THE DISGUSTING REALITY OF DIGESTION
Shared with permission from Protein First: Understanding and Living the First Rule of WLS
by Kaye Bailey page 43.
"Gross Me Out! Quite honestly, this topic of chewing and swallowing and digesting food is my least favorite WLS issue to research and report. Do you remember back in grammar school, maybe the fourth grade, when there was always that one uncivilized boy who had a penchant for opening his mouth to reveal a nasty wad of partially-chewed food, often smelling of peanut butter, to announce, "I'm on a seafood diet - I see food I eat it!" To this day the thought of chewed food or the eloquently called "chyme" and the subsequent dirty business of digestion elicits a gag reflex in me, thank you very much gross-Phillip from the fourth grade! Chyme, pronounced KIME, by the way, is the "semi-liquid mass of partly digested food expelled by the stomach into the duodenum."
Are you hungry now?
The reason I take time to research and report this information to you is because it can singly make a difference in the amount of weight you lose and your overall health and well-being. As disgusting as this process is,
--the chewing and the mixing and the grinding and the swallowing--
it is the difference between health and sickness. Making good chyme is vitally important to healthy weight management and the avoidance of weight loss stalls.
Perhaps this is the first you have learned how important quality protein and the effort to digest it is to your post-bariatric surgery weight management. That's not surprising. In the previously cited 2008 ASMBS report the authors suggest maybe this is a discussion to be had with patients so we can comprehend what a big deal Protein First is. The authors write,
"It is important for the medical team members to be familiar with the process of extreme weight loss and the body's ability to metabolically adapt for survival in the semi-starvation state that is commonly produced after bariatric surgery."
I add emphasis to the following as the report continues, "Perhaps explaining the mechanism of weight loss and the desired outcome, in terms the patient can understand, would help to promote compliance and provide motivation to choose quality foods consisting of high biological value protein balanced with nutrient dense complex carbohydrates and healthy food sources of essential fatty acids."
The take-away here is that digestion begins when food enters our mouth. Chew food to a paste before swallowing. If necessary it is acceptable to sip a bit of water or tea to assist your salivary glands in pulverizing your carefully selected protein before swallowing. Do whatever it takes to consistently masticate your food: count chews, time yourself (30-seconds per bite), pay close attention to texture, and eat with purpose and attention to the task at hand.
If we are mindful to the act of chewing as part of the digestion process we are well positioned to absorb as many of the nutrients that our pouch system allows and we actively propel our health and weight loss efforts in the desired direction.
Slowing down and chewing our food well means we avoid the unpleasant experience of having food become stuck along the esophagus or in the pouch which is stressful and uncomfortable, not to mention discouraging. While stuck food is short lived (we either expel it by retching and vomiting) or it digests over several uncomfortable hours, the ramifications are lasting. It is quite possible to develop a food aversion after an unpleasant incident when the offending food became stuck."
Protein First, Pages 43-46
Dietary Protein: Quick List and Recipe Links