Are we overfed, over-stressed and undernourished these days? Giselle Cooke, our in-house holistic health consultant reports.
I see so many patients in my practice today who suffer with poor digestion, either due to rushing meals, eating whilst feeling stressed or drinking too much fluid at mealtimes. The result is a deficiency of digestive juice production – a lack of stomach acid, intestinal enzymes and bile – preventing adequate processing of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. This leads to intestinal dysbiosis, which causes abdominal discomfort, bloating and gas.
Solutions are to slow down at meal times, move away from the work desk, the computer or kitchen sink, find a relaxed place to SIT and eat and put your full attention into the food you are eating. This will send the blood to your digestive tract and enable you to produce the enzymes necessary to process your food, enable the nutrients to be fully absorbed and to replenish your cells and tissues with their essential fuel and repair substances.
At times when a “refueling stop” meal is eaten on the fly, it does not work to eat raw foods (like a salad) or heavy meals – the food will sit in your stomach until you stop still long enough to start digesting it. Apart from causing dyspepsia (indigestion) you will still feel hungry soon after such a meal, often craving sugary snacks, since the nutrition did not arrive in your brain, heart or muscles as needed, leading to mental vagueness and fatigue.
A “liquid refuel” gives you an injection of energy within minutes. Freshly-squeezed vegetable and fruit juice combinations are great, with an added concentrated power shot of barley or wheatgrass juice; or power smoothies full of superfoods like acai, cacao and chia. I also recommend a cup of Japanese miso soup in preference to a cup of coffee for a quick nourishing energy lift (without the drop an hour later when your blood sugar crashes.)
Our requirement for nutrients increases under conditions of stress, illness, environmental challenges like pollution, smoking, industrial chemical exposure and travel (gastroenteritis, parasites, timezone disruption to meal routine, jet lag).
To ensure that we are achieving and maintaining optimal nutrition, especially under conditions of stress, taking a multivitamin and mineral combination is essential. When we cannot always rely on our food quality or its effective processing and delivery to our cells with good digestive capacity, a liquid power shot in the form of a herbal/nutritional tincture supplement works extremely well.
As an old-fashioned herbalist at heart, I really like to prescribe a good herbal tonic to my patients who are recovering from an illness of a period of stress. It is like a personalised liquid hug in a bottle!
I like to include bitter tonic herbs to improve digestion, like agrimony or gentian; perhaps some blood cleansers like nettle, red clover and burdock; a liver tonic like dandelion and globe artichoke and something antiseptic like sage or thyme.
For clearing up the chest rattles after respiratory infection some grindelia, euphorbia and white horehound are the best decongestants. For the best product on the market try Hivita Liquivita from your health food store, pharmacy or online.
For children and the elderly, or those who find it difficult to swallow tablets and capsules, a liquid tonic is most suitable. If it can also include a range of vitamins and minerals it reduces the number of medicines to be dosed, it makes it easier to get all the goodies in one bottle. I would always recommend a balanced tonic herbal/nutritional formula to be taken as the cornerstone of a recovery program, or to maintain wellness through stressful times, like weddings, a new baby’s arrival, examinations and changing jobs.
Consider it an invisible nutritional protection for your cells.