In this journey of losing weight the proper way by eating nutritious food, I’ve read and researched articles upon articles on the right food to eat to sustain good health. Yesterday, as I was finishing up my lunch of fish, brown rice quinoa and mixed salad greens, I started wondering about how our food are digested and processed in our tummy; and how much our stomach can hold as we feed it. I’ve learned that our stomach is the size of our fist that can expand comfortably to hold 1 liter of food. When we swallow our chewed food, it goes to the esophagus and then to the stomach. The stomach does its job with the food we ingested before it goes to the small intestine. I’ve learned that to know when we feel satisfy with the food we ate, it would take 20 minutes from the time we swallowed our food to feel satiation. Health experts suggest not to eat too fast and learn to chew many times to give the food a chance to properly get digested. The reason for this is the stomach does not release the next batch of food we swallowed to the small intestine until it is able to do its own job of breaking down the ball of food and extracting nutrients from it. In the small intestine is where we started feeling full and it gives signals to the brain that our body has enough food and it’s time to stop eating. The stomach is the food storage or the holding tank of what we ate. And if we eat more than 1 liter of food, the stomach will get cramped. Maybe that explains why we get stomach ache from so much food we ingested.
The stomach which is the size of a close hand, expanding it to allow 1 liter of food is not really part of the normal function of the stomach. When we eat dense food such as meat and chicken, it takes the stomach 6 to 8 hours for this protein to be released. And depending on how we chewed this type of protein, they may linger in the stomach longer as the stomach is trying to break it down. Health Experts say meat may stay in our intestines 24 to 72 hours before it’s released. Red meat takes 1 to 3 days to complete the digestion process because of fat content and high protein. It takes 30 to 40 hours to complete the digestion process and elimination from the small intestine to the large intestine (colon).
I can see now why research say we can last without food for 3 days because we still have the food we ate in our system 3 days ago, especially protein food or animal protein. Vegetables and fruits take a back seat in the stomach when eaten with animal protein to allow this slow digested food to be let go to the small intestine. While waiting, the veggies and fruits get fermented in the stomach.
I’ve noticed that if I have 2 glasses of water in the morning, followed by my regular veggie and fruit smoothies, things seem to work well in my stomach and I would have a food waste elimination after an hour or two if I’m not adding any animal protein to it first thing. Now, it makes sense why the food pyramid showed a plate with majority of fruits and vegetables and small portion of animal products. This type of eating is what our digestive system prefers as it helps with digestion and we do not compromise the health of our organs. Working hard our digestive tracts can take its toll on them on the long term. Which makes us prone to chronic illnesses and diseases in our body.
Bottom line for me, I don’t need extra food in my body that I don’t need especially junk food, loads of sugar and salty foods. Exhausting my stomach is cruelty to it when it’s only a size of a fist. My small intestine is completely satisfied with small portion of food by the time it reaches it. And if I have a small portion of protein such as meat or chicken or pork, which I seldom eat, I have to remember the slow and long digestive process before I can eliminate the waste from it after my small intestine extract the nutrients from it. I always have to remember to love my body because no one can love it as much as I do by not abusing the natural process of its creation.