“Health is wealth.” As cheesy and as simplistic as it may sound, this old adage holds a special significance to society now, more than ever. There’s just no substitute to good health. Not a pill, prescription drug or perhaps financial success. In this fast paced world we’re living in, health plays second fiddle to transient security. It comes as second nature for people these days to find instant answers to an otherwise lifelong complication. More often than not, we end up getting band-aid solutions that could prove detrimental in the long run.
Why complicate things when the answer is right in front of you—ready to be implemented and realized at will. The natural way is the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. That’s a known fact. It’s just that it requires a great deal of time, effort and lifelong decisions to be carried out effectively; the very reason why many people choose the artificial means of alleviating health-related concerns. Case in point: The treatment of the leaky gut syndrome that has brought more synthetic prescriptions than natural medications just because the former are more convenient to implement and offer instant symptomatic relief—albeit temporarily. Overtime, they do more harm than good so it’s highly important to steer clear of these synthetic ‘quick fixes’ before you exacerbate a perfectly curable syndrome.
The natural way of healing a leaky gut though straightforward, can be challenging to those who are always on the go as they require some lifestyle changes. It really is not that hard if you think about it. You just have to go over the hump and get rid of the habits that are destroying your body from within. Plus, it has no side effects like its artificial counterparts so you really have nothing to lose should you decide to follow it. This natural guide isn’t just designed to heal your leaky gut. It can also boost overall health and well-being. Go through the step by step guide to healing the gut and I guarantee you that when all is said and done, you’d be more energetic and productive than ever before.
Yup, you read it right; that annoyingly taxing ‘C’ word. If you have constipation, chances are you have a leaky gut. You may think that this is a normal thing to experience every once in a while. Well, it’s not. When you’re constipated, waste materials that you should be getting rid of get reabsorbed by your body. These materials contain toxins and are ideal breeding grounds for harmful bacteria, pathogens and parasites just to name a few. The key to a healthy gut is to clear constipation.
Normal bowel movement happens within 12 to 24 hours after every meal. If you’re transit time is longer than this, you’re constipated. The moment you know that you have this condition, treat it right away before it worsens. There are plenty of ways to alleviate this and they are simpler than you might think they would be.
Just like any other health-related issues, prevention is better than cure. It’s important to know which things to avoid and which ones to take in order to cure this uncomfortable condition. More often than not, the common medication you’re taking bolsters your leaky gut. Over-the-counter laxatives or food/drugs that stimulate withdrawal of bowels from the body have been known to damage the gut instead of healing it. These are just two of the most notorious ones out there that you should avoid at all costs.
- Stool softeners like Colace and other similar medication. These medications soften the stool and making it easier to pass by moving water and fats into it. Though these may work temporarily in relieving yourself of the uncomfortable symptoms brought about by constipation, they contain harmful chemicals and toxins that would irritate and inflame the intestinal lining. They also create some sort of dependency so whenever you try to grab hold of them everytime you’re constipated, just stop! Think of the possible complications they create and look for safer and effective alternatives instead.
- Stimulant Laxatives such as Dulcolax, Ex-Lax etc. These drugs activate the nerves of the colon to generate bowel movement. Not only do they contain chemicals and harmful toxins that damage, irritate and inflame the intestinal lining and bowels, they also weaken the rectal muscles and create dependency. Initially, they provide relief but in the long run, they just aggravate the condition so it’s better to just stay away from them before you do more damage to your gut.
Now that we’ve got those unhealthy laxatives out of the way, it’s time to consider healthier alternatives. They work not just by treating the symptoms but by dealing with the root cause of the problem. So, take note of them and choose accordingly.
- Probiotics. Commonly referred to as the ‘good bacteria’, these are microorganisms that have been known to boost not just overall digestive health but a healthy immune system as well. They work best when the constipation is caused by the imbalance or lack of bacteria in your colon. Sources include yogurt, select dairy and cheese products, kimchi etc. The great thing about these food sources is that they’re tasty and you can incorporate them in every meal.
- Water. One of the most common causes of constipation is dehydration and when you’re dehydrated what do you do? You drink water. Why take medication when you can treat it by simply drinking lots of water? It’s not only effective, it’s also inexpensive. Many people these days suffer from chronic dehydration because they drink too much coffee, soda and other sugar-rich beverages. Proper hydration requires a minimum intake of water amounting to ½ of your body weight in ounces on a daily basis. So let’s just say that you weigh 160 lbs, then you should be drinking 80 ounces of water daily. Simple as that. When you drink lots of caffeinated or sugar-rich beverages, it’s advisable to drink more than what’s required.
- Diet. Poor diet is also one of the common causes of dehydration. Since most of us are always on the go, we tend to eat processed foods as they are easy to store and much easier to prepare. This practice should be stopped right now! Processed foods don’t only provide adequate mass to make a properly formed stool they also attract harmful bacteria, parasites and other pathogens. Instead of these convenient yet unhealthy food sources, try to eat whole foods like vegetables, meats, nuts, fruits etc. as they provide you with fiber and essential nutrients that are necessary for a healthy digestive system.
- Magnesium. It’s the fourth most abundant mineral in the body that is also a great supplement for hydration and diet. It acts as a natural laxative by relaxing and attracting water to your colon, thereby softening the stool. It is also needed in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. Sources include green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains, seeds and nuts just to name a few.
2.) Treating the Inflammation
Once the constipation has been dealt with accordingly, the next logical step is to remove the inflammation along the intestinal walls. There are foods that generate immune reaction within the intestines which in turn cause inflammation. When the gut is inflamed, you can’t properly digest your food. Such condition is called ‘food intolerance’. If you continue to eat foods you’re intolerant to, the undigested wastes would eventually leak through the intestinal tract. When this happens, your immune system would have a tendency to work extra hard to protect your body against ‘foreign invaders’ leading to an overactive immune system. Once an overactive immune system is left untreated, it will eventually progress into an auto-immune disease.
- Food Intolerance. Food intolerance is often misconstrued as food allergies when in fact they are two different things. Food allergies create immediate conspicuous physical symptoms like when someone experiences anaphylaxis because he/she has eaten seafood even if he/she is allergic to it. On the other hand, food intolerances are much harder to detect because they’re immune reactions are delayed. Symptoms would typically start to manifest anywhere from 2-24 hours after eating. Also, (believe it or not) most foods you’re intolerant to are those you crave the most. This is because during digestion, such foods are being broken into opiate like substances. These substances have addictive properties and when you have a leaky gut, they seep through the digestive tract, into the bloodstream and into the brain—triggering an addiction.
The common symptoms of food intolerance are migraines, heartburn, chronic diarrhea, arthritis, chronic fatigue, insomnia, muscle pain, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, sinusitis, weight imbalances, fibromyalgia, skin eruptions, ADD/ADHD and other headaches. If you are experiencing any of the following, you might have a leaky gut.
- Foods That You Should Avoid
a.) Pasteurized Cow Dairy. There are a lot of people who are intolerant to dairy like milk and cheese. Whether the symptomatic reactions to a particular individual are bearable or not is immaterial. When you’re intolerant to this type of food source, there’s bound to be an inflammation or intestinal damage. Ever heard of the term ‘lactose intolerance’? Well, this happens because once the intestinal tract is damaged, it loses the ability to digest lactose. This condition is treatable though, and once the gut is repaired, you’d be able to consume dairy without any symptoms. So while you’re still suffering from leaky gut, it’s highly advisable to find alternative food sources that contain calcium such as green leafy vegetables and nuts.
b.) Sugar. When you’re suffering from leaky gut, your intestinal lining is no longer capable of producing enzymes that are necessary to break down sugar. When sugar remains undigested, it would eventually start to ferment and becomes a breeding ground for yeast, parasite and bacteria that would cause more damage to your gut.
c.) Artificial Sweeteners. Well people might think that since sugar can exacerbate the leaky gut syndrome, artificial sweeteners might be healthier alternatives. Well the assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth! Just because the label says ‘sugar free’ doesn’t mean that it’s safe. In fact, they can be more harmful than sugar since they contain toxic chemicals that are manufactured to replicate its sweet taste. Furthermore, they don’t just cause inflammation to the digestive tract; they’re also associated to migraines, fatigue and cancer among other things.
d.) Gluten/Wheat. Gluten Intolerance is very hard to diagnose as its symptoms are wide-ranging. When left untreated, not only does it damage the intestinal tract, it also contributes to anemia, bowel cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. Instead of cereal, bagel or bread, get your daily dose of carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.
e.) Processed food. I can’t stress enough how harmful these food sources are to your gut and to your body. They’re nothing but flavored toxins. Toxins that when ingested, can cause long-term damage to the body. Avoid at all cost!
f.) White Table Salt. Another chemically produced product manufactured to mimic the taste of the real thing, white table salt is actually a crude oil byproduct with a touch of bleach for aesthetic purposes. It also contains at least 30 toxic and synthetic chemicals. Need I say more?
3.) Food Rotation
Food rotation is a diet regimen wherein you’re only allowed to eat biologically related foods once (within a day) for the entire duration of 4 days. The idea is that it takes 4 days for food to completely pass through your system therefore; eating more than one food group within that time frame would eventually lead to the development of food sensitivity or intolerance. Food rotation is also a great method of determining whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to the foods you’re eating.
This diet regimen is straightforward but it requires dedication and careful planning to execute properly. There are no shortcuts or cheat days so unless you’re really committed to it, don’t ever attempt to try it as all your efforts would only be all for naught. The key to a successful rotation diet is careful planning and perseverance. Follow the simple steps below and be guided accordingly.
Simplified Steps to a Successful Rotation Diet
1.) List the foods you are allowed to eat. Before embarking on this life-changing diet program, consult your doctor or nutritionist first. Ask him/her what foods you’re allergic to in order to prevent health-related issues from developing throughout the course of the program. Once you’ve determined which foods to avoid, list those that you can tolerate. Just because you’re on a diet, doesn’t mean that your food should taste terrible. What good is a diet regimen when you’re not having fun? Just remember that whatever you choose throughout the day, make sure to include grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fruits and proteins in your meal.
2.) Print out the list. Once you’ve narrowed down the food groups that you decide to eat in each day, have them printed out and head to the nearest grocery store. Then, choose recipes (using the food groups listed) that suit your taste. There are a lot of recipes on the net that are available for free so choose to your heart’s content. Follow the pattern on the list and repeat the whole process after the 4th day.
3.) Have a food journal ready. Print out a food journal with a corresponding time, date and meal choices. Once you’ve eaten your meal, list all the food and drinks you’ve consumed. After 1-2 hours, enter any reaction or symptom you’ve experienced. Look for common symptoms to certain foods in every journal. If you find the same bad reaction to certain foods in both journals, this means that you’re intolerant to them. Remove the food item(s) immediately! Wait for 3-6 months or when the leaky gut is completely healed before including them again in your diet.
There are plenty of available ‘Food Rotation’ lists/tables and sample ‘Food Journals’ out there (complete with detailed instructions) not just on the internet. Just be resourceful. Better yet, if you know a friend or someone who have successfully integrated the food rotation diet in their everyday activities, ask them how they did it. The good news is that it can be customized to your liking. Just remember that just like any diet regimen out there, it requires trial and error before they start working smoothly. When you do it long enough, it becomes second nature.
You are what you eat or perhaps consume. Everything that you ingest, affects your body for better or for worse. The step by step guide to healing the gut is firmly anchored to this rock-solid belief. Healing is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Expediting your progress would only aggravate a completely amenable situation. Just like the old saying goes: “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” Synthetic or artificial means only produce fleeting results; they’re definitely not in it for the long haul. For a lasting relief to a leaky gut and its offshoots, choose the natural route. It is the safest and most effective option out there. Plus, it also is the most cost-effective. When it comes to health, no stone should be left unturned.
Follow this step by step guide to healing your gut and heal yourself from within—just like what nature intended it to be. No ifs, no buts; just pure unadulterated therapy.