We can “tip our hats” to someone while bowing to them by leaning forward from our gut, our core. We “tip a waiter/waitress” after a meal, symbolic of a bowing gratefulness after having filled our gut. How appropriate then to offer some tips back to ourselves to promote a healthy gut.
Our gut, stretching from our mouth to the anus has its core functioning going on in our stomach and intestines. Therein, we can nurture our life force. The nurturing of life is a primary emphasis in holistic medicine and usually cannot proceed without first having a healthy gut. Conventional medical care offers more militaristic-style solutions for chronic ills, rather than heightening our ability to nurture ourselves optimally, all of which begins with eating right to feed a healthy gut.
The tips about to be provided are intentionally both systemic (affecting our whole body) and specific to the gut, with no clear demarcation because it all works together. What helps our gut helps the whole body and vice versa. Thus, with the following ten whole-body and specific gut-nurturing tips, we can heal the gut and ourselves systemically.
- Following an Alkaline/Anti-Inflammatory, Plant-Based Diet — A plant-based diet offers the body what it needs most, lower caloric and higher nutrient intakes. Plants also are more fiber rich, antioxidant, anticoagulant, and lacking in the cholesterol which can potentially clog our arteries. Meat, fish, dairy and eggs, all end up leaving behind coagulant fatty deposits and acidic ash, while being laced with harmful antibiotics, hormones, persistent environmental toxins, genetic mutations, toxic agricultural additives, addictive hyper-palatability chemicals, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) — just for starters — to bring many harms to our gut. From the gut onward, we release this same onslaught into our bloodstream. Over the course of literally decades, acidified and toxic body fluids can produce bodily ills, including what weakens the gut. As the gut falters, we digest foods poorly, develop leaky guts, or suffer from Crohn’s disease. We can then get yet worse results and start an overall downward health tack. This is why Dr. Roger Greenlaw refers to the gut as our gateway to either health or chronic disease. What’s so bad about having just a slightly acid bloodstream? Acid on a laboratory counter can burn a hole and cause smoke. An acid is thus pro-inflammatory, and fire extracts light from a substance. Light carries the holistic rainbow principle (all color separations come out of and return to white light). What if inner light (consciousness) further manifests such a principle, keeping us inwardly whole? Secondly, let us suppose that inflammations are capable of taking out the inner light which then leads inexorably to chronic illnesses, the destruction of our inner wholeness. If our diet is pro-inflammatory (full of animal products, alcohol, sugary soft drinks, simple carbs, caffeinated drinks, processed and fried foods), we eventually see chronic illnesses.
- Eating Organic Raw Whole Living Foods — If by means of a plant-based diet, we want to not only help avoid disease but also promote the strongest vibrant living; taking in an array of whole, seasonally grown, organic, raw-living, high nutritional density foods puts the finishing touches on our dietary plans. With each meal, we can enjoy an assortment of organic sprouts, fresh salad veggies, fermented kimchi and sauerkraut, superfoods, fresh green juices, and raw nutritionally dense foods like algae, leafy greens and seaweeds — to supremely nurture our gut. A favorite food supplement of mine is freshly-ground curcumin, garlic, ginger, and flax seeds using a simple coffee grinder. If it’s a maintenance diet, let us think 80% whole living foods. If it is a healing diet to reverse chronic/systemic illness, let us target 100%.
- Drinking Ample Water — Since water makes up 70% of our body and conducts nutrients into our intestines and later our blood stream, we should not let ourselves become dehydrated. However, with the pollution affecting all waterways on Earth, plus the addition of fluoride to most municipal water systems, it is a good idea to clean our water. Early in the day, having a glass of pure water, or with lemon and/or a green powder, can give the gut, kidneys and blood vessels a good flush. Eight glasses of fluids a day, half a gallon, can be a guideline to help maintain our gut and overall bodies’ health.
- Maintaining Clean Gut Blood Vessels — Without clean small intestinal arteries (there are 12 – 15 of them), our gut’s digestion processes cannot best nurture us. If we have been eating a standard Western diet, which is pro-inflammatory, some of the past harm will need to be undone. When inflamed, the vessels develop vasculitis followed by arteriosclerosis or an inflexible hardening and narrowing. They may further be filled with coagulated fat, calcium or other deposits. To clean out this mess, it is a good idea, on a daily basis, to take systemic enzymes in between meals and digestive enzymes with meals. When showering, it’s also a good idea to massage the gut with a loofa brush or pad to stimulate circulation.
- Maintaining Healthy Gut Nerves — The gut is sometimes referred to as the second brain being replete with many nerve cells. From the esophagus to the anus, the enteric nervous system contains 100 million neurons, more than the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.4 About two-thirds of brain cells and neurons are composed of fats. It is thus advisable to feed these cells with the best quality fats, especially those high in Omega-3s such as flaxseed oil (which boasts almost three times more Omega-3s than in any other plant-based food).
- Keeping Up Intra-cellular Health — Our life force lives inside our cells, and to keep those reaches healthy we need water or alkaline liquids, and not too much salt or sugar in our diets, to maintain a balanced intra-cellular fluids flow. At the present time, glutathione is the only known supplement known to help detox intracellular fluids. It is best absorbed by the gut on an empty stomach.
- Gut Exercises — Aerobic exercises overall help the flow of the vital forces. But we don’t often think of deep breathing while exercising as a means of flexing the gut. As the lungs fill up, the gut muscles contract. With high-intensity exercise, we function nearer to 100% of our aerobic capacity. This then helps to boost the metabolic rate, burns belly fat and improves glucose tolerance. Doing a half hour daily exercise and at least three days a week optimal aerobic exercise, will dramatically impact the belly. Weight training is a further complement. Sit ups, both straight and to the side, forward and back bends, squats with lunges all help to develop the gut muscles.
- Giving the Gut Ample Rest — Like any part of the body, the gut is constantly working for us and thus needs rest. There are a number of ways of help this along. We can have an all liquid diet day once a week. We can delay breakfast or have dinner early to rest the digestive tract for an extended time. Alternatively, we can lighten some of our meals. Furthermore, getting extra sleep, lowering the stress level in our lives (emotional pains we feel in our gut) will help give the gut a well-deserved rest.
- Seasonal Gut Fasting — Juice fasting is a more of a high-intensity rest for the gut. This can be done seasonally and for a few days, and with proper guidance from a health professional. Such fasting can help to strengthening the gut’s digestive functioning by eliminating accumulated toxins.
- Enlivening the Gut’s Microbiome — Our body contains nearly 10 trillion microbes, about 100 times as many microbes as cells in the body. As a second brain, our gut’s state of health seems to be intimately related to general neurological health. At the same time, the gastro-intestinal tract contains 70 – 80% of the cells that activate our immune system — something that makes a lot of sense since the gut lies so close to our core and the immune system pulls us to a core wholeness. It behooves us to thus take care of that gut’s ecology, avoiding antibiotics and synthetics which can kill the good bacteria in our gut. It is further helpful to supplement with probiotics periodically to nurture this supremely invaluable microbiome. (See page 52 for information on HHI’s new probiotic line).
by Nathan Batalion, PhD, Certified Traditional Naturopath
- An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Check-List That Can Transform Your Life-http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/an-anti-inflammatory-diet-check-list-that-can-transform-your-life/
- Think Twice- How the Gut’s Second Brain Influences Mood and Well-Being-http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/