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Digestion Part 2 – Proteins and IN-digestion

Digestion and Indigestion

Part 2 of my Mondays with Mary-Ann Shearer (of The Natural Way) sessions where I’m talking with her about Natural Health Topics and extracting the little nuggets of Natural Health wisdom she has collected over 30+ years of research, application and education.

This session comes on the heels of Part 1, where we reviewed the basics of what digestion is, and understanding the digestion of starches (carbohydrates).




From our Mondays with Mary-Ann sessions . . .

Digesting Proteins and a common cause (and side effects) of combing Carbohydrate and Proteins at same meal.

Concentrated Foods

  • Many foods have some carbohydrate and protein and fat in them.
  • When a food has more than 20% carbohydrate, it is considered a “Concentrated Carbohydrate” or simply a “Carbohydrate”
  • When a food has more than 15% Protein, it is considered a “Concentrated Protein” or simply a “Protein”.

Amino Acids

  • Similar in concept to carbohydrates which are made out of chains of sugars (Glucose, Galactose, Fructose), Proteins are made up of Amino Acids
  • Each Amino Acid is different in shape and size, and there are over 20 of them known to man.
  • “Essential” Amino Acids must be gotten from food in your diet.
  • 9 are considered essential for Babies, 8 for toddlers and older.
  • From those 8 Essential Amino Acids, we make over 24 different proteins for use in the body.

Proteins in the mouth

  • Digestion is the process of breaking food down into their component nutrients. In this case, we are breaking down concentrated proteins by Mechanical and Chemical processes.
  • Digesting proteins start just like Carbohydrate in the mouth by chewing.
  • Chewing reduces the size and complexity of the food, and sets the stage for the chemical process of digestion.

Proteins in the stomach and intestines

  • Hydrochloric Acid is first released by the stomach, which in turn triggers the release of enzymes.
  • The digestive enzyme called Pepsin is released to reduce and extract the amino acids from the other parts of the proteins.
  • It continues into the small intestine for further breakdown and extraction until the Amino Acids are fully extracted, and then released into your body for use.

Problems with digesting

  • When you eat Fruit, it is very simple to digest because the raw ingredients are already broken down and easy to digest.

Problems with digesting

  • Raw nuts and seeds are very high in protein, but easier to digest than animals.

Proteins vs Carbs . . . ph problems

  • As your stomach senses the quantity and quality of protein coming in, it will respond by releasing digestive acids.
  • When your stomach releases Hydrochloric acid, it is creating a very acidic environment (ph of 3.0).

Proteins vs Carbs . . . ph problems

  • As your stomach senses the quantity and quality of carbohydrates coming in, it will respond by releasing digestive Ptaylin.
  • As you body moves the food along the digestive tract, it continues to release enzymes to finish breaking down carbohydrates into Glucose for use.

Proteins vs Carbs . . . ph problems

  • Carbohydrates require ph of >4.0
  • Proteins require ph of <=3.0
  • If you remember basic chemistry in school… you cannot have 2 ph levels in the same solution.
  • The ph levels of both solutions will combine and create a different resulting ph in the residual solution.

The wonderful side effects of indigestion

  • The wrong ph creates an environment where none of the food breaks down correctly.
  • The carbohydrates will normally begin to ferment, with the resulting problems of gas, poison and…


  • Gas – carbon dioxide, methane and many other ever expanding gases that are looking for a way out… time for the giggles…
  • However, gas pain can be very painful, and is a sign of several problems your body is having digesting food.
  • Walking and exercise can help alleviate gas. But it is better to avoid it in the first place!

Other problems

  • Ammonia – very carcinogenic (cancer causing)
  • Acetic Acid – Strong acids normally seem in vinegar
  • Ethanol – The least toxic of the 5 alcohols to humans.
  • Some people even experience the effects of alcohol after eating concentrated proteins and starches at the same meal… they have become their own brewery!

Optimal Digestion

Optimal digestion actually makes you feel better! Clear headedness after eating is a sign you are digesting properly!




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Digestion Part 1 – Starches

Potato Carbohydrate starch

How does food digest? How do we take food and turn it into energy, tissue, and life itself? Mary-Ann Shearer goes into each piece of this amazing process, starting with starches.



Transcription Notes

Digestion of Starches / Carbohydrates

From our Mondays with Mary-Ann sessions . . .


Digestion Overview

Why do we have a digestive tract and what does it do?

  • What is digestion
  • Breaking down food into usable resources
  • This is primarily accomplished through 2 methods, Mechanical and Chemical
  • Mechanical is accomplished normally through chewing, but could also be accomplished via Juicing or other pre-ingestion mechanical steps.
  • Most people do NOT chew their food enough, and this has a significantly negative effect on the subsequent digestive process
  • Your teeth are designed specifically for the first step, and are actually part of the digestion process.

  • Starches are carbohydrate rich foods, for example potato, grains, fruits, sweet vegetables.
  • You cannot use a potato without breaking it down.
  • As you chew starches, you break them down mechanically, and then your mouth secrets Ptyalin, a form of amylase found in humans and some animals.
  • This enzyme breaks down the starches (long strings of bonded carbohydrates) into the shorter, smaller, simpler sugars to be used by the body.
  • The poly-saccharides (multiple sugars) become di-saccharides (2 sugars) and eventually move into your stomach.


  • In your stomach, the Ptyalin breaks down and new enzymes are used.
  • As the starches move to the small intestine, your body releases even more digestive enzymes (intestinal amylases).
  • The digestive process finishes by breaking the di-saccharides into Glucose.
  • Glucose is then absorbed and used by the body.

The body uses Glucose in the brain and central nervous system. Without enough stable Glucose (i.e. Low Blood Sugar), the body simply doesn’t function effectively:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Irrational Thoughts
  • Anxiety

The optimum form of Starches are WHOLE FOOD sources, which digest correctly. Refined starches (refined carbohydrates) do NOT digest correctly, and cause ill health.



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