Did you know that nutrient absorption does not begin until food reaches the small intestine?
Digestion in the stomach is one of the beginning stages of the digestive process. Food must make it through this stage prior to nutrient absorption. For this reason quality digestion in the stomach is of the utmost importance to our health.
As a foodie, it helps to remember that nutrient absorption is why we eat in the first place. Sure, there is taste, and pleasure, etc. but the main purpose of consumption is for energy. Energy comes from nutrients.
A car can only run on empty for so long.
- The body, and all of its brilliant organs and systems, needs energy to function.
Calories, fat grams, proteins, sugars, etc.– whether a little, or a lot, do not translate into “easily digested and assimilated” nutrients.
- Calories and “grams” are an “easy” way to quantify the “energy” we consume and burn.
- Because it is “easy” to understand energy in the form of “calories” and so on, we tend to focus too much attention on micromanaging nutrients, and our caloric intake, instead of on the source of nutrients and optimal digestion.
The body needs energy to run, yes… but the body needs quality energy to run optimally.
Nutrition Fact labels do not equate to quality nutrition. When the calories we consume do not equal quality energy, we not only offset the body’s pH, we become malnourished. As a result, we suffer from premature aging, weight gain, skin disorders, disease, low energy, mood swings, slow metabolism, behavioral problems, etc.
An egg-white omelet, or your typical “well-rounded breakfast,” can take hours, upon hours, to make it out of the stomach and into the small intestine.
Out of sight, out of mind, right?
While we may be looking for our next snack an hour or two later, the body is still hard at work. During digestion, energy is diverted from other such beneficial processes that keep us young, active and healthy and instead focused on moving the meal onward for absorption and assimilation of nutrients (in the small intestine–S.I.). As this is occurring, we feel drained and start looking for that next source of “energy” or “protein” (which is something we seem to have grilled into our heads– energy = big ol’ bowl of protein).
Food for Thought: After 5-8 plus hours in the stomach, what nutrients are available, valuable, and viable?
Outside of Dallas, where athletics and sports are at the height of every conversation, but quality food– rarely, I am often asked about protein bars, shakes, and the like.
What does this have to do with our previous conversation?
There are plenty of ways to get protein, but the amount of protein on the “label” does not equate to the amount of proteins our body can digest, absorb and use. In other words, quality and quantity are not equal.
Believe it or not, PLANTS are an exceptional source of amino acids (protein). Not only are greens rich in essential minerals, vitamins, water, fiber, natural sugars, and enzymes– but greens, and veggies are among the quickest digesting foods we can eat. Ideally, this would mean that the transit time from stomach to S.I. is shorter (they are not held up in the stomach for a long time), nutrients are authentic and naturally occurring (not created in a factory), and nutrient absorption optimal.
Good-bye malnourished body, hello authentic energy and healthy strong kiddos!
But if a nutrient packed Green Smoothie is not on today’s agenda, I would invite you to try this father-tested, and child approved chocolate protein shake. Not only is it tasty, but unlike other protein powders, which are highly processed, highly acid-forming, and slow digesting, (examples: whey, soy protein isolate, egg white protein, and casein), Vega is 100% plant-based and alkaline forming.
I love this quote from their site:
Ease of nutrient assimilation is a key benefit of wholesome, natural food. The less energy the body must spend on digestion and assimilation, the more energy it will retain.
Enzyme-rich to help with efficient digestion, Vega products offer superior net energy gain.
Jack’s Extra Chocolatey Protein Shake
- 1.5 cups pure water
- 1.5 cups ice cubes
- 3/4 cup Chocolate protein powder
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
- 6 drops Unsweetened Vanilla NuStevia
- Splash of coconut milk- optional
- 1 tbsp of Grade B Maple Syrup (optional, but added for fun “breakfast” flavor)
Blended all up into a dessert-like concoction, and served in a muscle man cup with cocoa nibs for extra effect– get the protein your seeking without the drama.
What is your favorite “high protein drink”?