Monday, January 4, 2016

Regaining Health Freedom | 9 Signs Your Gut Is At The Root Of Your Health Issues + How To Heal

This is a simple introductory article for restoring health and vitality, which includes our emotional and mental makeup.

The body is the conduit through which we experience the world. When this delicate ecosystem is not maintained by a knowledgeable and wise gardener, weeds and disease can flourish; not just allergies, chronic pain or migraine headaches. Chances are symptoms such as constant lack of energy, brain fog, and inability to stay emotionally stable are all conditions fed by a poorly maintained bodily environment.

The process of restoring the body is one of the simplest things to understand, yet can be a huge struggle to introduce into one's daily habits.

The truth is, we are habit making machines. Every time we choose to do something and accept that resulting experience as agreeable, we create a mental thoughtform or structure that automatically tries to assert itself in the future within a similar set of circumstances. In other words, the inertia of our past choices will always tempt us in the present, so making good habits physically, mentally and emotionally, are essential to maintaining good health.

Eventually, we may be so disconnected from the experience of true health, we actually start to associate chronic disease and imbalance as the norm. And it's here where most people are firmly resting. In many instances, we've never experienced true health, and as such, have no point of reference to incentivize making a better choice. All of this will feel like we have no control over our own lives or health, a total lack of health freedom.

The task of any health restoration process is an effort to restore the body and mind balance. When we eat foods that provide us short term comfort but come with a long term price of poor health, the body's delicate balance is disturbed. And in today's world, nearly all socially acceptable or mass produced food is addictive by nature, creating a mental image that leads to impulsive behavior, self-destructive habits, and an ever increasing sense of disempowerment.

Therefore, our efforts to regain health must acknowledge the truth: that we develop poor quality habits for a reason: emotional comfort.

Related How to Cure Food Addictions | How Sugar Affects the Brain and the Body and what you can do about it

In my own struggle to regain control of my dietary habits, which are unhealthy from many years of poor eating as a young adult, the weight of my emotional needs ever looms over my resolution to restore balance. 

I've found that while comfort food offers an almost instantaneous emotional boost, it quickly fades away, and I'm soon chasing a food-high that can never be maintained. Conversely, exercise such as Yoga, Thai chi or Qui gong, requires an initial energy investment to do the physical work of the method, but will yield long-term and sustainable emotional support. In other words, we have to develop the ability to see far into the landscape of our health habits, oppose to only looking a few steps ahead.

Related Health, Like Everything Else is Holistic - Not Allopathic | Like any ecosystem, our bodies host trillions of bacterial cells that affect our everyday health

In conclusion, society has been conditioned to reach for quick emotional pick-me-ups that, over the long term, destroy both physical and emotional health, leading to the creation of all manner of destructive habits.

The road to restoring health is long, often requiring one to wipe the mental slate clean, while proactively replacing deleterious programs of behavior with ones that restore health. But the good news is, all it takes is an act of will to start the reprogramming process. Every time we say no to an easy deleterious health choice, and yes to a harder yet healthier option, we literally begin undoing bad habits of the past. 

Like all things in life, we must strive for persistence in adhering to the principles of a holistic life, while finding ways to replace habits that provide us emotional support at the cost of all else.

As a final note: I've also begun fermenting and sprouting of seeds and nuts. This simple step not only saves one money in most cases but also provides essential life skills to regain health freedom. 

Often it is the lack of knowledge which prevents one from considering a different way of doing things, as such, gaining knowledge is one of the best things we can do to prepare for a behavior change. This not only works for health and wellness but all other pursuits in life as well. 

- Justin

Source - Mind Body Green

As a doctor specializing in functional medicine and gut health for almost a decade now, you’d think I grew up with a healthy, balanced digestive system.
Well, I didn’t. Along with the estimated 70 million Americans struggling with digestive diseases, I suffered from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) for more than half of my life. And even worse — as a result of eating all the wrong foods as a teenager — I also suffered from allergies, depression, frequent colds, sinus infections, and bronchitis.
Doctors thought my immune system was weak — but at the root of my problems was a distressed gut. I considered stomachaches, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation part of my “normal.” This is often the case with the many patients suffering from digestive and gut-related disorders I see in my practice every day. They’ve grown so accustomed to having an unhappy gut they don’t realize how bad they felt until they start feeling better.
As I explain in my new book, Happy Gut: The Cleansing Program To Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Eliminate Pain, the gut is the seat of our health. It houses the largest presence of the immune system within the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. And it harbors a microbiome full of both favorable and unfavorable bacteria numbering in the 100 trillion, outnumbering the estimated stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
The state of your gut and its microbiome has the utmost potential to promote wellness but also to impede health. Here are some of the conditions in which an unhealthy gut might be the source of the problem:
  • Bloating after every meal, or even in between meals
  • Frequent abdominal pain, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, and/or constipation
  • Mental fog, constantly or after meals, or migraine headaches
  • Seasonal allergies or asthma
  • Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or psoriasis
  • Skin issues, such as acne, rosacea, hives, rashes, or eczema
  • Depression, anxiety, ADD, or ADHD
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Recurrent yeast infections or candida overgrowth

How to Heal Your Gut for Total Health

In my practice, I have patients follow a 28-day "Gut C.A.R.E. Program" (Cleanse, Activate, Restore, and Enhance) that I designed to balance their gut flora, eliminate toxic and inflammatory foods (the very ones that may be triggering allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, and migraines), avoid environmental pollutants, and heal their gut lining. It includes the four steps I myself simultaneously used to restore my gut health:
1. Cleanse your diet, home, and mind.
This is the key first step in healing your gut. I recommend my patients introduce anti-inflammatory foods (like dark leafy greens and avocado) while cleaning their diet of foods that trigger inflammation (like gluten and dairy). I also advise clearing their gut of any unwanted pathogens (unfriendly bacteria, yeast, or parasites), using targeted herbal remedies. If your gut were a garden, this would be the equivalent of weeding.
Cleansing doesn't stop with your insides. You should also aim to green your kitchen with environmentally friendly nontoxic cooking surfaces and utensils, and purify your body with filtered clean drinking water.
But I also recognize that to cleanse completely, you need to cleanse your mind of negative thoughts. In their place, express gratitude to bring positivity into your life.
2. Activate with the right nutrients.
I chose the word “activate” to reflect how we are rebooting a dormant digestive system.
You reactivate it by replacing key nutrients, such as essential fatty acids and trace minerals, and digestive enzymes, such as amylases (carbs), lipases (fats), hydrochloric acid, and bile acids, through both natural foods and supplements.
3. Restore your gut garden.
I like to call this step “cultivating your inner garden.” It’s all about themicrobiome. We reintroduce beneficial bacteria to promote a healthy gut flora through probiotics, prebiotics, cultured foods, and beverages. Probioticsinclude foods like fermented vegetables, kombucha, coconut water kefir, and coconut milk yogurt.
I find that many of my patients feel better taking a probiotic regularly. The two most common strains used are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
4. Enhance with prebiotics and supplements.
The final step is designed to repair, regenerate, and heal the intestinal lining from the damages caused by infections, food allergens and sensitivities, and toxins.
In order to do this, I recommend naturally derived compounds such as aloe,deglycyrrhizinated licorice, and L-glutamine, an amino acid utilized by the cells of the gut lining for optimal performance. Aloe and deglycyrrhizinated licorice are both anti-inflammatory, so they help the gut lining to heal.
Prebiotic fibers, such as those found in asparagus and dandelion greens, also feed the gut flora, which produce health-promoting nourishment for the cells of the colon.
If you still have symptoms after trying these steps, I recommend looking deeper into your health concerns with a Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner.


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