Digestion The food you eat contains the nutrients that serve as building blocks, and provide energy and nourishment throughout your body. In food, nutrients are contained in large molecules that are chemically and physically bound together. Digestion is the process of breaking down these tightly bound molecules into individual nutrients that can be taken into your body and used to support its functions. Simply defined, digestion is cutting things down to a size in which they can be absorbed into your body.
Your body must take the large protein chains (animal protein) and cut them down to either individual amino acids or dipeptides (two amino acids, di=two, peptide=amino acid) before you can absorb them. Once absorbed, the amino acids are transported through your bloodstream to the tissues that need them, such as muscles. Then, your body uses these amino acids to reconstruct its own proteins in the forms you need to support your tissue’s growth and repair.
Once transported across the intestinal barrier to the inside of your body, these nutrients can enter your bloodstream and circulate to all of your tissues to maintain organ function, support your need for energy, and provide for growth and repair of new cells and tissues.
The whole-food, plant-based diet supports the law of digestion because all the meals are properly combined to support perfect digestion. When eating animal proteins and fats mixed with carbohydrates and starches digestion becomes labor intensive and burdens the body because it takes so much more time to breakdown animal tissue and reassemble the atoms into the fuel the body needs for energy, and repair. Plus there is an abundance of saturated fat that the body has to breakdown and store in the tisue for future fuel if we enter into a famine, or drought, in other-words have to go without any food for three weeks or so. For the stress and burden animal food products offer very little nutrients the body can utilize for energy or repair. This drastically slows down the natural healing process. Second-hand animal protein requires different enzymes for complete digestion. When all the digestion enzymes are triggered to work at the same time, the digestion becomes very stressful on the body and the food has the potential to spoil and create poisons within known as endotoxins.
For example, eating a piece of watermelon–which breaks down very quickly–after a barbecue dinner consisting of animal protein potentially ends up as a belly ache. Why? The watermelon ferments in the stomach, while having to wait so long for the animal protein to be broken down into small enough pieces to pass through. This forces the fruit juices to sit in a 98.6-degree oven–your belly–for up to eight hours or longer causing fermentation, which builds up gas. Think of what happens when you pop the cork off a champagne bottle. The gas from the fermentation forces it to explode. This gas is being produced within the stomach when animal proteins are eaten with fruit or a starch.
With the plant-based diet digestion is supported. The food quickly and completely without the buildup of endotoxins. Digestion issues usually heal completely after just a few weeks of properly combined meals.
The Rules of Food Combining
- Eat fruit alone on an empty stomach. Wait about one hour before eating anything else. Wait one hour to eat anything after drinking fruit juice or any other liquids.
- Eat melons on an empty stomach, alone, separate from other fruits, or different varieties of melons. (Melons tend to mold very quickly, so smell them before you eat them).
- Divide fruit into three categories: acid, semi-acid and sweet. Do not combine acid fruits with sweet fruits. Semi-acid can be combined with sweet or acid fruits.
- Divide all foods into Starches/Proteins/Vegetables/Oils & Fats/Acid Fruits/Semi-Acid Fruits/Sweet Fruits/Melons.
- Combine starches with vegetables and only a limited amount of fats/oils.
- Combine animal proteins with vegetables and only a limited amount of fats/oils, if you think you have to eat animal products.
- Drink liquids at least 15 minutes before you eat, or wait an hour after you eat.
- Fats and oils dilute and slow down digestion.
- Eat real live fresh food, not manufactured foods such as margarine, anything made with processed flour or sugar, and do your very best to stop with the animal products and GMOs.
Follow these simple rules and you will be in compliance with all the laws of the mouth, stomach, pyloric valve release, small intestine, ileocecal valve, large intestine, water absorption, the necessary bacteria, and filtering of toxins.
More about the Law of Digestion
Digestion is the first line of defense and the one we have direct control over all day every day. We can easily turn it into an offense and enhance the nourishment to the cells of our body. The digestive system is a chemical refinery that breaks down our food and delivers the raw materials (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) into our bloodstream. The bloodstream then becomes the nutritional fluid for the cells. The cells absorb and assimilate these nutrients as sugars (carbohydrates), lipids (essential fatty acids) and amino acids (proteins). These substances are delivered to the cells where they synthesize tissue and hormones and provide energy for our metabolic process. It makes sense to give the digestive system the proper fuel combination for perfect and thorough digestion. When the food is properly digested, the nutrients are able to be absorbed easily.
Many things contribute to slowing down the digestive process. This can include stress, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and improper food combinations. Even the pills and powders advertised for real or imaginary digestive problems will slow the digestion process. The fact that billions of dollars are spent every year on antacids proves that the laws of digestion are poorly understood in relationship to diet, health and disease.
Improper food combining shows up as acid reflux disease, indigestion, heart burn, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome and even bulimia. All of these symptoms can be a result of eating the wrong combinations of food. Poor digestion leads to fermentation, which is the decomposition of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) and their conversion by microorganisms to poisonous substances. Poor digestion also leads to putrefaction, which is the decomposition of proteins and their conversion by microorganisms into poisonous substances. The type of foods we eat and how we combine them determines the level of internal toxins and poisons that are created within the body.
When the task of digestion is effortless the body has more energy to neutralize toxins and to clean out the toxins and poisons stored in the connective tissue. This automatically results in weight loss and a dramatic reduction of pain and inflammation.
Fruit begins to digest in the mouth aided by saliva and remains in the stomach for a very short time before it enters the small intestine, where the nutrients are assimilated into the bloodstream. If carbohydrates are not digested, they ferment, producing potential poisons such as, carbon dioxide, acetic acid, lactic acid and alcohol. Alcohol produced from fermentation has the same destructive capacity to the liver as commercial alcohol. Fruit digests very quickly, in about 30 minutes and should only be eaten on an empty stomach.
Salads or raw vegetables, which are also carbohydrates, digest in about three hours. Other types of complex carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables, grains and seeds digest in about four hours.
The focus over the past 60 years has been the idea that animal products are a good source of protein. This makes sense if we needed second-hand protein but we do not. That would be the same as saying eat hair to have healthy hair, or eat fingernails to have healthy fingernails. The human body requires amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks needed for maintenance and repair. In the science world, amino acids are referred to as proteins. This could be where the confusion all started. In order for animal proteins to be turned into amino acids the body is forced to work really hard. The cellular waste by-product of this laborious process shows up as acidosis, tipping the pH scale to an acid condition. Any time that the blood and body fluids register an acid pH requires the body to use up a massive amount of alkalizing minerals in order to neutralize the acid condition to prevent death. Acidosis is the foundation for chronic disease including obesity.
Plant proteins are amino acids, therefore they are very easy on the body to digest and assimilate plant proteins to gain and maintain health. A properly combined plant protein meal takes approximately three hours to digest. A properly combined animal protein meal can take up to four to eight hours or more to completely digest. Animal proteins that are not completely digested putrefy, producing poisons like ptomaine–a class of poisonous nitrogenous substances formed by the separation of carbon dioxide from the amino acids. Said simply: eat a plant-based diet.
The Digestive Process
We tend to take for granted the complexity of our digestive system. There are many moving parts that work together to make sure nutrients are extracted from the food we eat. The following explains how the digestive process works:
Senses and Mouth
Digestion starts with the senses. The mere sight and smell of food starts to create chemical reactions that get our body ready to digest food. For example, when you smell a certain food and your mouth starts to water. Bingo, your digestive juices have started from incoming signals through the sense of sight, smell or even sound.
Chewing is especially important because it signals the digestive tract to prepare various enzyme secretions based on what is being chewed in the mouth. Carbohydrate-digesting enzymes are in the saliva. These enzymes are required to break down all types of carbohydrates–even starches. It is very important to work the saliva through raw juices to make sure that the nutrients are able to be assimilated.
As soon as you swallow food, it starts a series of actions called peristalsis. This is a series of squeezing waves that allow food to pass from the esophagus to the stomach.
When food passes down to the stomach, this is where proteins are broken down into amino acids. Hydrochloric acid is released from the stomach wall to digest proteins along with proteases (enzymes). Zinc is critical in this process. If you lack zinc the the ability to break down food is hindered. Another side effect due to indigestion is allergic reactions in the small intestine that often show up as an autoimmune disorder.
The stomach will hold swallowed food and mash it into a finer paste. As food is moved from your upper stomach to your lower stomach, and mixed thoroughly with digestive chemicals until the thick liquid mass becomes what is called chyme.
The stomach will monitor and control the rate in which chyme is released into the small intestine. Typically a stomach will empty itself within a few hours after the meal. Digestion requires the body to work really hard. Overeating really stresses-out the body. Only eat the amount equal to a closed fist and wait 20 minutes to give the signals time to reach the body/brain regulator and register that you ate something. Only eat until you feel comfortably satisfied. Don’t top off every time you eat. Wait at least three hours before adding more food to the stomach. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to break down second hand protein from animal products. This burden of animal protein prevents the body from being able to heal as fast as it can when eating a plant-based diet.
After the stomach the amino acids move into the small intestine, the duodenum, and the digestive enzymes produced from the pancreas and liver are added to the mix. As the chyme moves through the small intestine, the walls of the small intestine are absorbing nutrients through villi and microvilli, which are finger-shaped projections that line the intestinal tract.
- Pancreas- The pancreas is responsible for producing many of the enzymes that break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The enzymes are called amylase, lipase and protease.
- Gallbladder- The gallbladder will release bile which serves as an emulsifier for the mixture. Oil and water don’t mix so the body needs the emulsifying bile to properly digest fats.
The digestion process continues from the small intestine into the large intestine. By this time, most of digestion and absorption are complete. The purpose of the large intestine, sometimes called the colon, is to reabsorb any water released from previous digestive organs and to absorb any remaining minerals. What remains is the feces ready to be excreted.
Nutrition tip: This is the order in which nutrients get absorbed, first the carbohydrates, then proteins, then the fats and finally the vitamins and minerals.
Note: nutrients are absorbed in the order they are broken down into their basic parts, not the order of arrival.