Without proper cell health, those systems can end up functioning less than optimally.  
This can include issues like poor digestion, sluggish liver, under-functioning immune system, skin rashes, low energy, pain in joints, cardiovascular challenges, vision problems, headaches, mental fog, etc.  Really, anything within our bodies that is not working optimally, or causes pain, can come down to potentially needing better quality cells, enzymes and hormones.  We can improve those by providing the best resources in the way of whole foods and water.
Today, let’s start with digestion, since the key to breaking down and absorbing any foods in order to create and feed our cells, enzymes and hormones is by digesting it first.  This is a BIG topic and is more of a 1 day full class than it is a blog, but we will start with some simple steps and information.
Signs of poor digestion can be heart burn, burping, gas, constipation, diarrhea, bloating and pain, to name a few.  Eating and moving food to its end result of a bowel movement should not hurt or be problematic.  It really should be a well-oiled machine - and honestly good fats help that process literally! 
NOTE: If you are having repeated abdominal or back pain or blood your in stool, etc, please see your doctor.  The suggestions here are to improve digestive function, but if there is a significant problem with bowel movements or pain, it could be a sign needing medical attention.  Do not ignore those signs.
A nutritionist can customize specific dietary needs for people based on symptoms, as everyone is different, and getting to the root cause of a symptom is the key to health, but there are some general food “rules” that can be helpful for most people.  These common helpers include eating whole foods, like fruit and veggies as they provide enzymes and fibre that will help you break down and move foods in a timely manner through your digestive system.  Processed foods, in a box, or where they are primarily made of refined grains and sugars, have limited to no enzymes to add to your resources.  Also processed foods mean that fibre, oils and nutrients have been removed and thus impairs digestion.  
First - CHEW!  Chewing starts digestion and breaks the material down into the most absorbable state.  Many people do NOT chew enough - give this your attention as it could drastically improve your digestion and your health.
Next, increase your intake of whole foods by adding half cup or more of berries or a banana or apple to your breakfast, carrots at lunch, and a nice big salad for dinner.  Whatever you do, just add 1 more veggie to your day, starting today.  Also, drink water, aim for 2 litres (8 one cup servings) spread throughout the day, more when you exercise or if hot outside, etc.  Water is critical for moving digestion along and getting nutrients into cells.
I cringe when I see ads for fast foods where there is not a single vegetable other than fries, which are highly processed and fried so hot there is nothing left for food value.
Lastly, walking, bending, just movement in general helps to move our bowels.  Sitting and low activity can be a factor in constipation - try moving more in any way that you can.
If your “normal” when it comes to digestion is NOT pain free, daily bowel movements (2 or 3 times a day) and does not look like #3 or #4 on the bristol stool scale (Google it to see what bowel movements should look like), you could make some food and water and movement changes.  Digestion is truly the key to health, and by improving it, you can improve most other symptoms/challenges that you notice in your body.
Summary - eat more whole foods and less processed, boxed, canned, “white”, fast foods and drink water.  And move your body!  
Next week - skin issues and rashes!

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