Melanie Stewart Digestion Part 1

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By Melanie Stewart

One of the main things I’ve observed during my career as a nutrition educator is that we need better education sooner. In my opinion, what is currently being taught in our schools is inadequate, still largely incorrect in many ways and just not very helpful. The main reason people seek medical help, aside from the common cold, is digestive issues. This alone  shows us something is not quite right. I believe that one of the key elements to achieving permanent positive health is connecting to what is happening inside of our bodies, for it is there that we find the cumulative effects of our everyday choices. Meeting and getting to know our organs of digestion gives us the opportunity to enter our internal selves. This hard-working team includes our brain, mouth, esophagus, stomach, spleen, small intestine, pancreas, gallbladder, liver and large intestine. By design, these organs work synergistically to perform specific enzymatic operations, in a specific order, with the end goal of extracting the nutrients necessary for good health. Each stage of digestion is dependent on the preceding stage completing its work correctly. In order for that to happen, we must understand and honor the limitations of each stage. Otherwise, the net result is nutrient loss coupled with the creation of toxins that stress our bodies and compromise our health. If you’ve never really considered these organs before today, my hope is that by the end of this series you will feel such respect, gratitude, even empathy for this hard-working team that you never again fail to eat in a way that honors and supports the life-enhancing and lifesaving performance they were designed to provide.

Your brain is your first organ of digestion and is responsible for notifying you when you are hungry, activating your digestive system, and notifying you when you are satisfied.  To function properly your brain needs a steady supply of fuel. Your bloodstream can hold about 4 hours worth, so as the brain detects lowering levels it sends a hunger signal and the rumbling and grumbling begin.

Consciously Choose – Here’s the big question: Who chooses your food?  Because when you are hungry your body is asking for nutrients. You can honor yourself by consciously choosing nutrient dense foods and satisfy the request, or you can choose nutrient-free processed, packaged, high sugar, junk foods or fast foods and leave your body starving for nutrients. But, what does a starving body do?  It keeps asking for more food and sets us up for those nagging food cravings!

Remain Conscious – Secondly, stay actively engaged and disallow distractions like driving, reading, or (worst of all!) watching television while you are eating. Distracted eating is the primary reason that we miss the signal from our brain that we are satisfied, making us more likely to over eat.

Consciously Review –  Consider your “body talk” by paying attention to signals and symptoms; this is how the body communicates when certain foods, or combinations of foods, are not working for you. With this in mind, I encourage you to utilize a food journal. A food journal is an asset that helps keep you in relationship with your body and your goals. It’s an ally that reminds you of the connection between what you eat and how you feel. And, it’s your accountability partner if weight loss is a goal.  Statistically, people who use a food journal lose twice as much weight as those who don’t, and they keep it off.

Since so many of our health issues are caused by food, it follows that they can also be cured with food. The body is a do-it-yourself repair shop, food is our best medicine, and every meal provides the opportunity to choose well!

Melanie Stewart provides personal coaching and corporate seminars and workshops that are relevant and empowering and will leave you with a unique blend of meaningful education and practical tools, tips and techniques. For more information, you can fill out the contact form at: or email:

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