Digestion is like building a campfire

As I get older, I make it a point to keep active with physical tasks and to eat light to be fuel efficient.  At 64 I have no health problems. I take no medication, do little caffeine and no alcohol. When my system is overloaded, it’s not just that I can pack on extra pounds, it’s that my body is the vehicle that allows me to move around in this world.  The fuel I put into it determines how easily and how long I can do that.  When I use food like I use firewood – adding to the fire only the amount of wood that is needed when it is needed – the more easily it is converted to fuel for me, and the more efficiently it burns.  This fuel is what I use to feed ALL of my biological processes – everything, for all organs and body parts, so it’s important.   

At the campfire, you don’t pile all the firewood on at once, you add each log as the fire burns down and makes room for it. You can make 8 logs last 8 hours or you can start the fire with all 8 logs. If you stack it all up at one time, you get a big smoky mess that has no air to breathe.  That makes it burn unevenly and then it’s gone in just a few hours.  Same as big meals.  They just clog you up and don’t leave you energy to do the long term work.  The long term work of fueling the cells of your body properly, so you metabolize properly and stay healthy.  Digestion isn’t just about digestion.  Healthy cells also look younger.

I know I set some pretty stringent dietary guidelines for myself.  I know that I can eat anything at all, in moderation.  But I’m not naturally an “in moderation” kinda person, so it’s easiest for me to simply avoid certain foods.  I make myself remember that the reason for eating in the first place is to fuel my next activity, so my food has to contain substantial vitamins and minerals.

I find what works best for me is to keep my meals light, with maybe a hearty meal no more than twice a week, and not two days in a row, either. I have to remember that at my age and level of physical activity, I don’t need to have a hearty meal – ever.  That also means separating what I eat from what brings me emotional comfort.  I can’t just sit and mindlessly ingest snacks.   I have to remember that if I eat heavy foods like meats, bread or rice, 5 hours later it is still in my stomach.  That is something to remember if I am going to eat 5 hours later – that my stomach may already be half full even though I feel hungry.

Just like the campfire, the more efficiently I place the logs on the fire, the more efficiently it burns. This fire is what feeds and nourishes all my organs and bodily systems, so I want to keep it cranked up and working well.

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