Nobody can negate the importance of our brain as human beings. At the end of the day, this is what sets us apart from other animals on this planet. But there is another kind of brain that provides us with another type of intelligence and this one is found in the belly. Marc David, the founder of the Psychology of Eating Institution, calls it: The brain in the belly. And this brain can teach us a great deal.
To tell you more about this ‘gut brain’: It is located under the cells of the esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine. It is more scientifically known as the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). It is very rich in neurons and chemicals that induce signals from the ‘gut brain’ to the head-brain and vice-versa.
So there is an easy and direct link between your belly and your brain. Your ‘gut-brain’ has a lot to say and the head-brain happily listens. It seems evident to point out why it is commonly accepted that syndromes like ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn, and similar conditions, are emotional and stress related.
It is easy to take our digestion for granted and not notice it. It is only when it is not working properly that we realize how it affects our whole system.
Simply put, digestion takes something as complex as food and turns it into something our body recognizes. Improper digestion can be identified as heartburn, being tired after eating, and/or gas and cramps. Common solutions to improve digestive functions are prescription medications, probiotics, or even making changes in your diet. But one factor that we commonly don’t take into consideration is: Us.
So when you feel like you can’t swallow, you have a lump in your throat, or you can’t stomach something, it emotionally means that you are in a situation or going through a feeling you don’t want to accept. We quite literally have less capacity to digest food when our mind is improperly digesting life’s experiences. The problem is that we have become so disconnected from our ‘gut-brain’ and so confused with all that the media and the food industry is trying to feed our head-brain about contradictory nutrition facts and weight loss tips.
The reality is, if you look at the animal kingdom, and by this I mean the wild animals, none has a weight or health problem. You never see an animal who’s confused about what to eat for dinner or what’s best for his health. Here, we should be the ones learning from our less intelligent co-habitants on this earth. Animals instinctively know what to eat. So do we, we just don’t know that we know this.
All you need to do is to listen to your belly. Give it the real value it has on your wellbeing. The more you value it, to more you will listen to what it has to say, the better food choices you will be making, and the better you will feel. We really have underestimated the importance of our gut-brain and mistreated our digestive system with years of junk, processed, chemical, and toxic foods. It is time to tune in to it and start listening to what it has to say. After a meal, try to notice how you are feeling. Ask your gut for feedback. If you are feeling any discomfort, assess what you ate and what might have caused these symptoms. Remove that food from your diet and test again.
Don’t forget to link your digestive problems with you current emotional state because sometimes it has nothing to do with food. You need to heal the emotion to heal the physical problem. Half of the story of good digestion is what you eat, the other half is who you are.