The Food File
You are what you eat and you choose what to eat based upon the information contained in the mind file that deals with food. Inside this food file will be all the conclusions your mind's process arrived at about what food is, why food matters, what constitutes clean food etc., at the current level of understanding you had at the time.
I rarely write nutritional articles, but there is a heightened level of fear these days as far as getting sick goes, so I decided to write a short article about the importance of nutrition in our body's ability to assess and deal with potential biological invaders. In other words - the role of nutrition in the body's immune system. I'm going to try not to get all scientific here. In my practice, I do what I can to keep everything I do easy to understand because I understand that not everyone enjoys science!
FOOD IS OUR BODY'S FUEL
Food is our body's fuel. We are what we eat. It's true! Every single thing we put into (and onto) our body determines the level of health our body can achieve. But wait! What about the idea that our thoughts create our reality?
It's true that our thoughts become our beliefs and our beliefs create our reality, but if our beliefs about ourselves and our diet were misguided, then our body may not be working as well as it should.
We are mind, body & Spirit. What I refer to as the sacred three. Each part of the sacred three is connected to the other and each part is also affected by the other.
As a child, I was taught to follow the Canadian Food Guide's pyramid. Today, after studying nutrition for several years, I know without any doubts whatsoever that there is no one diet that suits all people and that everyone's body reacts to foods (and environmental substances) differently. A food guide is simply that. A guide that suggests you consider foods from a variety of food groups.
Canada's food guide has changed multiple times over the years because, as I always say, facts change when new information becomes available, and we have learned a lot of new things over the past few years where food is concerned! Facts do change so information that is given to the public must change as well. You can have a look at the many different versions of the food guide over the years by clicking here.
In the world of nutrition,(which has become it's own industry and whenever industry is involved the balance between positive and negative energy attached to it is challenged), we continue to learn new things about food and how it works in our body every single day. As far as how the body reacts to nutrients and other substances goes, there are specific branches of science that looks into it called epigenetics and nutrigenomics that informs us.
Through these new branches of science we've learned that whole foods - regardless of how clean they are (meaning certified organic or chemical free) - can have a negative impact in our bodies depending on our unique genetic structure. Additionally, if the lining of our gut becomes compromised due to poor dietary choices, chronic stress or by eating whole foods that do not align with our genetics, then we can develop food sensitivities and physiological symptoms that are less than desirable. For example, when I was in my 20's, I developed an intolerance to fish and seafood. If I ingest anything that has fish or seafood components, including fish oils, I become violently ill. My body purges the fishy substances through vomiting. Oddly, this serious adverse reaction is not classified as an allergy by conventional medicine. It is classified as an intolerance. Whatever it is classified as, it's something I absolutely want to avoid, so I read labels carefully to ensure I am not ingesting anything fishy.
Food sensitivities manifest in a multitude of ways. For example, according to Dr. Carolee Bateson-Koch in her book: Allergies: Diseases in Disguise, reactions to food and environmental substances can manifest as neurological symptoms such as irritability, apathy, headache, moodiness, nervousness, paranoid thinking, and insomnia to name a few; as joint aches and pains, circulatory symptoms, respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, rashes and other skin symptoms, backaches, neck aches, impotence, bed-wetting, MS, sneezing spells, runny noses, lower blood sugar and a host of other symptoms!
Just like everyone's fingerprint is unique to them, every person also has their own unique set of genes. Genetics can tell us exactly which foods work best in our bodies and which ones to avoid. The problem is, these tests are expensive so obtaining this exact information quickly is limited to people who can afford it. HOWEVER, if you are patient and willing, you can learn which foods you should avoid simply by learning to listen to your body's response AND trusting it over and above someone's opinion.
THE DIGESTIVE PROCESS
Food enters the digestive tract through your mouth. As you chew the food, enzymes in the saliva in your mouth mixes with the food and this combination starts the process of breaking down the food into usable biochemical components called nutrients. The tongue not only initiates swallowing which propels the food down into your stomach, it is also the first place in your body where the recognition a substance that is not beneficial to your body happens. As a general rule, we like the taste of the foods that are good for our bodies and dislike the taste of the foods that aren't.
Food passes through the pharynx into the esophagus then into your stomach. Your stomach is on the left side of the abdominal cavity. The stomach is capable of holding 4 litres of food and is essentially a temporary storage tank where food is further broken down. Inside the stomach, food is churned, mixed and pummelled. Chemical breakdown begins in the stomach via acid and enzymes. The stomach itself is protected from acid and enzyme damage by a bicarbonate rich alkaline mucus that coats it's interior. Gastric glands secrete a solution called gastric juice. Inside this gastric juice are various enzymes, each with a specific digestive job to do. Chief cells produce pepsinogens - protein digesting enzymes - and the parietal cells produce hydrochloric acid which makes the stomach contents acidic, activating specific enzymes to do their job. You can now see why taking ant-acids is not the best solution to stomach upset. Proper acid levels in the stomach are crucial to the digestive process. This chemical breakdown of food in the stomach results in a compound referred to as chyme.
From the stomach, the chyme moves into to the small intestine. The small intestine has three sections: the duodenum, the jejunum and the ileum. It can only take so much chyme in at a time for further chemical breakdown, so the body regulates how much through Tte pyloric sphincter. The cells that line the intestinal wall produce other enzymes with specific digestive functions. There are hundreds of thousands of enzymes in your body - each with their own specific job and each requiring certain nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids or proteins, water, sugars, essential fatty acids etc.) to function properly. The pancreas also sends the specific enzymes it makes into the small intestine through pancreatic ducts. The liver sends bile through the bile duct. Bile is responsible for breaking down fats into fatty acids. All these components work together in the digestive process.
Nearly all food absorption occurs in the small intestine. Microvilli, villi and circular folds inside the small intestine increase the body's absorption of foodstuff. The plasma membranes have enzymes that complete the digestive process of carbohydrates and proteins. Toward the end of the small intestine are Peyer's patches which are collections of lymphatic tissue containing huge numbers of bacteria and toxic waste which must be prevented from entering the bloodstream.
What's left of the foodstuff now passes into the large intestine where it is dried out and formed into feces for elimination. Inside the large intestine are thousands of various kinds of beneficial bacteria, parasites, yeast and fungi. These living beings who live in our intestinal system play a role in our overall health. If you are a person who learns better through watching a video, check this short video out (under 2 min) here.
The entire process of digestion takes several hours and is actually quite complex. Because most of the nutrients have already been absorbed in the small intestine, there are no villi in the large intestine. There are large numbers of goblet cells though that produce an alkaline mucus which acts as a lubricant for the passage of the feces.
If foodstuff particles find their way outside of the intestinal tract and into your bloodstream, your body will react to these particles in the same way it reacts to bacterial and viral threats. This happens if your intestinal tract or your gut becomes leaky.
Some of the symptoms associated with leaky gut are: fatigue, joint pains, muscle pains, abdominal pains, diarrhea, rashes, brain fog and memory issues, shortness of breath, fevers of unknown origin, eczema and childhood hyperactivity.
Some diseases associated with leaky gut are: acne, ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, Celiac, colitis, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, liver dysfunction, multiple food sensitivities, pancreatic insufficiency, psoriasis and urticaria.
Approximately 70% of the body's immune system is contained in your digestive system. You can learn some specifics in how that happens by clicking here, but to keep things simple, the degree of health of your immunity is connected to what you eat, and you choose what to eat through the information your mind's process references in your food file. Your immune system will do it's job provided you are giving it what it needs to do so!
You are always in control of your own health. You can achieve optimum health naturally, using a mind, body & Spiritual approach! If you would like help getting your body back into balance, reach out via email and ask for a basic or a complete assessment.
Pay attention to what your body tells you after you eat something. Learn to trust your body's wisdom and you will find health again!
© 2020 Penny Hodgson. All Rights Reserved.