I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but was inspired this morning by a conversation with a yoga student to finally get it out of my head and into this space as it’s something I feel very strongly about and advise anyone and everyone to consider for themselves: giving your digestive system a break!
I’m sure if you follow me on Instagram you’ve most likely seen my daily green smoothies pop up on my feed here and there and I even wrote about the importance of my routine back in this post, but I want to explain why I do my best to drink a smoothie (or have some form of liquid meal) every single day. One of my all-time favorite classes in high school and college was human anatomy and biology and I’m in constant awe of the body’s ability to transform, heal, and take care of itself. In my opinion, our bodies are the greatest gifts we could ever be given, and for that reason I am passionately curious about making sure I’m always taking care of mine and learning as much as I can about how to optimize my health.
Let’s start first with a few facts about the human digestive system:
1 | your intestines, when spread out, run as long as 30 feet and your small intestine alone would take up almost 3,000 square feet if unfolded.
2 | serotonin, the hormone that controls mood (i.e. responsible for making you feel good!) is made in your stomach, not your brain
3 | every day, nearly 15% of the energy your body expends is on digestion alone
Do you ever wonder why you feel so sluggish after a huge meal? It’s because your digestive system is working extra hard around the clock to keep things moving, literally, throughout your body.
Sadly, nearly 1 in 3 people suffer from some sort of digestive discomfort on a regular basis (bloating, upset stomach, indigestion, etc.) which can be caused by a number of things: food intolerances, stress, hormones, etc. Because the digestive system takes up so much of our daily energy, the more and more stress we cause it (hello, huge meals and eating when we aren’t hungry), the less energy our systems have for vital functions such as keeping our immune system healthy and our brain functioning at it’s highest ability.
This is where the importance of giving our systems a break comes in. The less work our intestines have to do, the more energy we ultimately have to put towards other things like exercise, mental stamina, and general consistent liveliness. When you blend up whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whether that be in a soup, smoothie, or broth, your body immediately is given one less thing to do: break them down! The best part, though, is that unlike a juice cleanse where you are often times spiking your blood sugar and not providing your body the calories that it needs, blended foods provide you with fiber, a vital factor in healthy digestion (and blood sugar levels).
So, where am I heading with all of this? If you ever suffer with feeling bloated, sluggish, or just generally “slow” in your digestion, consider giving your system a break every once in a while to catch up with you. I can’t tell you how good I feel when I follow this general rule of thumb myself and do my best to have at least one “blended” meal a day. It’s a great way to reset and is honestly such a nice relief from “cooking” or “preparing” an elaborate meal.
If you’d like to try this yourself, here are some of my current favorite brands/books/sources of inspiration:
:: Fawen Drinkable Soups (organic, super clean ingredients, so delicious)
:: Green Kitchen Smoothies (my current go-to)
how do you guys feel about liquid meals?