Food Hygiene

Intro to Food Hygiene

We talk a lot about WHAT we eat, I’ll argue that the forgotten topic of HOW we eat is just as important. Our digestive tract starts at our mouth and ends at our anus. Simply speaking our digestive system is one l-o-n-g tube with different functions along the way… HOW we eat either supports or negates digestion.

nuHealth clinic Dr. Nadene Neale Vancouver Wa Naturopath chew food

Tip 1. Macerate. Chew food until it disappears.
Pre-digestion begins with the enzymes in saliva breaking down food. Chewing brings in contact enzyme packed saliva with smaller and smaller and smaller and smallest and most small food bits forming a pre-digesting food bolus that slips and slides straight down the esophagus.

nuHealth clinic Dr. Nadene Neale Vancouver Wa Naturopath distraction free eating

Tip 2. Eat in a relaxed state away from distraction.
Not standing over the sink, not driving, not while at your desk on your computer, not while watching television. We have two reigning divisions of our Nervous System (the brain, et al), the parasympathetic and the sympathetic.


  • Sympathetic = Fight or Flight.
  • Parasympathetic = Rest and Digest.

Your body actually has to be in-the-mood to eat. What kind of mood? Hint, it happens in bed – and – um – rhymes with digest. Help your body get in the mood, the parasympathetic mood, by slowing down and eating mindfully.

nuHealth clinic Dr. Nadene Neale Vancouver Wa Naturopath cook

Tip 3. Cook your own food.
There are several players involved in the body’s preparation for food. For one – your nose. For two your eyes. Salivating after catching a whiff and glance at a bubbling pepperoni pizza isn’t just for show. Saliva is a digestive juice, and it isn’t the only digestive juice your body is cooking up in prep for the approaching food deposit. Your stomach gets busy producing hydrochloric acid (HCL), your gallbladder, bile, your pancreas enzymes – etcetera.

nuHealth clinic Dr. Nadene Neale Vancouver Wa Naturopath vinegar
Tip 4. Prime the stomach.
A cheap and effective way to increase digestive juices prior to consuming food is by swallowing a small amount of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar: 1 tsp (or swig) will do, you can add a small amount of water if needed, drink 10 mins before each big meal.

nuHealth clinic Dr. Nadene Neale Vancouver Wa Naturopath water

Tip 5. Avoid liquids while eating.
So you watched and smelled and sat down and chewed and relaxed and vinegared – all in the name of mindful eating, don’t go ruin it all by drinking fluids!

  • pH of water = 7.0 = neutral pH.
  • pH of stomach acid = between 2 and 4 = acidic pH.
  • neutral pH + acidic pH = less acidic pH or more alkaline pH.

Logical interpretation: the body created an acidic pH for a reason to digest charged proteins. Don’t mess with it. Contrary to popular understanding, most cases of acid reflux or heartburn are due to not enough stomach acid rather than too much.