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Better Health Through a Better Gut

diagram of a human digestive system

I have been saying FOR YEARS that if patients would just clean out their digestive tract they wouldn’t get sick as often. I remember telling a group of RNs this when I was “just a student nurse,” as they told me. Saying my claim was met with skepticism is being nice.

Bad flora can overrun your intestines so much that you become constipated, get severe headaches, become mentally confused, agitated and basically feel as though you’re losing your mind. And those are just a few maladies from a polluted digestive tract.

Cleaning out the digestive tract can be a cheap, easy fix for a lot of health problems (see link below). What’s the easiest way to do a digestive cleanse? Eat a lot of garlic. You can’t start off popping Kyolic tablets right and left though, if you’ve never done a digestive cleanse. You MUST start slowly or you’ll feel like your intestines are being turned inside out. You can also just sprinkle your food liberally with garlic a few times a week and it will have the same effect. When you start to observe more mucus in your stool, the cleanse is working. If you have a day of diarrhea, it’s working a little too fast, and you may need to back off on the garlic a bit.

Depending on how long your gut has been polluted with old feces just stuck in pockets of the intestines (yeah, I wish I were kidding), the cleanse could take a couple of weeks. That’s okay. As you’re doing the cleanse with garlic, you also need to be taking in some “good flora.” Either get acidolphilus from the health food store (you want the kind they keep cold — it’s in tablet form, you don’t have to use the powder) or get yogurtplain if possible. If you don’t like plain, and I sure as hell don’t unless I’m cooking with it, get the yogurt with the LOWEST NUMBER of SUGAR GRAMS as possible. DO NOT get a yogurt made with Splenda or Aspartame, you’re doing your body more harm than good.  There are yogurts out there with as low as 9g of sugar; 13g should be the max.

If you want to read more on healing your gut, Christine M. Okezie, CHHC, a natural foods chef, has written a decent article on the topic, “Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Body”. The only point I completely disagree with is using sauerkraut  and miso as fermented foods to heal the gut. Sauerkraut is made from cabbage, a starchy vegetable. Starch turns to sugar. Don’t use it to heal your gut, it’s got the opposite effect. Miso as well can be made from soybeans (ok) or rice (no) or barley malt (no-no). Starch, again. So just avoid miso until you’ve finished the intestinal cleanse.

After the cleanse, watch how much simple starch you put into your body and make certain you have a meal laced with a lot of garlic a couple times a week. Also eat yogurt a few times a week. I consume it daily and this household uses so much garlic that it’s always on the grocery list!

So what can you expect from the results? More energy, more mental clarity, fewer colds, some people report that their eyesight improves. You can easily take off a couple pounds. Your bathroom will see more activity with regular (should be daily) bowel movements. Your health just gets better. Allergies also dissipate with this cleanse. It’s an easy fix to a LOT of health issues, so what are you waiting for?

Myth Busting: Colds, Flu and Weather

Whenever I hear “the cold weather doesn’t make you sick, only germs make you sick,” it makes me a little crazy. The cold, wind, rain and snowy weather will absolutely, unequivocally make you sick. Germs make you sick too, but the cold will tear down your immune system so the germs can take hold. Personally, I’d rather my immune system only have to do battle with the germ. When your immune system is operating at full tilt, you have a good chance of fending off any mucky germ chasing you. But get a full face of blustery winds and cold and KA-BOOM, your immune system takes a hit because your body’s other defenses take energy away from the immune system. 

Why? Well, one to keep your warm. Your body strives to maintain homeostasis, which is a constant state of wellness and balance, roughly speaking. When an outside force upsets the balance, like your body temperature, your body wants to regain that warmth and comfort. It takes energy from other body processes to do so. So those wonderful vitamins and minerals you take everyday to bolster your immune system will be used instead to get your body temperature back to normal. 

So, yes, the cold can definitely make you sick. Maybe not directly, but it will definitely factor in and contribute to your illness. Bottom line: do as your mom always said, “bundle up, wear a sweater, take an umbrella!”

 

When a Fat Gram Isn’t a Fat Gram

Let’s see, if we look at the label for the fat grams…. 5 + 2 does not equal 13. Soooo the rest of the fat would be polyunsaturated (a middle of the road fat) and monounsaturated (the healthy fat). Then we have to account for the lab errors in determining the nutritional content. Don’t know how much that can be?

WELL,

My nutrition professor once stated that the FDA allows nutrition labels to be “off” by as much as 30 percent. Shocking, I know. The FDA website guidelines state the label has only a 5 to 10 percent allowable margin for error. So who’s correct? I figure the truth lies somewhere in between, so I allow for a 20 percent error myself.

                  BUT, 

Think about this for a minute. Suppose my professor was correct and the label could be off by 30 percent. I’ll bet those companies don’t inflate the numbers so I doubt the label will report higher numbers than the reality.They’re going the other way and Americans’ waistlines prove that. Is it any wonder that it’s so difficult to lose? I think we’re safe eating the raw stuff. No hidden ingredients or fat grams there really. Just pesticides. Funny how I have a garden, and I have no problem with bugs eating my vegetables. Probably because I pack smelly marigolds and lavender around my plants and the bugs don’t seem to like those much. I also plant tasty pansies for their munching.

There is hope that companies have heard the public outcry and are changing their ways. Companies have finally realized that high-fructose corn syrup has packed on pounds to everyone, including themselves and they’ve changed the labels to read “corn syrup.” Well, that’s almost better. The last time you used corn syrup was it sticky and sweet? Thought so. Changing the name doesn’t make it healthier. So now we have to cry “no really, take that shit out of there!”  They’ll listen eventually. Or they won’t. I know there hasn’t been any of that stuff in my house for years. Except for that one time I made pecan pie cookie bars…. but it was only a small bottle, of course. LOL

Two Spices for Passive Weight Loss!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE cinnamon! So imagine my glee when I discovered that cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar. Why is this good news? Because it can help you lose weight! When your blood sugar remains at a constant, you don’t get those cravings for carbs, you don’t get that spike in blood sugar that causes the body to produce more insulin and put yourself at risk for metabolic syndrome. Although studies for cinnamon’s positive effects on blood sugar have been limited, the proof is in your own experience. A group of my writing friends and I embarked on a one-week trial of cinnamon’s effects. We vowed to simple add cinnamon to our morning coffee or tea (both turn out like a chai latte or a chai tea). At the end of the week, a couple of women lost seven pounds; no one lost less than three. None of us changed our routines as far as adding more workout time, and we still lost LBs. Weight loss without working out? I’ll take it.


I recently read, although I might be a bit behind the times, that spicy food containing capsaicin, the compound that gives hot peppers their heat will actually dissolve, yes, that’s dissolve, fat. Now for years we’ve all heard that fat cells can only shrink, never dissolve and that yo-yo dieting results in accumulating more fat cells because the old ones never die and are not refillable. I really never believed that they never died off. The cockroach of our body? I don’t think so. I simply believed science hadn’t caught up to reality, but it seems now it has. Capsaicin turns white fat that’s packed into our trouble spots into cells more closely resembling brown fat. Brown fat can dissolve through energy expenditure… the fat we use for energy to complete our daily tasks. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for doing as little as possible to burn calories. I’d rather work in the garden or around the house, than pull time on a treadmill. If you can toss some Tabasco sauce on your morning scrambled eggs or sprinkled some cayenne on your morning OJ (you don’t taste the hot, really you don’t), and drop some poundage, imagine the results if you added 20 minutes of exercise. Imagine if you added 30 to 90 minutes.

I’m giving this a whirl. I’m adding Tabasco to everything I can think of this week, and doing the cinnamon thing. Although I wasn’t one of the women who dropped seven pounds with the cinnamon alone, I’m more than willing to be one by combining the two. Really…. I’m willing.

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