Behold the example of water. On an empty stomach water goes directly from the stomach to the intestine—this vivid example from Dr. Stanley Bass, a gentleman who has been marching since 1936 to his own nutritional drummer. So start with watery foods first, when eating, moving from light to heavier. From fruits to veggies, legumes (beans to me), fish and poultry.
--Do chew your food well and slowly ”“ Digestion starts with saliva in the mouth, breaking food down, and naturally, you are also better able to appreciate its taste and texture. A good rule of thumb from Dr. Bass is to chew until what you’re eating approaches watery. Now this may be a humble lesson, but it is not a simple one to master. It’s ongoing; it means cultivating the habit of waking yourself up from the current chatter in your head and mindless mastication. Remind yourself periodically to chew away until the contents of your mouth approaches watery.
--No desserts ”“Preferably delete the old dessert concept. Say adios to cakes and ice-cream, pie a la mode and Sachertorte. That’s right. There is really no place for these slow-digesting marriages of cream, sugar, and pastry when you’re on the 30 pounds in 30 days plan.
--Do eat fruits, nuts and plain Jell-O ”“ If you’d like something sweet, redefine dessert as sunflower seeds and raisins, or learn to discern the subtle sweetness of almonds. Or try a handful of almond or sunflower seeds with a spoonful of honey. Fruit, fresh or dried, is nature’s dessert, and it is great anytime. It turns out that Jell-O is one of the most easily digested foods: within the warmth of the body semi-solid Jell-O turns into liquid.
--No breads ”“ In 30 pounds for 30 days, no breads and I apply bread very broadly to include doughnuts as well as pizza—basically a chunk of bread with super slow digesting cheese, a dollop of tomato sauce and a hint of meat—croissants, French sourdough, French fries, tortillas, no breakfast cereal or cookies—there will be a thorough moratorium on these starchy staples if you seek to lose 30 pounds in 30 days.
--Do eat beans ”“ After the watery foods (fruits and veggies), now welcome black beans, kidney or pinto beans—they digest on average 90 minutes. Bean broth will digest considerably faster.
--No milk and dairy ”“ The slow digestion time—one and a half to two hours for milk and five hours for hard cow-milk cheese—saps energy and gets into the way of the fruits and veggies you are gorging with gusto. Look at milk as the big slow school bus on the digestive highway. And think about it: why have generations of mothers been using warm milk as non-prescription Ambien?
--No red meat ”“ Besides notoriously slow digestion times, three to four hours to exit the stomach, there’s another reasons to shy away from red meat as well as dairy: I am unabashedly cheap. The gall of red meat and dairy to be both costly and stand in the way of lighter high-energy fruits and veggies, fish and fowl!
--Do eat white meats ”“ fish, chicken (skinless), and turkey (skinless). Digestion times about 1 and a half hours, two hours, two and a half hours, respectively. Yes, that finger lickin’ good on the outside of Kentucky Fried is a greasy, albeit tasty, form of bread. Shun it.
--Recognize the cruddy feelings ”“ Call it forgiveness to be able to shun the cruddy feelings that arise those times when you cannot obey all the practices you seek to follow. Use your own ire as fuel to do better and also practice the muscle of self-forgiveness measured by the speed with which you process and eliminate those ill-feelings directed at yourself.
Humorist Grady Miller is the author of "Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet," now available on Kindle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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