Should I Be Concerned About My Digestive Problems?
I don’t know if you are aware just how important your digestive health is? Scientists became aware that the same genetic material appears in your gut as that which is found in your brain. There are 3 major communication channels connecting the gut and the brain. 90% of the communication goes from the gut to the brain and only 10% back the other way, this tells us the gut is a major player in how our body functions. They also discovered that our gut determines who we are more than our DNA.
Our gut health is at an all time low. Our ancestors would have had between 4-500 different types of bacteria in their gut. Modern, western man has more like 150, and we are seeing the effects. Inflammatory disease is at an all time high from rheumatoid arthritis and crohns to autism and Alzheimer.
Are Modern Lifestyles to Blame
Unfortunately our modern lifestyles are a major part of the problem. We eat more meat than plant based foods, we loved our processed foods, our fast food restaurants, our takeaways. Our foods and our homes are packed with toxins from pesticides, to plastics, to antibiotics, we live with high levels of stress.
Poor gut health is probably the biggest contributor to mental health problems in this country. By addressing the issues of our poor gut health we can dramatically reduce our risk of suffering with anxiety and depression whilst significantly improving our recovery.
A study of 1,000,000 Britians found 1 course of antibiotics caused an increased risk of anxiety and depression by 25%. Antibiotics kill our gut bacteria at the same time as they address the infection you may have. They are unable to discriminate between the good guys and the bad guys.
The good news is that we can repair our gut, it can take time but the rewards will be worth it. After all who doesn’t want better health, mood, sleep, or energy? But where do we start?
Take steps to rebuild the good bacteria in your gut.
- Get outside. Nature is full of diversity of good bacteria, the ultimate probiotic. Get out into your garden, amongst the trees, up onto the mountains and hills. Let your children play amongst the dirt it will build a strong gut health that will give them a better chance of good health.
- Introduce diversity into our diet. Try to go much more plant based and organic, eating more fibre, add lots of colour to your plate.
- Start taking good quality prebiotic and probiotic supplements. Introduce foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and fermented foods into our diet. Also consider digestive enzymes.
- Ensure a good vitamin and nutrient supply with a good supplement.
- Consider the medication you use. Look at natural alternatives such as essential oils, herbs, teas, tinctures.
- Introduce intermittent fasting. Give your gut a break between meals of about 12 – 15 hours, so eat earlier in the evening and later in the morning. The break from digesting food allows your gut to focus on repopulating with the good guys. Consider that your ancestors probably only hunted and ate once a day, yet we have become accustomed to 3 meals a day.
- Stress management. Stress is one of the biggest factors when it comes to destroying our gut health and immune system. Use holistic therapies such as reflexology and massage, yoga, meditation, essential oils and your diet to help reduce it.
Reduce some of the stress.
Have you considered that the stress and busyness of your day could be having a significant impact on your digestion? Are you too busy to sit and enjoy your meals during the day? Is lunch grabbed on the run or eaten at your work desk? As a modern western society we have become really bad at just sitting down and enjoying a meal. How often do sit down without your phones, the tv, work or as a family. This is a major contributor to many of our health issues.
One of the things stress does is shut down our digestive system. If your body perceives a threat in any shape or form it goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode. The last thing you want in the middle of running away from the danger is a toilet break. So by eating our food in the middle of whatever stress we are in our body is unable to digest it properly.
So how can we change? Well firstly by recognising what we are doing. Then by making a few simple changes we can begin to support our body and we will see improvements. That may be reducing indigestion, easing constipation, weight loss.
Become Mindful about how you eat.
- Firstly stop! Make meal time an important event, even if it is just 15 minutes at lunchtime.
- Turn off your phone, tablet, tv maybe put on some gentle music instead.
- Feeling stressed, your mind racing about the things you need to get done? Jot them down in a note book, pop a drop of Wild Orange in your hand and inhale deeply 4 or 5 times, feel yourself calm.
- Sit down, preferably at a table, and just pause for a minute. Traditionally families would sit and say grace together, a moment to be grateful for the food in front of them, for life, the family around them.
- By taking this time to pause you may discover that your digestion improves but also your stress and anxiety levels.
- You may even find that this approach helps improve the foods that you are eating as you become more aware of the taste, the colours, the flavour and maybe the benefit could include some weight loss.
Be Mindful of what you eat.
Did you know that 60% of the population have food intolerances? These can be a big contributor to gut problems especially gluten and dairy. It can be a bit of a catch 22 situation. Poor gut health can increase intolerances but intolerances can cause the gut to become leaky and inefficient.
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms they could be being caused by inflammation from food sensitivity.
- Brain fog
- Memory issues
- Word finding issues
- Short term memory
How can you work out what you are intolerant to? Why not start by keeping a food and mood journal. You are best to keep it for at least 5 days and include a weekend (our eating tends to be worse at the weekend). Record everything you eat and drink but also score how your energy is, your sleep pattern, your mood.
Supporting our gut health and digestion is vitally important. Whilst it is good to make changes to your lifestyle, the foods you eat, reducing the toxins you expose your body to, it takes time to learn and adapt. doTERRA have created some fantastic supplements to help you get started, if you are struggling with intolerances Terrazyme, a digestive enzyme, can be a great support.
Be mindful of the products you use.
Are you aware of the level of toxins you are absorbing into your body and the damage they are doing? We have advanced so much in the products we have created. Improvements in hygiene, technological advances in household appliances, sanitation, health care, medication.
Unfortunately, at some point we crossed a line! The benefits we saw to our health, our life expectancy turned a corner, and we began to cause issues we had not really seen before. Inflammatory disease is huge, cancers are at an all-time high, autism is predicted to reach levels of 1 in every 3 children by the 2030’s, life expectancy has declined, and 2020/21 has seen us fighting a viral pandemic.
Do you struggle with concentration, brain fog, memory, headaches, vertigo? You may not realise it but the constant use of toxins in the products you use around the home could be to blame! Are you suffering with inflammatory bowel disease, hormonal imbalances, cancer?
Many of these harmful toxins come from our food chain, from the packaging they are sold in or the pesticides they are sprayed with. For centuries the medication we used came from nature, herbs, spices, essential oils. Now we are more dependant than ever on synthetic over the counter and prescription medication than ever before. Unfortunately we have been unaware of the silent damage they have been doing to our health. Then there are the products we use on us and around our home. Through the digestive process these end up in our bodies and are silently causing an array of health issues that are now getting to epidemic proportions.
Time to Take Back Control
It’s time for us to take back control, we need to start to change our buying habits. Some manufacturers are taking note and producing more natural products but we need more to make changes! That begins with us, manufacturers produce products to meet demand. So let’s create more demand for natural products. We live on an amazing planet and our bodies are an incredible piece of engineering. We need to start to respect them both more, to change the tide back towards a healthier way of living.
My journey to a simpler, more toxin free lifestyle started at the end of 2018 when I discovered doTERRA essential oils. It made me curious and I started to learn more about how the toxins in my home were playing a part in my health problems. I have gradually replaced the products I use with natural, I no longer use synthetic medication, I buy organic, unpackaged food whenever possible, I have even started growing some of my own fruit and veg.
The eco journey has been fun, I’m still learning, still replacing but I can 100% say my health and well-being has improved dramatically. I hope this has inspired you to take your own journey and I would love to help you get started. I would love to introduce you to essential oils and all the amazing products doTERRA have created. Why not start by booking your free well-being call.