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.
Some interesting ideas here. I’m pretty sure yogurt is considered synbiotic because it does have both prebiotics and probiotics. Also, I can’t find any evidence that raw milk has lactase in it. There may be some bacteria of course, but you need lactase in the small intestine to do you any good and it’s not going to get that far if it’s in the milk in the first place.
I’m disappointed this was basically an ad for Young Living. I wish this site would go back to its roots! I loved reading all of the information that used to be shared on here.
Lindsey Gremont says
I am still the same person but this blog is about me and my journey. Right now this is what I am learning about and using. It really could be anything but nothing has really changed – all the real food we still do! I have posted most of my simple recipes already. As a busy mom, I don’t spend a ton of time developing new recipes. And my blog has been around for 6 years now. I am excited to share much of what I have been doing for two years but have been too busy to blog about. If this is something that ‘disappoints’ you then I am sorry you feel that way.
Amanda Fleming says
Lindsey, thank you soooo much for taking the time to teach us all of this valuable information!!! I always look forward to reading your Blog & your daily FB posts!!! Your ideas are so helpful to my family & I. Thanks again!!
Lindsey Gremont says
Thank you Amanda! So good to meet you last week!
Very interesting post. I’m wondering about ingesting peppermint oil. Does it have a negative effect on the gut bacteria? I like the idea of applying it to the outside of the body, but taking it internally concerns me a little. I’d love to know what you think 🙂
Lindsey Gremont says
Essential oils are adaptogens. They tend to target certain things and will go where needed.
“essential oils are adaptogens”? Not true. Oregano oil will wipe out the good as well as bad bacteria in the gut. Interested in seeing your source for this statement.
Lindsey Gremont says
I really like this resource to understand how essential oils work: http://bit.ly/HealingIntelofEOs
Heather Smith says
Thank you for sharing all of these! I love my YL oils and supplements but I haven’t tried the digest and cleanse. Progessence plus has changed my life . I’m starting mid-June on an elimination diet and restarting the functional medicine protocol for leaky gut. I did not know about the capsules releasing in the small intestine. That is perfect! Do you like any of the meal replacement shakes for gut healing? Thanks for all the info, this is perfect timing for me!
Thanks for the information. I am just being my YL oil journey. I want to ask about the test you mention. It’s unclear to me whichever you are suggesting is good. “Going” often or less often? Also, to your knowledge, are these oils and supplements good for leaking gut?
Lindsey Gremont says
Going after every meal is good! I cannot comment on the last question because I am not a doctor. I can say they help to support your digestive system!
Would you advise to start these oils+supplements during pregnancy? I’d be concerned about any detoxing…
Lindsey Gremont says
I am not a doctor and cannot advise you on when to start a program like this. You will need to do your own research and be your own health advocate.
Hilda McComas says
I have many digestion issues and have taken probiotics for years. Thank you for all this information. I will definitely try the YL enzymes.
Lyndsey Hamilton says
I would like to buy some enzymes for my daughter as I think they would really help. Would they send to Australia? I have emailed them as I cant seem to place an order with Young Living
Lindsey Gremont says
Yes Young Living does have a local office and products for sale in Australia! You would start just as anyone would via this link and then select Australia as your country and follow the steps! http://bit.ly/HomemadeMommyEOs
I have help and support for you there! You might see different starts kits when you get to the page to select them than what I listed but it should be some great ones too. They ship product locally so you shouldn’t see any high shipping rates or anything. Enjoy!
joy markman says
Hi Lindsey, thank you for all your infomation – very interesting! I am also obsessed with my bowel.I am 67yrs. & make my own water & milk kefir, take digestive enzymes & occasionally, take Aloe bitter crystals if nothing works. I do find eating a small helping of protein with vegetables & salad, really good, as then I have no problem going. I also make my own kefir bread & eat sour dough bread as well. So there is no reason for me to have a problem, but I think my problem is that I eat inbetween meals with dark chocolate, homemade biscuits etc., & I think that this is too much for my body to digest, & that is why I am having a problem! Another thing is that I live in South Africa, & we don’t get the makes of oils etc., that you are recommending, but apart from that I think you are doing a great job!
I believe you are married to a South African man!
Everything of the best.
Lindsey Gremont says
Yes–you likely need to avoid those biscuits and other sugar for a time and see if that helps! Yes–Homemade Daddy is South African! We are headed there in July! To Durban and Cape Town! Where are you? Would love to meet up if we could!
Thank you Lindsey. This article helped me a lot because I see the products but other than the essential oils, don’t really know what to do with them and why they are supposed to be good for you. No need to buy things that don’t address your (my) particular issues but fortunately, you seem to be on the same journey I am. Thanks for the info!
Maybe you can help me with this: I tried Progessence and it gave me terrible acne! I am 55 so I wasn’t expecting that. I stopped using it for several months and tried it again and sure enough – the acne came back. Any suggestions?
Lindsey Gremont says
Sounds hormonal – I tell everyone looking to assist in hormonal balance to work with an endocrinologist and to get their hormone levels checked!
Does Life 5 need to be refrigerated? Thanks!
Lindsey Gremont says
Yes it sure does!
I have just started taking True Source and BLM (since my zyto scan said I was lacking those). I really liked your article, as I am not on a “normal” schedule for bm’s…. do you do life 5, essentialzyme and detoxzyme all in one day? Just wondering if there are any duplicate oils in all of these that I wouldn’t need to take all of them?
Lindsey Gremont says
I alternate days between Life 5 and the enzymes. I take them at night on alternating nights!