Many of my friends keep asking me about digestion and how it works. To explain this complex system in basic terms, I once again want to compare it to shopping.
Imagine Neiman Marcus... Oh, the shoes, the purses, the dresses... Heaven! But to make this store look so good, it takes a lot of work. Let's take a look at what is going on behind the scenes with these key players: buying office, vendors, warehouse, transportation department, stores and customers.
The buying office is like your brain, where all decisions are made as it analyzes what the stores need (based on consumer reports) and then makes appropriate purchases with the vendors.
In this scenario, think of the food that you eat as if it is a vendor that is sending nutrition to your cells. It is like Jimmy Choo sending a new line of shoes to consumers to enjoy.
Then, there is a warehouse, which is like your digestive track that sorts the food. We also have our own transportation department which takes the nutrients extracted from the food to the organs, which are like the stores. Finally, you have your blood cells which are the final customers in this chain.
When you take a bite of your food and it enters your body, imagine it as garments being delivered to the warehouse. If the garments are on hangers and packaged in proper boxes, it is easy for the warehouse to see what is being delivered and how it needs to be sorted to be shipped to stores. Then trucks, just like your blood, transport the clothes to the stores. nutrition in the arteries to the appropriate organs so that the cells can use it.
Once the items are sorted, they are loaded on trucks that can take it to the designated stores. There, items are merchandised for the customers like yours truly to enjoy. But that can only happen if all of the key players are working well and if the merchandise is delivered clean and undamaged. But... the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
What will happen if the garments are damaged as they were treated with chemicals? Or arrived in dirty boxes? What will happen if the roads are a mess? What if there aren't enough trucks? What if the trash collectors can't get to the warehouse to remove the waste? While there is a calculated estimate for a certain amount of "damaged goods", it is definitely not a big percent of the total budget. I think that if all the goods weren't up to the standard Neiman Marcus required, then they would lose their customers and go out of business. And unfortunately that is what can happen to the human body if the food that one eats becomes the weakest link in the chain - it can damage the entire operation.
When we eat mostly cooked food that is covered in pesticides, it is just like receiving damaged goods. When food is heated, it loses the vitamins that are necessary for the cells and it loses enzymes that are necessary for digestion. So, if the your body receives foods that are damaged, your "warehouse" handles it as poorly packed merchandise, so the your mind thinks that it needs more food, in case there isn't enough nutrition for your cells to use. By eating more food, there is more stress on the digestive track that has to sort through it and find the necessary nutrition. And if the food is cooked, then there are no digestive enzymes that can help with this process. Also, if the food comes with pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, then your body has to either throw the toxins out or store them in your body. But if the elimination track gets too busy, then the items need to be stored in additional fat tissue.
There is also a tremendous stress on your blood (your trucks) in your arteries (our roads). For example, if there is too much saturated fat in your diet, then it can get stuck to the sides of your arteries letting less and less blood to move around. This prevents the nutrition to get to your cells and can even slow down the connection between the cells and the brain. And if there is a poor connection between the stores and the buying the office, then the buying office may not be able to order the appropriate items... Well, you get the picture.
Personally, I still enjoy my brownie with vanilla ice cream once in a while, but not every day. While it is something that I may like, I don't want to risk my health by eating it all the time. And I definitely don't want to load up my system with too much food to sort. The funny thing is that if you get too much of what you want, but not what you need, you end up having too much of it either thrown out or stored in your body. And to me, that is just not worth it.
I am not encouraging anyone to go 100% raw vegan, but I hope that you will think about your own appropriate estimate for the non-pure foods that will not damage or mess up your system. It will vary for everyone and you have to find the one that works best for you. So this Spring, send your gratitude to your hard-working digestive system and find the right balance where you get to enjoy your food and the feeling you get after you eat it.
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