Stress and Digestive Health

Stress has a direct impact on digestive health.  In blog post Your Second Brain highlights the link between our brain and gut.  Digestion is controlled by the enteric nervous system (ENS) and during periods of stress the brain triggers the ENS to change the gut’s normal contractions and cause an imbalance in gut bacteria

The organ that suffers the most if the body is stressed are the adrenal glands.  These glands are situated on top of each kidney.  These glands releases the hormone Cortisol to help the body cope with stress.

You may say, I don’t have stress.  Did you know that there are many types of stressors and we encounter one or more of these on a daily basis and throughout our lifetime. Our body is like a sponge, each time it encounters stress it absorbs it and does not let go of it.  Readers Digest  says “stress can simmer over time…..”. This article provides some interesting information about the various ways we encounter stress – ambient anxiety, work, parenting, urban living, money woes and life changes and how these affects us psychologically and physiologically.

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Digestive Food Sense

Now that you have done a full body cleanse let look at ways you can maintain a healthy program to ensure that your digestive health flourishes.

Food Sense:

Food combining is a hard one to get used to doing, because we eat when we feel hungry. How many of you think about what foods to eat and when?  Its not easy to change habits of a lifetime but if you wish to be free of digestive issues, the time to start is now.

Different foods have varying times to be digested in the small intestines.  (If this is the first time you are reading my blog, then acquaint yourself on how your digestive system works.)  Men and women differ in the amount of time required for digestion but average times are as follows:

  • Fruits –  15- 20 minutes
  • Salads –  30 – 40 minutes
  • Carbohydrates  – 60 minutes
  • Beans/Lentils – 1.5 hours
  • Nuts and seeds – 2 – 3 hours
  • Dairy (hard cheese) 4 – 5 hours; (whole milk cottage cheese) 2 hours
  • Animal protein:
    • beef  – 3 – 4 hours
    • chicken – 1.5 – 2 hours
    • fish – 45 – 60 minutes

If you have never tried food combining, then give it a try, it works.  When you simplify the foods that you eat in one sitting your digestive system will not be overtaxed.

The best guide I have found that is easy to follow is from Detoxinista. The group of foods in Step 1 are in their own individual boxes, don’t cross-combine, instead select from step 2 then wait before selecting from step 3.

food combining chart showing you how to properly combine foods

The first time I practiced these steps, I ate my protein first, waited a few hours then ate carbohydrates. I was surprised that I did not spend my time afterwards burping and being bloated like a balloon ready for take off.

By waiting for a period of time before switching food categories, I also found I did not need to eat as much unhealthy snacks.  When I became hungry it was my next mini meal that I consumed instead of snacks.  If you eat all your food in one sitting then guess what – you snack on things that do not help your digestive system.

Here are some other tips to incorporate into your daily routine to maintain a healthy digestive system:

  • Do not eat fruits with meals, eat fruits on an empty stomach
  • Do not eat protein and carbohydrates or starches together
  • Chew your food thoroughly (30 – 40 times to start secreting digestive enzymes)
  • Eat bitter greens such as dandelion leaves, artichoke as a salad before a meal (for bile production)
  • Add some acid to your meal such as fermented foods – 1/4 to 1/2 cup of unpasteurized sauerkraut
  • Use fermented milk such as unsweetened keifir
  • Take flax oil and omega 3 fats with meals to help break down foods, and these oils are also good for the gallbladder.

If there is one thing to remember is that protein requires HCL (hydrochloric acid) to be digested and carbohydrates reduces the production of HCL.  Instead eat carbohydrates with vegetables.

Its not always easy to combine foods that suits our body chemistry and for those of  you that is disciplined and can do so, a big hand to you.  However, I find that using a good digestive enzyme made with ox bile does wonders for the digestive system.

Further reading:

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Keeping the Colon Healthy

So far we have had an overview of the vital organs of the digestive system (liver, gallbladder, colon) and why they need to be in good working order to create the right environment for a healthy digestive system, so what now? After the body has been cleansed, it is easier to balance and nourish the systems of the body.  This includes rebuilding and nourishing beneficial intestinal flora and re-mineralizing the blood and tissues.

Foods to nourish and re-mineralize the intestinal flora are called prebiotics.  In the book Microbiome Diet by Raphael Kellman indicates that the bacteria in our gut helps to improve digestion, metabolism, and immunity.

We hear a lot about probiotics, everyone is on the bandwagon but very little is shared about prebiotics, so what is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics.  According to WebMD nutritionist Michael Smith MDProbiotics are “good” bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy by controlling growth of harmful bacteria. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the human body. They are food for probiotics. The primary benefit of probiotics and prebiotics appears to be helping you maintain a healthy digestive system.

Photo: Purely Inspired

Basically, probiotics are prebiotics cousin and they need each other. You can take a prebiotic supplement  or Natural Prebiotic and Probiotics but if you can regularly eat these foods raw you get double the benefit, both prebiotic and fibre, to keep your colon healthy.  Do not cook them as heat changes the composition and alters its natural state, so be creative and you will enjoy eating them.

  • Chicory root
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Dandelion greens
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onion
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas

Wheat bran and wheat flour also contain prebiotic friendly bacteria, but for those who are gluten intolerant I will not recommend you consume them.

You will also need to eat probiotic foods as well, as they are symbiotic.  You can usually find these in your local health food stores, if not, from Amazon: keifir (unsweetened and organic), sauerkraut and kimchi

Sometimes we may succumb to the temptation of eating foods that make our stomach bloat or have issues with occasional constipation. I’m not immune to that because I am gluten intolerant and sometimes get the urge to eat foods that contain gluten.  Here are a few video links to some useful tips and information from Natural Cures and Dr Eric Berg that can help:

The video Ramp Up your Gut Bacteria is a must watch 10-minute video.  Products mentioned in above videos can be obtained from Amazon (see links below), if you are unable to source locally:

If you get one thing only, get the organic prebiotics to ramp up your gut bacteria.  When you have made all the effort to perform a full body cleanse, try to use as much as possible organic products in their natural state to prevent reabsorbing toxins unnecessarily.

Take a read of the blog on stomach acid and why it is important to be at the proper level of acidity.  If you like what you are reading, please share with your friends, they will thank you for it.


Shopping Cart – Blog Products

To simplify your life, I have selected a few products and they are ready in your shopping cart.  Click on this link My Shopping Cart and away you go.


Body Cleansing 101

We have discussed briefly the vital organs of the digestive system and how they function. They work in tandem to complete a circuit, and the first step is to do a full body cleanse, which includes the liver, gallbladder and colon (the 3 amigos). This is essential for proper detoxification, aiding digestion and proper elimination.  If you are reading this page for the first time, educate yourself of these vital organs by visiting the previous blogs (Gut Hygiene, Love Your Liver, The Gallbladder) before proceeding.

We can eat our way to achieve a full body cleanse by following a body cleansing diet as recommended by Dr Group at the Global Healing Center.  You will have to be very disciplined to follow this diet but it is not always sustainable when you lead a busy life.

The alternative is to use a body cleansing kit.  I have researched a few product kits that are available for purchase on Amazon.  I have grouped these items as a collection – all items in the group will be required to create a complete kit for full liver and gallbladder body cleanse.  You can choose whichever group you prefer based on your needs.

Group 1 (Mini cleanse)

Instructions for  Group 1 cleanse: Group 1 instructions

Group 2

Instructions for Group 2 cleanse: Group 2 instructions

Group 3 (Maxi cleanse)

Instructions for Group 3 cleanse: Group 3 (Maxi cleanse) instructions.

Image result for colon cleansing at home

I also recently bought another full body cleanse 12 Day Detox Cleanse – Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox Kit (12 Day).  It comes with a neat little information booklet that also has a recommended diet section.  I love the list of organic herbs used in this product that provides a multi-system detoxification of the colon, kidneys, urinary tract, gastro-intestinal system and liver.  It is a 12-day program I have used and recommended  for the first detox user.  I found this detox cheaper on Amazon than the health food store.

I also highly recommend that after any cleanse you should always support your digestive tract with both prebiotics and probiotics (with  these bacteria L. acidophilus, B. longum, B. bifidum and L. fermentum to repopulate supercharge the healthy gut flora.  A good complete probiotic with 70 billion CFU or one that also contains prebiotic –  Multi Probiotic 4000

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Digestive Health

I am an avid reader of health facts and information. I discovered that I have a passion for helping people live their best lives so I have begun the journey to become a health coach with Dr Berg – a well known  health educator specializing in weight loss through nutritional and natural methods.

Though not often welcomed, I always seem to have tips and advice for friends and family relating to living healthy through natural cures, foods and supplements.  One topic of particular interest to me is that of the digestive system and keeping it healthy and functioning.  Like many folks, I have had issues with constipation and bloating.  My aim is to share with you information and tips I have gathered, products I have discovered and much more.  I guess as I got older I have become wiser and need to share my knowledge with others. Is that not how life is supposed to be? To pass on your life’s secrets before moving on.

There are a plethora of information on the web but how does one assimilate all this information into relevant bite-size portion and not become overwhelmed? How do you know if they really work. My aim is to help you to gain control over your digestive issues.

Life is very busy and even though we try our best to eat healthy we do not always accomplish this. I will provide you with information, tips, products and natural cures to keep the digestive system functioning.  This blog aim is to keep you informed, without having to scurry the internet searching for information, which can be time-consuming. It is a step-by-step approach starting with a clean slate and then to maintenance for a healthy digestive system.

Image result for digestive blues

These are the steps I took and I hope you will join me in on my journey as we learn to build a healthy digestive tract and banish bloating and constipation issues.   In my next blog I will start with some fundamentals on the organs that make up our digestive system.  This blog is about the digestive system, so anything that I discover to help you and I to maintain better digestive health will be shared – knowledge knows no boundaries.

If you would like to know more about the mechanics of this marvelous organ, watch this funny 5 minute video.

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