Friday, February 5, 2016

Give your gut a break from the daily grind

We have talked about teeth, livers, kidneys and elimination.  I will continue to talk about that topic today.

I want to talk about giving your intestines(guts) a break from their daily grind of digesting and eliminating food waste. We are going to talk about cleansing your intestines. One quick word of caution: Absolutely NO cleansing if you are pregnant or breastfeeding! Your body will follow the path of least resistance when eliminating waste and toxins will be pushed to the baby. I’m in that season right now. I’m looking forward to my next gut vacation, but I have a little one dependent on me and she is my priority.

I have two favorite books that talk about the importance of intestinal health and how to begin to regain control of your gut’s health. The first book is “Renew Your Life” by Brenda Watson ND. The second is Inner Transformations Using Essential Oils by Deardeuff & Deardeuff. Both are excellent!

Opinions are a dime a dozen on when, where, how, how long… cleanse. Do some research and decide what you think works best for you. I’m going to share what worked for me…but it may not be where you need/want to start. Remember….baby steps are still forward motion. Don’t feel like you have to jump into an intense food fast to be successful. Baby steps.

Young Living has a GREAT first step called the Nutritive Cleanse. It is a five day cleanse that would be a great first cleanse for someone new to cleansing. Using this cleanse is gentle, it is short in duration, and you won’t be hungry!  Another option is the Cleansing Trio kit.  Because so many people love these, they are often out of stock, but most of the time you can get substitutes.

Ok, before I go any further…..I want to remind you that before you embark on any cleansing journey that you check out your plans with your medical provider. You may be on a medication or have a health condition that warrants medical oversight prior to attempting something like this. Did you know there are inpatient health spa’s all over the country with Medical Doctors that can help you? YES again, you have choices, you have options! You DO NOT have to continue to live in a state of dis-ease. However, I know for a FACT if you change nothing, nothing will change for the better. In fact, chances are things will get worse.

Ok, moving off that soap box…..

The cleanse I (Joy) use most often is the Master Cleanse. It consists of a diet of Lemonade made with water, organic lemon juice, grade B maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Yep, that’s it. I drank a gallon+ of that every day for 10 days. At the risk of TMI, it took 4 days for me to not have formed stool. Thinking I was a bit backed up! But then just think, my liver and intestines had 6 days to celebrate and have a vacation.

Because the Grade B maple syrup has loads of calories(all low glycemic index), I was never hungry. The first 4 days were pretty challenging! I used LOTS of oils to help with the headaches, nausea, and DRA(dirty rotten attitude) I struggled with. After that however I felt great. In fact, I felt amazing!

I lost about 10 lbs the first time I did this cleanse. My tummy was relatively flat when I got done. The bloated feeling was gone. The heavy, weighted down, can’t get up off the couch, stuck in slow motion feeling was gone as well.

I don’t recommend this cleanse to just anyone. Again, check with your medical provider to make sure they are aware of your plans, especially if you are under care for a chronic illness. The book “Master Cleanse” will give you all the ins and outs of this cleanse. Or you can get a good picture of the plan from Google.  The purpose of fasting and cleansing is to flush and rest the gut.  The diagram of a cross-section of the small intestine is instructive.  These little fingers, Villi, are designed to absorb nutrients and secrete digestive enzymes through surface contact with the output of the stomach.  When our modern diet builds up plaque these Villi literally get covered up with gunk.

What I (Clint) enjoy doing is intermittent fasting.  A search for 'intermittent fasting and human metabolic health' yields 25 interesting articles. I will skip dinner Saturday evening, then break the fast Monday morning.  This gives the gut a regular break of 24 to 36 hours.  It's hugely important to increase water intake while fasting.  Our bodies can do quite well without food for many days--not so without water.  Fasting is as much mental as it is physical.  You may need to work up to longer fasts.  Start with skipping a dinner meal and have breakfast as normal the following day.  Then skip dinner and stretch it to break the fast with lunch.  Keep working towards your time goal.  Many things can help such as:

  • avoid being around really smelly foods
  • drink water when you feel hungry
  • stay active-go for a walk, get out of the house
  • tinker with a hobby i.e. crafts, fly tying, art, etc.
  • keep spiritually connected to fasting's other higher purposes
  • increase fresh fruits and vegetables intake before and after fast
  • add Young Living essential oils supporting normal digestion to your water bottle
    • Peppermint Vitality™
    • DiGize™ Vitality™ 
    • Citrus Fresh™ Vitality™
Some folks start with a 10 day raw diet or a 10 day juicing fast. Both are great!

The book Inner Transformations talks about setting up a cleansing routine. It makes parallels with the seasons and how nature has a cleansing routine. I love how it gives easy to follow guide lines.

Renew Your Life has a similar set up, in that it helps you figure out where to start and how to cleanse the whole digestive system in a systematic way. What it doesn’t seem to have is an ongoing plan that provides a structured plan for maintenance.

The bottom line is start somewhere. Just like you need a vacation from time to time, your digestive system will improve its performance if you will rest it from time to time as well.

A common term lately is "Leaky Gut".  This is simply a gut that no longer can tell what it should expel and what it should absorb.  It absorbs toxins right along with needed nutrients, and likewise expels at random.  I think many of the intestinal issues we face today come from poor diet that causes elimination problems, which causes absorption problems.  

Bone broth is a great way to boost the easily absorbable nutrients your body needs.  This is a no-fuss way to make it.  As always, think about the raw materials you're starting with.  It would be counter-productive to make bone broth from bones produced with (and still present) pharmacueticals, hormones, GMOs, etc.  So find a food source you can meet and ask questions of.  Gelatin is highest in the feet and neck bones of chicken, lamb, or beef.  Gelatin is important because it is very hydrophilic, meaning it attracts liquids (including digestive juices and enzymes) that tend to be repelled by cooked foods.  The method described is based on the recipes from Nourishing Traditions.
Depending on your family size, you'll need:
  • chicken carcass leftover after baked chicken meal
  • fish bones (not bottom feeders)
  • soup bones, long bones, etc. (we like to roast in oven or wood grill for flavor)
  • crock pot
  • purest water possible
  • vegetables and herbs of choice
  • vinegar (to increase nutrient leaching from the bones)
  • Sea salt
For a large crock pot we usually do about 4 pounds of bones, 2 cups veggies, 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 Tbs salt, gallon filtered water (enough to bring up to 1" from top of crock pot).  We let this cook on low for 24-72 hours.  When you can't stand the smell anymore(or do what Joy does and banish the crockpot to the garage while it cooks), skim the top, strain out the bones, and refrigerate.  Once cool, pull off fat from top and freeze or can the broth. 

If you are struggling with a 'leaky gut' or digestive issues, you can just have a continual broth by rotating out bones every few days and adding water as you drink it straight.  Impurities float, so skim before serving.  A cup of broth with each meal is good soul food.

Productive exercise for this time?  How about providing your own chickens for the pot?  Many cities are coming on board with allowing backyard chicken flocks.  Building a coop and husbanding your birds daily is not going to be found on a personal trainer's fitness plan.  But, the stress-reducing and therapeutic benefit of providing for your own table is not to be despised.  I just got a catalog in the mail from the hatchery the other day...Spring is right around the corner!

How has fasting and cleansing impacted your health?  If you haven't tried these practices, what has held you back?  We'd love to hear your comments.

1 comment:

  1. Here's an awesome article on the higher purpose of intermittent fasting we talked about in this post~