This is the final part of the series! Thank you all for sticking around through all of it 🙂 I hope everyone is enjoying the info and taking something useful away. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or leave comments!
3 – Learn to Listen to Your Body
These will be different for everyone and will take time. The first cue I learned to read was about sugar. My gut has a very distinct cue when it comes to too much sugar. It’s hard to describe, but I will say that if I choose to ignore it, I will pay a price, and usually that price is nausea, upset stomach, and a general I-feel-disgusting feeling for hours.
The good thing about these cues is that once you learn to “hear” the cues and find out what they mean, they are very difficult to ignore. If you are interested in learning to “hear” what your body is saying, start with mindful eating. What does that mean? Turn off the TV/phone/tablet/laptop, close your magazine or book, slow down, chew your food slowly, and pay attention to how you are feeling. This does take practice, so don’t get discouraged! Once you have learned your body’s cues you will know when you’ve had enough of certain foods or which foods to avoid completely.
4 – Stop Eating Inflammatory Foods
The hard part about this one is that everyone will have different foods that cause inflammation. And I want to say this now to get you in the proper mindset…some of the foods you will have to give up may be some of your favorite foods. I know. Don’t shoot the messenger. If you are balking right now and ready to close out this tab, please don’t. Hear me out. I gave up nightshades in August of last year and it only took 1 week to see results. I looked like I had lost 10lbs in a span of 7 days, but I didn’t, I lost bloating and inflammation.
Nightshades were a huge part of my diet and I would never have thought they were what was making me feel bad/causing inflammation. I was at a teacher training and mentioned that eggplant made me feel awful and someone mentioned nightshades and said as a Pitta she has problems with them too. That was how it all began. I will be eternally grateful to this person and the profound effect they have had on my life. When you are in chronic pain and it finally goes away you will never forget who helped ease your pain.
If you are still at a loss of where to start, start with determining your Ayurvedic constitution and go from there. I will say that some of the foods that are supposed to be inflammatory for Pitta’s are ok, but a lot of them are not. This will just give you an idea of some foods that might not be so good for you personally.
Another great option is a food journal. Whenever you get GI distress, make a note of it in a journal set aside for this topic and note the foods you’ve had leading up to the distress. If you are vigilant, you will notice a pattern.
5 – Start Eating Healing Foods/Supplements
As I mentioned in Part Two, stop eating processed food (read: GMOs). Besides cutting out fake food and then the foods that personally cause you inflammation, it’s important to add in foods or supplements that facilitate healing. The foods/supplements I’m listing here have worked for me. As I mentioned before, we all have a different biological make up and something that works for me might not be as beneficial for you, in the same way that foods that bother me might not bother you….
- Aloe Vera – Now I don’t mean those pre-mixed aloe vera drinks loaded with sugars and preservatives. Your local vitamin shop/health food store should carry aloe vera in liquid form. As you can see in the picture below I use the “Inner Filet” as opposed to the “Whole Leaf” which is also available. I was told that the Whole Leaf variation can be a bit harder to digest. I have never tried it as I have always been able to find the Inner Filet version.
“A review published in the British Journal of General Practice notes that aloe vera decreases irritation and enhances healing and repair of ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Aloe vera juice also helps to decrease inflammation in irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and other inflammatory disorders of the gut. Additionally, aloe vera can increase healthy bacteria in the intestines that aid digestion.” (Click to be taken to the original article. Author: Nadia Haris)
If you read the entire above article you will see mention of possible cause of diarrhea. I will tell you that I have never had this happen. In fact, quite the opposite. I have been drinking 1 tbsp of aloe vera and 1 tbsp of Bragg’s ACV in some homemade unsweetened black tea for months and have experienced more regular bowel movements, improved immunity, and less bloating. I have changed when I drink the “tea” to about 30 minutes before dinner and have noticed a change as well. As with any supplement, read the bottle, start slow, and discontinue use immediately if any adverse reactions occur.
- Candida Support – As I outlined in Part One of this series, I believe I have/had a problem with candida overgrowth in my gut. Again, the biggest thing you can do to get candida under control is to change what you eat, namely cutting out processed crap (this includes sugar-laden drinks AND artificial sweeteners!). Once you have done that, look into supplements that will work in concert with your body’s natural defenses for health. As pictured below I like the NOW Foods Candida Support. It contains Pau D’ Arco, Oregano Oil, Black Walnut and Caprylic Acid. I encourage you to do your own research on these ingredients and see if they are right for you. If you have ANY allergies to any listed ingredients, do not take.
Quickly, I want to say that going completely sugar free is NOT a good option. Our bodies need glucose on a biological level and cutting out all foods that contain sugar is not healthy. You will, of course, read differing views on this, which I think is fine since everyone has different biological make ups, but I do not think ANY artificial sweeteners are good for me. I use honey as a sweetener or coconut sugar, both very sparingly, when I need to use sugar for something.
Please check out this post from Empowered Sustenance for more info on how our bodies need/use natural sugars. And then this post on why artificial sweeteners, including stevia, aren’t a good idea (for some, myself included).
And here are other supplements/foods that I have heard recommended over and over again by many doctors…
- Bone Broth (Use ONLY organic bones, pastured is best)
- L-Glutamine (Check out this article by Dr. Josh Axe for more info)
- Probiotics (I had previously taken and recommended UDO’s, but they use potato starch as filler and I have been much more strict about nightshade intake than before, even in tiny amounts, and have recently switched to Primadophilus from Nature’s Way.) Another great way to get probiotics is from Kombucha or Fermented Foods. Check out this post from Donna Gates (Body Ecology Diet) on Fermented/Cultured Foods.
And that’s it! There is SO MUCH info out there about how to heal your gut effectively and some of that info might not resonate with you, and I want you to know that is OK. More than ok, it’s great. I encourage each of you to try different methods to see what works for your body. If I came across someone telling me their way was the only way to heal my body and nothing else should be considered I would politely remove myself and be on my way. NO ONE can tell you what is perfect for you as they are not you. Experiment, keep an open mind and heart, and know that you will heal.
Success is inevitable!
As promised in Part Two I have posted about alternative methods of healing UTIs that don’t involve antibiotics. Please click here to be taken to that post.