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What Does Digestive Health for Overall Health Mean to You?

Good morning!

It’s officially back to the daily grind and normal life. You know. Taking pictures of various items of food on my porch while the neighbors wonder what the heck is wrong with me. No big deal.

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Speaking of my porch, look how different it looks now!

Before (March 2):

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Now (March 29):

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The trees have gone green! It still looks beautiful, but I have to admit I miss my pretty pink flowering oasis :)

Aaaaaanyway! My mom sent me home with a bunch of berries so I decided to enjoy a summer-ish breakfast today — cereal!

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My latest favorite combo is half Kashi Heart to Heart, half Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice, sliced banana, fresh berries, and skim milk. Plus a sprinkling of chia seeds for good measure :)

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Did you know that the fat soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K) need fat to be absorbed in the body? Milk contains a lot of Vitamins A and D, so it’s good to pair skim/fat free milk with a little fat (like chia seeds or nuts — or just buy 1% milk, which I do sometimes too) to make sure the vitamins in it are more easily absorbed and used :)

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Yum, yum. Fiber-tastic!

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We’ve been learning a lot about fiber and why it’s awesome in my classes lately, especially Biochemistry and Medical Nutrition Therapy.

Fiber:

  • Increases food volume without increasing caloric content, helping you feel fuller without a ton of extra calories
  • Helps slow the absorption of glucose (lessening blood sugar spikes)
  • Lowers cholesterol (less risk of heart disease)
  • Speeds the passing of food through the digestive system (keeps you regular :) )

Pretty sweet, huh? Learning this is perfect timing, too. As you all know, I’m serving as an Attune Foods brand ambassador right now (and being compensated, but I wouldn’t have agreed to it if I didn’t heart Attune Foods!), and as part of that I’ve been writing a monthly post for their blog.

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April’s blog post topic is “digestive health for overall health” and what this means to us. I thought it would be fun to have this month’s post be a little more interactive with some input from all of you!

If you’d like to be featured in my Attune Foods blog post, simply leave a comment regarding what digestive health for overall health means to you. It can be something simple, a story, anything! I’ll pick some of my favorites to include in my post (and will include a link to your blog, if you have one).

Can’t wait to hear what you all have to say!

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I’m off to class — lunch should be fun today because, as part of our internship hours tied into our Food Service Management course, we’ll be in the hospital taste testing and helping to assemble patient trays! I’m going to bring my camera — hopefully they’ll let me take some photos :)

Comments

  1. 1

    It probably sounds gross to talk about, but I think that your digestive health is a HUGE indicator of your overall health. When I started losing weight, I was still consisting on a diet of fat-free frozen dinners and diet sodas, and my digestive health was as bad as ever. Even though I was losing weight and “getting healthier” in that respect, my body still wasn’t happy with all the sodium-laden, processed junk I was eating. It was leaving me in a vicious cycle of constipation and, er, you know, the other thing. (Gross.)

    It wasn’t until I started embracing whole, clean eating (and increasing my fiber intake, too) that my body really started to be able to function normally – including my digestive track! Now I have regular “flow” and I feel better than ever “down there”, knowing that my body is regularly getting rid of both literal and figurative crap (hahahaaaa!)

  2. 2

    Digestive health means everything to me (seriously). I have had digestive troubles since I was 18, only to find out I have many food intolerances. Even though I have gotten those under control, my intenstines still remain the most sensitive organ in my body. I try to combat it by:

    1. eating a lot of whole, raw foods (hello, fiber!)
    2. drinking lemon ginger tea in the morning when I wake up
    3. Eating every 3-4 hours to avoid getting bloated/gassy
    4. Avoiding sugar
    5. Drinking detox tea every other night
    6. Taking digestive enzymes before each meal

    As silly as it sounds, the quality of my life is so much better when my digestive system is happy. I find when my digestive system is feeling “sluggish”, I am too! I’m cranky, irritable, and nobody wants to be around me.

    Thankfully, I took the bull by the horns and got invested in my own health!

  3. 3

    Digestive health makes everything keep moving in your body, but you have to give your body good things to digest. Like Fiber One (personal favorite) and Uncle Sam cereal, or high fiber foods like fruits and vegetables, clean foods and not processed, and a balanced overall group of foods that are easy on your body. To me, a stomach ache means something didn’t work right. And a lot of water. A trainer once told me drinking water is like washing your hands, getting rid of the dirt in your body.

  4. 4

    To me, digestive health is eating what your body can use and maximize. This is different for everyone and it takes a lot of work to not only eat right, but also understand your body and what it uses and maximizes the most!

  5. 5

    Digestive healthy is a major component to healthy living. Recently, when on vacation I splurged 100%. I ate plain bagels for breakfast, drank diet soda and ignored fruits and vegetables. When I returned my body felt awful!! As soon as I started eating properly (oatmeal with flax, lots of water, fruits, veggies and beans) my body felt 1000 times better. It is amazing what a little fiber and water can do to your mood!

  6. 6

    Digestive Health is definitely a huge part of overall health! If your digestive system isn’t healthy and functioning properly then your body is most likely not absorbing and maintaining all of the nutrients from that healthy food you are working so hard to feed it!! If your body isn’t benefiting from the nutrients in your food, then you are going to feel tired, sluggish and probably bloated. And we all know that when you are feeling like any of the above metioned, working out and physical activity are not on the top of your list, therefore affecting your overall health even more! Always pay attention to how your body seems to be reacting to certain foods and how you are able to digest them in order to stay overall healthy and keep taking in those nutrients!

  7. 7

    You’ll never have to convince me that digestive health is critical — there’s nothing I am more sure of than that!

    Have a good hospital day :)

  8. 8

    Anne, I love that photo of the mixed berries
    That’s actually my favorite dessert, yummy!!!
    (I hate when someone eats my favorite dessert, ahem)

    Besides beeries tasting great, berries are very high in anti-oxidants!
    As you know, anti-oxidants lower inflammation, which decrease “free radicals!”
    So in addition to having that amazing “symphony” in your mouth for dessert, you’re also preventing Cancer!
    (and look younger!)
    It’s a “win!-win!”

    Awesome Blog, Anne! I love it!!!

    -Jill

  9. 9

    I *love* high fiber foods! I always drink plenty of water with my high fiber diet (lots of legumes like lentils, fruits & veggies). Is there ever a risk of having too much fiber?

    • 10

      Most people don’t need to worry about having too much fiber – especially if they are drinking lots of water, like you are! If you’re really having too much, you’ll know because you’ll feel icky :) I say if you feel good, then keep it up!

  10. 11

    Poor digestive health runs in my family. My sister has missed parties and social events and even work due to both constipation and IBS. My mom takes medication for her digestion. A few years ago, I suffered from terrible bloating and constipation, and it was so painful and uncomfortable. I went to a GI specialist who prescribed medication to regulate me. Well, the medicine worked, but it had horrible side effects (such as dizziness, nausea, and headaches). Finally, I decided to take control of my health the natural way and not long after, learned that I am lactose intolerant. Since cutting dairy from my life, my digestive health is wonderful. It has made such a tremendous difference in my life. I strongly believe that poor digestive health can lead to a wealth of other issues. I’m glad to be issue free. :)

  11. 12

    My Dad is actually a gastroenterologist (stomach and intestine physician) so I’ve grown up learning and hearing about digestive problems! I definitely strive to eat well and take care of myself to avoid all of the problems and cancers that my dad sees in his patients.

    On the flip side of many, I sometimes have to make sure I don’t eat too MUCH fiber as it causes painful bloat. I just love my veggies and whole grains, but incorporating enough healthy fat and proteins into my meals is extremely important for my digestive comfort.

  12. 13

    I love those berries mixed with Chobani Greek yogurt and sprinkled with flax seed. I have suffered with a hiatia (not sure of spelling) hernia since I was 17 years old and have always been told to learn to live it. I can’t eat any foods with a lot of acid and I can’t eat past 5 PM. I eat around 4PM and sit with my family while they eat around 7 PM. The operation for what I have is too dangerous so you do what you have to do. Since I have lost 45 pounds since last July and and walking and more active than I used to be, seems to have helped me a lot. Keep those healthy recipes coming, they have helped me immensely.

  13. 16

    Oh how I miss NC in the spring! Atlanta is really nice too, gorgeous, but the heat comes fast and then humidity so true Spring weather lasts maybe three weeks. Heart to Heart is one of my top 5 favorites! Berries + flax + Heart to Heart + 1%= FABULOUS! I recently switched from skim to 1% and have noticed a huge difference in my digestion. When everything is flowing my skin benefits too, the inside always reflects on the outside! And lets be honest, when you’re regular, you’re happier!

  14. 17

    digestive health is so important to me and something i think about every day. when i was 5, i was making regular visits to children’s hospital of wisconsin because of chronic awful stomach aches. i was diagnosed with a mega-colon, which meant i had huge poo (sorry, no other way to put it), and was always constipated. when i was little i had to take so many medications to try to improve the health of my digestive tract. i always felt like crap and it didn’t work very well. i would do ok for a couple months, and then it would stop working and i’d have to go try something else. well, after years and years of trying everything and anything, i finally made healthy eating a priority.

    now i am very aware of what i put in my body and how much fiber i eat each day. i have been totally managing my condition through my diet for a couple years now and it feels great! beans, leafy greens, and whole grains are my friends! :)

  15. 18

    I have ulcerative colitis, so I think about digestive health every day (especially on days like today when I feel bloated and constipated). Up until a couple of years ago, I really ate whatever I wanted and started realizing what my “trigger” foods were, such as dark meat and soda. I cut those out of my diet and felt better. Then, I transitioned to eating more whole foods, made exercise a priority in my life and I instantly felt better. While I still see a gastroenteroligist regularly and am on all sorts of meds, I’d like to transition away from the meds and approach my condition from a more natural standpoint.

    Also, digestive health for me means eating lots of yogurt for the probiotics! I tried the attune bars and they work well too!

    • 19

      Hi Lisa!

      I have had soo many digestive problems over the past few years, and am just starting to find things that do not sit with me well… is it just soda and dark meat or do other things bother you? I seem to have big problems with whole wheat… would that make sense?

  16. 20

    I was on several courses of antibiotics in November, December, January, and February. It messed up my digestive health SO BAD. I started taking probiotics and couldn’t believe how much better everything was. I needed to supplement probiotics since I was on so many antibiotics, but now I just get them via yogurt. The difference in my digestive health is remarkable, and I believe fully that it impacts my overall health too.

  17. 21

    I didnt know that those vitamins need fat to be absorbed. Thanks for the info!
    And no green trees here- you are sooo lucky

  18. 22

    When I think of digestive health I am reminded of the changes I made when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. All of my symptoms were related to digestive discomfort and pain. Removing gluten from my diet has meant that I no longer suffer the extended bouts of abdominal pain, cramping, diarhea, etc. I can tell within hours when I have accidently ingested gluten due to the recurrence of the symptoms. I avoid gluten as though it were my religion.

  19. 23

    Thanks for the chance to contribute to the conversation! For me, digestive health means being flexibility and awareness. About four years ago, I started a journey towards health by changing my diet and exercise patterns for good. Today, I am 55 pounds lighter than when I started and I am able to do things that I never thought possible when I was heavier. Over the last few years, I have become so much more aware of the foods that I eat and how my choices affect my overall health, and I have become much more comfortable with making change. Before I started on my journey towards health, I paid little attention to what I was eating and how much of it I consumed. As a result, my body, mind, and overall health suffered. Now, I understand the direct connection between the choices I make and my wellbeing. I am aware of which foods feel best to me, and I try to give my body all of the nutrients it needs to keep me strong, healthy, and happy. This growing self-awareness made it easier for me to cut gluten out of my diet last year when I found out that I am gluten intolerant. I still have food sensitivities and lingering discomfort at times, but I am so much more cognizant of my choices and flexible about making changes to my diet now than I used to be. For me, digestive health is all about awareness and flexibility.

  20. 24

    I am super jealous of your green trees!! We still have snow on the ground here in Alaska. :(

  21. 25

    I knew that about the fat soluble vitamins. In addition, that is why on salads there should be dressing or oil used.

  22. 26

    Holy March 2nd! The pink flowers are incredible!

  23. 27

    when my digestive health is at its best, I like how it feels like my body is full-functioning. Having your body at its smoothest functioning is what health is all about!

  24. 28

    Digestive health is definitely a huge part of my over all health! I suffered from digestive discomfort for 8 months straight a couple of years ago, and was able to fix myself through diet, fiber, supplements,probiotics, and lots of over-all healing. Now I don’t take a day of digestive health for granted. Taking gluten, soy, wheat, yeast, etc. out of my diet made such a huge difference. I eat mostly vegetables and pseudo-grains like quinoa and buckwheat now, and am so thankful for the way my belly works.

  25. 29

    I don’t know how else to say this, but I like to poop. Passing regular stools makes me feel healthy. From my nutrition courses, I am aware of the many complications out there associated with digestive health. Thankfully, I’ve never suffered from any chronic digestive issues, and I believe that my diet – full of fiber (raw veggies, beans, legumes) – plays a large role in my healthy, happy colon.

    My Nutrition Club sells shirts that read “I Like Fiber” on the back, haha.

  26. 30

    Would it be heretical to suggest just drinking more coffee? (That obviously helps with Hillary highlights!) Along with more fiber, of course! :-)

  27. 31

    Digestive health is imperative to overall health for me. When I don’t get enough fiber, I know it. I am not regular! After all of these years, I know what I have to get to get enough fiber in, and days that I don’t, I know it because I walk around bloated the whole time. A lot of people aren’t affected by it, but eating enough fiber is definitely key to my overall health/physical happiness on a daily basis :)

  28. 32

    For me, digestive health IS overall health. For years I was very conscious about eating whole foods and whole grains – I was a vegetarian and extremely physically active (finishing a marathon and several triathlons). Yet my energy was sapped, I could barely make it through my running regime, and stomach pains were plaguing me.

    My doctor diagnosed gluten and daily allergies. Literally within a week, I felt like a whole new person – more aware of my body and much stronger. For the first time in ages, I knew what it was like to NOT have a stomachache. For me, being aware of what my body can (and can’t) handle has changed the way I look and feel. Now I take greater joy in the kitchen, coming up with creative ways to manage my gluten and dairy allergies. I try not to think of it as a restricted diet, instead my eyes have been opened to wonderful new foods. And I feel better than ever!

    • 33

      Good for you – great attitude and so glad to hear you are feeling good now! I wish I hadn’t submitted my article last night because this is a great comment! I’m writing about gluten free next month so maybe I’ll include it then instead :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] in the semester and it’s definitely crunch time now! But before I go — remember last week when I asked you all to share what digestive health for overall health meant for you so I could include it in my next Attune Foods blog post? Well, the post is now up! Click here to […]

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