This content is adapted from our notes for a class we offered to the community. Please note that we recommend you talk to a health professional about your specific case and plans to cleanse before getting started.
Many of us have struggled with health issues, physically and mental-emotionally. Acupuncture helps the body heal, and do what it’s supposed to do. But, if there are several health issues happening at once, the body can become hypersensitive to stress, toxins, and foods that were once tolerable. When you’re body is overwhelmed, there is only one thing you can do…give it a break, help it, simplify, make less work for it. Digestion and nutrition is one major way of helping your body heal. Since we literally are what we eat, this can be a saving grace for many.
Do you have:
(Common conditions related to imbalances in the Gut)
Immune disorders/Rheumatoid Arthritis/Fibromyalgia/chronic pain
Year round allergies/sinusitis
Digestive issues/Irritable Bowel Syndrome
80 % of the body’s immunity is from the GUT
Sugar + Antibiotics = a perfect storm for pathogenic yeast & bacteria.
Path to a Healthy Gut
Step 1: Eliminate
4 things to eliminate ASAP:
Stevia & Xylitol are okay.
Artificial sweeteners contain formaldehyde, pesticides/DDT.
Many side effects: Migraines, change in vision, nausea/vomiting, insomnia, abdominal & joint pain, change in heart rate, depression, memory loss…
Use Olive oil & Coconut oil instead; or real butter.
Hydrogenated oils can affect heart health because they increase “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lower “good” (HDL) cholesterol.
They are a processed oil that produces trans fats.
Contributors to inflammation in the gut.
Plant derived alternatives are available, read labels.
Linked to tumors, carcinogens & hyperactivity.
The three most widely used culprits—Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Contain mercury, GMO.
HFC syrup affects weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome & high triglyceride levels.
Avoid the most common insultants:
– Dairy (dairy protein’s stay in the body for up to a month, can have delay)
– Grains (unless properly processed and prepared)
– GMOs and Pesticides
Step 2: Cleanse
While avoiding the foods that are harming you, and increasing nutrient dense foods you can add in herbs and supplements to assist your body in the detoxing phase. Here are some anti-microbials: oregano oil, garlic, olive leave, golden seal, black walnut, Bismuth (H-Pilori), DGL, Grapefruit seed, milk thistle; Chinese herbs available also.
Epsom salt baths
Castor Oil Packs (handout to come)
Apple cider vinegar
Step 3: Track
Write down everything you eat & drink, and the estimated time, and any symptoms daily for a week. You can use our handout or just write it down somewhere. If you do notice a reaction to something, next week avoid that food & continue tracking.
Make a plan using the foods you know don’t cause trouble. Use them once each in the 4 day period. Use The aggregate nutrient density index, research recipes, cook books, different ethnic foods.
Anti-inflammatory food pyramid – Dr. Weil made a great food pyramid
Cook books, ethnic foods, GAPS, etc.
Cleans by taking herbs & avoid bad food
Step 4: Heal
Under normal circumstance, the cells that make up our intestinal lining regenerate every 3-6 days!
The goal is to increase the body’s resilience and heal the gut to a point where it is not so reactionary and can tolerate most foods.
Support healthy stomach acid / enzymes and motility:
PPIs & H2 antagonists (Prilosec) – talk to your doctor about making changes to your diet to heal your gut and if slowly getting off these drugs is appropriate for you. New studies coming out are linking H2 antagonists to increased risk of dementia
Digestive bitters, consistent eating times, less snacks
Enzyme supplementation & oxbile
Ginger, walks after meals
Eat a diverse array of vegetables and fruit
Different bacteria have an affinity to breakdown different foods and need those foods to be present to proliferate
Proper prep of food: THE WAYS OF OUR ANCESTORS
Soaking/sprouting grains, legumes, nuts and seeds: helps to break down phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which are inflammatory and prevent us from absorbing nutrients. Makes it easier to digest
Fermented Foods: Inoculate the gut with diverse culture of beneficial bacteria and sometimes yeast. Beneficial bacteria adds nutritional value and create enzymes. Predigests foods to make it easier to breakdown. Detoxifies certain toxic compounds and boost our immune system. Creates opportunity for the growth of beneficial bacteria while pushing out the bad guys
EXAMPLES: sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, jun, kvass, keifer (water/dairy), yogurt, brine pickled vegetables, sourdough (slow-rise fermented wheat)
WHO SHOULD AVOID: Those with SIBO, histamine intolerance, do not eat ferments that have foods you are sensitive to!
Prebiotics are undigestible complex carbs that feed friendly bacteria and help them proliferate. These carbs are also found in breast milk to feed the newly introduced beneficial bacteria in the baby’s gut! (It is so important for a babes future colon health to be breast fed)
EXAMPLES: fresh dandelion greens, radicchio, frisee, endive, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, asparagus, chicory root, jicama, garlic, leek, sweet potato, yam, yucca
WHAT ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS? Expensive and contain significant less diversity of bacteria and about 1/10 of the concentration of beneficial bacteria as a serving of fermented food.
Fermenting does take time at first, but once you are in the rhythm, it takes no time at all.
If taking a probiotic pill, look for:
4+ strains of bacteria
Guaranteed to make it to the LI with amount of bacteria advertised
NO fillers, GMO, nuts, eggs, dairy, gluten
Some contain enzymes and prebiotics, just start with probiotics and add enzymes or prebiotics later if necessary.
Healthy fats are your friend
Saturated fats/animal fat- not bad for us, they are extremely crucial for our health. Have high smoking temperature so are good to use when cooking.
Extra virgin olive oil is healthy when used raw. Low cooking/smoking temps so not good to cook with.
Vegetable oils are extremely processed- the oils are chemically removed, deodorized, and heated and are manufactured by GMO crops, heavily treated with pesticides. High in omega 6, already overly abundant in our diets and lead to more inflammation.
AVOID!!! Trans fats – processed so that normally liquid vegetable oils turn out solid. The primary source partially hydrogenated oil. Trans fats ARE linked to heart disease and weight gain,
High in protein, Arginine, glycine, proline and glutamine- amino acids that helps to heal the tissues of the intestines, boost detox and supports immune system. Also gelatin, collagen, minerals and electrolytes.
Herbs are superfoods
Contain an array of minerals and compounds that can boost our healing work – ginger, licorice (DGL), slippery elm, mallow, peppermint, aloe, turmeric.
Remember what is around and on our bodies eventually goes into our bodies such as: Chemical exposure from cookware, Off gassing from new furniture, carpet, mattresses, chemical cleaners & laundry soaps, air fresheners & fragrances, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos and conditioners.
The adrenals and stress response- fight or flight vs. rest and digest
Stress response- cortisol affects sex-hormones, inflammation and immune function
Find your coping mechanism for stress and expressing emotions
Moderate frequent exercising- yoga, tai qi or qigong, brisk walks
Step 5: Re-Test & Repeat
After 2 months of figuring out the triggers and eliminating them, cleansing & healing the gut, you can start to re-introduce. One at a time, eat a triggering food once (in a large quantity) and wait 4 days- write down how you feel with that food. Introduce another food item, repeat. If you have a reaction, do not go back to eating that food and continue the healing process. Set backs are natural, just go back to what has worked.
Be patient! In some cases it can take a year of clean eating to heal the gut enough to reintroduce some foods.
The GAPS Diet focuses on removing foods that are difficult to digest and damaging to gut flora and replacing them with nutrient-dense foods to give the intestinal lining a chance to heal and seal.
ANDI Food Scores: Rating the Nutrient Density of Foods
Rating system that lists foods based off of the levels of various vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients per calorie consumed.
Glycemic index, limiting sugar is important for the healing process. The glycemic index is a list of foods and their sugar content.
Fats are good for you!
Healing Power of Bone Broth, it’s not just another fad diet.
Good read: Nourishing Broth http://nourishingbroth.com/
Sprouting, do it yourself sprouting to make these foods easier to digest.
Link to Wild Fermentation Book, another way to ease digestion.
Online cosmetics database, toxicity rating system.