Understanding Digestion

“The best and most efficient pharmacy is within your own system.”  ~Robert C. Peale

Photo courtesy of Chris Bentley

Photo courtesy of Chris Bentley

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend a day-long lecture on Digestive health. Well, that may sound a little boring, but a healthy digestive tract is the basis for a healthy disease free body and I find that fascinating! There are many factors that need to be examined when you are trying to create a healthy gut, and no two people are alike in this area, but here are the main standouts.

Eat a balanced intake of vital nutrients in the form of healthy protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Chew your carbohydrates and starches! The saliva in your mouth breaks down the starches into simple sugars that are taken up by the cells and used as energy. 20- 30 chews per bite full is adequate for most people.

Protein is digested by the stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestines. If you have low levels of stomach acid you will not be able to break down the protein to get the essential amino acids from protein that you need. Stomach acid also acts to sterilize your food and protect you from harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that tag onto your food.

Fats are digested by the liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and small intestines. The bile from your gallbladder emulsifies the fat, which is then broken down by enzymes from the pancreas.

We need fiber in our diet to move the digestive process along in a timely manner. Having 2-3 good bowel movements a day is healthy.

If you have a history of chronic bloating, burping, acid reflux, diarrhea, or constipation, these are not normal! And you do not need to suffer. These are issues that can be addressed in sessions with me and I would be happy to help!

Mighty Miso Soup

In traditional Chinese healing, sea vegetables correspond to the winter season and to the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder and reproductive organs. 

Miso soup.jpg

The strengthening, balancing and cleansing properties of sea vegetables are known to help these organs as well as the hair, skin and nails. Sea vegetables (or seaweeds) provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and iodine, and can help balance hormone and thyroid levels in the body. Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your diet can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.

You can purchase sea vegetables at almost any natural food store. 

Mighty Miso Soup

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

Yield: 4-5 servings


  • 4-5 cups spring water
  • 1-2 inch strip of wakame, rinsed and soaked 5 minutes in 1 cup of water until softened
  • 1-2 cups thinly sliced vegetables of your choice (see notes)
  • 2-3 teaspoons gluten free miso
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped


  1. Chop soaked wakame.
  2. Discard soaking water or use on houseplants for a boost of minerals.
  3. Place water and wakame in a soup pot and bring to a boil
  4. Add root vegetables first and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until tender
  5. Add leafy vegetables and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove about 1/2 cup of liquid from pot and dissolve miso into it. Return it to the pot.
  7. Reduce heat to very low; do not boil or simmer miso broth.
  8. Allow soup to cook 2-3 minutes.
  9. Garnish with scallions and serve.


Any combination of vegetables can be used in miso soup. Here are some classic combinations: 

  • onion-daikon: cleansing
  • onion-carrot-shiitake mushroom-kale: mildly sweet
  • onion-winter squash-cabbage: great in wintertime
  • leek-corn-broccoli: great in summertime


  • Add bean sprouts toward the end.
  • Season with 1/2 teaspoon ginger juice for an interesting twist.
  • If using dry shiitake mushrooms, let them soak for 20 minutes, slice and add at the beginning.

Love Your Food = Love Your Body = Love Yourself

“I Love You Just the Way You Are”, Billy Joel

If you want to be really healthy get involved in preparing your own food and put some love into it!

This month when we celebrate lovers and relationships, it’s important to notice that we each have a relationship with food—and that this relationship is often far from loving. Many of us restrict food, attempting to control our weight. We often abuse food, substituting it for emotional well-being. Others ignore food, swallowing it whole before we’ve even tasted it.

What would your life be like if you treated food and your body as you would treat your beloved – with gentleness, playfulness, communication, honesty, respect and love? The next time you prepare your food, do so with awareness and without guilt, and when you eat it enjoy all the healing and nourishment it brings to you.