My Gut is Still Fucked

I took antibiotics for an infected ingrown toenail at the end of September for 2 weeks.  High dose.  It was my first time taking antibiotics in probably about 15 years, I really try as best I can not to take anything if I don’t need it.

I actually can’t believe that even now, I’m still struggling with the shits.  This is absolutely annoying and I am living in the scientifically more identified news explaining the gut-brain connection.the-truth-about-runners-trots-2-30877-1429191488-9_dblbig.jpg

I feel like shit: literally and figuratively.  I can see my anxiety worsen, I can see the OCD-tendencies that go along with high anxiety follow: skin picking, anger, sadness.

My run stitch isn’t really there, but I’m pretty much having to pop-a-squat on each run.  It’s been on-going since the end of September, despite taking high dose of probiotics.

I’m also along with the anxiety, therefore eating foods that my highly anxious self is craving: the very foods that Ayurveda explains worsens the anxious state (rajasic, vata-heightening foods).

Enter:

  • brussels
  • cauli
  • vegonvegonveg
  • coffee
  • flax

It’s such a mixed up coping cycle: the more I feel disconnected from my body, the more I crave disconnection.

It’s so crazy how much the effects of feeling bloated can have on my psyche.  It’s like when I wake up and have tried to not eat too much the night before, and should be feeling hungry (like, I woke up middle of the night hungry), but instead am literally so full of shit that the hunger cues are off.  I am curious about the evolutionary implications of this.  I wonder, from a viewpoint of the survival, the primal needs, why hunger cues would leave when bloat comes on.  Maybe it’s the body saying that eating at this time wouldn’t be wise because digestion is preoccupied with so much “shit”.  That would make sense.

It’s really frustrating though.  But I think from a soul-perspective that my body is choosing the one way to speak to me for me to actually listen and potentially change through my gut.

The thing is, my gut is directly relating to my stress-response and how I am breathing.  This is related to how I hold my body, my thoracic cavity, and hips, and legs, ankles, feet.  This physical manifestation of misaligned coping speaks consequently through body pains and compensations while running; which is another form of self-connect, and also self-disconnect.  There’s no black and white.  I both love running, but have a compulsive relationship with it.  I am not yet fully in harmony with my body.  FUCK.

When my gut is off, I want to eat more of the foods that I use to cope; the fillers that don’t actually nourish my body with its needs.  Furthermore, this only exacerbates my mental state which impedes me from knowing where else in life I need nourishment.  And the cycle continues.

The remedy is always reconnecting with myself.  The best poops I had were in India when I ate “sattvic” foods; foods that induce a calm state of mind.  This was also a period of time when I felt the most peaceful in my body than ever in my life.

Consciousness is both a blessing and a curse: it is just so FULL on.  It’s certainly easier to bypass The Work and disconnect.  But it’s definitely not without consequences, my gut can attest to that.

Shit, (wo)man, this is tough.

Elephant Journal Article: 12 Ayurvedic Tips for Healthy Eating. ~ Julie Bernier

I’d like to post this great article from Elephant Journal that explains some tips for healthy eating that are even more important than WHAT we’re eating, but HOW we’re eating.
This is one of the biggest themes in my life, and sharing how I’ve learned some great lessons to tailor my own healing journey is one of my most intuitively integral purposes in my life.
lifestyle design
I am creating a Lifestyle Design Package for a template, as well as a free daily example of what a well-designed, routinized day looks like.  I’ll be offering the package for a 30 day deal, with a one-week jump start to reboot your life, and begin to make changes to engineer a life with healthier habits for finding your ideal weight, lowering stress, improving digestion and gut health, as well as calming the mind and dispelling chronic illnesses and insomnia.
The plan will include:
  • Scheduled eating times throughout the day
  • Movement and walks prior to each meal
  • Mindful breathing practice for 60s prior to each meal
  • 7 Thirty minute workouts for each day of the week (one active rest day of stretching/Yoga included)
  • Ayurvedic/Paleo/Sattvicly inclined meal options including recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and snacks
  • Highlights on where to focus on mindfulness meditation techniques including: awareness of body and mind-state, stress state, intuition, commitment, self-duty, authenticity to self and others
  • Emphasis on maintainable plan that is fine tuned to the individual, for longterm change, CONSISTENCY, slowing down, surrendering to intuition, and a sense of calmness and being grounded.
Side effects include: improved immunity, happy demeanour, positive attitude, good poops, more fun, and wholesome, holistic health. 🙂

It’s More Than What We Eat: 12 Ayurvedic Tips for Healthy Eating. ~ Julie Bernier

Julie Bernier

Via on Oct 13, 2013

holiday-eating-binging-nutrition-health

A lot of us really care aboutwhat we eat.

We buy organic, avoid GMOs, weigh up antioxidants, evaluate the glycemic index: all factors relating to the quality of the food entering our bodies.

Props to us for doing our research and making healthy choices, but it’s all done in vain if we don’t give as much attention to the process of eating itself. It’s not only what we eat, but alsohow we eat that matters.

Ayurveda, the science of life, teaches us how to eat.

This concept may seem a little silly at first. After all, we’ve got decades of practice under our belts!

But let’s face it, the norm in our busy American lives is eating in the car, standing up, when we’re stressed, in a rush and chowing down on cold leftovers straight from the fridge. Under these conditions, we don’t digest properly and even the most wholesome food becomes unwholesome to the body. There’s certainly room for improvement.

For this reason, Ayurveda gives us upayoga samstha: the art of eating.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Eat when your food is warm.

It shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. Warm food ensures we don’t snuff out the agni (digestive fire) and makes for good digestion.

2. Eat freshly cooked food.

Fresh food is full of prana (life force) and nutrients. These start to diminish soon after it’s cooked. By the time it’s a leftover, the properties have changed and it’s heavy for the body to digest. Cooking every single meal may not be realistic but at least try to avoid food that’s been cooked more than 24 hours before.

3. Eat the right quantity of food.

Overeating leads to indigestion and undereating leads to loss of strength. There’s no standard amount that’s right for everyone because we’re all different sizes and have different needs. Find your right amount by filling your belly 50 percent with food, 25 percent with liquids and leave 25 percent empty for digestive action.

4. Chew your food thoroughly and eat at a moderate pace.

Digestion starts in the mouth.Chewing your food properly makes it easier for the rest of the system to process.

5. Wait until the previous meal is digested before eating again.

Ayurveda says that feeding the system too soon is a major cause of ill health. How to know if your food is digested? You should feel light, enthusiastic, hungry, and thirsty.

6. Eat around the same time each day.

The body thrives on routine. The digestive system does well when it can expect its meals at a certain hour. It’s prepared and ready for action.

7. Eat when you’re hungry.

Hunger (meaning true hunger, not the munchies) is a natural urge that should not be suppressed. Once you’ve got an eating routine going, you’ll find that you’re hungry when it’s meal time and won’t crave snacks. Listen to your body’s hunger cues when given.

8. Never eat when you’re upset.

Wholesome food will lose its wholesomeness in the digestive tract if it’s eaten with a negative state of mind. If you’re upset, angry or crying, postpone eating until you feel better.

9. Eat in a quiet, settled atmosphere.

A calm environment promotes a calm mind. And the state of mind has a direct impact on the physical body and the process of digestion.

10. Always sit down to eat.

Try your best not to eat in the car, while walking or even while standing. The body doesn’t want to multitask when you’re eating. Sitting ensures that all your energy is given to digestion.

11. Concentrate on your food.

When you give it your full attention it will taste better, you’ll enjoy it more and you’ll be less tempted to overeat because you’ll notice those cues of satiation. Avoid distractions like eating in front of the TV, reading or working.

12. Sit for a few minutes after each meal.

Don’t eat and run. Just be still for a little while to let your digestive system do its thing.

These guidelines are simple but make a big difference. When you choose seasonal, local, organic foods appropriate for your body andeat them in the right manner, your body can process the food the way it’s supposed to.

Good health starts with good digestion.

Feel it in your “GUT”?

A good day starts with good shit.  Is that not true?

In the Western world, talking “shit” is considered embarrassing, and not appropriate.  Alright, so maybe I don’t really want to hear about my brother’s “solid one” and give him a high 5 when he reports to me at breakfast, but(t) I think that the topic of our gut is something that is of integral importance to health.  I think that social support around the topic is another healing component of colon health, and that this directly relates to state of mind and contentment.

gut health

Be honest with yourself here, how good do you feel after you’ve had a great bowel movement?  Pretty good, like you can take on the world, invincible 😉 ?

According to Ayurveda, proper management of the colon is the foundation for treating the digestive system and all our digestive diseases.  And furthermore, our gut health is directly related to our state of mind, our body’s immunity and our happiness.

Let’s have a look at our gut bacteria.  Our gut flora is an array of microorganisms residing in our large intestine that functions directly to impact our health in order to:

  • help the body digest certain foods that the small intestine cannot digest
  • produce some vitamins like Vitamin B and K
  • combats aggressions from other microorganisms and maintains wholeness of intestinal pH and integrity
  • It plays an important role in the immune system, performing a barrier effect.
  • A healthy and balanced gut microbiota is key to ensuring proper digestive functioning.

While our general composition of microbiota is similar in most healthy people, everyone does have a different make-up of gut microorganisms, with more than 3 billion microbial genes in our gut (150 times more than in our own genes!).  The personalization comes into play based on environmental factors, ethnicity (for example, Japanese people cannot easily digest lactose), and studies show that a big influential factor on our gut flora health is environment, diet and lifestyle.

So what happens when our gut flora is off and what causes it?

Dysbiosis is a condition where there is an imbalance of out gut microbiota, and occurs when we are under stress, abuse our health, and make poor diet and lifestyle choices.  This can be linked to disorder and malfunction of the bowels, inflammatory diseases, allergies, obesity, diabetes and many more.

Let’s link this to brain function:

Studies in rats show a link between gut health and brain function.  The Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) is a network of cell that provide a gateway between the bloodstream and the nervous system.  It protects our brain from toxins, and filters out threatening components in our blood.  A study took mice that were raised in a germ-free environment, where they had weak gut flora, and weak protective mechanisms and immunity, and showed that their BBB had weakened junctions.

This leaky barrier resulted in nerve damage to the brain, particularly the hippocampus which controls stress and memory formation.  Other affected areas were the frontal cortex (our happiness brain centre!) which functions for executive control and decision making, and the striatum, for coordinating movements.  These deficits lasted through into adulthood.

Gut flora determine our relationship to the environment around us, as 75 percent of the immune system resides with the gut. They determine much about our emotional well-being, since 80 percent of our serotonin is in the gut. The enteric nervous system—often referred to as the “second brain”—is embedded within the gut. Gut microbes determine our vulnerability to disease and stress, and direct our potential to thrive emotionally, physically and intellectually.

http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/The-Outer-Womb/the-gut-microbes-and-poop/How-Our-Gut-Flora-Shapes-Us.html

According to a study reprinted on the website Green Med Info:

“… [A]n increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammations with probiotics, vitamin B, D and omega 3 fatty acids, through attenuating proinflammatory stimuli to brain, may also improve depression symptoms and quality of life. All these findings justify an assumption that treating gastrointestinal inflammations may improve the efficacy of the currently used treatment modalities of depression and related diseases.”

So how do we promote healthy gut?

Dr. Mercola recommends:

    • Fermented foods are still the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented raw (unpasteurrized) grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy).

If you regularly eat fermented foods such as these that, again, have not been pasteurized (pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics), your healthy gut bacteria will thrive.

  • Probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are definitely an exception. I have used many different brands over the past 15 years and there are many good ones out there.
  • If you do not eat fermented foods, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement certainly makes a lot of sense considering how important they are to optimizing your mental health.

Probiotics have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behaviour-regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve, which is yet another reason why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. Two other important factors to treat gastrointestinal inflammation and also help relieve depression are:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/06/can-inflammation-in-this-organ-be-at-the-root-of-your-depression.aspx

How does this link to a good shit?  The life you live, the stress you put yourself under, the food you eat, and how you eat them, all factor into your colon health.  A marker for damaged or compromised gut flora is directly related to healthy bowel movement functions.  Are you plugged up?  Incomplete?  Grumpy?  Take a look at your state of mind, your diet, and lifestyle.  Consider where you are and where you want to be.  Maybe this is where you begin to change your life.