Overcoming Digestive Issues
So many people suffer from digestive issues these days. I recently had my own bout with a serious flare up of Ulcerative Colitis that I hadn't experienced in 15 years. I am unable to say what entirely set it off but I do know that I had been for a long time overly stressed out, as well as an incident where I herniated a disc in my low back and ended up taking a week's worth of NSAID's. I knew my body, mind and spirit was screaming out to me that something needed to change. I remembered to not ask; "why is this happening To me, but why is this happening For me?"
The answer to that made me revisit my digestive health, learn about new and old ways to transform my digestive issues, and ultimately heal myself. At different times in my healing process, conventional medicine failed me, natural cures failed and I lost faith a few times. I felt baffled, exhausted and distressed. What eventually made a difference was a combination of everything I was doing from Acupuncture, other modalities and some western medication for a brief time. In a very short time, I was able to see a difference in my digestive issues and thought I'd share with you my healing essentials that restored my digestive health.. Here they are:
Simplify your digestion!
In Chinese medicine, when your stomach, small intestine and large intestine are suffering, the idea is to eat one pot meals that are easier to digest. It's almost like eating like a baby! Very few ingredients at a time are cooked together such as; a protein and vegetable are easier to assimilate and decrease the body's burden when you really don't feel well. For example, combining only chicken, celery and carrots and cooking them together to get all the minerals and protein, then pureeing them in a blender helps to simplify the breakdown of the food for the stomach, and intestines.
Enzymes! Enzymes! Enzymes!
Chewing your food 30-70x/bite of food boosts your gut health. Eating mindfully relaxes you and relaxes the gut and your saliva releases essential digestive enzymes such as ptyalin that help break down carbohydrates which are a major challenge to digestion. Starch digestion begins in the mouth and enzymes help the sugars break down to an easily digestible sugar. This is why diets like PALEO and GAP's are all about lowering the carbs. If you suffer from post-meal gas and bloating or stress, chewing your food is the least expensive and most effective way to boost your gut health. Other digestive enzymes like Bromelain not only aids digestion when taken with your food but when taken on an empty stomach it acts as an anti-inflammatory for those suffering with IBS, Crohn's, UC or other inflammatory conditions. You can also eat lots of pineapple. The popular fruit, papaya is also an excellent aid to digestion because it contains a lot of enzymes that particularly soothe the stomach.
The Superfood: Bone Broth
If there is one superfood that should be in anyone's diet, it is bone broth. A staple in Chinese Medicine, bone broth has all the benefits of minerals and other compounds that is soothing to the lining of the gut. It is the most restorative food that cleanses and heals the membranes of the intestines. If all you did was a five day bone broth fast you would see an improvement in symptoms guaranteed. In Chinese medicine, juice cleanses injure the stomach because they are cold and cause more dampness which in turn causes more loose stools. This is where bone broth comes in as a cleanse because it is a super food that is two-fold in keeping you alive during a serious flare up, as well as to heal the gut lining.
Digestive issues all have one thing in common, a dysbiosis of the proper bacteria to restore the pH. One thing I included in my diet once a day was a 1/4 cup of just the juice of fermented pickles. There I got a huge dose of live bacteria. I also added to my diet typical fermented foods such as: sauerkraut, pickled veggies, truly raw fermented pickles and olives, pickled ginger that is naturally fermented, miso, homemade wasabi, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, kavaas, and even sourdough bread. If you are dairy intolerant you can try coconut kefir, or try coconut or soy yogurt.
If you could eat a case a week of blue berries this is the best fruit for a healthy intestinal lining. Just as cranberries are great for the urinary tract, blue berries are the best for the gut. Wild uncultivated blueberries have the most antioxidants and pectin. The skin of the blue berries contains reservatrol (antioxidant) and additional soluble fiber which is extremely healthy to digestion. Consume fresh or frozen and go wild.
Keep your body hydrated. A dehydrated gut is a non-moving gut. I would drink every morning and still do, 8oz of warm water with a half a lemon to rehydrate after the night and remove toxins from the body. Drinking lemon water in the morning also aids in peristalsis for constipation.
The Ultimate Spice
In Chinese medicine, ginger is the spice of 100 uses. Not only does it harmonize the upper GI but it is an antibacterial and anti-fungal. Incorporate ginger into your diet by boiling it, grating it into your soups or stirfys or baked dishes, or making a ginger syrup is an excellent way to benefit from the healing effects of ginger in your diet.
Whatever is driving your emotions is driving your disease. What is it that causes you "Dis - Ease?" What Acupuncture can do that other systems of medicine can't, is treat the mind & spirit component that often is the underlying imbalance causing a particular symptom to arise. Using points that treat not only the symptoms but also choosing points for their psycho-emotional effect is what Classical Five Element Acupuncture can reach and ultimately cure.