I’m feeling a lot better today. Whew, not quite as bloated and full of hot air.
I think the problem is… I suspect, and have done for some time that my digestive health is not as it should be to be able to handle ALL these raw foods so fast… So I admit, I am now having one cooked meal at dinner time, vegetarian, in order to give my tummy a rest.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the subject for quite some time now because poor digestive health is linked to so many different conditions and diseases including auto immune diseases -and if you don’t already know I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
Other conditions that can be attributed to poor digestion are Eczema, diabetes,
arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, migraines and even depression.
You see, 80% of our immune system lies in the digestive system and boy is it a complex system.
To be honest it’s quite scientific, but what I am reading about and realising is that the ABSOLUTE key to health is good digestion.
It’s not so much “you are what you eat….but just as importantly – you are what you digest!”
As I am learning, this is why so many people today are so unhealthy, because of subquality diets and inefficient digestion.
When I went on that cruise last year I attended a nutrition talk and the woman said we should all poop after every meal. (Whoa you’re thinking…..this has quickly deteriorated to toilet talk. I make no apologies…..pooping is IMPORTANT, and really I gave you a clue in the title. )
This has stuck with me ever since.
It seemed ridiculous, but thinking about it, it does make sense.
If you are eating well and your digestive system is WORKING well it makes sense that you will have waste products that need to be expelled regularly, because if they don’t they sit and fester in your gut…..and then you become UFO woman like me. 😦
Three times a day may be a bit excessive but at least once a day is pretty important….so if you’re not pooping (with ease) at least once a day, and you are EATING then take heed….it probably means your digestive system is impaired to some degree.
So what kinds of things cause our guts to become slow and sluggish and not work as they should?
Well, this is what I have learned and I’m not just copying from websites, I have read all this enough times to be able to remember it all, and after all, it’s just basic common sense anyway.
Not drinking enough WATER is definitely a cause, and most of us just don’t drink enough WATER.
Tea and coffee doesn’t count because caffeine actually increases dehydration and alcohol definitely doesn’t count for the exact same reason, as well as other detrimental health effects.
Sugary drinks are pure poison, as are diet drinks so really, sorry, so boring but….it’s good old H20 that we need.
By the time you realise you are thirsty it means you are already dehydrated!
A big glass of water the minute you wake up is a good way to help get digestion started. Two or three is even better but at least one is a good start.
Too much sugar is probably THE most damaging thing for gut health and let’s face it, it is the insidious killer.
Sugars cause havoc on our digestive organs and can cause an overgrowth of yeast (candida) in the gut which impairs the absorption of valuable nutrients.
The use of antibiotics also causes imbalances in the bacteria in your gut which is why you should ALWAYS take a probiotic such as Inner Health Plus (acidophilus) after a course of antibiotics in order to restore the balance.
Eating plain yoghurt (not fruit or flavoured yoghurt as that is full of sugar – anything that says “low fat” is almost guaranteed to have loads of added sugar) will help but you can’t consume enough of it to replace the bacteria that is lost after taking antibiotics.
The liver in particularly is severely impacted by too much sugar….and I’m not talking lollies, or cakes or white table sugar, I’m talking carbohydrates (which your body converts to sugar) and alcohol. Yes, drinking copious amounts of alcohol is just like pouring spoon fulls of sugar down your gullet.
If you consume too many foods that contain sugar, or your body converts to sugar – like carbs, then your liver becomes overloaded, clogged up and sluggish which can then lead to what’s called “fatty liver disease”.
And I want to say here that I had fatty liver disease.
I used to drink two or three glasses of wine EVERY NIGHT, never any more than that though because I’m a cheap drunk 🙂 but that was enough to cause an extremely fatty liver, which I reversed completely by immediately giving up alcohol and following a strict diet.
Now I only very occasionally have a glass or two of wine.
There are other causes too of course – overuse of certain NSAIDS (drugs like ibuprofen and other anti inflammatory drugs)
When your liver becomes fatty it cannot function well, digestion slows down and as a result less nutrients are able to be absorbed into your system which is why you see so much about “liver detox diets”.
And let me just say too, you don’t have to be FAT to have a fatty liver. There are many thin people with fatty livers as well as “fats” clogging up their arteries.
Not enough fibre in our diets causes digestive issues so if you are living on a diet of fast foods, processed foods with little to no natural fibre rich foods like FRUIT and VEGETABLES then you are doing your body a great disservice and believe me, it WILL come back to bite you in the bum – literally.
Bowel cancer is a reality and it is linked to poor diet and poor digestion.
Can you see the correlation already of poor diet to disease?
Remember….DIS – EASE. An imbalance.
And what are the first signs of “dis- ease’?
Well, digestive issues for a start.
Poor skin condition, dry brittle hair, the inability to fight off common illnesses like colds and flu’s, poor healing ability, fatigue, inflammation and even mood disorders like depression.
Another cause of poor digestion, and one that has sparked a really big light bulb moment for me is lack of digestive enzymes…. especially because of the link to this situation with hashimoto’s. (many people with hashimoto’s have vitamin and mineral deficiencies.)
For so long now I have been pouring all these healthy foods into my body with very little improvement and I think it’s because I am more than likely lacking the proper digestive enzymes. My theory anyway. Doctors just want to shove prescriptions at me and I’m not having it!
There are quite a few of these handy little buggers that are released to help your body break down your food so it can be digested and absorbed.
Sometimes as we age we have problems with producing enough digestive enzymes and think about it, if you are like me and in your forties or fifties, are you finding there are certain foods you USED to be able to eat…..but now your body protests if you eat them? (Like bloating, gas, indigestion and constipation)
This could be because you aren’t making enough of these oh so important digestive enzymes.
You can actually buy supplements of digestive enzymes, but I like to look for natural alternatives first….and these are things like Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice taken before each meal.
This is what I’m trying at the moment anyway.
We can also develop sensitivities to foods.
Gluten is the big one.
Breads, pastries, pasta anything with wheat in it…it’s all pretty nutritional devoid anyway, yet we as a culture shovel it in like there’s no tomorrow.
Well, it CAN sometimes contribute to inflammation and this in turn leads to the inability to absorb nutrients.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s bloody hard going gluten free because like sugar it’s hidden in SO many things… but by aiming to reduce, at least the amount of gluten you consume I can promise you this, you WILL end up eating a far healthier diet, because you HAVE to.
So the bottom line (sorry, a pun) really is that in order to DIGEST your nutrients you need a healthy fully operational machine – the gut, in order to do that.
And how do you restore your gut? It’s kind of a catch 22 – you begin eating right for a start, take probiotics, digestive enzymes if needed, cut out as much caffeine, sugar and alcohol as you can, reduce stress levels (that’s another one I didn’t mention that contributes to poor digestive health) get plenty of sleep AND….oh yes, one other thing…..excercise. (I’m still working on that.)
PS….I nearly fell over this morning when my fifteen year old weetbix munching son, of his own accord made himself and I a dragonfruit, plum and raspberry smoothie for breakfast.
PPS, I am not a doctor. This is all my personal opinion formed through reading as much material I can on the subject of Hashimoto’s, diet and nutritional articles written by doctors, nutritionists and others in the medical field.