Digestion 101 - Your starting point to better digestion which supports overall health!

Digestion 101 - Your starting point to better digestion which supports overall health!
Digestion 101
Your starting point to better digestion + overall health! 
If you're a video watcher like me check out the video below 👇 if not keep scrolling and you can read all about the basics of digestion and what you can do to improve your digestion.

Hey, hey! I am so excited you are here! Our digestive systems often get overlooked and unknowingly abused. We consume and we consume, without REALLY ever stopping to consider if our digestive system is supported well. And with the typical foods served and offered these days - packaged and processed, most with little to no nutritional value - our digestive system continues to take a backseat to our busy lives. When the digestive system continues to go unsupported you can expect to see things like fatigue, skin irritations, headaches, reflux, ulcers, constipation, bacterial overgrowth, and even things like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and colon cancer. It’s certainly not a system you want to ignore.

Today - we are going to stop and make a step in the right direction. We are going to cover the basics and get you set up to start making some positive changes in this department. When you take a bite of that apple, what happens to it and where does it go from there? What things can do major damage to your digestive system and what things can help it work fluidly so you can avoid that long list of potential hazards to your body? You’re going to find out - so keep reading!

Every substance we consume must go through our digestive system. It is like a river that runs through us - turning food into molecules that our cells can use for energy, maintenance, growth, repair, and waste products. 

It brings nutrients to our cells, helps run our metabolism, makes vitamins, and is closely connected to the function of our immune system. This complex web of muscles and organs even sends messages to our brains and plays a major role in the endocrine system (hormones) and cardiovascular system. Think of it like an irrigation system - a large source of water gets narrower and narrower as it brings water out to small portions of the field. For optimal health and function of the plants, that water must remain unblocked. The same goes for the body. 

If your digestive system gets “blocked” and things don’t flow as they should, your cells lose their capacity to function fully. You could feel tired and sluggish, experience brain fog, see changes in the skin, and even develop symptoms of illness. Clearly, it’s important that we support this system as it communicates to EVERY cell in our bodies. Let’s take a quick trip through the digestive system and see what this marvelous system entails. 

  1. Brain: Even before you take a bite, your brain starts to imagine what that food will taste like. Your digestive juices, saliva, enzymes, and digestive hormones start to flow in anticipation of what’s to come. 
  2. Mouth: The salivary glands soften food while your teeth chew and increase the surface area of the food.
  3. Esophagus: This is the tube that passes food from the mouth to the stomach. At the bottom of it is a little “door” called the esophageal sphincter, which keeps stomach acid and food from coming back up.
  4. Stomach: This is your body’s blender. Bits of food mix with acid and enzymes, breaking down even further and turning into a soupy liquid called chyme (pronounced kime). 
  5. Small Intestine: Here is where your food is completely digested and nutrients are absorbed. It’s made of three parts: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum - each section absorbing a different set of nutrients. 
  6. Large Intestine: The main job here is to remove water from what is left of your food; it also absorbs some nutrients and forms stool. After the stool is well formed, it gets pushed into the descending colon and into the rectum, where it exits the body.

We’ve talked about HOW the digestive system works, now we are going to dive into some more practical information. What can cause your digestive process to break down or malfunction?

The first main cause of digestive dysfunction is poor diet. Foods with added sugars, refined oils and grains, processed food, fast food, fried food, synthetic food additives, and even conventional dairy products have the potential to disrupt the digestive process. Sugar can actually feed the growth of yeast, candida, and bad bacteria. Bad bacteria then creates exotoxins, which cause damage to healthy cells and can even eat through your intestinal wall causing something called “leaky gut.” Certain tiny particles that should never be able to enter your bloodstream start to make their way through the intestinal wall, which could lead to a potential laundry list of problems like autoimmune disease, irritable bowel disease, food sensitivities, thyroid problems, and more.  

The second main cause of digestive dysfunction is toxin overload, which includes a high consumption of alcohol and drugs. Our liver has to process all of these toxins. It detoxifies what it can, but if it can’t break it down, it will store it there and in other tissues within the body.  Things like radioactive substances, pesticides, food preservatives, and dyes can be stored. Not only can the liver take a beating, but so can the intestines. Unfortunately some medications like antibiotics and NSAIDs (think painkillers) can irritate the intestinal wall. Antibiotics can also reduce the good bacteria in your gut, which you need to support your immune system. 

The third main cause of digestive dysfunction is chronic stress. I know this isn’t necessarily a food or substance but it can play a major role in how the gut functions. Stress weakens your immune system and can reduce your ability to fight off things like viruses and bad bacteria.

Now for some ways to HELP your digestive system… 

  1. Chew your food well. If you aren’t chewing your food thoroughly, the rest of your digestive system will have to work harder to get it broken down. Chewing can help reduce gas and indigestion as well. It even stimulates the parotid glands to release hormones that stimulate the thymus to produce T cells in the immune system. 
  2. Reduce your stress. Chronic stress lengthens the amount of time that food stays in your stomach. We don’t want that! It can also lead to issues like IBS, inflammation, and ulcers. Do yourself a favor and remove some of the stressors in your life and start incorporating more stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, reading, listening to music, and prayer. 
  3. Drink sufficient water. Too little water on a daily basis can lead to constipation. Drinking adequate water - half your body weight in ounces per day - can help food pass through the intestines more easily. Some find it more beneficial to drink their water apart from mealtime. 
  4. Include a variety of plants in your diet. Help diversify your gut microbiome with things like leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, ginger, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more. 
  5. Eat enough fiber. Foods rich in fiber can help things move along in the intestines. There are two main types of fiber - soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps water attract to your stool, making it softer and easier to eliminate. Soluble fiber creates a gel in the system, which is said to prolong stomach emptying and allow for better nutrient absorption. Too much fiber can cause constipation and bloating, so increase your intake gradually and be sure to drink plenty of water. 
  6. Get moving. Exercise is a great way to get the blood pumping and oxygen flowing to your organs. It gets the muscles in your GI tract flexing too. It even has a direct correlation to maintaining a healthy gut microbiome and immune system. 
  7. Stop smoking & drink less alcohol. Smokers tend to get heartburn and peptic ulcers. They are also at an increased risk for Crohn’s disease, gallstones, liver disease, and cancers associated with digestive organs. Alcohol can decrease the gut’s ability to absorb nutrients, reduce digestive enzymes in the digestive tract, and can have an inflammatory effect on the intestines. 
  8. Add in berries and green tea. Berries are rich in polyphenols, which promote good bacteria growth in your gut and limit harmful bacteria. The high antioxidant content of berries can also alleviate inflammation in the body. Green tea also contains antioxidants, including polyphenols, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and immune-stimulating effects.
  9. Try warm foods instead of cold. Cold foods can take a while to break down and digest. Warm foods allow for easier digestion and fluidity within the digestive tract.
  10.  Implement quality supplements. Consider taking probiotics, prebiotics, and even other gut-supporting supplements. Young Living has plenty to offer in this department. Life 9 is a highly potent probiotic with 17 billion live cultures from nine beneficial bacteria strains to support healthy immune function, maintain optimal metabolism, and promote normal intestinal function. MightyPro is a great-tasting blend of prebiotics and probiotics featuring over 8 billion active, live cultures specially formulated to support gastrointestinal, digestive, and immune health. Some other favorites would be NingXia Red (packed with berries and antioxidants), ICP Daily (contains 6 grams of plant-based prebiotics and 5 grams of soluble fiber), and JuvaPower (supports healthy liver function). You could even try some oils from the Vitality line to support digestive health like DiGize Vitality, Fennel Vitality, & Ginger Vitality. You can add a few drops to an empty vegetable capsule or simply add to your food or drink. We will discuss two more Young Living supplements you can try next! 

Speaking of implementing quality supplements into your routine, let’s talk about one that’s gentle yet effective for that digestive system of yours - Comfortone. Comfortone is a combination of herbs and essential oils that helps eliminate residue from the colon and enhance its natural ability to function optimally. It supports normal peristalsis, which is the wave-like contractions that move food through the intestines. 

It contains cascara sagrada, which is a botanical native to the Pacific northwest that can aid the body's natural cleansing system. It also contains psyllium seed, which is an excellent form of naturally occurring fiber. You’ll also find bentonite and diatomaceous earth - go look those up! They’re great for cleansing! These key components combined with ginger and tarragon premium essential oils provide a natural method to assist the body's digestive process. 

Take 1 capsule 3 times daily. Drink at least 64 oz. of distilled water throughout the day for best results.

Enzymes are needed for every chemical reaction that occurs in the human body - to think, to control blood sugar levels, to build bone and cartilage, to break down hormones, to utilize vitamins and minerals - everything! Our body produces them, but sometimes we run a little low thanks to things like poor diet, medications, and exposure to toxins. Cooked, packaged, and processed foods are enzyme depleted. Fresh, locally grown or fermented foods are a much better choice and can be an excellent source of enzymes. Since it’s not always feasible or desirable to eat fresh or fermented foods, supplementation can be a great option. Young Living has several enzymes to choose from, but Essentialzymes-4 is one of my favorites! 

Try Essentialzymes-4! It aids digestion with dual enzyme capsules infused with Ginger, Fennel, Tarragon, and Anise premium essential oils. 

These capsules use time-release technology. The plant-based enzymes are designed to release immediately upon entering the stomach, where the environment is conducive to the digestion of plant material. The animal-based enzymes are designed to target release in the lower intestine region, where the environment is better suited for the digestion of animal fats and proteins. In combination, these two capsules aid in the digestion of dietary fats, proteins, fiber, and carbohydrates for optimal nutrient absorption. That’s what we want! 

Take 2 capsules (1 dual-dose blister pack) 2 times daily with your largest meals (4 capsules total).

Let's breakdown my favoirte supplements to support optimal digestion...

  • DiGize Vitality - Essential oils are one of my favorite tools to help keep myself and family health and this oil blend is a POWERHOUSE to support digestion.  Young Living's oils are unparrelled and what I love the most is that everything is done "in house" from planting the seeds, to growing, harvesting, distilling, and packaging.  The fact that I can go and visit any of the farms (I've been to 3 so far) and get my hands in the soil makes me so happy, I love seeing the entire process! Back to this blend --> it contains ginger, fennel, tarragon, & peppermint which all give amazing tummy support. This is my go-to when any one has a upset tummy and it will make a believer out of any oil sceptic, just rub a little over the belly and feel the magic happen as it relieves the tummy troubles. I also will put a couple of drops in a veggie capsule and take it internally to help support digestion.
  • Life 9 or MightyPro - I think most of us know how important probiotics are to good digestion, if you don't have all that good bacteria munching away and keeping the bad bacteria in check you're going to have tummy problems.  Not all probiotics are created equal but Young Living's Life 9 goes above and beyond with over 17 Billion active cutlers and 9 types of probiotic strains you are covered.  Plus there's even a kid version that is in powered form and tastes like a pixie stick so its a great treat for your kiddos which will also support their digestion and keep everything flowing!
  • Enzymes- Young Living has not 1 but 4 different enzymes so lets break them down...
    1. Essentialzym - this is your every day enzyme!  
    2. Essentialzym - 4: this is your "as needed" enzyme for those times when you want to indulge in some food you know your body is going to have a hard time breaking down like a yummy steak, extra fatty meal, or some ice cream.
    3. Detoxzym - my person go-to!  It supports the body's natural detoxification process to rid any build up in the gut.  This one is also a great choice for vegetarians or vegans
    4. Allerzym - created to help you process food allergens as well as environmental allergens.  Having allergies sucks and this is a great first start in helping your body work through allergies (I also have TONS of oily recommendations too!)
  • Comfortone - we already talked about this one but its totally worth repeating because for good health we need to make sure everything is flowing smoothly out the back door!
  • ICP Daily - helping you to get all that good fiber to form some good quality poops!
  • NingXia Red - my favorite yummy, superfood drink will help you get all the antioxidants you need and a bonus of trace nutrients. 
  • JuvaPower - supporing the liver is a big part of good digestion. We need to make sure the body is able to detox all of the toxins we know we consume as well as the ones we're not aware of.  This is my favorite supplement to support liver health and when the liver is healthy the skin is glowing!

The best things in life aren't full price, right?  When it comes to Young Living you can snag a few things to get started and slowly switch over your products to support your healthiest lifestyle.

If you're interested in getting started with some of the supplements I listed click on my link below I have them all there waiting for you!  Add what you feel is best for you to get started.

When you add more than 100PV (PV is Young Living's currency, in most cases the $ amount and PV amount is the same) you'll get:

  • Free Shipping
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As we all know for supplements to work we need to take them consistently so Young Living has an awesome program called Subscribe to Save, now this isn't a requirement to place an order of join my team, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't tell you about it.  When you choose to put your products on the monthly Subscribe to Save you get

10% back the first 3 months
 20% back months 4-24 and
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Now that's some amazing savings! Annnnd the best part is you can switch up your monthly order every month, you can choose to have the same products shipped to you every month, switch up the products every month, add additional products, take away products, you have the freedom to do whatever you need. The only requirement is that you spend at least 50PV each month with products on Subscribe to Save.

No pressure to do this, but I wanted to let you know its available, plus every month we have "gifts with purchase" so when you spend 190PV+, 250PV+, or 300PV+ you'll see some extra freebies pop up in your cart, totally on Young Living!

So what are you waiting for?  Let's get you the healthiest you've ever been with the best savings you can get and join the amazing Oily Love Team!

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Sending you all the health, healing, and love,