Want a healthy gut?
Then it is imperative you avoid the toxic, non-foods I am going to talk about with you in this post.
Some people treat their bodies like a Ferrari, others, like a garbage disposal. And while I do not generally advise obsessiveness with eating – as it can easily lead to some form of orthorexia – I do advise against junking and abusing the body.
A well-fed body that is given a healthy, wholesome diet with the right balance of macro and micro-nutrients, wild spring water, unrefined salts, vitamins, soluble and insoluble fiber, and free of toxicity and non-compatible compounds will naturally avoid the issues and problems of indigestion.
If you’re feeding your body foods that are not a biocompatible match for the human metabolic system, foods that are poisoned with toxins, heavy metals and adulterated macronutrients and then you are going to have problems.
It is truly that simple; however, while we’ve been told all our lives to “eat healthy”, there has always been too much subjective dietary dogma and half-truths, along with the enforcement to “eat our veggies” to allow anyone the freedom and space to actually do so. Therefore, making wise food choices has somehow become an epidemic issues, when it is otherwise the most natural, effortless and enjoyable thing we as humans were designed to do.
So, this is first and foremost know this; a bad diet can ruin a good digestive system. No amount of superfoods, fiber supplements and probiotic potions will make up for a poor diet. Therefore, we must first eliminate the cause and cut the junk. We all know what junk food is, we don’t need to justifying eating shit, it isn’t even biologically compatible in our bodies, it never was and will never be. Our bodies were made from the Earth and therefore we should be feeding it the beautiful bounty that Mother Nature has provided you with. Or we don’t and end up sick; the choice is ours.
With that being said, it probably goes without saying that real, wholesome food produced by the rich soils of Earth provides the perfect fuel in which the body functions with grace and efficiency. When disregard this fact, we end up health problems like indigestion, which includes a variety of symptoms including, pain, bloating, nausea, gas, fluctuating bowel movements and eventually if not addressed more severe issues like hormonal imbalance.
Therefore, what not to eat becomes equally important as what to eat. In my point of view, it is more important, considering the counter-effect it can have. Eating the following foods can cause so much distress and inflammation in the digestive system that it can potentially cause you to not digest even the healthy foods.
THE GUT MICROBIOME
The human micro-biome contains a few hundred trillion cells of bacteria, both good and bad. The bacteria in the body outnumber human cells 10:1. What’s more is that the micro biome outnumbers the genome 100:1. In a few words, your body is a bacterial being.
Most of these bacteria live inside the intestines—mostly the large intestine. However, they also cover your skin, hair, mouth and most of your entire body. They just so happen to have an affinity to biofilm (the gel-like mucus) that lines the intestinal wall, secreted by intestinal cells.
In addition to the white blood cells and other immune cells that make up your immunity, these bacteria and yeast, also live and reside within the mucosal lining of your digestive tract. Essentially, our immune system is made up of immune cells and bacteria, which protect the lymph, which makes up the rest of your immune system.
These things together is the gut micro-biome, a collection of bacteria, yeast, pathogens, and immune cells living together (ideally, symbiotically) in the marvelous mucosal areas of your body.
You “inner ecosystem” evolves with you and is an extension of how you live, where you live (environment) and even how you think (there is a strong correlation between your psyche and micro-biome). There is an interlaced relationship between your immune system and microbes; they are in constant two-way communication with your body. Because of this, your micro-biome is the center of you physical well-being.
Here are just a few key roles of the micro-biome:
- Communicating with and regulating your immune system
- Signaling to other mucosal tissue (vagina, lungs or mouth), in times of distress to achieve balance
- Inflammatory signaling
- Hormonal balance
- Regulating the skin microbiome
And just like any system in the human body, the microbiome is susceptible to injury, imbalance and disease. The same things that damage other systems and organs in the body; like stress from the environment, mental and emotional stress, and of course nutritional stress (bad diet) all easily damage this precious system.
Because your micro-biome essentially is your immune system, you could say that ultimately, the root cause of all disease is chronic stress on the immune system or micro-biome. That is why in holistic health we have one objective; heal the immune system, and the whole body heals.
However, given the close relationship of your digestive system and micro-biome, some specific signs your micro-biome is damage include the common hallmarks of poor digestion, like:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Intestinal pain or cramping
- Frequent gas
- Acid reflux (GERD)
- Digestive disease (Crohn’s, IBS, IBD, Ulcerative colitis, etc.)
Due to the fact that each person manifest inflammation (a root cause of disease) in their own unique way, damage to the immune system and micro biome can be either obvious or silent. In other words, it is common for some to think their your digestive tract is healthy; meanwhile, they are experiencing less direct symptoms like frequent migraines, skin issues (eczema, psoriasis, acne), allergies, fibromyalgia, joint pain, or chronic energy and mood disorders like anxiety or depression.
Therefore, in order to ensure optimal digestive health (despite the variances in symptoms) we need to focus on the health of our immune system and microbiome. This is something that everyone can benefit from. In order to do this, consider the following.
We know now that pathogenic microbes have a different diet than healthy probiotic bacteria. Therefore, one of the best ways to take care of your inner ecosystem is to know which foods and beverages each one of them favor. Below are some of the most troublesome foods for the digestive system, essentially, these are foods that cause gut-inflammation and feed pathogens.
TOP 5 FOODS TO AVOID
1. Soda: What may otherwise be called “fizzy, sugar water”, most soda or pop contain a concerning amount of refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or synthetic sweeteners that change how gut bacteria metabolize energy. Upon feeding on these sweeteners, gut pathogens trigger an inflammatory response and ultimately invert the communities of bacteria and yeast living in your digestive tract from a balance of 80% probiotics and 20% pathogens to 80% pathogens to 20% probiotics.
Drinking that soda (this goes for diet soda as well) destroys and inverts the gut micro biome, to such a degree that the gut can become leaky, and cause a variety of autoimmune conditions, skin problems and hormonal issues.
Be aware of sodas that claim to contain “natural” sweeteners too, as companies can technically call white, table sugar natural. Also, artificial, sugar-free sweeteners can also trigger an inflammatory response and negatively affect bacteria and yeast in the digestive tract.
2. Cereal Grains: I am not referring simply to breakfast cereal (though a common source for these inflammatory, adulterated grains) I am referring to industrialize, mono-cropped grains and their products. This includes non-organic, conventional whole grains, flours and their byproducts (quick-rise bread, pasta, cakes, and crackers, etc.)
The most common cereal grains are wheat, corn, barley, rye, oats and soy. All of these are the most common Genetically Modified grains, which mean their molecular structure are adulterated to contain pesticides within their genetic code. This not only means you are ingesting pesticides, but also, the genetic sequence of these foods become non-biocompatible to the human body and therefore, the immune system sees it as an invader, causing chronic immune reactions when consumed. Additionally, most of these contain gluten, are are contaminated with modified gluten, a pro-inflammatory protein that is known to destroy the gut lining and make it “leaky”. This protein, especially when hybridized many times and in many cases, modified genetically, is even more damaging to the gut.
Organic, wholesome grains alone are already tough to digest as-is, considering they contain Phytates and Lectins (plant “toxins” that protect the seed”). In order to be digestible, grains need to be properly fermented, soaked and germinated to release these digestive inhibitors. As you can imagine, given the length and time of proper fermentation, it is never the case for speedily prepared, processed and industrial grain products to be properly prepared.
3. Vegetable Oils: Polyunsaturated fats, trans fats and other “bad” fats are some of the worst foods for the gut. These are heat sensitive fats that because of heavy processing and commercialization, end up rancid very fast. Once rancid, these fats are essentially indigestible and result in pale-colored stool, a phenomenon called steatorrhea, which is indicated by undigested fat in the stool.
What’s more, the breakdown of polyunsaturated fats is one important mechanism involved in the pathogenesis of inflammation, cancer, and atherosclerosis.
This breakdown occurs during the manufacture of vegetable oils. As you can imagine, getting millions of dollars of oil in a plastic bottle for sale involves a lot of time, travel, exposure to elements (air and sunlight especially) and all these factors together aid in the degeneration of the oil. To add to the damage, people often bring these already inflammatory oils home and cook with them, further denaturing and oxidizing them.
The worst fats and oils include most vegetable oils like canola, soybean, corn, and sometimes even olive oil. Olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat, making it a bit more shelf-stable. However, most people make the mistake of cooking with olive oil, when it should be used raw.
4. Moldy Coffee: Not all coffee is created equally. Another byproduct of the industrial food system is really bad coffee. Thanks to research done by Dave Asprey, we know now that large scale and poor quality coffee plantations breed moldy coffee. These mycotoxin ladened coffees not only cause undesirable side effects like brain fog but also contain a protein very similar to a protein found in commercial wheat gluten. This can cause the immune system to overreact to coffee with similar inflammatory responses that it does when exposed to toxic gluten.
And while we are on the subject of cross-contamination, keep in mind that the Industrial Food System is like a massive food orgy. In one factory, billions of different products are being made using a mess of ingredients including everything from milk, oats, corn, soy, peanuts to fish and more. And you can guarantee most of them are from mono-crop or factory farms. This leads to a sort of “Industrial Food Transmitted Disease”, cross-contamination, which is going to have your immune system in hyperdrive with inflammatory responses.
If you’re going to drink coffee, make sure it is mold-free coffee.
5. Alcohol (Spirits): First off, I will start by saying that it is true that not all alcoholic beverages are the same; some are much worse than others. For example, commercial beer, liquor and other spirits are commonly made mostly of GMO-corn and other GMO cereal grains. As discussed earlier, these contain modified gluten and a variety of toxins, pesticides, chemicals and other gut-irritating additives.
However, I also want to point out the roots of the word “alcohol”. I’ve been in the health and wellness industry along time, and so in my free time, I study etymology, semantics, language, and other ancient knowledge. I find that most problems can be traced back to illiteracy and not knowing the meanings of words. Also, that by finding out root meanings of words, things become a lot less dogmatic or confusing and a lot more simple.
With that being said, looking to ancient texts, Etymology (facts of the origin and development of a word,) the word “alcohol” shows up in the world of Alchemy. The word has been translated to “spirits” because in Alchemy, alcohol is and was used for extracting the essence or “spirit” from different substances. For example, in making a tincture of a medicinal mushroom, one would use alcohol to extract its essence (vitamins, nutrients, minerals and other medicinal constituents).
Interestingly enough, the consumption of alcohol has the same effect on the body. There is also more practical, scientific explanations for this. Alcohol tends to be acidic and cause spikes and irregutlatires in blood sugar and insulin. These effects can cause minerals to be extracted from the bones, adrenals and else where, to help normalize blood pH. In any of these cases, irregular blood sugar, hormonal imbalance and mineral deficiencies can weaken the glands and organs that rule digestion, such as the Liver, which is the key digestive organ in the body.
In addition to that, commercial alcoholic beverages are usually poorly fermented, similar to the way quick-rise breads are. Instead of brewing for months on end, collecting a variety of beneficial yeasts and organisms, commercial beers, wines and other products are usually quickly fermented using chemicals and then pasteurized, killing off potential beneficial microorganisms, destroying B vitamins, and potentially causing only resistant strains of yeast like Candida yeast to survive.
It is also well known that alcohol directly damages cells along the digestive tract and drives inflammation in the gut, which alter your gut microbiome, contributing to bacterial overgrowth or gut dysbiosis.
All these things together can contribute to poor organ function, overall bad health and gut inflammation.
What Can Be Done?
I know this blog was filled with a lot of undesirable information; however, in my opinion there is no such thing as “negative news” if it provides key data about issues. It might not be the most pleasant of truths but this information helps us refine the problems of our health. And as I say so many times, the cure is in the cause.
If you wish you be healthy it is a simple game; don’t engage in activities, thoughts and emotions that destroy your health.
Ultimately, we cannot know a solution without first identifying the problem in totality. By being aware of these problems and eliminating them, we are more than half way there.
As far as what to do and eat instead, well, listen to your gut – our body’s are incredibly intelligent, if you listen, they will tell you what they need. This if a fundamental philosophy of Eastern Medicine; that our bodies will always know what to do and how to heal if we simply get out of their way.
However, for those of you still interested alternative activities and relearning wellness, I have an entire, comprehensive online course on the subject of Perfect Digestion.