Me and hot doc spent some time this afternoon working out the optimal connection between our tv, freeview box, playstation and surround sound system to get the best image and sound we could out of all the devices. It was a bit of a faff but in the end worth it as we now have everything in beautiful Dolby surround sound.
You might wonder where I'm going with this, bear with me ... the point I'm trying to make is that there was no point having all this fancy technology without spending the time to make sure we had the right cables and had set it up correctly. Well the same is true of food.
You can eat all the best organic wholefood available, but if you haven't got your digestion working properly you're not going to get the most out of it. Impaired digestion means your food isn't broken down properly so you end up not absorbing as many nutrients from your food as you should and also developing gut irritation and food allergies from larger food molecules trying to pass through the intestinal wall.
I'm actually an excellent example of this having developed both anaemia and scurvy as a child (yes that's right, not something you would expect to see nowadays) despite being fed a very healthy diet that included plenty of meat and homegrown fruit and vegetables. Our garden had originally been an orchard and so we had fruit trees galore and more plums, apples and cherries than we could eat, and yet the doctor who saw me just couldn't believe I was eating any fruit and veg. This phenomenon is known as malabsorption - where the gut is not absorbing food properly, and in my case was due to some strong food intolerances that were aggravating my digestive tract.
One of the key places to start in the task of maximizing your digestion is assessing your need for enzymes and stomach acid. If you are regularly stressed and particularly if you multi-task whilst you eat and so aren't relaxed, then your production of stomach acid and enzymes is probably inhibited. Signs of this can include bloating, feeling uncomfortably full after even small meals, acid reflux after eating as well as unexplained nutrient deficiencies. One of the easiest ways to work out if this is what you need is to take enzyme and HCl supplements with your meals for a couple of weeks and see if you feel any different, particularly after eating. Other signs will be weak nails and hair (classic lack of stomach acid) or diarhhoea or indigestion after fatty foods (sign of low pancreatic enzymes).
Obviously it's best to seek the advice of your own nutritional therapist in choosing and taking these supplements, but if you don't have one you could try a good health food store for some advice on these kinds of supplements. Solgar, Biocare and Nutri all have good products in this area.