Quiz: How Strong Is Your Digestive Fire?
According to the GI Alliance, 20 million Americans suffer from at least one digestive disorder, making digestive disorders the third most common among all illnesses. These statistics don’t even account for all the times we experience mild to moderate digestive discomfort.
Some digestive problems can be attributed to a highly processed diet that’s packed with salt, sugar, and other additives. But sometimes, even reducing processed foods in favor of fresh whole foods might not alleviate occasional digestive distress, such as bloating after meals, excess gas, or incomplete bowel movements.
This quiz assesses your current symptoms to gauge the state of your digestive fire. Answer as honestly as you can, and then take a peek at the 15 healthy digestion habits below to make small but meaningful improvements in your digestion.
Digestive Fire Quiz
- How often do you feel bloated and/or nauseous after eating?
- All the time
- Do you take acid reflux or heartburn remedies regularly?
- Every day
- Maybe once a week
- Do you have to limit the foods you eat due to digestive issues/allergies/sensitivities?
- The list of foods I have to avoid is long
- There are a few foods I steer clear from
- I can eat most anything without a problem
- How regular are your bowel movements?
- Fewer than five times per week
- Five to six times per week
- Once or twice per day
- How comfortable are your bowel movements?
- Difficult, painful, and/or slow
- Mostly comfortable
- Easy and smooth
- What is the shape of your bowel movements?
- Either marble-like pellets or very soft and unformed
- Formed but with bumps (like a caterpillar)
- Logs/snakes/hot dogs
- How often do you experience diarrhea and/or constipation?
- Several times per week
- It happens once in a while when I least expect it
- I can’t remember the last time I experienced these issues
- When you vacation/travel, you:
- Stick with foods I know
- Carefully try a few new foods
- Enjoy a variety of new and exciting foods
- How does your body handle spices?
- Many spices aggravate my stomach
- If I stick with a mild variety of spices I’m generally okay
- Spices are the best part of the meal; I include them as often as I can with no problem
- Do you currently have/have you ever been diagnosed with a digestive disorder (IBS, Crohn’s, diverticulitis, etc.)?
- I suffer from one or more of these issues on a daily basis
- Yes, but the symptoms come and go
- Never have/have healed
- When you press gently on the left side of your lower abdomen, it feels…
- Tender and sore; hard and immobile
- Occasionally a bit tender or gassy
- Soft and comfortable
- Overall, how satisfied are you with your digestive health?
- Not at all—it’s one of my biggest health struggles
- I would like to improve it
- Completely satisfied
Count your answers and then use the guide below to rate your digestion.
The Results of Your Digestive Fire Quiz
If You Got Mostly A’s
You Have a Weak Digestive Fire
Will this food upset my stomach? Do I dare try that new restaurant? With a weak digestive fire, these are, unfortunately, common questions. This isn’t something you need to simply accept, however. Your digestive fire can be strengthened over time and give you much more room to be a riskier eater, at least on occasion! Check out the healthy digestions habits below for ideas to begin.
If You Got Mostly B’s
You Have a Variable Digestive Fire
Some days you’re fine, and other days you’re on the couch with a stomachache. With a variable digestive fire, you don’t always know what might upset your system, so you tend to err on the side of caution. Check out the healthy digestion habits below to bring a bit more regularly—no pun intended—to ramp up your digestion.
If You Got Mostly C’s
You Have a Strong Digestive Fire
Your digestion is strong and healthy, giving you the freedom to enjoy food the way it was meant to be enjoyed! Keep it up by taking note of the healthy digestion habits below.
15 Healthy Digestion Habits
In addition to paying attention to the quality of the food you eat, getting daily exercise, and trying to minimize stress, the following tips help build a more positive relationship with food. When food is a friend and not an enemy, we will find a natural boost in our digestive fire.
1. Food should be taken in the proper place.
Try to eat in a designated place rather than the bedroom, car, or in front of the television. The environment in which we eat has a significant impact on our ability to fully digest and assimilate the meal.
2. Eat food prepared by loving hands in a loving way.
Take care to prepare your food when you are in a positive state of mind. And use care when dining out; we cannot know the energy and mindset of those preparing our food.
3. Express appreciation before meals.
Offer an expression of thanks from the heart to thank the food and all who helped bring it to your table.
4. Food should be eaten without distraction.
Avoid television, computers, or reading while eating. Spend time tasting, chewing, and enjoying your meal.
5. Food should be chewed until it is an even consistency.
Most of us do not actually chew our food very well. The mouth is the first stage of digestion, and we can assist the whole digestive process by taking more time chewing. Until it feels like baby food, keep chewing!
6. Food should be warm.
Cold food has a dramatic dampening effect on our digestive fire. Therefore, to rebuild digestive strength, eat food that is warm.
7. Food should be somewhat oily or moist.
Like above, food that is dry also dampens the digestive fire. Cooked food will give you the moistness you need to rebuild the digestive fire.
8. Food should not have opposite potencies.
Generally, avoid mixing cold with hot, spicy with bland, light and heavy. This gives the body mixed signals and can create problems in the digestive tract.
9. Only a small amount of liquid should be taken with meals.
Most of your water intake should be between meals. During meals, limit the amount of water you consume.
10. Try to avoid cold drinks.
For the same reason as avoiding cold food, water should be room temperature or warmer.
11. Eat with self-confidence.
Feel good about yourself while eating! Trust your body to heal itself.
12. Eat until you are 75% full.
Overeating is one of the largest problems we have and contributes largely to ill health. Be mindful while you eat and try to stop at 75% fullness.
13. Rest after meals.
When you can, avoid going back to work immediately following a meal. Rest, breathe, and notice how you feel. Even a few minutes of downtime can go a long way.
14. Honor food combination suggestions.
Especially when digestion is sluggish, you can follow food combination suggestions. The goal, however, it to be able to improve digestion such that these rules matter less over time.
Eat fruit alone or leave it alone
Proteins can mix with vegetables
Carbs can mix with vegetables
Protein and carbs should not be mixed
15. Allow three hours between meals for food to digest.
Try to keep meals to three per day to allow each meal the opportunity to be digested fully and assimilated completely.
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- by Keri Mangis