One of the things I kept hearing by various people on the Podcasts, was about how important your gut is.
Its logical I suppose, actually its downright obvious really – EVERYTHING we eat and drink (good or bad) is processed through the stomach and as such this is where all the nutrients we need to survive are first broken down and absorbed.
That said, although the importance of the gut is glaringly bleedin obvious, I NEVER gave it a second thought. Over the years I would have had worries, thoughts and conversations about :
- Healthy Heart
- Healthy Liver
- Healthy Lungs
- Healthy Brain
- Healthy Bones
When you hear very intelligent, well researched information both scientific and anecdotal from various people high up in the health industry consistently explaining that you cant really have any of the above without first ensuring you have a “Healthy Gut” then the importance starts to hit home.
Over the years I had many doses of Anti-biotics, drank Gaviscon directly from the bottle, swallowed Rennie by the bucketload, taken shedloads of other chemical medications and eaten such nutrient dead, chemical laden foods whilst imbibing on everything but water then I think it would be a safe bet to say my gut was abused into oblivion!!!
Yes I was making baby steps towards a much healthier dietary regime but I came to realise that if my gut wasn’t working efficiently then no matter what healthy food I ate, my body would still not be taking in those lubbley jubbley nutrients to its best ability.
After all: “You Are What You Absorb NOT What You Eat!!!”
Sure with what I was doing already I was getting better. My body was healing itself from what I like to think of now as me declaring war on it with shock and awe tactics for 15 odd years but in my quest for Health & Happiness I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t give it all the tools I could to help it along its way.
Seem a bit weird, me talking about my body in the 3rd person?
Maybe, but its how I like to think about it now because just the bacteria in your bowel outnumber the cells in your entire body by a factor of 10 to 1. With over 100 trillion bacteria (about 3lbs worth) known as microflora – these little things can basically control your whole life – they make the environment suitable to them which can be toxic to you or beneficial to you.
Every person’s assembly of microflora is unique to them, like fingerprints and DNA.
Only a few of the more than 500 species of bacteria found in the bowel have been studied in depth. Some create vitamins such as K, B5, B9 and B12. Others help improve absorption of magnesium, calcium and iron.
The good bugs defend their turf from pathogenic intruders.
A large percentage of the immune system is located around the bowel and probiotics are important for the maintenance and regulation of immunity, helping prevent coughs, colds and infections.
Other conditions that respond well to probiotics include diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, eczema and asthma.
They can control moods, illness, cravings, aches & pains etc. There is more bacterial DNA in our Genome than there is human!!!
Oh how intellectual of me huh!! Nope its in my notes!! Here is the way I interpreted it….
Remember the film Men In Black?
There is a scene where a door opens on a humans body and sat on a chair inside with its hands on the controls was a little alien and it was being told off by Will Smith…….. HAHAHA and back down to my simpleton world with a crash!!Who is really in charge? Are we just an evolved vessel for the bacteria to have a safe home? Who’s craving the toxic food? You or The Bad Bacteria so they can multiply? eeeerrrrrrr WTF! Sorry about the Tales Of The Unexpected nutter talk there <cough>
Back in the room!!! Where was I? OK try to think of your body as a Coral Reef, a marvel of nature, a huge complex bio-system that adapts but nonetheless is a very fragile eco-system – We share a symbiotic relationship with our bacteria of which as the Human DNA Vs Bacterial DNA amounts actually show, we are the lesser partner.
When I thought about it like that it was easy to make the decision to see what I could do to help out “My Neighbours” and in turn help me out… see symbiotic 🙂
I started off with an intolerance test. A hair sample sent off to a lab is so simple. I was very aware though that these tests are not really conclusive they can show a lot of false positives but I just wanted a baseline to start from and the difference between a much better blood test and the hair sample can be around £350.00 so the much cheaper £45 test would be OK for now.
I did have a couple of foods that gave me an almost immediate negative reaction when I ate them so was interested to see if they showed on the test. Off went my samples.
While I waited for the results I started to see what else I could do. Over the previous 6 months or so I had drastically reduced my sugar intake by completely coming OFF all Low Fat products (full of sugar), fizzy drinks, bread and apart from the odd treat nearly stopped all chocolate…….
Don’t worry, a little way into the future I found (Sam did) an amazing homemade chocolate recipe. It is made with so much fat, its got more calories than dairy milk, snickers, mars etc but its ingredients are all clean, free from chemicals and full of nutrients!! Seriously tasty, I love it…. who wants the recipe?
Apart from all the positives though I was still eating quite a lot of processed foods so the journey began looking for tasty homemade meals that appeased my cravings, my goals and gave me an abundance of those gorgeous nutrients I wanted. This is a lifelong fun hobby as well – always looking for new recipes and new ingredients to make mouth watering food that is both scrummy & nutritious..
I defy anyone to not like Fitter Foods Scotch Eggs…..mmmmmmmm
Check these guys out – seriously the meals are double de-lish!! yummy!
I had been supplementing with Pro-biotics but just a cheap brand so decided to spend a bit of money on VSL#3. This product has 450 billion Pro-biotics per serving!! Its not needed for very long, its used by hospitals and doctors normally to fix the gut flora after surgery where a patient has been bombarded with super strength anti-biotics to ensure they do not get an infection.
I used these for about a month and then went on to a more standard multi strain blend but always ensured there was a minimum of 20 billion per day.
I also got some Pre-biotics (Bimuno) that I just added to my tea or coffee.
Prebiotics are food for probiotics.
Prebiotics can also be found in asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, beans, chickpeas, lentils and supplementary fibres such as psyllium, pectin, guar gum and slippery elm.
I started looking at fermented foods such as Saurkraut, Kefir, Tempeh and Kimchi, also I started drinking Kombucha which is an ancient fermented tea.
All of the above is a little weird at first but I actually really like them now and the benefits for digestive health are off the charts.
I am actually toying with the idea of starting to make my own fermented foods.
This is another long term project of mine, there are no immediately noticeable results but it wasn’t that long until I did see some changes.
Bloating stopped after eating, errr gas shall we say wasn’t as errrr tuneful or vile smelling, without getting into too much detail bowel movement were more regular and normal consistency (I’m so sorry!!). 😀
I had plenty of symptoms that pointed towards gut problems such as skin rashes, fungal toenail infections and spotty skin and a year on these have nearly all gone – only thing left is a small rash on my arm and 2 slightly infected toenails that are normal thickness now just slightly off colour.
To put this in perspective I had these issues for years and had actually been previously prescribed medicine so powerful to clear the infections that they could only allow one course per year as they could cause liver and kidney failure! These medications by the way FAILED and although its taken a year so far it seems that looking after my pals in my gut using completely clean means is doing what these chemicals can’t!
It sounds like I am against doctors and medication but I’m not – trust me I am a wuss and as soon as I get a cold I am reaching for the night nurse. Very recently I had a nasty bout of tonsillitis that meant I had to have a course of Anti-biotics and pain killers. This would have killed off much of my carefully cultured bacterial gut garden but as soon as I could I was back on promoting good gut health – point being, if you need medicine take it but look into what you can do long term to reduce your bodies chemical toxic load.
Once you start doing all these things and started removing the heavily processed foods from your habits you genuinely start to feel well and in good spirits.
You don’t feel all hyper, hippy love zingy and bouncy you just feel well.
You realise that you way you felt before, the way you just accepted as normal was just a crappy existence. It makes you not want to go back there, it doesn’t make you do everything right but when you go wrong it makes you get back on the path sooner.
Ailments and aches you just dismissed as “getting older”, old injuries disappear and moods become much more even.
If you keep waking up in the morning with a scrunched up face and murder on your mind, cleaning your teeth whilst promising yourself in the mirror that the first f***er to step out of line today is going to get both barrels…. sound familiar? How many time’s have you said to someone “Oh I just got out of bed on the wrong side this morning” If there was no external influence you should never wake up this way – I used to, not any more!
Don’t get me wrong, its not all happy clappy, lets skip through the flower gardens. People, unexpected bills and situations can still piss me off and put me in a bad mood but they are external influences that to some extent are out of my control but just being in a bad mood for no apparent reason seems to be a thing of the past – Awesome Huh!
Next : My Intolerance Results and Things You Can Do To Test Your Own Body From Home For……..FREE!