The Energy of Digestion

Carol Belanger, BA, RM, BHS

Tension, worry, mental fatigue, stress and physical ailments are all taxing on the digestive system. These depleting circumstances use the energy stores in our body, leaving less energy for digestion. Digestion requires a fair amount of energy to process food. Vegetables and fruit have digestive enzymes in them and require less energy to digest. Processed food and cooked food has fewer or no enzymes and require the most amount of energy to digest.

We have a finite amount of energy to use each day if we are not actively replenishing it. That means that in addition to digestion, any of the jobs performed by our body are using energy and are limited in effectiveness if our energy level is low – whether we are healing a chronic or acute pain or ailment, detoxifying, using brainpower, etc.

However, we don’t actually have a finite amount of energy to use each day. If that sounds contradictory, it isn’t meant to. Instead, it is to draw your attention to energy and the benefits you can create for yourself on a daily basis with awareness and activity level as chosen by you.

It takes energy as I mentioned for the systems of our bodies to function optimally. We can replenish a sizable store of energy by sleeping. Our quality of sleep governs how much energy we wake up and start our day with. We use the energy we have beginning the moment we wake up.

Meditation, stretching, yoga, qigong, and exercising kick start our energy and recharge our energy supply. A good quality breakfast will further boost our energy and help to sustain our activities until we next eat. We recharge ourselves more thoroughly and easily if we spend a bit of time before our next meal restoring our mental calm and rejuvenating ourselves again. That means, spending a few moments – to whatever time you can dedicate – to quieting the mind followed by some stretching, walking, qigong movements, yoga postures, etc. Each quarter of the day (or night if you’re a shift worker), needs to be replenished for us to perform optimally and without depleting ourselves through our needs + stress + pain or ailments + fatigue which = burnout.

For some there is often a lot of activity to our days, as well as lots of distractions and challenges! For others there is less activity but lots of energy being used for our health, or by our worries or stress, etc. Meals and rest are not sufficient enough to create a balance of energy for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. We need the variety of energy rejuvenation moments interspersed throughout our day to replenish the various stores of energy for all these aspects of ourselves.

That way, when our digestive system is attempting to provide us with more energy through food assimilation, it has the energy it needs to do its job properly, and also to avoid the kinds of digestive problems that accompany low energy such as indigestion, allergies, poor nutrient absorption, constipation, etc. We can’t just wait until the end of the day to rely on sleep to restore us. We need our energy to be restored more often as you can see. My energy work can explain this in more detail for you, and provide you with the tools to rejuvenate yourself and promote digestive and whole body health.