Have you ever noticed how some people can eat raw onions, beans, or habanero peppers with nary a problem, but for others the minute they eat a piece of bread they spend the rest of the evening in the bathroom? Or what about those people who travel to places like China, drinking the water and eating food from street vendors, and never get sick? Those people—the ones with an “iron stomach” —have very good digestion.
Some people are fortunate to have naturally good digestion; it’s just a part of who they are. But for others, digestion can be a life-long struggle. Some people develop autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, early in life. Others slowly develop food sensitivities over many years, and they discover that their favorite food is increasingly making them feel bad each time they consume it. And for almost everyone, what we can and cannot eat simply changes as we move through life.
When digestion is not functioning well, a host of issues can arise: weight gain or weight loss; loss of appetite or excessive appetite; abdominal pain; low energy; irregular bowel movements; constipation or diarrhea; chronic pain; sleep issues; anxiety; increased phlegm production; skin problems. And the list goes on. All of these decrease quality of health, and can impede our ability to function as well as we’d like. Not to mention that it is difficult to enjoy one of life’s great pleasures—eating—if it makes us sick.