I originally became a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto after having digestive issues myself. I realized how complex the digestive system was, and how many things in life influence it.... what you eat, how quickly you eat, when you eat, your emotional state when eating, etc.
I just wanted to share with you three basics things to focus on when trying to improve your digestive system.
1. Eat with purpose. You should be eating consciously. What I mean is that when you're eating, that's what you should be doing. You shouldn't also be on your computer (as I am doing right now!), you shouldn't be watching tv, you shouldn't be walking or driving. What you should be doing is eating and focusing on eating and how your body feels. Are you full? Is your meal delicious? Is it too salty? How does the meal make your body feel?
2. Chew to a paste. I can't count the number of times I tell this to patients. This is especially important for those of you who don't have a perfectly functioning digestive system. I find that when you're eating on the run or are distracted by the tv or computer while eating that people don't chew their food adequately. When your digestive system isn't working optimally, it's important that your chewing picks up the slack. Chewing physically breaks down food and the enzymes in your saliva further break down food in your mouth, thus lessing the load on the rest of the system.
3. Be conscious of what you're eating. I honestly believe that most things can be consumed in moderation. That being said, I find that many patients will walk by a plate of cookies and eat one just because they're there. Not because they're hungry, not because they look amazing, but just because the cookies are in front of them. I love all sorts of food, but do try to be conscious of my choices. I think about what I'm putting into my body, and think about whether it will help or hinder my cause. I also think that when I'm going to eat something that isn't healthy, it had better be delicious - and for me that's not the tim-bits that might be sitting in the staff room. So I'll pass on the timbits and wait for something better to come my way.