When your digestion is on point, life is just good! If you are not comfortable talking about poo you can close this window now because I’m about to get real up in here about fixing digestion problems which range from digestive enzymes, stomach acid, to how food is processed through the body.
I’ve had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for most of my life but always ignored the symptoms until I started working with a naturopath in 2009. My symptoms included gas and diarrhea. As I cleaned up my diet over the years my symptoms were reduced significantly but were still there on occasion. I didn’t really start addressing them until I was diagnosed with MS in December of 2014. After diving into the research I started learning about how a leaky gut was quite possibly a contributing factor to why my body developed an auto-immune disease. I do believe there are many factors which possibly contributed to my body being susceptible to being diagnosed with MS but I know that healing my gut problems was of utmost importance. If I heal my gut I will have fewer toxins leaking into my body confusing my cells and really who doesn’t want solid bowel movements vs. loose ones!
7 Steps For Fixing Digestion Problems
Working With A Registered Holistic Nutritionist
In December, I did a Skype consultation with an RHN and we put together a game plan for adapting my already healthy weekly meal plans. I’ve been doing really well at reducing my red meat consumption and increasing my fish meals. I also cut out all nightshade vegetables from my diet. I didn’t realize I was still consuming nightshade spices like paprika and cayenne pepper and goji berries so those are now gone as well. I need to do better at eating seaweed for iodine optimization as well.
Working With A Naturopath
After several appointments throughout the year, I finally found some amazing answers after my July appointment. I finally feel like my supplementation is on point. My blood work reports optimal levels. I use a reminder app to tell me when to take my vitamins & minerals twice a day and my compliance is really good. I have answers about food allergies (which I have none) so now I can work on whether or not my body has enough enzymes to digest the food I eat. From there I’m hoping to heal my intestinal walls so nothing leaks through my intestines and into my blood stream. I’m also really focusing on reducing the toxic load on my body.
Trying An Elimination Diet
I’m currently working through the auto-immune paleo 30-day elimination diet. To be honest I’m not perfect in this trial and have to keep restarting. I have felt slightly limited on this diet so I’m having a hard time being super strict with myself. I’ll do a full post on how this goes when I’m successful in compliance. They have printouts of what foods to avoid and what you can eat so I printed these out on my fridge for constant checking. From there I will work on reintroducing certain nutrient-dense foods and gauge my body’s reactions.
Take A Fibre Supplement
In my July blood work & supplementation post, I shared that I started using Fibre Smart in the morning. Because I don’t eat a lot of carbs on this elimination diet (I’ve had to cut oats & quinoa) I’ve needed this supplement as a binding agent to hold my food together and I can track solid bowel movements for several weeks after I started taking this supplement along with regular acupuncture appointments.
See An Acupuncturist
I found an acupuncture specialist on the app League and started seeing Amrit Singh once a week to target my digestion points. I noticed a big difference in starting to see solid bowel movements after taking the fibre smart & regular appointments for a month with Amrit. Based on an exhaustive intake form and discussing all my symptoms we talked about how I could be Qi deficient and how my pancreas & spleen could be overworked. This makes a lot of sense since my food test showed that I’m not actually allergic or have an immune reaction to food so it could all be based on my body not being able to produce enzymes properly. I’m excited to do more research on the subject and continue with appointments. The bonus is that she also treats me for athletic soreness when I go in for my appointments.
If our bowel movements aren’t healthy and by healthy I mean more solid than non-solid on a daily basis then we have to look at the whole train of food movement through the body. Food starts in our mouth so we have to look at if we are chewing enough? I know I can always slow down and enjoy my food more so I’m always working on that. Then we look at if we have enough stomach acid to break down the food in our stomachs. Do we also have enough good gut bacteria to aid in this process? After being on the steroid treatment last December and then two UTI infections this year with over 3 weeks of antibiotic treatment I’ve constantly had to supplement with a strong probiotic over the year. The simple science that I understand about probiotics is that they balance out the bad bacteria we may consume so that our body can function optimally. I switch which brand I take each bottle I buy so that my body is consuming different strains and not getting used to just one.
Keep Body At Optimal PH Levels
I love this article on mindbodygreen.com on how to balance your PH to help heal your body written by a naturopath.
Digestive System – Most digestive disorders, such as indigestion, nausea, bloating, and gastric reflux, are symptoms caused by excess acid in the gastric region and not enough alkaline minerals in the intestinal tract. If the alkaline minerals from enzyme-rich foods are missing then the pancreas will become exhausted, and once the pancreas is exhausted, it loses the ability to decode the food and tell the body what to do with it. This will lead to a degenerative spiral of entropy where organs become confused and inflamed.
I work on this by always drinking warm water with lemon in the morning before consuming coffee. I consume minimal red meat, vinegar, nuts (removed in my elimination diet at the moment), grains, and eggs. I used to purchase litmus paper to test my saliva but haven’t in a while. I might do this if digestion problems return.
I know it’s a lot to consider but I do hope this post starts to show you how truly complicated our bodies are and how a healthy digestive system allows our immune system to function at optimal levels.
Disclaimer: I have worked with my health care team to optimize my health and found what works for my body. Please consult a team of health care professionals as you learn to heal your body or deal with digestion problems.