Our inner ecosystem of the body - healthy gut and bacteria

drinkingwater1I get fascinated by the research coming out that shows more and more that we are actually meant to have trillions of healthy gut bacteria all working in communication with the body. These “probiotic” or “pro-life” bacteria all work with our digestion to help digest our food and create the nutrients we need. They also help detox toxins, remove metals or chemicals and generally create a big part of our immune system.

The inner eco-system seems to go out of balance when we introduce too many chemicals like antibiotics that kill the healthy gut bacteria and processed chemically refined sugars that feed the unhealthy yeasts like Candida Albicans or encourage overgrowth of Streptococcus bacteria species.

We drink chlorinated water, drink from plastic bottles, breath in fumes and eat foods that have been sprayed with chemicals designed to kill insects, bacteria, fungi and so on that unfortunately also adversely affect our own inner enzyme and gut eco-system.

We cook our food which makes it sometimes easier to process and digest, but also can remove nutrients like fresh Vitamin C or healthy natural enzymes that would help digestion. We store fruit and foods in cold stores and eat them out of season when the Vitamin C has again decayed within the fruit and become less nutrient value. We spray fertilisers on the crops which imbalance the chemicals we get from the foods and we forget to replenish the soils with key minerals like selenium.

Refined and processed foods rich in sugars and white flours create sugar or glucose overloads in our body and make us overweight or tired and inflamed. It is all a bit too much!

So what can we do to restore an inner health eco-system?

Sometimes we do need antibiotics to treat a serious infection and prevent kidney damage or lung damage or ear damage or other serious complications. The secret lies in keeping up enough healthy practices that even if we need some emergency medical treatment our system is strong and we bounce back.

In simple terms these are some of the principles I have come across so far and you can read more about in the Body Ecology Diet:

  1. oliveoilDrink healthy water each day – preferably filtered and not from plastic bottles. Alkaline or minerals waters are fine. Try to drink your water between meals so your body can use the stomach acid to digest and breakdown the food without being too diluted.
  2. Raw food has a lot of enzymes in it, but most of us have had a life of eating cooked foods and swapping over to all raw can create gut upset and gas and too much going on all at once. Aryuvedic (ancient Indian medicine) will often look at the use of warming foods and spices like cinnamon, ginger and turmeric to help add to warmed up or cooked foods to help digestion and warm the body while it cleanses. You can try cooked food with digestive enzymes and move onto some raw and some cooked as you feel better and can tolerate more or process more and your body cleans itself out.
  3. Probiotics come in capsules or fermented foods like Saurkraut, Kefir and so on. You can try a course of probiotics while getting the gut healthy to help get or build up some healthy bacterial colonies. Only a little of these cultured foods is needed with a meal to help digest proteins and the carbs and healthy fats.
  4. Keep refined sugar out of the diet. Initially per the B.E.D. principles while the harmful Candida and yeasts are dying off or cleaning out of the body you avoid all refined sugar, even keep fruit less or stop for a while until feeling better in the body and use maybe a little Stevia or natural sweetener if you need some sweetness. Dried fruit, sugar, honey, Agave, maple syrup can all act as sweet foods that feed Candida yeast in the body and create symptoms of overgrowth- aching, bloating, tiredness and so on.
  5. Don’t be afraid of healthy fresh fats and oils. Avoid margarine or vegetable polyunsaturated fats like canola. Go more for things like butter, avocado, olive oil, coconut oils. Avoid rancid smelling or old oils, nuts, nut butters and seeds.
  6. Vitamin D is really important for blood glucose and immune system health and the health of the mucus membrane lining of the gut depends on Vitamin D so keep up sunshine or take some regular Vitamin D.
  7. While cleansing and healing your body using the B.E.D. principles you need a good night’s rest and so don’t overdo it on your body. Once feeling more energy add in some exercise walking or something you enjoy as you come back to health.
  8. Don’t overeat especially at night and keep your bigger animal protein meal for earlier in the day if you can between 11am to 2pm. This is a new idea compared to the meat and three vege meals we usually have at night in N.Z. Try to combine animal protein with vegetables (ocean, or land variety) and either avoid initially or keep starch foods (kumara, pumpkin, potato, rice) combined with other vegetables as a separate meal than the animal proteins or snacks. Fruit only between meals once you are healing and improving. There is much more on this subject of food combining in the book so best you read it through a couple of times.
  9. Minerals and natural salts like the ocean swimming in summer can help your body restore mineral balance. Green smoothies or live green drinks can help alkalinise and oxygenate the body.
  10. Some grains that are gluten free and soaked and gently cooked can be helpful for breakfast options or to have with a meal. There are some great recipes in the book for millet and quinoa type grains rather than the harsher wheat type grains. Remember you can add some cinnamon to help digestion.

Overall we want a healthy inner ecosystem. In future newsletters I’ll talk more about creating a healthy liver.