Friday, February 8, 2008

Digestion Part 1

In my quest to learn more about my digestive system I have decided to create some posts about it to share. I will be breaking the digestive system down into sections and today I am starting with the mouth.

All digestion begins in the mouth when we chew our food. The salivary and parotid glands secrete alkaline enzymes in the saliva that begin to break down the food. The goal is to convert the food into a liquid before it is swallowed. Failure to do so can cause undigested food to pass through the system and be expelled through the feces.

Chew your food, your stomach doesn't have teeth.

So often we tend to eat in a mindless fashion while we are watching TV or reading that we don't really pay attention to how much we chew our food. It is a good idea to take some time to relearn the art of chewing. You can begin by counting the number of times you chew before you swallow. It should be between 30 to 50. Once you spend some time doing this you will get a sense of how the food feels in your mouth when it is properly chewed and you will lose the need for counting.

When consuming something like juice and smoothies that are liquid but contain nutrients it is a good idea to slow down and "chew" the liquids. Swish them around in your mouth and do a bit of chewing to get the saliva production going. In her book Green For Life , Victoria Boutenko talks about the importance of chewing in more detail.

The tongue is a good indication for how your digestive system is functioning. There is actually something called tongue diagnosis where a practitioner can look for discoloration and/or sensitivity of particular areas.

This diagnosis goes all the way back to the Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C. -1000). It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine. It is believed that the tongue body is an accurate reflection of the inner organs and the coating is a reflection of the Qi as formed by the stomach and kidney.

A practitioner who is examining the tongue will look for color, shape, coating, and moisture. A normal tongue has a general healthy look, is pale red, supple, not cracked, neither swollen nor thing, has no sores on it, has a thin white coat and is slightly moist.

If you would like to try your hand at tongue diagnosis you can go to the Beyond Well Being site where you can go through a step by step tongue diagnosis. Get a mirror and match your tongue up to the pictures they have and see what your tongue has to say.

One of the things that happens when we are cleansing is that we get a heavier coating on the tongue. This is said to be a sign that the body is releasing toxins. Not only does it look bad, it also doesn't feel so good and can smell bad too. So it is important to keep it clean and the best way to do that is with a tongue scraper.
They are quick and easy to use and will make your mouth feel and smell better. The tongue scraper isn't just for fasting, feasting and detox. It is good for everyday use to keep your breath fresh and to keep all that bacteria that likes to hang out on the tongue from getting on the teeth. You might even want to give one to your loved one so you can get some cleaner kisses. ;o)
I love mine and since my tongue is heavily coated right now I have been using it just about every time I drink a juice so my tongue won't be green. I took a picture of it and was going to post it but it looks so yucky that I just can't bring myself to do it. You'll just have to use your imagination.

1 comment:

Hanlie said...

I'm definitely taking this class! Thanks, it's very interesting.