Upgrading digestive health for a healthier YOU.
August 28, 2019 By Billy
The importance of a healthy gastrointestinal system cannot be emphasized enough. It’s a pillar of your health and an accurate indicator of it, too. But proper digestive health doesn’t require rocket science. The best part? Within no time, you’ll find that your digestive system is getting stronger when implementing the principles below; then to be reflected by everything else in your body getting stronger, too. Give the protocols we cover below a “go” for one month and I can assure that you’ll find the impact anything but subtle. (We talk about this topic in even more detail in Infinity Health Manual, but this will get you started!)
In essence, your digestive system plays two primary roles: it extracts nutrition from the foods you eat and it eliminates toxins from the body. When the digestive system is strong, it does an outstanding job in both roles. When it’s compromised by poor diet, it does a poor job. Your diet, indeed your lifestyle, amplifies, for good or for bad, your digestive system’s performance.
In fact, because of the dual-role nature of the digestive system, a poor diet actually compounds the problem of poor nutrition. You’re not taking in quality nutritive foods in the first place, and the nutrients you are taking in aren’t being properly extracted for the body’s use because of the weakened digestive system. It’s an unhealthy spiral.
The good news is digestive health isn’t very complicated. Like we’ve talked about in the past, for optimal health, your body needs more plant foods—fruits and vegetables, along with unprocessed whole grains and healthy fats like from raw nuts and seeds. Additionally, it requires some elimination—like cutting out processed sugar, flour, and cheap animal protein. Without fiber from plant foods, everything slows down. We’ve talked about how weakening flour can be, a significant fiber-less ingredient in so many diets. Most animal protein doesn’t do your digestive system any favors either, unfortunately. If meat and/or dairy are regular parts of your diet, take breaks from them every now and then to give your digestive system a chance to recuperate.
What and How You Eat
It’s probably not surprising that some of the best foods for your gastrointestinal system are foods that are easy to digest. The hard-to-digest foods we’ve identified (especially animal protein and flour) over time have a tendency to accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract, slowing things down, allowing toxins more opportunity to be absorbed through the intestines back into the body. This also interferes with the body’s ability to soak up beneficial nutrients.
What may be surprising, however, is that some raw vegetables aren’t always easy to digest either. While raw veggies aren’t foods that accumulate in the gastrointestinal system, they can make it work harder which is often reflected by indigestion. The coarser, more rigid vegetables (like kale, chard, collard greens, and broccoli) can, in fact, be harder to digest when raw versus when cooked. Strike a balance by mixing it up. Also remember my philosophy about tossing these greens into the blender! Raw, easy to digest, and chlorophyll—score! Give my kale pesto a try! It’s a favorite of many.
Cooked or not, it’s important to chew your food thoroughly. Ever notice how fast many people eat these days? Much of the world is in a hurry. But chewing is Phase One of digestion, and it’s super important. There are digestive enzymes in your saliva that begin breaking down food before it’s even swallowed. Take your time when you eat. You’ll get more taste out of your food and you’ll make things a lot easier on your digestive system.
Your Internal Chemistry
One especially unappealing consequence of a poor diet is internal parasites. These are more common than we like to believe. We all have them, to some degree. The most common is a yeast fungus called candida which thrives on processed sugar and flour. Alcohol, too. Candida weakens the walls of the intestines, often creating food sensitivities. Along with removing the foods that candida thrives on, I recommend doing battle against candida from time to time with foods and herbs that are known to kill it. Raw garlic is a classic one. To be effective however, it has to be truly raw, unheated garlic. Chewing raw garlic can be a painful for the tongue (not to mention can have socially unfashionable effects). Dicing it up very finely to be washed down with a glass of water will spare you from having to chew it. Parasites hate raw garlic. And there’s a whole host of similar parasite fighting superfoods that can be found in the flagship formula, Infinity Greens, too.
The good news is, once strong and balanced, your digestive system can keep candida and other parasites at bay. Remember that a digestive system in a weakened state leads to an unhealthy internal chemistry which, in turn, weakens the whole body. It weakens your very life force. And consider this– the digestive tract is where the majority of serotonin is created in the body. Serotonin is what has a direct impact on our mood. That alone is reason enough to maintain a healthy digestive system!
Poor diets cause poor internal chemistry because of the lack of nutrition (obviously), but also because of the typical components of the common diet; namely, sugar, flour, and lack of fiber. Fiber, of course, helps move things along in your system, thus making it more difficult for parasites, or any toxic material for that matter, to stick around. There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble (typically from plant foods) breaks down, dissolving in your system. Insoluble (typically from grains), doesn’t digest. (One exception is oats, which are a great soluble fiber.) Insoluble fiber still plays an important role, though, because it adds bulk to your food, helping satisfy your appetite with fewer calories. But ironically, too much insoluble fiber can be constipating. Soluble fiber plays the more important role, keeping things moving through the gastrointestinal tract.
Flax and chia seeds are an amazing source of soluble fiber, superior alternatives to other fiber supplements like psyllium husk (which is why they’re part of Infinity Greens). Both of these seeds lubricate the gastrointestinal system perfectly. Sprouted, raw flax-seed crackers can be good, but the less adulterated products are always better.
Cleaning the System
Speaking of taking breaks from poor nutritional habits, many people do cleanses from time to time. Some people will fast for days and even longer as a way to detox, although some do it for spiritual reasons, too. The idea is to cleanse the body of toxins that have built up, especially in the colon. I wouldn’t necessarily advocate a heroic detoxifying cleanse for everyone, but I wouldn’t stop you, either. It’s fascinating how the body will truly cleanse itself if it’s allowed the chance to do so.
One way to do a cleanse is by utilizing a liquid diet exclusively. Juicing fresh fruit and veggies (not pre-bottled products) can be good for such a cleanse, but I’m a bigger fan of smoothies with superfoods, the advantage being that you’re getting the whole food including the cleansing soluble fiber that comes with it. It’s true that juicing gives the digestive system a break while still providing the nutrients, but so does blended food, especially if you’re using a high-power blender which really breaks things down. A quality blender can be money well spent.
For a digestive system that’s slow to the point of constipation, you might be thinking about laxatives. I don’t recommend using them except for rare occasions since, over time, your system can become dependent on them. If and when you really need it, I’d suggest senna, which is a natural (herbal) laxative. Aloe latex is a stronger natural option.
Colonics, administered by ‘colonic hygienists’ have become popular. An enema is a lighter-version colonic that can be self-administered. Another option for flushing the system out, top to bottom, is a non-invasive technique called Shatkarma that goes all the way back to the ancient health practices of Ayurveda. Essentially, this entails drinking a liter of salt water that you can mix yourself with non-iodized sea salt and purified water to make it comparable to ocean water. This is an extremely effective cleanse. The body can’t absorb salt water, so it travels through the intestines, top to bottom. Just make sure you have a bathroom handy for the next couple hours as you’ll have at least a half dozen substantial bowel movements. This is something that I did for years, and I think it’s great. Search online for the how-to’s. It’s a well-known practice.
Fasts, colonics, Shatkarma flushes—these can all be effective cleanses. But more to the point, I’d simply recommend a diet that is ‘cleansing’ in general. Even just a few days after removing meat, too many dairy products, sugar, and foods with flour, you’ll likely be able to sense toxic funk leaving your body. Not to say that it’s necessarily going to feel good. For a few days you may feel a sensation of a hangover since an increased volume of toxins is moving through the bloodstream to be excreted through the gastro-system. Chlorophyll from green food (blue-green algae, the number one ingredient in Infinity Greens, is the highest source of chlorophyll of any food), nature’s purifier of blood, is an especially important ally here for the purpose of soaking up these toxins. After a cleanse such as this, you might just decide to leave the less-than-healthy things out of your diet all the time, naturally gravitating towards the healthy—cleansing—foods, instead.
Strengthening Your System
Besides a cleansing diet, a major way to strengthen your internal chemistry is with healthy bacteria. Unhealthy intestinal bacteria have become a common theme with the prevalence of modern junk foods. The right kind of bacteria supports digestion among other things in the body. When healthy bacteria settle in, they also become defenders, greatly enhancing your immune system. We can get healthy bacteria in raw, fermented foods like sauerkraut. Probiotic supplements can play a major role, too. These include bacterial blends of acidophilus, bifidus, and lactobacillus. Note – there are 20 Billion Live Probiotics per serving in Infinity Greens!
The microorganisms that inhabit your digestive tract—your intestinal flora—greatly influence your digestive health. How do you know if your intestinal flora is healthy? The most accurate gauge is your bowel movements. Fiber, coupled with a predominance of healthy bacteria, give bulk. A healthy bowel movement is sizable and, well, there’s just no other way to say it, satisfying.
And while we’re on the subject of bowel movements, you should be having at least one a day. Regular bowel movements are important for making sure that toxins don’t linger in the intestines too long for the reasons I mentioned. A good diet aids this regularity. For enhanced ‘gastro-mobility’, keep in mind that effective and common intestinal lubricants include coconut oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, papaya, and prunes.
Other ways to strengthen your digestive system include enzymes, which are important for breaking foods down for proper digestion. Where do you find these? Raw fruits and veggies. Enzyme supplements too. (Yes, Infinity Greens includes a blend of live enzymes for this very purpose.)
Naturally, water also plays a role in digestive health. We’ve talked about this before. (See the Infinity Health Manual for the essentials of healthy hydration.) For now, suffice it to say that many of us are walking around slightly dehydrated most of the time. It’s no coincidence that many of us are also walking around slightly constipated most of the time, too. Drink water! Ideally, do the majority of hydrating through the day and less with meals. Hydrating during meals does slightly dilute your digestive enzymes. At the very least, try to avoid cold drinks with food. While cold drinks during meal-time is a common theme, they do in fact dampen your digestion.
The importance of a healthy gastrointestinal system cannot be emphasized enough. It really is a foundation of your health, and like I mentioned, an accurate indicator of it, too. Give the protocols we’ve covered a “go” for one month and I can assure that you’ll find the impact anything but subtle.
Yours truly, and at your service always,