The surface area of the gastric intestinal tract has been likened to the size of
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one to two tennis courts (!!) That is, if you were to lay it open on its side and take into account all of the cellular matter that's involved
This incredible digestive system of ours is essentially a tube that runs from the mouth, down the esophagus, through the stomach, small intestines, and large intestine, until it reaches the other end. All in all, it's about 20 -30 feet long if considered as a hose
I've advanced to my second class, on my journey to study holistic nutrition, and for the next eight weeks, I get to learn about the digestive system. I thought it might be fun to share some fun and interesting tidbits
(ps: I'm forever in awe of how wonderfully we're made .. )
Technically, the digestive tract isn't inside the body, but outside. It's considered to be a canal that lets food in and waste out, but the food has to pass through the digestive wall (in the form of nutrients) to get into the body proper.
The digestive system is home to more cancers, and causes more cancer deaths each year, than any other organ system in the body.
Most people think the stomach is the center of digestion, and it IS as far as mechanical digestion goes (it churns food and mixes it with gastric juices to physically break it up and turn it into a thick paste called chyme) But when it comes to chemical digestion, it's the small intestines do the heavy lifting. Absorbing the nutrients and passing them into our bloodstream
Cells in the stomach's inner wall secrete a half-gallon of hydrochloric acid every day (that's a lot!). To protect itself from all of this acid, the lining of the stomach has a thick coating of mucus. But even the best mucus can't buffer these juices indefinitely, so the stomach has to make a brand new coat of mucus every two weeks
Bacteria in the digestive tract aren't present in a fetus. Instead, babies acquire them from their mother and the environment during birth and also in their first days of life
(much more to come .. )
Dinner to kick-off the week, roast chicken. There's nothing simpler, and few things more delicious.
I love this middle-eastern spin on a classic. The chicken is soaked overnight in a marinade that's a melting pot of spices, onions, and lemon. The final product is juicy and moist on the inside, though if you're a fan of crispy skin, you'll be slightly disappointed. Because of the brothy marinade, the skin won't crisp up quite the same.
(Believe me, it'll be the furthest thing from your mind)
The green tahini sauce is a wonderful addition. As is homemade naan (If you haven't tried your hand yet, maybe now's the time?)
~ Adapted from Epicurious
Za’atar Roast Chicken with Green Tahini Sauce
- Green Tahini Sauce
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, lightly packed
- ½ cup tahini
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- pinch kosher salt
- Chicken and Assembly
- 2 large skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, and 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken legs (or one 3 ½ – 4-lb. chicken, cut into quarters)
- 2 red onions, sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 lemon, seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp ground sumac
- 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- ¼ cup olive oil + more for drizzling
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp za’atar
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 6 pieces homemade naan or other flatbread
- Green Tahini Sauce
- Pulse garlic, parsley, tahini, lemon juice, and ½ cup water in a food processor, adding more water if needed, until smooth (sauce should be the consistency of a thin mayonnaise); season with salt
- Cover and chill.
- Chicken & Assembly
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Toss the chicken, onions, garlic, lemon, sumac, allspice, cinnamon, broth, and ¼ cup oil in a large resealable plastic bag; season with salt and pepper.
- Let marinate at least 2 hours.
- Place chicken, onions, garlic, and lemon on a rimmed baking sheet, spooning any remaining marinade over and around the chicken.
- Sprinkle with za’atar and roast until the chicken is browned and cooked through (~45–55 minutes)
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add pine nuts and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, and nuts are golden brown (be careful not to burn), about 4 minutes; season with salt.
- Slice chicken breasts, if desired.
- Serve chicken with roasted onion and lemon, topped with pine nuts, with green tahini sauce and lavash.