Are You Listening To Your Gut?

It’s really a challenge to stay on a high raw lifestyle when you live with others who are not.  I took last week and challenged myself to juicing as much as I could.  First I have to say I felt wonderful immediately.  My stomach aches disappeared and as of today, I lost four pounds.  I don’t usually crave cooked, but I was at that point before I started this.  That craving has disappeared along with the sugar cravings.  I’ve been at this point many times over the past few years.  Although I eat a high raw diet, I have my moments.  So it always feels great to get back to who I know I really am.  The emotional piece is another issue.  It seemed my body took me on a whirlwind of processing this last week. 

Do you pop antacids during the day?  Do you take over the counter meds for acid reflux or digestion issues?  If your digestive system isn’t breaking down the nutrients in your food and absorbing it properly, your body won’t be able to stay healthy.  The first question you should ask yourself is, “How’s my poop?”  I know, a touchy subject.  But if your digestive system, from stomach to colon, isn’t working to its optimum efficiency, you won’t be having regular bowel movements.  By regular, I mean 1-2 a day. 

Here are some symptoms of poor digestive health:  Hypertension, joint inflammation, migraines, acne, congestion, anxiety, depression, fuzzy thinking, and loss of bone density.  Most of us have lived with stomach problems for so long, we can’t imagine it being any way else or that there is a solution.  And how many of us are not even making the connection between most of these dis-eases in the body and the food we eat?  Most of your immune system activity starts in the stomach.  Inflammation starts in your digestive system.  Your gastrointestinal system is the part of you that breaks down your food into raw materials and energy.  If you are having problems breaking down and absorbing this food, it can cause many symptoms and start to address other concerns.   Other symptoms that let you know you are not absorbing nutrients are: cramping, gas, weight loss, loss of muscle, chronic diarrhea or constipation, bloating, and hard or fatty stool.

This is the first time I’ve heard of the enteric nervous system (ENS).  Your emotional health is connected to your GI system through the ENS.  You know how your stomach feels when you are stressed?  The mind-body connection is very powerful for maintaining or recovering your physical health.  Your GI tract is 20-30 feet long and lined with a protective mucosal barrier.  In this tract, all food-based antigens, toxins and pathogens (disease causing) are looked at and managed.  Having healthy microflora in your GI tract is one of the most powerful ways to enhance your digestion and build immunity. 

What affects the flora in your gut?  The food you eat, its pH balance, fiber, essential fatty acid content, and glycemic load.  Don’t forget about past antibiotic use!  So if you are not eating a living food lifestyle, and the lining of your GI tract is too permeable, undigested food particles will cross into the bloodstream, causing a condition called leaky gut.  This seems like such a small problem, right?  Food particles?  How can that affect my health?  If all of your systems aren’t working properly, foreign invaders are more harmful.  Your body cannot fight off dis-ease and harmful organisms.  When not working properly, your immune system starts a natural and essential result…an inflammatory response.  This leads to chronic inflammation in your digestive tract and that can lead to certain reactions to food, like dairy and gluten intolerances. 

So are you getting the idea?  If your digestive tract isn’t working properly, it’s probably due to your food intake and emotional well-being.  Raw foods will absolutely help.  The body does not need to expend so much energy in the digestion process and you won’t have to take things like; enzymes, probiotics, acidophilus to restore digestive balance, reset the immune response and aid inflammation.  Your body will crave that which it is allergic to.  Eating a diet high in living foods can help with cravings and emotional well-being.  This type of lifestyle, along with healthy fats and protein, will help your digestive metabolism and regulate your insulin and cortisol.  All of this will give you more energy and definitely elevate your mood. 

Your body used digestive enzymes, stomach acid, bile and digestive hormones to break down food.  Common among adults is an enzyme deficiency in lactase.  This enzyme is needed to digest milk products.  Your stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) decreases as you age.  If you use a pH-balanced diet this will help you not pop those antacids anymore.  Created in the liver, bile is stored in your gallbladder.  Bile is a mixture of cholesterol, salts, pigments, water and minerals and is vital for fat digestion.  There are many hormones used to influence appetite and regulate digestion.  So it certainly looks like if your body cannot provide a healthy level of these fluids, you will definitely experience problems with detoxification AND have trouble maintaining a safe and healthy weight.  Bigger problems include anemia, kidney stones, gallstones, gout and malnutrition.

What else can you do?  Try eliminating the foods that give you stomach aches.  Eating more living foods, taking digestive enzymes and putting back the good bacteria, especially after a dose of antibiotics.  When you eat, just eat.  Chew slowly until your food is liquid.  Remember what Ghandhi said…”Chew your drink and drink your food.”  Stop drinking with your meal.  If you must drink, small amounts of room temperature water is better.  Remember, your goal is to absorb the nutrients of the food you eat and eliminate the rest.  You do not want to have undigested food hanging around having a party in your stomach or your digestive tract.  That can only lead to lots of bacteria that also poops a lot! Don’t even get me started on that one!  Have a great day!

   

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