Tag Archives: Intestinal Health

Digestion: the Building Blocks to a Healthier You

Digestion: The Building Blocks to a Healthier You

by Jessica Bischof

It has often been said, “you are what you eat,” but this is only partially true. In reality, you are what you eat and digest. You could eat the most amazing organic, locally sourced, whole food diet, and yet, if you cannot digest and assimilate it properly, you are only getting a fraction of the nutrition your food could be providing to your body.

Amazingly, digestion is something that is rarely discussed, even in the holistic health world! In my work as a Nutritional Therapy Consultant (NTC), I find that nearly all of my clients need to strengthen this foundational area.

How can you know if your digestion is working the way it should? Some types of digestion dysfunction are obvious, such as chronic constipation, frequent diarrhea, pain from acid reflux or heartburn, and foul-smelling gas. Other symptoms, such as a sense of excess fullness after meals, burping or belching, distaste for meat, fingernails that chip and break, and anemia that is unresponsive to iron supplements, often occur without being immediately identified as digestion issues. And finally, if taking digestive enzymes with your meals is helpful to you, that’s a sure sign that your body is not digesting optimally.

Digestion: The Basics

Digestion is a complex process, and you can read a longer explanation at http://www.beeyoutiful.com/buildingblockstohealthieryou but in this article I want to discuss the specific role that hydrochloric acid (HCl), more commonly known as stomach acid, plays in digestion.

Special cells in the lining of your stomach sense the arrival of food and secrete HCl, releasing it through the mucosa to mix with the meal you just ate. This acid is strong stuff, and has the goal of creating a very acid environment in the stomach, hopefully between 1.5 and 3.0 on the pH scale. This mixture is so acidic that it would burn a hole right through your carpet! This is a good thing as most bacteria, fungus, parasites, and other unfriendly critters can’t survive this extreme environment and are eliminated on their first stop through our digestive system.

Besides protecting you from pathogens, HCI also breaks apart the proteins in your food, whether animal or plant based. This is especially important to make the minerals in your foods available for absorption. For example, broccoli is high in calcium and beef is high in zinc, but if the food isn’t properly cleaved apart in your stomach, these minerals remain unavailable to you.

Once properly acidified, the contents of the stomach (called chyme) exit into the upper part of the small intestine and the pancreas sends over some juices to neutralize the acidity. Pancreatic enzymes, needed to break your food down into molecules small enough to be absorbed, also arrive with these juices. When this process happens correctly, the body can benefit from all the nutrition in the meal you just ate.

A Delicate Balance

As you can see, proper digestion is highly reliant on sufficient HCl production. If you aren’t secreting enough acid, the stomach will delay releasing the chyme to the small intestine; your body will be busily trying to create more acid and make sure that any critters that arrived in your food have been killed, and that your food has been appropriately broken apart so that you can digest it in the next phase. However, this increased time in the stomach also causes the food to start to ferment and putrefy, leading to a sense of over-fullness, burping, belching, and even heartburn as the contents expand.

This is the point at which you might be tempted to reach for antacids such as Tums, which is sad because it’s actually not too much acid that’s causing the problem, but too little.  Eventually the stomach will give up and release the chyme. When chyme sent down to the small intestine isn’t highly acidic, it doesn’t need to be neutralized, so the pancreatic flush is not stimulated, and the critical pancreatic enzymes won’t be sent out to break down the meal into absorbable particles. Over time, this leads to nutritional deficiencies and a damaged gut lining, as the food which should have been broken down and absorbed into your bloodstream instead sits against the gut wall and continues to rot, feeding pathogenic bacteria, fostering candida overgrowth, and creating inflammation of the gut wall.

Now that you understand the importance of HCl for the digestive process, you’re probably wondering how you can make sure that you’re producing enough. Dr. Jonathan Wright, author of Why Stomach Acid is Good For You, reports that when tested at his Tahoma, WA clinic, over 90% of his patients were deficient in their production of stomach acid. This has been my experience as well, both in myself and in my clients: we are not producing the stomach acid we need to, and our nutrition and gut health is suffering as a result.

Keeping Things Working

HCl production is dependent on two things: having an adequate amount of zinc in the body and being in a relaxed, parasympathetic state when you eat.

Digestion is parasympathetic

When your nervous system is in parasympathetic mode, you’ll be relaxed and unstressed. In this mode, the body rests, the organs detoxify, and you properly secrete digestive juices, particularly HCl. When your sympathetic nervous system is dominant, you are instead prepared for activity and stress. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to eat meals in the car, eat standing at the counter, and eat when multi-tasking. Unfortunately, none of these behaviors allow the parasympathetic side to dominate and digest food properly.

Zinc

There are many nutrients that play a role in your body creating HCl, but zinc is the most important. Because you need zinc to make HCl, and you need HCl to absorb dietary zinc from your food, it is easy to upset this delicate balance and find yourself in the vicious cycle of poor digestion.  Zinc plays a key role in supporting immunity and helping the body heal cuts. Poor wound healing and white spots on the fingernails point strongly to a zinc deficiency.

Three Hacks to Improve Your Digestion Today

1.     Chew your food well. Chewing each bite 20-30 times breaks down your food well before it arrives in the stomach, saturates your food with saliva (which has enzymes that break down your food) and alerts your digestive system that ‘food is on the way.’

2.     Limit water at meals. Getting adequate water each day is necessary for health, but catching up on hydration at mealtime dilutes your stomach acid and burdens digestion. Drink enough water to stay comfortable during meals (and to take your supplements), but put the majority of your water consumption at least 30 minutes prior to or 60 minutes after meals.

3.     Relax, practice gratefulness, and think about eating. Relaxing and focusing on your food doesn’t seem like it would matter for digestion, but it does. Encourage your body to enter a relaxed, parasympathetic state while you eat. Savor your food and try to spend at least 15 minutes (more is great!) relaxed and enjoying every meal.

Supporting Digestion with Supplements

If you’re consistently following the tips above and still dealing with heartburn, a sense of fullness after meals, digestive symptoms, or the presence of undigested food in your stool, consider adding an acid supplement to facilitate digestion. A product like Belly Balance provides 648mg of HCl, along with 150mg of pepsin (an enzyme) which work together to assist digestion. Both the size of your meal, and the amount of meat in your meal will affect how much acid support you need to optimized digestion, so take more with a larger meal or a larger portion of animal protein.

Consider supplementing with zinc too (more information on this in my longer article on digestion, http://www.beeyoutiful.com/buildingblockstohealthieryou). Many people can decrease their need for HCl or eliminate it entirely once they reestablish their zinc stores. Supplementing with digestive enzymes, such as Digest Best or Digestive Enzyme** will also help digestion. Many people find that once they kickstart digestion with the proper use of HCl (Belly Balance), they are no longer dependent on enzymes, because their body now produces its own.  **Digestive Enzyme contains ox bile, a necessity for anyone who doesn’t have a gallbladder.

When You Need More Help

Supplementing with acid-containing products for children is not recommended. Likewise, anyone with a history of GERD, recurrent heartburn or reflux issues or ulcers should not supplement with HCl without FIRST working with a qualified practitioner to heal these fragile tissues. Taking HCl is also not recommended for anyone taking an acid blocker, or proton pump inhibitor (things like Prilosec, Nexium, etc.).

I firmly believe in the importance of effective digestion and have seen the benefits in my own life. Guiding clients through this process is one of my areas of specialty. If you want to improve your digestion, but aren’t confident to make it a do-it-yourself project, or if you have special considerations you know need to be addressed, I invite you to schedule a complimentary 15-minute appointment to discuss your concerns and see if we are a good fit to work together.

Jessica is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant and the owner of Simple Steps Nutrition where she works with clients both in the US and internationally to create customized nutritional protocols and lifestyle modifications to support healing and function in the body. 

Her own health challenges started in her early 20’s after the birth of her first child and forced her to become educated about what her body needed to heal. She believes that through healing and supporting the underlying cause you can actually regain health, not just treat symptoms. 

Jessica specializes in restoring energy, resolving fatigue issues, balancing hormones, digestive issues, and adrenal healing. Jessica offers a complimentary 15 minute consultation for anyone who would like to find out more. Visit www.simplestepsnutrition.com for information.

Which Probiotic Is Best For Me?- Spring Catalog 2012

Which Probiotic Is Best for Me?

Nancy Webster


In the two-part article about the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet I wrote for the last two Beeyoutiful catalogs, I recommended Tummy Tune-Up as a moderate-priced, quality probiotic alternative to the excellent-but-more-expensive version created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome. About the time the last catalog went to press, and unbeknownst to me, the manufacturers who supply Tummy Tune-Up to Beeyoutiful updated the product label, noting that TTU includes trace amounts of soy and gluten peptides because of possible cross-contamination from other products manufactured on the same equipment. A few Beeyoutiful customers who follow GAPS were disappointed to discover this possibility in Tummy Tune-Up (so was I).

At the same time, Beeyoutiful introduced two new, extra-strength probiotics: Gut Guardian and Gut Guardian Supreme. The timing was perfect, especially for GAPS-oriented customers! I hope this article will help you decide which probiotic is best for your needs.

The Good, the Bad, and the Gluteny

GAPS does not allow use of any soy- or gluten-containing products, or grains. So, following up on what traces might be found in the “new” Tummy Tune-Up, I learned that “peptides” are tiny pieces of the whole soy or gluten protein molecules. Of the 2700+ peptides which make up gluten, scientists have narrowed down the troublemakers for celiac and gluten-sensitive patients to just three of those thousands. This means the likelihood of harm from the possible trace content in Tummy Tune Up is very, very slim—reassuring news, for sure.

The GAPS Diet also does not allow any FOS (fructooligosaccharides), sometimes called inulin on product labels. The Diet is designed to eliminate all polysaccharides (“many-sugars”) because they are difficult for an unhealthy gut to digest. FOS are considered polysaccharides since they are made from complex chains of glucose-fructose molecules. They are found in foods like garlic, onions, bananas, wheat, asparagus, and chicory root. When used in probiotic supplements and some commercial yogurt and kefir, FOS are usually refined from chicory.

So why are FOS found in many probiotic products these days? FOS are considered to be a “prebiotic,” meaning they stimulate the growth of the beneficial bifidobacteria. These suppress harmful pathogenic bacteria and yeasts. This helps good bacteria do their thing even more efficiently and paves the way for more nutrients to be absorbed by the body. Because FOS are an insoluble, indigestible fiber, they act as any other food fiber to “sweep” the digestive tract. Some people even take supplements of FOS as a natural, fiber-based regularity product.

Opponents to the use of FOS in probiotics say they might also feed bad bacteria and the yeast present in an unhealthy gut, just as other sugars and starches do. They also say the indigestible fiber leads to abdominal bloating and cramping—which the GAPS Diet is intended to minimize—because unhealthy digestive tracts don’t do well with fibrous foods. Dr. McBride clarifies at her www.gaps.me website that even the people sensitive to a prebiotic at first can usually handle it after some gut healing has taken place.

Like trace soy and gluten, the FOS in probiotics is present in only a tiny amount, just enough to enhance the good bacterial action, and it typically breaks down before causing irritation. On the other hand, the inulin in some powdered stevia products, for example, has a much greater concentration of FOS and is present only to bulk up the stevia and render it more like a traditional sugar for baking purposes. That is a form of FOS GAPsters should definitely avoid.

Another ingredient present in some Beeyoutiful probiotics (including Tummy Tune-Up) and in Dr. McBride’s probiotic is maltodextrin, a polysaccharide. Again, GAPS Dieters must avoid such complex sugars while their guts are healing. The maltodextrin in Tummy Tune-Up is derived from rice starch whereas the maltodextrin in Dr. Campbell-McBride’s probiotic is derived from corn starch, a highly refined, complex chain of glucose molecules. It is present for the same reason FOS is included in some probiotics—to increase the efficacy of the probiotic— although unlike FOS, maltodextrin is easily digestible and is as rapidly absorbed as glucose. Elaine Gottschall, creator of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, upon which the GAPS Diet is based, was adamantly opposed to using maltodextrin in probiotics because “it’s a sugar,”1 but Dr. McBride says she’s only seen a few problems from the thousands who have used it, “because the maltodextrin component is so small.”2

The Price of Health

If you are going to the trouble of following the GAPS Diet, if you are following a yeast-killing regimen, or if you just want to improve your overall health, you will be more successful if you take an excellent probiotic along with eating a good diet. But don’t trust the drugstore probiotics. While they might claim to have billions of strains, the good bacteria may not even be alive after months on the shelves, or there may be unhealthy fillers. There are some good choices available at reputable health food stores, but usually you’ll pay top dollar. You’ll need to take them for a good while if you’re on a health quest, so those extra dollars will add up.

Here’s a quickie cost and ingredient comparison (using January 2012 pricing) of the Beeyoutiful line (see more info on each at www.Beeyoutiful.com or in the product catalog):

1)      Acidophilus Blast. 3 strains; 10 billion organisms potency at time of manufacture (8 billion potency guaranteed per capsule); needs refrigeration, no soy or gluten but does contain milk derivatives and potato starch; no FOS or maltodextrin. $20 for 120 caps.

2)      Tummy Tune-Up. 8 strains; 4 billion organisms potency per capsule; enteric coated (to help it withstand stomach acid so more of the good stuff reaches the intestines where it’s needed); stable at room temperature; contains FOS and maltodextrin. $18 for 60 caps.

3)      Ultimate Defense. 13 strains; potency of 1 billion organisms per capsule; also contains fermented greens bringing with them live enzymes and naturally occurring probiotic strains; some green superfoods; fermented molasses and chicory root inulin/FOS; no soy but does have milk derivatives; stable at room temperature. (Not recommended for GAPS but excellent choice otherwise.) $30 for 90 caps.

4)      Gut Guardian. 10 strains; potency of 25 billion per capsule; contains FOS; no allergens from milk, soy, or gluten; needs refrigeration. $30 for 50 caps.

5)      Gut Guardian Supreme. 10 strains; potency of 50 billion organisms per capsule; contains FOS; no allergens from milk, soy, or gluten; needs refrigeration. $50 for 50 caps.

For comparison, the GAPS-promoted probiotic contains: 14 strains; potency of 2 billion organisms per capsule; soy and milk ingredients; maltodextrin; needs no refrigeration. $50 for 120 caps.

As you compare, consider also the potency in light of the recommended amounts for a “therapeutic dosage” given in Gut and Psychology Syndrome (available from http://www.gaps.me). These may be more or less than the “maintenance” amounts suggested on the bottle labels, so figure the costs accordingly. You’ll need to maintain the therapeutic level for at least six months, so the bulk rates Beeyoutiful offers can save you a bundle to put towards the digestive enzymes, cod liver oil, and omega oils also recommended on the GAPS Diet. As you ease back to a maintenance level, you may also be able to ease down to a less powerful probiotic. Here are the recommended therapeutic amounts:

  • Adults—15-20 billion bacterial cells per day;
  • Infant to 12 mos.—1-2 billion/day;
  • Toddler to 2 years—2-4 billion/day;
  • Child from 2 to 4 years—4-8 billion/day;
  • Child from 4 to 10 years—8-12 billion/day;
  • Teen from 12 to 16 years—12-15 billion/day.

If you are just starting a gut-healing regimen, be certain to build up slowly to the therapeutic recommendations, or you may suffer serious discomfort from fatigue, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, low-grade fever, headache, and flu-like symptoms caused from bacteria die-off. Start with a small amount (open capsules and just use ¼ or so of the contents at a time if necessary) for 3 to 5 days and watch for symptoms. If they occur, stay at that quantity until the symptoms subside. Then continue building up, again watching for symptoms. Keep increasing the measure until you’ve reached the therapeutic amount to be maintained for at least six months. That is about how long it takes good bacteria to overcome bad bacteria in your gut. And be sure to strictly adhere to the GAPS Diet during this time, or you will be wasting your money on the good probiotics. You need both to get better!3

To get as many beneficial bacteria as possible through your acidic stomach and into your intestines where they are most needed, take your probiotic at the start of a meal, preferably breakfast and supper. Your food will help neutralize stomach acids. Be sure not to drink or eat anything super hot (ginger tea or bone broth soup, for example), because high heat will kill probiotics. If you or your child cannot swallow a pill, the capsules can be opened and the contents sprinkled over food or mixed into tepid liquid.

Eventually, when you have reclaimed your gut health—which can take as long as two years—you will be able to maintain a healthy gut flora simply by regularly eating fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.  I hope this explanation has helped you digest (pun intended!) the sometimes confusing ins and outs of probiotics. If you have further questions, please contact the knowledgeable customer service staff at Beeyoutiful.

Nancy Webster is a homeschool mother of eight and leader of the Southern Middle Tennessee chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She enjoys moderating the online health forum for Beeyoutiful.com. Nancy lives with her family on their “partially working” farm in Tennessee.

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[1] http://gapsfacts.com/

2 http://gapsaustralia.com.au/tag/dysbiosis/

3 If you give a probiotic a good try—like a few weeks—and you continue to experience negative reactions, maybe you should try another brand or go really simple and stick with just the SCD-Diet legal probiotics: pure acidophilus and pure scdophilus. More info about this can be found in the Gaps Guide by Baden Lashkov, available from www.gapsguide.com, another helpful website. At least one mother of a GAPS patient used milk kefir grains as her son’s probiotics, because he could not tolerate any supplements at all. Although this was unusual, it provides another option for those who might not be able to swing the cost of probiotics.

Addressing the GAPS in Your Health, Part 2

Part 2

nancy_smallNancy Webster

* This is the second part of a two part series, you can find the first article at “Addressing the GAPS in Your Health

Part 1 of this article (Winter 2011) explained the reality that health problems are not necessarily genetic but can be related to diet and particularly to digestive health. Our “second brain,” the gut determines much of our mental, emotional, and physical health. The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet restores a dysfunctional gut and allows people to enjoy a wider range of foods.

Sometimes I envy people who don’t like to cook. They open a can, zap a box, or bring home fast food. Meal prep is fast, and their kitchens stay clean. But often, especially as those people age, a hefty collection of medicines occupies the bathroom cabinet.

The kitchen at my house is rarely caught up. Over-sized stock pots of bones simmer on the stove. Gallon jars of fermenting kombucha, and water and dairy kefirs line the counter. Homemade butter and lacto-fermented sauerkraut keep the food processor whirring—and constantly in need of cleaning. What’s more, for truly healthy eating, there’s no such thing as grabbing fast food, which means always thinking ahead to the next meal, especially if we have to be away from home during meal time.

In her Nourishing Traditions cookbook, Sally Fallon says if you can’t take the time and trouble to cook nutrient-dense, properly prepared foods for your family, you should drop other activities so you can. That sounds harsh, but it is truly the best gift you can give your loved ones, particularly if they have health issues the GAPS Diet can help.

Filling in the GAPS

Friends regularly ask me about various health problems, because they know how much I like to research alternative treatments. My family now jokes that my standard answer has become: “Do the GAPS Diet!” When they hear my suggestion, some folks object that they don’t have any digestive issues, so gut-healing is irrelevant. That’s a misconception, however. Because it is so beneficial to health in general, GAPS does help!

Another major objection I hear is from those who don’t want to give up grains and potatoes. They get side-tracked by just going gluten-free, which is something of a fad these days. Although gluten is often the culprit that starts leaky gut problems, it is not the only source of the problem.

Gluten-free crackers, cookies, mixes, and such simply replace gluten flours with other starchy grains like brown rice. Those starches continue to feed the out-of-control bad bacteria responsible for a leaky gut. Plus, other grains are rarely prepared properly to deliver the benefits they can offer. Most should be soaked and/or fermented. Without that step, they still contain phytates and other digestive inhibitors which keep the body from assimilating vitamins and minerals in food and supplements.

Even celiac patients will benefit from the GAPS Diet, and they may find that eventually they will be able to tolerate some gluten-containing grains.

Supplementing the GAPS

Although the GAPS diet brings a lot of healing on its own, it is greatly enhanced by the use of a few supplements. I’ve explained below (in order of importance) the four most crucial ones.

1) A quality probiotic to boost the population of good bacteria in the intestines. Probiotics are good strains of bacteria. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, creator of the GAPS Diet, offers an excellent probiotic which does not contain any starches, although many find the cost of her product beyond their budget.

Using a cheap-o version from the drugstore, however, is not the answer. You’ll likely be wasting even the lesser amount of money you do spend. Bargain varieties often contain dead bacteria because of improper, less expensive processing methods and shelf storage.

tummy_tune_120_1

Fortunately, Beeyoutiful’s Tummy Tune-Up represents a happy medium. It contains eight viable strains of the most vital bacteria, and remembering to take it is easy because it doesn’t require refrigeration. That means you can leave it in plain sight. While Tummy Tune Up contains a miniscule amount of starches, it is an excellent, budget-friendly alternative. (By contrast, Beeyoutiful’s Ultimate Defense is not a good companion to a strict GAPS diet because it contains fermented grains.)

2) Cod liver oil. Although everyone should be taking this supplement regularly, it is especially important for those on the GAPS Diet. We believe that Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil is the very best available, but it, too, is costly.

As a fine alternative at a much lower price, I highly recommend Beeyoutiful’s cod liver oil gelcaps. They’re not fermented, but the oil is processed without the high heat or chemicals often used to produce drugstore brands.codliveroilweb

3) Essential fatty acids, while needful for everyone, are vital for GAPS patients, especially if autism spectrum issues are involved. Beeyoutiful’s Omega Balance 3-6-9 is a cost effective blend of borage, flax, and fish oils that wonderfully fill this need.

4) Digestive enzymes. Because the GAPS Diet focuses on treating the digestive tract so as to heal the body of other ills, digestive enzymes should be taken at the start of every meal, especially when meats and fats are included. Beeyoutiful’s Digestive Enzymes are a good choice.

Two Steps to Cross the GAPS

An effective GAPS Diet is implemented in two stages: The Introduction, which has six distinct but relatively brief phases, and the Full Diet, which usually is best followed carefully for at least two years before slowly moving back into the entire spectrum of healthy foods, including some grains and starchy vegetables.

Many people find a good way to help their families switch gears from SAD (Standard American Diet) to GAPS is to jump into step two, the Full GAPS Diet, for awhile first. This is what our family did. Even at this level, I immediately started losing weight and feeling spunkier and more “with it,” largely due to the elimination of grains.

However, after we “practiced” with the Full Diet for almost six months, we then moved our family’s “critical care patients” into the GAPS Intro Diet. That’s when we started to see calmer behaviors and improvements in attention span.

These steps and the foods permitted for each are outlined in detail in the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome (available at www.gapsdiet.com). A cookbook and a quick guide to the diet are also available at the GAPS website. In addition, you’ll find a helpful yahoo support group, plus testimonials.

There are some common mistakes GAPS dieters make that can negatively affect the outcome of this healing protocol. These include overdoing no-grain flours (like nut or coconut), not eating bone broth every day (see recipe in Winter 2011 catalog), and giving up too soon. Our family plans to do GAPS again, because we made some of these mistakes and saw the negative results particularly in family members who most needed the help. In addition, we re-introduced dairy products too quickly, another common deterrent to steady healing.

I encourage you to try GAPS now if there are any health issues in your family. Some of my older children need this diet, but I did not know about it yet when they were still living at home, eating our food. Unless an older teen or young adult is very convinced of the benefits, he or she will find it difficult to pass up pizza and chips with friends. If you can do GAPS while your children are young, their little bodies will heal much faster than older bodies with accumulated damage from a leaky gut—and you can have total control over their diet.

Worth the Effort

Those who have tried this eating lifestyle in earnest testify to its benefits. A once skeptical, fifteen-year-old friend with severe eczema is now so excited about her rash-free skin and weight loss from GAPS that she’s using babysitting money to buy her own probiotics!

Another friend’s six-year-old, fidgety, impulsive daughter with a blinking tic calmed down and focused better within five days of starting GAPS, while her father reported that his foggy-headedness decreased and his physical endurance increased within the same period.

A homeschooling friend in Chicago watched her violent twelve-year-old son with Asperger’s become a thoughtful student and advance from second grade level work to sixth grade within a year of starting GAPS. Testimonies like this abound.

The GAPS diet is highly recommended by The Weston A. Price Foundation. WAPF recognizes that many modern people have compromised digestive systems due to bad diet, antibiotics, chemicals, and more. Once the diet has had time to improve the body’s inner workings, using WAPF guidelines for nutrient-dense cooking is likely the best way to add a wider variety of foods to your menu.

One thing GAPS will not do, however, is shorten your cooking and cleaning time in the kitchen. In truth, the effect may well be the opposite. But it will help your children focus and control themselves so they are better able to help you—and eventually do much of the kitchen jobs themselves. What you put into your kitchen now may get you out of it later!

Nancy Webster is one of Beeyoutiful’s regular researchers and writers, a homeschool mother of eight, and leader of the Southern Middle Tennessee chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She is the moderator of Beeyoutiful’s health forum, www.MerryHeartMedicine.com, where you can ask questions and learn from others about this topic and many more. Nancy lives with her family on their “partially working” farm in Tennessee.

Products Mentioned in this Article:

Tummy Tuneup

Ultimate Defense

Cod Liver Oil

Omega Balance 3-6-9

Digestive Enzymes

Addressing the GAPS in Your Health

Addressing the GAPS in Your Health

By Nancy Webster

nancy_small* This is a two part series, the second article can be found at Addressing the GAPS in Your Health, Part 2

[Dear Beeyoutiful Readers: Of all the subjects I’ve written about over the years, I’m most passionate about gut health and am especially excited to offer this first of two articles on the subject. Since “the gut” affects virtually everyone, you’ll likely recognize yourself or loved ones in the examples in my article. After struggling from effects of unhappy digestive systems, our family has learned there IS HOPE for healing! So pour yourself a warm mug of bone broth (see sidebar on page 44-45) and read on! Blessings, Nancy]

“Diet has nothing to do with this,” the pediatric gastroenterologist told me when I asked how our nine year old son could have a chronically impacted colon after eating freshly ground, whole wheat bread, raw carrots, and apples every day.

“Your son is on the autism spectrum. Give him these drugs and this therapy and hope for the best,” the pediatric neurologist told us about our boy. (Later, we would be told this story for three more of our eight children.)

“Here are some steroid cream samples to try on the bumps on his arms, legs, and buttocks,” the dermatologist said of the same son.

“This prescription-strength antacid will take care of your severe stomach pains,” the adult gastroenterologist told him at eighteen.

A Family Affair

Although your story may have a different twist, you probably do have a story. Your pediatrician may have referred your child to a specialist for ear drainage tubes or a tonsillectomy after regular antibiotic treatment didn’t stop the earaches.

Or maybe your child is seeing an allergist. Or a reading specialist for dyslexia. Or a urologist for chronic urinary tract infections. Or a dermatologist for acne or eczema. Or a psychiatrist for ADHD or more difficult behaviors.

Children with problems like these usually aren’t the only ones in the family with health issues. In our family, I’ve been amount the others. After traditional treatments for childhood problems such as earaches and bad skin while growing up, I’ve had an “ornery” tummy. To handle the problem a few years ago, a doctor gave me Miralax (a popular remedy concocted from propylene glycol, a form of mineral oil found in brake fluid and antifreeze!). I also fought off bouts of depression with the typically prescribed anti-depressants.

Maybe in your family, there are teens or adults with painful or irregular menstruation or migraines. Perhaps a grown-up someone suffers from chronic cystitis, mood swings, anxiety, poor memory, or brain fog. It could be the problem is schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, anorexia, or bulimia. Or even Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Most families today have some combination of these stories. The bottom-line cause for these ills is dysbiosis, otherwise known as poor gut health.

From Greeks to GAPS

Enamored with its considerable successes, modern medical practice often fails to give appropriate credit to some foundational wisdom of the ages. About 2400 years ago, the Greek scientist Hippocrates observed, “All diseases begin in the gut.” And certain contemporary-mostly “alternative”-health research affirms the ancient sage’s assertion.

Even if your health problems do not cause specific stomach discomfort, they usually began because of the state of your digestive system. Regardless of (and sometimes because of) how many pills, lotions, and potions-or even healthy supplements-you take, if you do not heal your gut, you cannot be as healthy as you were designed to be. It’s funny (and sad) how today’s allopathic medical community seems ignorant of this simple fact.

The centrality of gut health is the premise behind the highly successful gut-healing protocol of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a physician in England and the author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome and soon-to-be-published Gut and Physiology Syndrome. The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet, as her program is called, has delivered thousands of patients worldwide from all sorts of physical and mental health problems standard medical treatments could not fix.

The GAPS Diet is strongly endorsed by the Weston A. Price Foundation, and as you may know, Beeyoutiful promotes the WAPF nutrient-dense, properly prepared foods explained fully in Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions However, thanks to the increasingly processed, preserved, and polluted diets of even our great-grandparents, our digestive systems and those of our children may not be able to tolerate all the WAPF-recommended foods until serious attention is given to improving gut function. The GAPS Diet provides a step-by-step path to better digestion-and therefore-better health-by improving tolerance of a wider range of healthy foods.NourishingTrad_1

To understand the importance of the GAPS Diet, it is crucial to grasp exactly how health problems develop in families. It is not genetics in the way we’ve been influenced to think of “passing down” problems to our children. There appear to be familial weaknesses for things like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and even autism. But more than “genetic weakness”, it’s likely that similar bad diets and lifestyles are the cause for this heightened possibility.  So don’t resign yourself to thinking you’re doomed to get your dad’s diabetes or your mom’s arthritis!

Health risks to the next generation start when a baby is born to a mother whose intestinal health is compromised by an over growth of bad bacteria. This could be due to her diet, antibiotic use, past use of the birth control pill, or any of an assortment of other unhealthy choices. The unborn baby’s digestive tract is sterile until, just before being born, he gulps form the womb or birth canal. That fluid contains the same good or bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi as the mother’s digestive tract and determines the starting point for the newborn’s gut health.

Dr. McBride writes:

Amongst all the parents of GAPS children I have met, the mother always invariably has signs of chronic gut dysbiosis…The most common health problems (of the mothers) are: digestive disorders, asthma, eczema, hay fever and other allergies, migraines, PMS, arthritis, skin problems, chronic cystitis, and vaginal thrush. These conditions seem to be unrelated, but they are all children of one parent-Gut Dysbiosis.

She notes, too, that fathers contribute to vaginal flora, so dad’s gut health also affects the child’s well being.

Feeding in infancy also contributes to a baby’s present and future health. It is commonly known that “breast is best,” and that formula-fed babies routinely suffer more health problems. However, if the breast delivers milk from a mother with bad gut flora, the baby is getting the same bad bacteria. While the natural antibody protection of breast milk helps the baby hold off manifestations of health problems until weaning, the “polluted milk” is still harmful in the long run (although still preferable to formula). A nursing mom can benefit her baby’s tummy flora by improving her own gut health.

“Insult to injury” happens to many babies within days of being born, when their immature and often unhealthy digestive tracts are inundated with immunizations. Then come solid foods. Most moms start their children on starchy cereal and fruit, favorite foods of the Candida fungi baby most likely got from mom’s body. Next come easy-nibble foods like crackers and cookies, and it’s not long before ear infections and antibiotics start. With that, the Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome spreads to another innocent family member.

The Inside Story

Gut-related problems show themselves in an assortment of ways.

Leaking

When bad bacteria overwhelm good bacteria, there is no protection for the lining of the gut. It degenerates and cannot digest and absorb food properly, leading to mal-absorption, nutritional deficiencies, and food intolerances. Protein molecules from undigested food leak through the gut wall into the bloodstream, causing allergic reactions and aberrant behaviors.

Fiber

In a healthy gut, rich with beneficial flora, dietary fiber helps the body to absorb toxins, activate metabolism, recycle bile and cholesterol, and more. But in an unhealthy gut, fiber can actually be harmful to the digestive system by housing bad bacteria and aggravating inflammation in the gut wall. That’s why the early stages of the GAPS Diet are strictly low in fiber.

Lactose Intolerance

A startling number of people these days claim to be lactose intolerant as they age. Doctors say this is caused by the disappearance of lactase, the enzyme required to digest lactose (milk sugar). Howerever, some people still manage to digest milk perfectly well. Why? Because these folks have the right bacteria in the digestive system to perform the job. So if a person improves digestive health, he or she may again be able to handle dairy products.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Children or adults with gut dysbiosis generally show vitamin deficiencies, especially in the Vitamin B group, the ones essential for mental and emotional stability. This is because another job of a healthy gut is to manufacture vitamins and amino acids. Supplementation is a good crutch, but it is not the best long-term solution, because it does not address the root of the problem.

Anemia

Iron deficiency is another condition which comes with an “off” gut. Pathogenic, iron-loving bacteria take over and prevent the body from absorbing the iron in food. These bacteria actually feed on iron supplements, making the anemia worse, so many people with GAPS are pale and lack energy.

Candida

The most famous bad guy in unhealthy guts is the fungus Candida albicans. Dr. McBride believes many of the symptoms blamed on Candida are a result of gut dysbiosis, because Candida albicans thrive with many other opportunistic, pathogenic microbes. This includes bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other strains of yeast. All it takes to give Candida and its buddies a leg up is a course or two of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Food Allergies

I listed the problem of gut leakage above but want to explain a bit more, since food allergies and intolerances have become such a problem for many people. When normal gut flora is present, the intestinal wall is strong and impermeable. But if things get out of whack, spiral-shaped, bad bacteria, Candida, and parasites pike roots through this protective wall so partially digested food particles “leak” into the bloodstream. The immune system sees these particles as foreigners and triggers sneezing, extra mucus production, and other allergic-like reactions to get the blood clean again.

This is why food allergies or intolerances can crop up even though they many not have been a problem at an earlier time. Nothing is wrong with the food. It simply doesn’t get digested properly before leaking through the damaged gut wall. On this point, Dr. McBride concludes, “in order to eliminate food allergies, it is not the foods we need to concentrate on, but the gut wall.” She notes that many food intolerances disappear when the gut wall is healed, and that true deadly food allergies are rare.

Hippocrates knew that all health problems begin in the gut. With a proper understanding and treatment of the digestive system problems, it could be that most of our health problems just may end there as well.

[If you can’t wait three months for the “rest of the story” in the next Beeyoutiful catalog, I encourage you to study Dr. McBride’s website www.GAPS.me Next time, I’ll report on why a gluten-free diet may not be sufficient for healing, explain ways to clear up stubborn infections without antibiotic use, and tell a few more stories about the GAPS diet and its healing effects on members of our large family-including a “booster diet” which helped relieve most of our daughter’s problems with autism.]

Nancy Webster is one of Beeyoutiful’s more prolific researchers and writers, a homeschool mother of eight, and a leader of the Southern Middle Tennessee chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She lives with her family on their “partially working” farm in Tennessee.

Health Chocolate- Fall 2010 Catalog

Healthy Chocolate

And Now For Something Completely Different: Chocolate That Heals

By Greg Webster

Greg webster

The chip in the rim of my Durango-Silverton souvenir coffee mug reminds me each morning of how well-loved that gift is. My 12 year-old daughter brought it to me from her life-changing trip to a natural-healing specialist in Colorado.

Lily struggles with Asperger syndrome, an autism-spectrum disorder whose biochemical cause seems to have evaded most medical practitioners except Dr. Shauna Young. Through a disciplined diet combined with targeted nutritional supplements, Dr. Young’s  “Spectrum Balance Protocol” has helped Lily develop more age-appropriate behaviors and social skills.* We follow the diet more rigidly at some times than others, but during the “strict” times, it’s a challenge to keep a fun-loving 12 year-old on a regimen that excludes all processed foods and nearly every type of sweet treat enjoyed by most kids her age.

We attribute much of her success in staying on the diet to one particular, delectable and surprising supplement Dr. Young recommends to her patients of all ages.  Lily eats chocolate. That may sound strange to anyone marginally aware of health food do’s and don’ts, but the secret of why it works lies in a new-found version of an ancient food used in a time when chocolate was anything but junk.

It Wasn’t Always So

We think of chocolate as a decadent candy, but in the long history of cocoa consumption that is an anomaly. Thirty centuries ago, Mayans imbibed a spicy raw cocoa concoction of a mainstay of a high nutrition diet. It remained a health meal-in-a-cup for over 2500 years until Europeans decided they preferred mixing cocoa with sugar and milk rather than the cayenne and chili peppers that added an energetic kick to the ancient South American brew.

It became standard procedure to separate cocoa powder from cocoa butter (ditching), add chemicals to moderate the bitter taste, and boil the mixture to blend the added ingredients together. Americans did their part by introducing the first milk chocolate candy bar in the 1880’s. So now we think of chocolate primarily as a “sinful delight”.

There have been murmurings in the past ten years or so about the health benefits of dark chocolate, and the rumors are true-to a point. Cacao, from which cocoa is produced, is the ultimate antioxidant food.  It far outstrips blueberries, spinach, broccoli, red wine, or any other competitor that has been trumpeted as a great source of free-radical fighting antioxidants. And since eliminating free radicals is one of the best things you can do for your health and wellness, that means there’s a scientifically sound reason the early South Americans knew it was good for them.

Chocolate’s Dark Secret

Cocoa is likely the healthiest vegetable around. For example, 3 ounces of raw cocoa has the same antioxidant content and other nutrients as more than 6 pounds of tomatoes. It’s nature’s most complex superfood, with over 300 identifiable compounds, including most vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and “bliss chemicals” like dopamine and serotonin.

Cocoa is a natural anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancerous agent. And because an estimated 200 or more degenerative diseases start with inflammation, cocoa can help with a stunning variety of ailments.

Various studies have reported that dark cocoa consumption can provide the following benefits:

– Decrease cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels and stopping bad cholesterol from       oxidizing and sticking to vessel walls.

–  Prevent the formation of blood clots, which otherwise can lead to heart attacks and strokes

–  Increase the flexibility of blood vessels in order to lower blood pressure and decrease stress on the heart.

– Help the body better utilize sugars, curbing diabetes and decreasing complications suffered by diabetics

–  Reduce dental cavities and periodontal disease;

–  Improve memory and slow the onset of dementia

–  Improve skin quality

–  Decrease inflammation associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other inflammation diseases

–  Alleviate depression

–  Help with weight loss by decreasing appetite

It’s the high antioxidant value of cocoa, and the corresponding ability to eliminate free radicals, that accounts for much of the benefit of chocolate. Free radicals are cellular terrorists-atoms with mission electrons that steal them from healthy atoms. This ongoing process is called oxidation and, just as rust eats into metal, free radicals eat into our cells and destroy the DNA. Free radical damage is linked to more than 100 conditions, ranging from heart disease and arthritis to dementia, diabetes, and even cancer.

These days we are bombarded with more free radicals than ever, thanks to environmental toxins in the air and water, cigarette smoke, pesticides, and processed food, to name some of the worst offenders, but foods risk in antioxidants are an effective weapon against this damage. Antioxidants provide electron mates for free radicals and normalize the chemical situation in the body.

The USDA uses the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) scale to measure the antioxidant capacity of different foods and it recommends a minimum of 3,000 ORAC daily. The average American diet, however, delivers only about 800 ORAC per day.

Studies have shown that the more the ORAC value you take in throughout the day, the healthier you will be. Dr. Richard Cutler, past Director of the Anti-Aging Research Department of the National Institute of Health in Washington, DC notes that “the amount of antioxidants that you maintain in your body is directly related to how long and how healthy you will live.”

Cocoa is nature’s highest-scoring ORAC food in its natural form. It delivers a variety of vital flavonoids (antioxidants) in a form that helps the body put them to good use.

To give an example of what just one of several important cocoa flavonoids do: The epicatechin has been shown to boost nitric oxide levels in the blood which, in turn, relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing stress on the heart. To highlight its importance, Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says in Chemical and Industry, “We all agree that penicillin and anesthesia are enormously important. But epicatechin could potentially rid of four of the five most common disease in the Western world.” For more health information and testimonies about healthy chocolate, see www.PatentedChocolateResearch.org.

So What’s the Catch?

If the rumors about the health benefits of dark chocolate are true “to a point,” what is that point? It’s this: Most commercially produced dark chocolates are still cooked and then laden with less-than-healthy additives. As with any vegetable, the hotter and longer you cook them, the less nutrition-especially antioxidant value-is left. Roasting and sustained high temperatures (processes most large chocolate companies follow) notably decrease the beneficial amounts of flavonoids in cocoa. Heat-processing cooks out more than 80 percent of its antioxidants and nutrients. On top of that, some combination of wax, fat, fillers, and sugar are usually added. This is even true of most chocolate bars found in health food stores.

Chocolate products with the highest flavonoid content are those that use blanched, unfermented, sun-dried, non-roasted, and cold-pressed cocoa. In fact, cocoa that has undergone these processes boasts of 4 to 8 times the levels of antioxidants and nutrients than cocoa produced with standard processing. And there’s really only one source of truly good-tasting raw chocolate that delivers the full benefit of cocoa.

The MXI Corporation of Nevada created a patented cold-pressing process for making dark chocolate. Not only is the chocolate raw, it is enhanced, not with unhealthy fillers, but with acai berry(the second highest ORAC food on earth), blueberries, grapes, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Then it’s sweetened with low-glycemic raw cane crystals to take an edge off the natural bitterness of coca, and the process delivers chocolate that is naturally caffeine-free. Three one-ounce servings is roughly the nutritional equivalent of 1-1/2 pounds of spinach.

Because Beeyoutiful is committed to researching and delivering only the best available health supplements and because MXI network marketing system is the sole source for this truly healthful and delicious raw chocolate, Beeyoutiful offers the chocolate outside of its normal channels of website and catalog sales. Marketed in several forms under the brand name Xocai (“show-sigh”), it is available through Beeyoutiful’s MXI distributorship. You’ll find details in how to order in the accompanying sidebar.

So, yes, Lily eats chocolate on her diet. Dr. Young advocates the raw Xocai version as a fun and nutritionally supercharged supplement to her autism recovery protocol. But you don’t have to have an autism disorder to benefit. It’s a delicious and healthful addition to any diet.

We’ve made a series of brief videos about our experience. Check out YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=styo8tiaXcc (“Autism Recover Story Part 1”) and www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDjPeynOmio&feature=related (Autism Recovery Story Part 2)

Greg Webster is a free-lance writer, homeschool father of eight, the co-founder of New Vantage Books custom publishing company, and bronze executive with MXI Corporation. But he is best known as husband of Nancy Webster whose health and nutrition articles appear in every issue of Beeyoutiful’s catalog.

Side Bar Ordering Information:

Making Chocolate the Order of the Day

One of the questions often asked, a bit cynically, of network marketers is: “Are you trying to sell me the business or your product?” In the case of Beeyoutiful and Xocai (“show-sigh”) Chocolate, the answer is emphatically: “We are selling the product,” There is a business component, for sure, that some people use to offset the cost of buying and using the chocolate and that some develop into an ongoing home business, but buying Xocai through Beeyoutiful means, first and foremost, buying healthy-really, really healthy-chocolate. While MXI Corporation offers nearly a dozen different formulations of Xocai, the five that Beeyoutiful recommends are:

–          Power Squares

–          Nuggets

–          Xobiotics (with probiotics added to the chocolate)

–          Omega Squares (includes Omega-3 fatty acids)

–          Activ liquid chocolate

Each packaged in amounts that provide the recommended intake for one person for one month. To find out about pricing and ordering, call Beeyoutiful’s customer service at 1-800-556-0967. [For product and ordering information, go to http://www.BeeyoutifulChocolate.com]

A Magnificent Solution for Colon Health- Fall 2010 Catalog

A Magnificent Solution for Colon Health

By Nancy Webster

nancy_small

I don’t get as much reading done these days as I used to. Andeven though I love to read, I don’t mind the change in lifestyle.  Magnesium Citrate has come between me and my reading. Along with Aloe Vera, it came into my life through a colon therapist a while back, when my innards were in crisis. Now I wish we’d known each other a long time ago. But if you’re still keeping a small library in your bathroom, maybe I can help you move on to better places for reading. MagnesiumCitrateWebProPillS

A History of Colon Abuse

My story goes back fifty years to Mama’s kitchen, where my digestive system was assaulted by regular courses of white flour cakes and cookies after lunch and supper. To help the inevitable problem that resulted, Mama kept books beside the potty. It took so long for my tummy to do its things, I think I learned to read there.

In those early days, my only “supplement” was penicillin for chronic ear infections and later, long stretches of tetracycline for teenage skin. These, plus cookies and Fritos, continued to assure me of throne room study time. Then, laxatives and fiver supplements got me semi-comfortably through late night trips to Dunkin Donuts and vending machines during college.

Finally, in our early homeschooling days, the children and I began baking golden loaves of fresh-ground, whole wheat bread. That reduced my time in the reading room but we didn’t yet know about pre-soaking or fermenting grains for better digestibility. The benefits backfired after awhile, giving me gas and bloating.

A visit to a naturopath shifted me into my “raw phase.” Along with 50-pound bags of carrots for juicing, I bought organic coffee-but not to drink. Much to my coffee-loving husband’s dismay, I used it for enemas! But at last my mid-section stayed flat and comfy.

The naturopath taught me the importance of keeping my bowels clean. Removing stagnant waste material and hardened, impacted toxic residue rejuvenates the ummue tissues in the intestines so beneficial bacteria can take hold.

Love Thine Enemas

Enemas have been used as medicine for centuries but went out of bogue with the invention of easy-to-swallow laxatives. Now, alternative health providers are re-popularizing them as a treatment for headaches, backaches, fatigue, bad breath, body odor, irritability, confusion, skin problems, abdominal gas, bloating, diarrhea*, sciatic pain—oh, and constipation-all related to toxic build up in the colon.

If you don’t have a few easy moments in the bathroom at least once-and preferably two or three times-a day (after meals), your colon may benefit from a good washing. Enema kits are sold for $10 to $300 in drugstores and online, where you can find all sorts of “how to” information. Avoid the boxed, ready-to-go enemas, as they contain salts, which trigger elimination by irritating your bowels rather than stimulating their natural action.

A few months after starting regular enemas, I became pregnant with our eighth child. Since I had previously experienced the flashing colorful auras of migraines during early months of pregnancy, the naturopath suggested I do an enema at the onset of symptoms. He theorized that migraines are a sign of the body having trouble detoxing, and his idea worked for me-the symptoms stopped immediately!

Once the bowels have been cleansed with an enema using either coffee or simply warm water, periodically repopulate the bowel with good bacteria with a retention enea. Dissolve plain yogurt or about a teaspoon or two of probiotic supplement like Beeyoutiful’s Tummy Tune Up (open a couple of capsules) in warm water and hold the enema as long as posbbile to help the good bacteria settle in.

Enemas were a welcome relief to a lifelong problem for me. But because I used them as a crutch more than a tool, they started another problem that was just as bad: I became enema dependent. Too late, I learned an enema should be taken after the body has tone its thing on its own.

After years of daily enemas, they stopped working for me. I thought I was going to explode! In desparaion, I sought out a colon hydrotherapist** who told me to take magnesium, Aloe Vera, and probiotics. A few colonics and a week of supplements later, I was a new woman, on my way to better gut health. To rebuild the gut after overuse of enemas, easting well, oral probiotics like Beeyoutiful’s Tummy Tune Up, and digestive enzymes like those available from Beeyoutiful under the name Disgestive Enzyme and Yeast Assassin Lite are needed.

Supplemental Balance

I knew Aloe Vera helped lubricate the intestines and that probiotics filled them with a good bacteria, but the importance of magnesium was new to me.

About half of the magnesium in our bodies is combined with calcium and phosphorus in our bones while the other half helps cell functioning in the body tissue and organs. A crucial mineral for overall health, magnesium plays a major role in muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, blood pressure, immune system functioning, and maintenance of blood sugar level. Good sources of dietary magnesium include dark green leafy vegetables, some legumes, nuts and seeds, whole unrefined grains, and-get this-dark chocolate, especially raw chocolate.

A deficiency in magnesium is hard to detect from a blood sample, because only one percent of our body’s magnesium supply is found in blood. However, a deficiency is likely in most of us due to depleted, processed foods and chronic stress of modern life.

When stressed, the body puts stress hormones, including magnesium and calcium team, into the bloodstream. Calcium excites nerves while magnesium calms them. Calcium makes muscles contract but magnesium is needed for muscles to relax. Calcium helps wounds clot but magnesium keeps blood flowing freely enough to prevent dangerious clots. It’s a blancing act between the two that can get of kilter easily.

Todays’ diets are low in magnesium and , what’s worse is that unhealthy guts cannot absorb it well. Plus, to prevent osteoporosis, extra calcium is added to many supplements and foods. Yet we can’t even absorb calcium properly without a balanced portion of magnesium.

So, most of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This imbalance has been linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and ultimately, to heart disease.

A variety of other problems also, have been linked to magnesium deficiency: emotional stress, phobic anxiety, depression, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. As we age, we get bone spurs and bunions (calcium deposits-which magnesium helps dissolve), insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome, and …. Constipation. Maybe the reason isn’t just that we’re “getting older,” but that we need more magnesium!

Magnesium deficiency was my problem. Within a few days of starting the supplement, I had immediate relief from wakeful nights I had thought were from my changing hormones. I also was free from the jumpy legs that wouldn’t let me relax and from irrational panic that hit me when driving over bridges.

Best of all, I finally “work”-easily and completely! No reading material or (regular) enema kits required! Magnesium relaxes muscles in the intestines, establishing a smoother rhythm of peristalsis (waves of muscle action which move the stool out of the body). It also attracts water to the colon to help soften stools.

The recommended usage per day is about 300 mg/day for women over 20 (roughly the same if lactating) and about 350mg/day if pregnant. Males 19-30 should take 400mg/day, increasing to 420mg/day after age 30.

In cases of depletion like mine, it may be necessary to take extra until things get stabilized. Your bowels will let you know what’s right. You don’t want diarrhea, which will result if you take too much. And be sure to drink a full glass of water when you take a magnesium supplement.

Bear in mind, though, that just because the label reads Magnesium on the drugstore brand, I have not found anything but magnesium oxide at chain drugstores, and that form is not especially bioavailable and will irritate your bowels. All oral magnesium supplements must be combined with another substance for expedient delivery, and Beeyoutiful’s Magnesium Citrate offers an excellent delivery system.

Magnesium supplements work best, of course, in the context of better eating. The bone broths, healthy fats, cod liver oil, and lacto-fermented, probiotic rich foods explained in the info-cookbook Nourishing Traditions should accompany your gut healing program.*NourishingTrad_1

Try some occasional cleansings from enemas plus regular Magnesium Citrate supplementation and those of you who have suffered as I used to do might begin doing more of your reading on the front porch, in bed, or on the beach!

Important: Magnesium is excreted through the kidneys. If your kidneys do not function normally, as your doctor before supplementing with magnesium.

Although diarrhea may seem like the opposite of constipation, it can be caused by a blockage, around which still-liquid feces leak uncontrollably. This condition is called encopresis. We took one of our children to a pediatric gastroenterologist repeatedly to treat this condition, but ultimately went away thanks to regular enemas allowing the colon to regain its natural tone and start working on its own.

*For serious bowel problems, a colon hydroptherapist administers colonics using 40 to 80 quarts of water—compared to only two quarts for a typical home enema. This high volume is administered in a sequence that should be done only by a trained professional.

**Notice I’m not advocating increased fiber intake. In Fiber Menace, Konstantin Monastyrsky details how high-fiber diets produce large stools which stretch the intestinal tract beyond its normal range-eventually resulting in intestinal damage-and a drastic upset of the natural bacterial flora of the gut. You can read more about this politically incorrect approach to digestive health at www.gutsense.org.

Nancy Webster is a freelance writer and homeschool mother of eight. She now does most of her nutritional and health research online in the family room instead of the bathroom library.

The Essential Work of Digestive Enzymes- Fall 2009 Catalog

The Essential Work of Digestive Enzymes

By Christy Stouffer

DigestiveEnzymeWebProPillS

Busy schedules and a desire for convenience had taken a toll on my family’s diet, but not long ago. I decided to get us back on the wagon of nutritious eating. While eating whole and healthy foods has always been my focus, we had gotten so we didn’t take time to prepare fresh, nutritious foods.

Our family garden and the weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) basket gave us a plentiful supply of delicious and healthy foods, so we have no excuse for not eating well. I knew our bodies craved better foods and noticed my own energy level had dropped considerably. I was fatigued much of the time. So I tweaked our family menus, and we were once again eating nature’s bounty. To my surprise, however, my fatigue lingered, along with occasional bouts of acid reflux. Our diets had improved, but I didn’t feel the commensurate improvement in my body.

Fortunately, about this time, a friend told me a bit about digestive enzymes, and I set out to learn more.

How the Good in Good Food is Lost

I discovered that proper nourishment involves more than just eating healthy foods. It’s possible to eat a wide variety of the best foods, use only organically-grown fare, and still be deficient in adequate nutrition. But why is this so? The key to good health lies in both eating healthy foods and properly digesting them.

We’re born with an ample supply of enzymes to break down the food we eat and process it so nutrients are released. Nutrients in our food, when properly digested, strengthen our immune systems, enhance cell growth and repair, and boost energy levels. The SAD (Standard American Diet) however is an enemy of digestive enzymes. Our overly abundant non-living and processed foods actually destroy digestive enzymes. Consequently, research shoes, older people and people with chronic diseases have fewer enzymes in their salvia, urine, and tissues. Time and poor diets whittle away the supply of digestive enzymes, particularly if our diets have been low in fresh, cultured, and raw fruits and vegetables.

Enzymes are also destroyed by stress and environmental toxins. And once these enzymes are gone, the digestive system struggles to compensate for the loss of these essential workers. When enzymes are not plentiful and functioning, a person may experience any or all of the following: fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, bloated feeling, heartburn, acid reflux, excessive gas, and food cravings.

The Great Enzyme Comeback

The good news is that vital digestive enzymes can be restored to the body. Even if your body is depleted of its natural digestive enzymes, you can, through supplemental digestive enzymes, rebuild your body’s inventory of these necessary enzymes:

  • Betaine– a naturally-occurring enzyme in the stomach that helps break down fats and proteins.
  • Pancreatin–a mixture of amylaste, protease, and lipase, this enzyme fills the gap where pancreatic secretions are deficient. It has been associated with helping food allergies, celiac disease, automimmune disease, cancer, and weight loss.
  • Papain– derived from papaya and certain other plants, this enzyme has a mild, soothing effect on the stomach and aids in protein digestion. Papain helps digest protein thoroughly and frees amino acids for quick absorption. It works in acid, alkaline, or neutral environments and is especially valuable for the elderly or anyone who has weak digestion due to enzyme deficiencies.
  • Ox Bile Extract–Excreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, this important enzyme assists in digestion of lipids and fats. It also assists in metabolizing cholesterol and fat and in absorption of Vitamins K, A, D, and E.
  • Pepsin Enzymes–Pepsin is produced in the mucosal lining of the stomach and acts to degrade protein.
  • Bromelain– Found in the stems and plants of the pineapple, this enzyme is often used to aid irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas, and other digestive problems. It is effective in breaking down proteins and rendering them as available nutrition for the body

The Enzyme Solution

Some nutritional experts recommend that at least 70% of your diet should consist of raw, cultured, or juiced foods, all which will boost enzyme production and which also provide healthy levels of fiver, another important element of healthy digestion. Off-the-shelf varieties, though, may not always do the trick.

Since heat kills enzymes during cooking and pasteurization, milk products that are pasteurized have no life to aid digestion. These products are essentially dead and end up burdening your digestive system. It is far better to use live dairy products. Those made from raw milk are best. Yogurt, for instance, contains beneficial probiotics and is simple to  make at home from raw milk.Untold Story of Milk

The book The Untold Story of Milk has a revolutionizing wealth of information and is available at http://www.beyoutiful.com. It explains everything from the history of the dairy industry to common myths and misconceptions about milk to the many documented health benefits of raw dairy products.

When making the shift to a more natural diet, though, go slowly. Introduce raw foods gradually, and allow your body to adjust to the new “climate” you’re creating in your digestive system.

As I discovered, eating raw fruits and vegetables did not immediately cure my fatigue. In my case, I needed help from a supplement to restore my digestive balance and to help my body absorb nutrients in the healthy foods. I started by taking one table of Beeyoutiful’s Digestive Enzyme with each meal. After about a week, I was able to tolerate foods better, and the tired, sluggish feelings I had been experiencing during the day were gone! I no longer wanted a mid-day nap and felt energetic and stronger each day.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that may indicate an enzyme deficiency, you may benefit from a supplemental boost of digestive enzymes. I was amazed at how, in a week’s time, I had more energy—and the occasional acid reflux completely disappeared. The road to better health begins with proper digestion!

Christy Stouffer

Christy Stouffer moved from the “big city” to rural middle Tennessee where she enjoys gardening, living in a small community among friends, learning about the natural things God has given us for nutrition, and homsechooling her four children with her husband. She is a pianist in her church fellowship and a valued resource of encouragement and wisdom for younger women in her life. Christy’s enthusiasm and research about nutrition and wholesome living is appreciated by all who know her.

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