Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Harmful Effects of Frequent Meals And Tips for Aiding Digestion

Article by Dr. Agatha Thrash

I highly respect Dr. Agatha Thrash, MD, co-founder of Uchee Pines Institute, so I'm happy to share some information from one of her recent articles (quoted below with permission). Uchee Pines is a training center for natural methods of healing.  It also has a lifestyle retreat center for health and healing where such training is applied.  I plan to follow this post with a series of posts on natural remedies. Of course, this series will be interspersed with whatever crosses my path.

I believe that frequent meals are not healthful. It is very important to help the body be as efficient as possible in the task of digestion. Taxing the body by what, how and when you eat will only accelerate the process of aging. My goal is to lighten the burden my body has to deal with by eliminating chemicals and heavy foods and aiding digestion by what and how I eat.  One weight loss idea I hear repeated often is to eat several mini-meals. The question I pose to this advice is, when does your body rest from the task of digestion?  I also hear that it helps to accelerate one's metabolism.  Okay, so that means that the body goes into overdrive because it never seems to finish it's job.  Here is a daily video by Dr. Michael Greger that states that according to research, there is no evidence that this method aids in weight loss. Dr. Joel Fuhrman states that this way of eating accelerates the aging processHere is a clip of his lecture at Longevity Now Conferences.  When the body is done with the task of digestion it transitions to detox mode which is crucial in slowing down the aging process.  There is also a risk of developing diseases by using the frequent meal method.  This is what Dr. Thrash says about it. "Beginning with the salivary glands, the entire digestive tract prepares digestive juices of good strength and in adequate quantities - a task that requires a tremendous expenditure of chemical and physical energy from the body...

Even nibbling on a few peanuts between meals causes stagnation of food in the stomach. X-ray studies done years ago showed that a little eating between meals delays stomach emptying by up to 14 hours or more. This stalling of food in the stomach promotes gastritis, since the stomach puts out large quantities of acid and pepsin as long as food is present. These are powerful digestants, and their overproduction is likely to cause the stomach to be come weakened, often resulting in peptic ulcers.

To avoid stomach disease, the stomach needs  to finish it's work by resting for an hour or two before getting recharged for the next meal. Therefore, five or more hours should pass between the end of one meal and the beginning of the next - with nothing eaten in between." 

Dr. Thrash ends her article by advising to eat the largest meal for breakfast since the stomach is well rested after a night of sleep.  The second largest meal should be lunch.  The third meal should be very light, like a bowl of fruit.  The third meal can also be skipped.   The longest lived people in the world eat two meals a day and if they eat three, the third meal consists of a very light meal.  I find that if I eat a light dinner or none at all, my body burns up fat very quickly and easily.

Tips to Aid Digestion

Other tips to aid digestion would be to minimize or eliminate animal products and eat a whole grain, plant based diet.  There is no fiber whatsoever in any animal product, which contributes to Americans' high rate of constipation.  Drink plenty of water.  Eat fruit alone.  Fruit digests fast (about 30 minutes) and will sit in your gut and stagnate if eaten after a heavier meal.  During a meal, eat your salads first and then move onto the heavier items on your plate.  Refrain from drinking any beverage during a meal, it only dilutes your digestive juices.  Try to eat your meals at the same time everyday.  Consider taking a probiotic supplement to support healthy gut flora.  Also consider taking enzymes.  They aid in digestion and other processes of the body.  Avoid GMO's like the plague!  They are the reason for intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome.  (This is the reason we have skyrocketing levels of food allergies, autoimmune diseases and other conditions.) 

My mom was shopping with a friend who commented, "Why pay more for organic when you can get it so much cheaper?"  My mom replied, "We think nothing of maintaining our cars with the best treatment, why should we then treat our bodies with the worst?" I'm not always perfect but I really want to do my best at treating my body right.  I think of my body like a highly complex machine.  I want it to be fine tuned and maintained the best way possible.  I want to have this body running strong and healthy for years to come.  After all, I only have one.

Enjoy the Journey!