Confession: I am obsessed with my digestion. I spent many years avoiding tons of different foods and it all came back to the fact that I really just didn’t have a healthy functioning digestive system. My digestion was not supported! Many of the recipes you will find on my blog are recipes I developed on my quest to soothe my gut and support healthy digestion.
What does it mean to have healthy digestion and a healthy digestive system overall?
Easy Digestion Test
Here is the easy test: are you pooping after every big meal? Mind blown right? If you are only pooping once per day or every few days, your digestion could be a lot healthier and more balanced and you need some digestion TLC stat! And I thought going once per day was pretty good! When I heard this early this year, my mind was blown. After all of these years eating real food and living a non-toxic lifestyle, I still was not quite balanced yet. I needed to do some more work!
Since this revelation, I have learned a lot about supporting healthy digestion and I want to share with you 6 ways I now support healthy digestion for myself and my family on a regular day to day basis:
6 Ways to Support Healthy Digestion
1. GOOD BUGS aka Probiotics
This is something I have always promoted here on Homemade Mommy. From fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut, good bugs or probiotics make a regular appearance in our diet. We eat fermented foods with EVERY meal. Most of the food we eat today is DEAD and processed. There couldn’t be a time in history when we have needed probiotics more than right now. Antibiotic overuse and other lifestyle choices unfortunately kill off healthy good bugs. 80% of our immune system lives in our gut! Yet we are told – eat yogurt! That will help! Did you know that eating yogurt isn’t helping you on the probiotic front? Yogurt only contains ‘prebiotics’ which feed what bugs you already have…so if you have some bad bugs lurking they sure are getting fed well if you are just eating yogurt. What you need are good bugs that ‘colonize’ your gut! I hope many of you will read this and discover how to bring back living fermented foods back into your diet at every meal.
Probiotics Are Important!
But don’t wait to learn a new art of fermenting (although it is pretty simple!)…so what probiotic can you take that would help right now? Most probiotics on the market don’t have very many strains and many are not actually alive or functioning so I personally wouldn’t recommend them. You see I am a huge proponent of eating your probiotics because of this reason. That is why I was THRILLED to learn that Young Living GETS this. They understand we need good strains that help with colonization and they understand that some strains don’t work well together! They put some considerable thought into this. So instead of just ‘eating yogurt’ – stir in some Life 5 into your yogurt or take one every night before bed or when you wake up. Just get some good bugs into your body any way you can – each and every day!
Life 5 has 5 strains of bugs – 2 advanced super strains! It also has 8 billion active cultures and improves colonization 10 times! Our strains work synergistically together. Some strains negate other strains or they are not absorbed well or colonize well. That would truly be a waste of money. A good probiotic is armor for our gut. Take before bed alternating with enzymes (see below) (don’t take at the same time as your enzymes – I switch off every night alternating the two). When traveling I take 3 3X per day. Flood your body with good bugs to crowd out the bad bugs!
DID YOU KNOW?! Without enzymes life would cease to exist. So in the simplest of terms – what are enzymes? I like to think of them this way…without enzymes we could not live (nor could we poop!). They help us digest not only our food but basically anything we consume including drugs and essential oils. We evolved over millennia a way to process waste…this is how! I find enzymes totally FASCINATING and know you will as well…once you understand it really isn’t that complicated! Please read through this entire post and you won’t be sorry you did!
The food we eat and the drugs we take are made form chemical elements that need enzymes to be broken down by our bodies. We can eat all the great food in the world…but to actually get VITAMINS and MINERALS out of the food…we technically have to have ENZYMES. Enzymes UNLOCK the benefits of what we eat. They play a MAJOR role in metabolic function.
Where do enzymes come from?
We can get them from three places: our body can produce digestive enzymes in our mouth, we can get them from living foods that come out of the ground, and we can get them from our pancreas and other metabolic organs (this is like a bank). We use different enzymes to process different kinds of foods. Having the right enzyme is like having the right key for the right lock.
We do need to get our enzymes from all three sources every day. However, the enzymes we can get from foods is minimal in the Standard American Diet. Enzymes are destroyed by heat, food processing, microwaving, and radiation. Eating all processed foods heated up in your microwave is not a good idea…and people wonder why they have digestive distress! You still need to eat some great raw foods (like sauerkraut and raw vegetables) to get key enzymes. Carrots have more enzymes than any other raw food. I put a couple of carrots in my smoothie every day!
Enzymes start in the MOUTH – here are a few you will get to know:
- amylase – this is only enzyme we are NOT born with. Babies can get it from breastmilk or raw goat milk. Babies brought up on formula can have allergy issues because they are missing this key enzyme from their diet from birth.
- cellulase – to break down FIBERS in plant material. Cellulase breaks down cellulose. CANDIDA yeast grows on undigested FIBER. Ever feel like you have a brick in your stomach after eating something with a lot of fiber? When we have undigested fiber then that becomes a nice comfy place for candida to GROW!
- lactase – breaks down the milk sugars lactose. Raw dairy contains lactase so if you are lactose intolerant you can drink and process raw milk because it contains lactase to help you out! Isn’t nature awesome?
What makes Young Living Enzymes Different?
Essential Oils are plants and therefore are food – they are manufactured in plants! Essential oils have the DNA blueprint of hormones, enzymes and proteins. DiGize is not an enzyme but it has the blueprint for it. This is how DiGize can help with digestion discomforts. Progessence Plus is another example…it has the blueprint for hormones but no actual hormones are in it at all. Young Living is the only company to incorporates Essential Oils with our enzymes to make them exponentially more bioavailable and effective. An enzyme is not an enzyme is not an enzyme – the oils Young Living adds to their enzymes make a huge difference in the efficacy!
When we are eating foods that don’t have enzymes we have to take from our enzyme bank (from metabolic organs like the pancreas). If we eat foods full of enzymes we help to feed our bank. So why do we need to supplement enzymes? Because our bank isn’t always replenished and natural wear and tear happens. It is important to give our body the support it needs. 80% of our immune system lies in our gut! So if we are dealing with digestive discomforts or any immune issues, enzymes can help fermentation of gluten that causes issues in the intestines because they are devoid of the enzymes needed to properly deal with breaking down the fiber.
Where to start with Enzymes
So for those just getting started I am going to make this very simple. If I were to pick ONE bottle of enzymes which you could try out from Young Living it would be DetoxZyme. This one is an overall enzyme which helps us get access to nutrients out of foods that are hard to digest like grains, nuts, seeds, legumes. What is the point in eating those foods if we can’t absorb the vitamins and minerals out of them?! Many have issues digesting those foods. I take DetoxZyme most nights before bed to work on undigested waste. It’s amazing what happens in the morning after taking them! But I have also heard this tip—do you grind your teeth at night? It could be your body is trying to create digestive enzymes in your mouth to digest what is left in your intestines that isn’t yet digested from dinner. Taking enzymes may help with teeth grinding!
What can I do for my kids?
Have kiddos that can’t take a pill yet? We’ve got a chewable form of our enzymes called MightyZymes! This has got to be the best thing you can do for your child’s digestion outside of Ningxia Red. We don’t want our kids getting into a highly reactive state to various foods!
3. DiGize Vitality Essential Oil
This is one of the first essential oils I purchased after I joined Young Living and was able to get my 24% wholesale discount. DiGize Vitality is an exclusive Young Living essential oil blend that contains the following essential oils which help to support healthy digestion in so many ways:
- Ginger Vitality – we all know what ginger is traditionally used for – occasional nausea!
- Peppermint Vitality – highly regarded for centuries for digestion support
- Fennel Vitality – stimulating to the digestive system and also prevents fermentation
- Lemongrass Vitality – powerful properties to digest bad bugs and improve digestion
How do I use this essential oil? I put a drop or 2 on my tongue after each meal. Seeing is believing with this one!
Supplements cannot make up for a poor diet but they can FILL the GAPS in our nutrition. It is important to flood our body with nutrients because we truly do not get everything we need from food!
If you are just getting started with supplements from Young Living, the first one I would recommend is our Ningxia Red SUPER juice. You received 2 packets of this in your starter kit so go and grab them now and pop them in the fridge and drink one tomorrow! So what is the story behind Ningxia Red? Gary Young was very curious and interested in understanding what people who lived a very long time were consuming. He noticed many of a very advanced age in the Ningxia province of China and determined the Ningxia wolfberry to be a very important factor in their daily diet and nutrition. The wolfberry is similar to a goji berry but goji berries are from India and wolfberries are from China. Our Ningxia Red is made from the whole fruit in the form of Ningxia wolfberry puree. Other high antioxidant fruit juices are also added to ensure a broad range of properties.
We all hear how high in antioxidants blueberries are right? Well check this out – the ORAC value (a scale for reading the levels of antioxidants in food) for blueberries is 2400. The ORAC value for Ningxia Red is….36,000!!! If Young Living had only ONE supplement product (which many drink companies only have) and it was Ningxia Red then we would still blow every other ‘juice’ company out of the water. You only need 1 oz per day for maintenance.
So why do I bring up Ningxia Red on a post about healthy digestion? Because Ningxia Red helps in this department. In short, Ningxia Red has many people telling me it helps them poop! It sure has helped me a ton and I can’t argue with my own experience so it makes my top 6 list of ways to help support healthy digestion.
5. Peppermint Vitality Essential Oil
I absolutely love Peppermint Vitality essential oil for all things digestion. It has been renowned for centuries for its ability to aid digestion and soothe the gut. The bonus is that you likely have this essential oil in your home so it is easy to reach for! I put a drop on my tongue or in my tea as often as I am able after meals to help me digest a big meal.
6. Digest and Cleanse
THIS supplement is one of my FAVORITES! It is simply essential oils encapsulated into a gel capsule. All the essential oils included are to soothe the gastrointestinal system and support healthy digestion.
Digest & Cleanse does the following:
- soothes the bowel
- helps with occasional gas and bloating
- stimulates stomach secretions – so you are aiding the digestive process!
This is one of those supplements that supports overall balance in the gut and healthy digestion! Another supplement that is definitely going to help you poop!
Why is this different than just making your own capsules of essential oils like DiGize and others? Young Living developed a new process for encapsulating our supplements that contain only essential oils called ‘Precision Delivery’ soft gel. The reason this is SO IMPORTANT is that this soft gel stays in tact and releases the oils in the small intestine which is where we want them to go! When we make our own capsules we are using a veggie capsule and that dissolves pretty quickly after we swallow it in our stomach. We want the oils in our intestines in this case to allow for optimal absorption and targeted relief. The other bonus? It helps prevent the ‘oily burps’ of tasting it! When things open in our stomach we taste it. This opens in the small intestines so we don’t have that issue!
Do you need to balance and support your digestion? I know many people out there do! I am so pleased that these 6 ways to support healthy digestion have helped me so much! I have started to delve deeper into my gut issues and my tummy is so happy because of it!
What ways have you supported your digestion? Anything you would add to my list?
I get all of these products for 24% off retail from Young Living. I also order them from Young Living because you can earn them for free. Find out more about how to get started here now.