When we talk about nutrition as a culture, sometimes we have this discussion about healthy foods and nutrition a little bit wrong. Right now, people are so fixated on things like calories and different types of diets that we’re getting lost in the weeds, and we’re losing the big picture about how food actually interacts with our bodies.
Let’s take it back to the fundamental level. When we look at food, we’re just looking at food labels and nutrition, but we need to look at how food interacts with our bodies. There are three stages that every food goes through. There’s digestion – once we eat something, we need to know how well does that food digest.
There’s assimilation or how well is that food absorbed into our bodies because different types of foods have different types of bioavailability, like some proteins, are better than others. The third step is elimination how well does our body clear that food out of the digestive tract.
Digestion. Absorption. Assimilation.
If we’re not looking at all three of these variables, we’re just too short-sighted about how food impacts us. This is important because we could look at a calorie label for food, however that food might be hard for you to digest. When you eat it, you might feel bloating, so we need to start paying attention that even if it looks good on paper, it may not be beneficial for you.
For instance, beans are a phenomenal example because on paper, you look at the nutrition label and see that beans should be the healthiest food ever – they’re low in fat, they’re high in fiber, they’re high in protein. But if they don’t digest well for you, you’ll miss the first step of this three-step nutrition process.
We need to add more consciousness and actually evaluate how we feel when we eat foods because the foods are that just great for you might not digest great for other people. There’s an individual aspect to this for each of us. This has what happens to do with our genetics, with the different composition of the gut microbiome those probiotics.
The big message here and the digestion front is that we want to make sure that we’re really adding a lot of conscious attention to when we eat something how do we feel.
The second step is assimilation. We want to eat the highest quality foods process possible. Unfortunately, when we get a lot of these processed packaged foods that come in boxes and bars, they use very low-quality ingredients, stuff that does not assimilate very well.
Particularly, when it comes down to certain kinds of proteins and filler fibers that they throw in these things, they use low-quality proteins all the time. If you look at the nutrition label of some of these packaged goods, it just says – wow, this thing’s got 10 grams of protein. But how well is that protein actually assimilating into your body?
It turns out that our bodies are pretty much evolutionarily designed to eat food in its natural state. We’ve been eating fruits, vegetables, and meats in their natural state for thousands of years. It’s what our bodies are built to thrive on. We tend to assimilate these foods best, and these foods also tend in their natural state to have the harmony of different fibers vitamins and minerals that help us assimilate them properly.
This is why eating a largely unprocessed diet is beneficial because it helps us assimilate. Let’s say you’ve eaten food before, and you had massive indigestion and maybe diarrhea after the fact.
Chances are you didn’t assimilate that food, it just ran through your digestive tract, caused lots of problems, and then you pooped a lot of that stuff out – you didn’t get the nutrition out. It’s not just what’s on the label. It’s what our bodies can actually absorb and assimilate with our digestive tract.
This leads us to the final step – elimination. We need to focus on how well foods are eliminated from the tract because many people don’t realize it’s not like every food moves through this digestive tube at the same speed.
You need to start thinking of your human body as a mechanism that has more or less a food tube. From your mouth to your anus is a tube when you eat things, it goes through this tube, slowly moves through and eventually digested assimilated and eliminated.
So you are a tube, and different foods move through in different levels of ease. Something like fruit moves through the adjustor tract very easily. If you eat fruit, it can be eliminated in as quickly as four hours. However, if you eat a ribeye steak, it might be moving through your GI tract for 24 36 hours. It takes a lot longer time.
We need to pay attention to these things, and so we want you to start eating foods that you’re eliminating well. It means is that pretty much every single day, you have a well-formed bowel movement.
It’s not too soft like diarrhea. It’s not constipation. You should have really healthy poops that are well-formed and don’t require a ton of wiping.
We need to get you on the right kind of diet for you that gives you good healthy poops, which is a sign of good elimination.
If you’re regularly feeling gas and bloated – we need to look at what are the foods in your diet that might be screwing things up. How was your sleep? How was your hydration? How was your fiber intake? Are you eating mostly non processed foods?
If you can start to make some of these tweaks and you really dial it in to the point where you have a diet that leaves you feeling energized and helps you maintain your weight. When you have those boxes checked, that means you have a good diet.