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Too much protein and improper digestion of protein can create health risks. The Body Ecology system of health and healing provides a roadmap for healthy protein digestion.
Protein is an important nutrient that is key to every cell in your body. Your body needs protein to build and repair tissues -- and to make enzymes and hormones. Healthy bones, blood, hair, nails and muscles all rely on protein and since our bodies can't store it, we must get high quality protein from our food.
But, are you digesting your protein? Most people are not digesting the protein in their diets, which can lead to a range of problems from a buildup of toxins, aging, weight gain and lowered immunity.
High protein diets, once thought of as excellent for weight loss, are actually coming under fire these days for the adverse effects on health.
Studies have found that health risks associated with excessive protein intake (especially animal protein) include: heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, kidney stones and elevated levels of ammonium in the female reproductive tract leading to difficulty conceiving.
The high protein diet is not the answer for long-term weight loss or health. In fact, it is out of balance.
Balance is one of the key principles of the Body Ecology system of health and healing. Remember the old adage, everything in moderation? Body Ecology takes this wisdom a step further by providing a roadmap for balance, since your body is always seeking to be in homeostasis.
For example, Body Ecology teaches that a high protein diet would be very contractive and as your body seeks balance, it would begin to crave more expansive foods. This type of imbalance could lead to cravings for sweet, processed foods.
The principle of 80/20 is an important guideline for how much protein to include in your diet. 80% of your meal should be non-starchy land and/or ocean vegetables and the remaining 20% should be protein (or a grain, if you are not eating a protein meal). Always emphasizing vegetables, with a focus on adding fermented vegetables, is critical to creating a healthy inner ecosystem and improving your vitality.
The missing link to proper protein digestion lies in your inner ecosystem. You must have a strong, vital inner ecosystem to get all the benefits of protein, instead of the risks.
A healthy inner ecosystem is made up of the friendly microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong.
Friendly bacteria and yeast must be present in your intestines to convert toxic byproducts from the protein back into useful amino acids (building blocks of protein). If this does not occur, your intestines become foul and polluted, which contaminates your entire body.
Most people today have an imbalance in their inner ecosystem and are not digesting protein.
Combine this with eating large amounts of animal protein two to three times per day and you can imagine the burden this places on your liver, kidneys, heart and intestines.
Not Enough Stomach Acid
To digest protein you must have strong "digestive fire," which means adequate amounts of stomach acid or hydrochloric acid (HCl). For most Americans today, HCl and other digestive enzymes are inadequate or non-existent.
Animal proteins not digested in the stomach, reach the intestines, creating toxins and gases that are basically poisonous to your body.
Animal protein, already intrinsically acid, creates more acidity when undigested. This creates an even greater loss of minerals (and other nutrients), eventually contributing to weakening your adrenals, which are responsible for energy (along with your thyroid) and youth. For more information on signs of adrenal fatigue and how to heal, read: Sleeping Trouble? Discover Why Winter Is the Ideal Time to Learn how to Sleep Right.
Ironically, if you are deficient in minerals, your stomach will not produce enough stomach acid -- creating a vicious cycle. Low stomach acid = low minerals, then low minerals = low stomach acid.
Improper Food Combining
The meat and potatoes meal, characteristic of the Standard American Diet, contributes to an inner ecosystem imbalance. A meal of animal protein combined with starch (starchy vegetables like potatoes and/or grains), actually causes your stomach acid to be neutralized, stopping all digestion and opening the door to potential pathogens.
Instead, have your protein meals with plenty of non-starchy land and ocean vegetables.
80/20 In Reverse
Think about the last time you went out to dinner in a restaurant. Instead of your plate containing 80% vegetables and 20% protein, this ratio is usually the other way around.
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It's no surprise that you'd feel overfull and have symptoms of bloating or other digestive discomfort after a meal like this.
Timing Is Everything
Animal protein is contracting and the best time to eat contractive foods is between 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, when your body has enough energy to digest them.
You hold the reins for making diet and lifestyle changes that can improve your health. The Body Ecology system of health and healing will get you well on your way to good digestion so that you can get all of the benefits of protein.
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