As a nutritionist, Hypochlorhydria (underactive stomach) is something I see in almost every client.
Underactive stomach is when the stomach does not produce and/or secrete enough hydrochloric acid, which then affects our ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients, especially protein, minerals, and Vitamin B12. A low secretion of digestive enzymes usually also occurs.
It is very important to be aware of this condition since so many people experience indigestion and heartburn, which they then take acid suppressing medication for.
The common misconception, even in the medical community, is that heartburn is the result of too much acid in the stomach, however, this is very rarely the case (Hyperchlorhydria does exist but is very uncommon).
So, I know what you are thinking, 'how can low stomach acid cause heartburn?'
When the stomach does not have enough acid for digestion it has to work harder mechanically to break the food into smaller pieces, and proteins will be maldigested leading to putrefaction and gas release. The pressure from the gas and extra mechanical action leads to the small amount of acid that is in the stomach to be physically pushed up the esophagus, leading to the burning sensation.
Longterm, this can lead to malnutrition due to malabsorption, leaky gut (resulting in allergies and/or chronic inflammatory conditions), dysbiosis, and esophageal irritation.
How do you know if you have underactive stomach and what you can do about it:
*Please note, it is important to distinguish between over- and under-active stomach before following recommendations. You can do the Acid Self-Test by taking 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar in 1/4 cup water 5-10 mins before a meal. If your symptoms improve you most likely have underactive stomach and not overactive stomach. You can also ask your doctor for a Heidelberg test to precisely assess your stomach acid levels.
For more information email Shawna at info [at] synergynutrition [dot] ca
Contact Shawna today for Nutrition Consulting, Personal Chef services or a Private Raw Food Class to learn how to ensure you have a good nutritional foundation for your journey to holistic health.
I am seeing more products using sprouted grains and legumes. I am wondering what the benefits are and if I should be doing this at home?
Yes you are right! Sprouting (or at least soaking) is recommended for grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These foods are the plant's seeds, when we buy them in their raw state they are dormant, the enzymes are 'sleeping' to prevent spontaneous sprouting.
These seeds have built-in enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients for two reasons:
1. To prevent the seed from sprouting in unfavourable conditions.
2. To allow the seed to remain intact when passing through an animals digestive system.
The first step in sprouting is to soak the seed for 12hrs. The presence of water signals the seed that it is now in a favourable condition to start growing - the enzymes now begin to 'wake-up' and become active. This process reduces the enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients as well as creating a more digestible food. The seed will also now have a reduced ability to inhibit mineral absorption (great news for our teeth and bones!).
To continue the sprouting process, the soaked seeds are then left to sit for 2-5 days (if you are trying to grow the seed into an actual sprout this will take longer and may require soil and sunlight).
During the 2-5 days the seeds need to be thoroughly rinsed 3-4x a day. I like to keep mine in a strainer resting in a larger bowl so I can easily just bring the strainer to the sink to rinse. To speed up the sprouting process you can place a clean tea towel on top of the strainer and then a bowl with water on top. This mimics how the seed would be under soil - darkness and weight on top.
Once you have your sprouts you can dehydrate and store in the freezer to maintain freshness, or you can freeze while still wet. Even cooked foods made with sprouted grains/legumes will be much more nutritious and easy to digest. Also, sprouting grains that contain gluten will decrease the gluten content.
You can even take this process once step further by culturing the sprouted nuts and seeds. Lou Corona (one of my favourite raw food educators!) is a big proponent for culturing nuts and seeds to increase digestibility even further as well as adding beneficial probiotics.
Here is a great video showing you how to make these cultured foods at home!
Yield: 2-3 servings
Although I love showing people that raw food is so much more than just salad, I couldn't resist sharing one of my favourite salad recipes.
3C romaine, chopped
1C apple, diced
1C celery, chopped
3/4C walnuts, chopped
1C cashews, soaked (can also use macadamia nuts or pine nuts)
2T olive oil
1T apple cider vinegar
1t garlic powder
1 1/2T dijon mustard (or 1-2t mustard powder)
1/4t sea salt
1/2t black pepper
Place salad ingredients in large salad bowl and set aside. Place all dressing ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Gently fold dressing into salad. Garnish and enjoy!
This documentary follows the research of Garrett, a 15-year old boy living in the Alaskan wilderness.
"Growing up close with nature has given him a deep understanding of nutritional needs required by diet sensitive animals on the reserve. Unfortunately, the untimely and tragic death of his mother propelled him into a downward spiral and he risked flunking out of school. This led to his father’s decision to home-school Garrett. His first assignment was to study a controversial book written over 50 years ago by Dr. Max Gerson."
I love this documentary because not only does it focus on The Gerson Therapy it also touches on so many different topics including: mercury fillings, MSG, flouride, aspertame and more.
The DVD can be purchased on the Gerson website.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist, college instructor, and raw food educator.