I don’t ever suggest counting calories – dieting is so dumb, here’s my full rant on YouTube; but I do suggest understanding what they are. If we count them we might have an idea that we are counting things like fingers, or currency or pieces of chocolate. Calories are units of energy. When we eat food we are fueling our bodies, our activities and actions. When we eat food that is healthy and digestible, then this caloric energy is ours to use for stamina, creativity, activity or enhanced concentration. When our foods are low quality, stale, rancid, poorly combined, un-chewed or we eat too much food at once, the units of energy are used towards the effort of digestion. Then all the blood moves away from the brain and limbs and toward the stomach. Much like we feel after a big party meal or Thanksgiving, we become exhausted, foggy minded and moody. The food we ate opposed our health or our outlook.
The best way to thrive from mealtime is to honor transit times: wait for food to transit out of the stomach before putting more food, or water in.
This optimizes digestion and in turn we feel energetic and alive.
Understanding how long it takes for water and each type of food or meal to transit the stomach, and honoring this timetable, we will improve digestion, have plenty of energy and alertness and lose physical cravings for snacking and binging. Eating in this way, you will feel satisfied and nourished.
So here’s a transit table
Water = 0-10 minutes
Juice = 15-30 minutes
Fruit = 30-60 minutes
Melons = 30-60 minutes
Sprouts = 60 minutes
Wheatgrass Juice = 60-90 minutes
Most Vegetables = 1-2 hours
Grains and Beans = 1-2 hours
Dense Vegetable Protein = 2-3 hours
Cooked Meat and Fish = 3-4 hours +
Shellfish = 4-8 hours+
So drink water 10 minutes before your meal, and then don’t drink it again till the meal has transited. And then wait 10 minutes and eat your next meal.
If you were to eat shellfish at lunch, you’d be unable to eat again for 8 hours! So it would be a good idea to eat shellfish, and most animal meats at dinner.
Sprouts – click here to read my blog on sprouting – and fermented foods – for more on fermented foods click here – are pre-digested and so transit more quickly than the veggie or bean that’s un-sprouted or unfermented. In other words cooked garbanzos would require 3 hours, but sprouted ones only 1 or 2.
As you follow transit times, I think it will become quite clear when meals pick you up and when meals drag you down.
As our bodies move away from growth periods (birth to young adulthood) poor digestion, undigested foods and excess of food, will create mass but not in building brain, organs, bones and muscles, but in excess fat which gathers not only in tissue but also in the blood and moves to the organs creating a host of health problems. Poor digestion also leads to an acidic environment and these acids form crystals that lead to stones and arthritic conditions and also leach good minerals from the bones while weakening them. In Ayurveda, undigested food is acknowledged as the source of all disease.
In India, my teacher often shared a Sanskrit quote: 1 meal a day for Yoga, 2 meals for bhoga (pleasure) and 3 meals a day for roga (disease). I am not suggesting you eat 1 meal a day, but understand as we become older our digestive organs are not as supple and active as in childhood, and we cannot swap out our parts like car filters, so must respect their realities. We’ll optimize efficiency, energy and wellness by integrating transit times into our daily approach.
Thank you so much for reading. I leave you with my suggestion for the best possible probiotic to aid in your quest for great digestion and superior health. It’s fermented, just 1 to 2 hours to digest.