Hello America…. It’s become an epidemic! Gastrointestinal problems! Who doesn’t have them these days? The medical industry has even added a new specialty, “Gastrointestinal Specialists”. I actually had to laugh in disbelief one day when I saw a sign that said just that on the outside of a building. Who’s heard of such a thing even 20 years ago?
Recently I came across a video on Facebook about “4 things not to eat that destroy your digestive tract”. I felt compelled to watch it. I was curious because I have developed my own theories about gastrointestinal issues. After all, I’m in America and I’m not immune to Americanisms. What I mean by Americanisms are the -isms that we as a society, in America, create for ourselves as a result of our lifestyle. I live in America and thus I am part of the American lifestyle, no matter how much I try to alter my individual lifestyle. Therefore, I too have dealt with GI problems. Along the way, I have learned a few things, particularly what works for my gut and what doesn’t. I continue to learn as I continue to observe and listen to my body.
I get really frustrated by the fact that everything is being continuously blamed on food. There is nothing inherently wrong with basic food in itself, except for what’s being put in it that doesn’t belong there. I will explain in a minute. What causes massive confusion, I believe, are the different fads that change daily, like for example yesterday bananas were really bad for you and today they’re the cure-all for everything. I’m just kidding about the bananas, by the way. However, yesterday red meat wasn’t all that good for you because of cholesterol and today, as it turns out, we need cholesterol. Yesterday chicken noodle soup was an old wife’s tale and today “bone broth” is the best thing since sliced bread, especially for healing your gut. Yesterday butter was really bad for you, again too much fat and too much cholesterol, and margarine became the new health food. Today we know that margarine is really bad for you because of the kinds of fats in it and butter is actually quite good for you. Anyway, you get the picture. I can go on and on. It can drive anyone mad. What to believe, right?
First of all, I don’t believe in fads. The biggest reasons is because fads change all the time. Let’s take it back to basics and take out the confusion. Consider that food is actually good for you when it’s closest to its nature, preferably organic and without any additives. The key is the nutrition food provides. Donuts, for example, don’t grow on trees, thus I would not consider them very close nature, nor do I consider then very nutritious. However, food like vegetables or fruits grown organically or meat that is fed naturally or raised organically or fish caught in the wild is, in fact, good for you. Chicken McNuggets, for example, which are processed and spongy, I would not consider very close to nature. I’m not certain what’s in them because chicken doesn’t have a spongy texture to it generally. Nor would I consider close to nature Wonder Bread or Twinkies, which stay spongy forever and never grow any mold. In Europe, at least when I was there, bread turned hard in three days. And if you didn’t eat something in a week it started growing mold. This, by the way, is natural.
Perhaps you might see why I was curious about the video “4 things not to eat…”, expecting some new fad. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The video was put together by a doctor who was promoting a new set of pro-biotics, which are very essential for our gut, but I believe not the end-all. I’ll explain more later. However, the information presented in the video was very much in alignment with my personal understandings. Here are the 4 things the video specified not to eat because they would destroy your digestive tract.
1. Azodicarbonamide Apparently, this is a chemical additive used in all sorts of breads, particularly in the fast food industry and other supermarket breads. Apparently it makes the bread more spongy. Well, now we know where Wonder Bread gets its spongyness. It is also used in bleaching flour. Well, apparently this chemical is so bad for you that certain countries have banned it completely. Oh, not the United States, however. We like our Gastrointestinal Problems! I’m sure the Pepto-Bismol and Tums industries are booming right now. Not to mention, we don’t want to put the new professions like “GI Specialists” out of business, ….yet. Hey, but don’t take my word for it. Do your own research.
In any case, I learned something new. I actually didn’t know about Azodicarbonamide. Not that it matters too much, because I generally avoid all chemicals. I don’t think that any chemical additive is actually good for you. And by the way, I buy unbleached and preferably also unbromated flour.
Interestingly enough, in light of this newly acquired knowledge about Azodicarbonamide I wouldn’t be surprised that this chemical is contributing significantly to our other epidemic, namely “gluten intolerance”. I always thought that it is not the bread we’ve been eating for eons that we are suddenly intolerant to, but rather what’s being put in it that doesn’t belong there. It’s as simple as this, Azodicarbonamide doesn’t belong in anybody’s diet. I don’t care how spongy, shiny or elastic it makes the dough.
2. Diet Sodas – particularly artificial sweeteners. These are chemicals. And like other chemicals they are not good for you. They have been actually proven to help you gain weight. In the video the doctor explained that artificial sweeteners are like rocket fuel for gut yeast and an overgrowth of gut yeast only adds to your overall problems. Not only that, I know people who are actually addicted to this stuff. Well, it is after all a chemical.
3. Coffee – Again, the real concern voiced in the video was actually the artificial sweeteners and the loads of sugar used in the pre-sweetened specialty coffees. Again, all rocket fuel for gut yeast.
4. Alcohol – It kills healthy bacteria.
And BINGO! In my opinion, that is the real problem, right here! The killing of healthy bacteria! Alcohol isn’t the only culprit that kills healthy bacteria. In fact, I believe Alcohol is the smaller of offenders when comparing our consumption of it to that of, you guessed it, chemicals, unless you are an alcoholic and drink alcohol by the buckets.
By chemicals I mean, for example, antibiotics. They are specifically designed to kill bacteria. Recently I had undergone a couple of procedures and was given some new antibiotics. I never suffered from so many skin rashes and yeast infections in my life. By killing the good bacteria we strip our bodies of our natural defenses against just about anything. Killing off all our good bacteria is like incapacitating the entire United States Armed Forces. How comfortable would you feel leaving yourself that vulnerable on your home front, virtually at the mercy of any intruder? Why then are you willing to do just that when it comes to your body? Isn’t your body where you live, your home?
I am not saying, don’t ever take antibiotics, because sometimes we need to take drastic measures. It is not the one single use of antibiotics that causes epidemics like GI problems. I believe it is the constant overuse and quantum of chemicals in all areas of our lives that causes a problem of this magnitude. It’s like we went to war against bacteria, failing to recognize the significant role bacteria plays and thus having caused a huge imbalance and continue to do so.
Let’s look at some other chemicals. For example, preservatives in our food. Just think, preservatives are designed to preserve food, meaning they prevent food from naturally breaking down. Incidentally, what breaks down food? Bacteria. Isn’t that interesting? So, preservatives (chemicals) once again kill bacteria to keep food from spoiling. Well, guess what those preservatives are doing in your gut when you eat them in your food? They are preventing your gut from breaking down the food properly. Would you say that this is an issue for your digestion? Ultimately, what is digestion? Isn’t that what your gut is supposed to do? Break down food?
Your gut is very comparable to the residential septic system. In the Colorado Mountains you are not hooked up to the city sewer. Houses in the mountains have their own individual septic systems. It is my understanding that the septic system works on the basis of bacteria breaking down the waste. The first thing you’re told is not to pour any chemicals down your septic system. Why? Because it kills the bacteria and thus causes the septic system to fail. Well, your gut works much the same way. How careful are you not to pour any chemicals into your private septic system, your gut?
Chemicals aren’t just preservatives in our food, they are pesticides, over the counter drugs, prescription drug, anti-psychotic drugs like antidepressants, anesthesia from surgery, antibiotics, recreational drugs, cleaning products like anti-bacterial soap, air-fresheners and fabric fresheners, skin care and hair care products. You don’t think the chemicals you put on your skin soak into your body? Think again. And what’s in the water you drink or the air you breath? I can go on and on. I think you get the picture.
So, what did I actually get from the video as to the four foods not to eat? Chemicals, chemicals, chemicals and chemicals! Yes, the video also addressed sugar, but I believe you can have some sugar, just don’t eat it by the buckets. Perhaps consider eating raw unrefined sugar instead of the kind that is bleached or processed with chemicals. Perhaps you might want to consider buying regular coffee and sweeten it yourself with a teaspoon of sugar instead of buying the pre-sweetened specialty coffee that has an equivalent of one or two cups of sugar in it or artificial sweeteners. If you have an overgrowth of yeast problem in your gut, you may have to take some drastic measures and leave out sugar for the time being. I would recommend talking to your nutritionist to restore the balance in your gut.
So what are some of the solutions here? These are some of what I have concluded and learned that has worked for me. But, by all means do your own research and listen to your own gut!
1. Significantly reduce the amount of chemicals you consume or come in contact with.
It’s not easy, but it can be done. Following are a few tips, hopefully giving you some ideas.
Do you really need 10 different cleaning products for your household? I use regular dish soap for everything. Do you really need bleach to kill all the bacteria in your home? I know commercials sell you on this, but remember there are benefits to bacteria. You would NOT want to pour bleach down your septic system. Understand that your immune system is made up of good bacteria. Exposure to bad bacteria (in measure) helps your body strengthen its immune system by producing more good bacteria. Thus if you kill all bacteria, you are compromising your immune system, which by the way lives in your gut.
Read the labels on all food products. And by labels I strictly mean the ingredients list on the back, not the advertisement on the front of the label. If it has preservatives in it or ingredients you can’t pronounce, don’t buy it and don’t eat it. Try to buy organic produce, without pesticides.
Do you need to be on all those medications? Consult with your doctor. Perhaps you can get off some of your meds. A while ago I remember a push for the consumption of baby-aspirin on a daily basis as a preventative measure. Now they are finding that it is not really that healthy for you. I mean, let’s face it, it is a drug (chemical). And while your body may be deficient in Vitamin A, it will never be deficient in baby-aspirin. I, for example, have not taken any aspirin or over the counter or prescription drugs for years. I now treat any headaches, anxieties, depression, pain or whatever else with spiritual healing, a completely natural and healthy way of getting to the source of the problem. Also know that garlic, for example, is a natural blood thinner, if that is why you take baby-aspirin.
2. Yes, get on some good Pro-Biotics.
Replenishing the bacteria in your gut is absolutely essential. I would especially recommend it after you have undergone surgery and have been pumped full of anesthesia and/or antibiotics. I would not consider yogurt a good source of pro-biotics. There’s not nearly enough of those little critters in yogurt and depending on what else is added into the yogurt, like sugar or preservatives it may counter act what ever small amount of critters there are. I would consider some more potent pro-biotics. Again, do your own research. There is loads of information on the internet.
3. Detoxify your body.
While your body has its natural methods of detoxification, chemicals don’t all leave your body. They actually accumulate over time. Thus helping your body detoxify becomes a very important step. As long as the chemicals are in your body they keep killing off your good bacteria and counter acting any pro-biotics you take while wreaking havoc.
I have undergone some drastic detoxification methods with which I, for example, eliminated horrible allergies I suffered from some years ago. It seemed I was so toxic at one point that my immune system became extremely over-reactive. During this process, amongst other things, I learned just how long chemicals can stay in your body. I ran out, for example, nicotine after having been quit smoking for 5 years. It turns out that the residue of chemicals stores in your body’s fat cells and can remain there for quite some time. Your body seems to actually produce fat in order to extract chemicals from your blood stream to protect your main system. The problem is when you burn fat and release these chemicals back into your blood stream, you can experience the same reaction as if you had just taken that drug. In my case I re-experienced the urge to smoke as I ran out the nicotine, while the nicotine was being released from my fat cells back into my blood stream momentarily, as it was on its way out of my body. By the way, at that time I had quit smoking for some time and was not normally experiencing any more urges to smoke.
About a year ago I had undergone a couple of procedures under full anesthesia, which was one of those necessary evils I had to do. Just from the antibiotics I experienced skin rashes and yeast infections I never in my life had before. It took me months to restore that particular balance in my body, yes, by eating a lot of pro-biotics. The anesthesia is an entirely different story. First of all, it’s extremely toxic to your body and heavy on your system. Three months after my last procedure I could hardly stay awake after meals and I’m not even going to mention my GI problems. I tried another detox method, namely Colon Hydrotherapy, which absolutely worked wonders for me. Colon Hydrotherapy is a method of cleansing the colon with water. There are centers that specialize in this procedure and have the proper equipment. Just to give you some idea, at that time I did three Colon Hydrotherapy Sessions in a row, one per week, over the course of three weeks. It eliminated my tiredness by at least 80% and improved my gut functionality considerable. Almost a year later I did it again. Even though not as much as initially, I still felt sluggish and particularly tired right after meals and my GI issues flared up again. I still can’t believe the difference it has made for me. If you are having problems you might try this. Nothing like cleaning out your colon.
4. Reduce stress.
This brings me to the 4th point. Stress. I’ve noticed throughout my healing practice that stress tends to travel quite a bit through our gut. Our body tends to experience stress, particularly when we are on a subconscious level connecting with some past unresolved experience which usually involves some form of pain, emotional or physical. Our natural survival instinct tends to use stress as a warning signal to get us to leave a particular situation in which we have experienced pain before. “Before” can mean in your past in this life or in a previous life. Pain is considered anti-survival by our survival instinct. The idea is that the more pain we experience the more likely we are to die.
Our natural tendency to connecting with our past pain is to experience resistance. It’s this stress and resistance that can cause us problems in our GI tract. I’ve observed that bloating, for example, is a classic reaction to resistance in our body. Also the inability to digest food. We can also suffer either from constipation or diarrhea. If you look at the physical as a mirror to the spiritual, you might see that your digestive problems might reflect that you have a difficult time in processing your unresolved past pain, which is a form of digestion that happens in your soul. We have to digest our experiences or pain to transform them into wisdom for the soul. If we are backed up with unresolved pain, we may experience it, for example, in the form of constipation.
This subject is so vast, I can’t possibly express everything I have learned and know in this one article. However, I am hoping to have given you perhaps a different perspective and some ideas and concepts that you can utilize to your benefit and make some sense of things for yourself. Don’t take my word for anything, however! Do your own research and do what makes sense for you! Most of all learn to listen to your body and your inner guide, your spirit! No one knows better than you what works for you and what you need. However, you may have to reconnect with yourself first and learn to listen to yourself. If you are disconnected from yourself, listening to yourself won’t work. If you need help, get the help you need!