Healing the Gut

The “gut”. The beginning and the end, the source of all chronic health problems. If you have been researching the topic, you know about the incredible role played by your gut bacteria and the impact of a leaky gut on your health. Studies have described the structure and functional capacity of the bacterial microbiome in the healthy state and in a variety of disease states. Gut dysbiosis is blamed for problems like food sensitivities, bloating, thyroid conditions, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, skin issues, digestive problems, weight changes and food cravings. Programs to heal the gut are popping all over the Internet. Most of them have great merit and many people have seen drastic changes in their health by following them. This blog post is not meant to be a step by step approach to healing the gut, but rather a general outline to get you started on your healing journey.

1- The most important step anyone could take to improve any health problem is to eliminate processed foods and replace them with colorful whole foods. Cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and bone broth are particularly beneficial to the gut.

2- Eating consciously (smelling the food causes the stomach to produce hydrochloride acid and chewing well prepares the food) will improve your digestion and facilitate mineral absorption.

3- Listening to your body and noticing how it reacts to certain foods through journaling will allow you to adapt your diet to your needs.

4- Dealing with stress by controlling your thoughts, eliminating stressors when possible and ensuring you get time to wind down is one of the most crucial points that will help improve your health.

5- Making sure you maintain a sense of purpose will increase your overall well being. The mind gut connection is well accepted and having a purpose in life is essential to happiness. This doesn’t mean that you have to find a grand reason to be alive, but finding meaning in the little things will foster a sense of purpose.

6- Keeping hydrated will help detoxing and ensuring your bowels are moving. Just one caveat: I have seen health professionals advise that urine should be clear when one is properly hydrated. That is simply not true. Light yellow is what you are aiming for and just pay attention to your body signals and be aware that thirst can be confused for hunger.

7- Various supplements and herbs are promoted for gut health, but I will keep it simple: probiotics in the form of fermented foods and a reliable supplement as well as aloe vera juice. This is why Plexus offers a multivitamin that includes Aloe Vera , among other beneficial minerals and vitamins. 


No Poo Experiment, Part 3

So, after two weeks of not washing my hair at all, I broke down and decided to clean it with Borax. My hair turned out soft and manageable,  but not as shiny as if I had used shampoo.

Also, the next day and all the days following my hair felt rough and didn’t look nice, I had to keep it tied up because it was too fuzzy.

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A week later, I cleaned my hair with Aloe Vera gel. I was not very happy with the results. My hair didn’t look nice and felt rough and not clean.

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I tried again and it still didn’t look nice, so I ended up using shampoo.

 

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So far, I would say that Borax yields decent results, but I will keep experimenting. My hair is always a bit fuzzy, but it has more shine with shampoo (I used a less toxic organic brand). I think I might try going at least a week without cleaning my hair and then doing Borax followed by an apple cider rinse and blow drying. More on that in an upcoming post.

 


No Poo Experiment, Part 2

It’s been over a week without washing my hair (I used to shampoo twice a week or so) and I really want to wash my hair right now! It looks very oily and unattractive, but I will just have to keep wearing buns for the experiment’s sake. Apparently, this should last for 2 to 6 weeks at the very most.

I had heard of No Pooing before, like I mentioned in the introduction to this experiment, but I really didn’t know much about it. One thing that I discovered is that most people, although they do not use shampoo, do wash their hair; usually using baking soda in place of shampoo and apple cider vinegar in place of conditioner. My experiment here is different, I am going a whole month without any kind of washing at all. Then, I will test one of the many no poo washing options. In the list I read, women would use Borax or egg yolks. One very informative blog I was reading strongly recommended to not skip the rinse (using a conditioning agent). Or, apparently some options are 2 in 1, like eggs, aloe vera juice or gel.

There are a fair amount of complaints about using baking soda as a shampoo on the Internet and I don’t think I will be trying it. I found an herbal recipe which involves mixing equal parts of yucca root powder and water for the cleanser. You apply it in the shower and let it sit for 5 minutes, then you rinse and apply an mixture of Amla Berry powder (gooseberry) and fenugreek seed powder. Sounds promising, I think I might try that.

As far as Borax goes, it sounded pretty scary to me at first until I learned it is perfectly safe and people mix 1Tbs of it in 1 cup of water. The reason this option seems harsh at first is that we think Borax, we think boric acid. However, Borax needs to react to an acid like sulfuric or hydrochloric acid to become boric acid. I think I might give Borax a try, as I found only positive comments about it.


No poo experiment, Part 1

One way to decrease toxin exposure is to avoid commercial cosmetics or at least limit their use as much as possible. Commercial shampoos and soaps contain some know carcinogens and endocrine disrupters.

The idea for this particular experiment came to me after reading a fun description of the differences between now and one hundred years ago:

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I have thought about the problems with shampoo before, even the better ones, but going without shampoo forever seemed like too much of a sacrifice. My hair feels soft and shiny after shampooing. When I go without shampoo for a few days, it looks oily and heavy. However, when I read about how women would wash their hair once a month, I thought: I can do that! I don’t know about using Borax or egg yolks though, I will have to look into it further.

For now, here is my before picture. My hair was washed about 12 hours ago. It has been brushed and that is when it starts looking a bit frizzy from dying my hair so often over the years.

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There is more to health than diet

I think we all know that diet is not the only component of a great health, but sometimes we don’t realize to what extent. Two factors that are often talked about are sleep and stress. Getting more and better sleep and reducing stress cannot be overemphasized, but some other practices can help the body detoxify and improve health:

1- Oil pulling: An Ayurvedic practice that involves cleaning your teeth by swishing oil in the mouth for 5 to 20 minutes. The oil absorbs the toxins from the mouth, which is why one needs to spit it out afterwards.

2- Dry skin brushing: This practice involves using an exfoliating brush to stimulate the lymphatic system.

3- Detox baths: This method simply requires soaking in a nice warm bath containing between half a cup and one cup of baking soda or Epsom Salts. It’s also a good time to experiment with essential oils.

3- Reducing toxins from the environment: Avoiding putting more toxins into our body by not using commercial cosmetics (see my No Poo Experiment) and cleaners, and by eating organic food for example.

4- Reducing screen time and WIFI exposure: Turning off the router at night is a good starting point.

5- Spending time in nature: A walk outside is an extraordinary and rejuvenating practice.

I will be experimenting with these three practices over the next few months. Stay in touch!