I’m not sure about you but I thoroughly enjoyed the summer, spending time in nature, swimming in the sea and visitors from all over the globe. On more than one occasion I engaged in some over indulgences. I am only human. I am not really one for being out till the small hours of the morning but I have had sight of more club billboards, and been informed of many of the infamous weddings on the island or the traditional Maltese barbecues; and I have inevitably been enticed by different flavours and foods at various social occasions. It appears the island had a certain summer socialising bustle to it. There is a healthy power of connection that we feel when we engage in social occasions and it is important that we are able to still enjoy socialising without berating ourselves afterwards. Its healthier for overindulgences of one day to not lead to a 3 day binge, because you think ‘whats the point?’. Jump back in and return to your healthy eating.
Perhaps a more nutritionally rewarding and less taxing approach would be to engage in a juice and smoothie fast to bounce back to feeling healthier. Ballentine (2005) considers an ideal fast would be a juice fast, where you use fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. As this provides you with the full spectrum of nutrients and gives your digestive system time to rest. You may have heard of the term ‘cleanse’ used, and this can be particularly useful as we approach a change of season, when we allow our digestive system time to reset and recalibrate before the onset of a new season. By including smoothies within your cleanse you will still be receiving the fibre from your fruits and vegetables. The juice cleanse, which has gained popularity over the last few years, and is particularly supported through health juice detox retreats.
It wouldn’t be right to mention juice cleansing and specialist retreats without paying homage to the Gerson Therapy which utilises juice cleansing and coffee enemas as an alternative to cancer treatment. This is however an approach which is delivered by highly trained professionals, with a combination of a range of other complementary treatments and should not be carried out without professional guidance & support if you have a chronic illness. Whats clear is the link between good gut functioning and overall health, something you may recall yourself from how you felt post colonic treatment. As you may well know despite whether you pass stools on a daily basis or are one of the super regular and eliminate stools 2-3 times a day, you aren’t able to completely cleanse your colon through natural elimination.
Walker (1995) has seen incredible benefits of colon cleansing through colonic hydrotherapy and wrote on the importance of colon cleaning and the impact of poor food choices. “Instead of furnishing nourishment to the nerves, muscles, cells and tissues of the walls of the colon, such foods can actually cause starvation of the colon. A starved colon may let a lot of faecal matter pass through it, but it is unable to carry on the last of the digestive and nourishing processes and functions intended for it.” Some of my clients who eliminate frequently and have a very healthy diets & lifestyles are astounded by the amount that is eliminated in their treatment.
Your digestive system has a remarkable amount of work it needs to do; when you are awake it assimilates & utilises fuel for your day and when you are asleep to help restore your body. It also plays a significant role in helping your body to detox and works closely with your liver and gallbladder and systemically with your entire body on a molecular cellular level. Your liver lives off and stores glucose (Williams, 2018). Therefore ensuring you have fructose and glucose thru fruits & vegetables will allow your liver to be supported in a juicing process.
The benefits of a juice cleanse are much the same as the benefits of colonic hydrotherapy, both can help with the following;
During one of your colonic hydrotherapy treatments you may have perplexedly asked me “how did you get into this career?”. I am sure I would have rambled on about my journey from cruise ships in the USA, a return to the UK for my colonic hydrotherapy training and then had another life changing move to Malta. I see great synchronicity in many events in life and I continue to remain open to where my path takes me; we all have such unique life journeys of bravery and self-discovery. Nonetheless my experience as a Colonic Hydrotherapist includes working on a health detox retreat, where the majority of the clients were juice fasting. The clients I saw in the colonic hydrotherapy suite obtained remarkable results from their colonic treatments and these were by far some of the best results I have seen. Outside of the retreat I have met clients who have done a juice fast, with good results and a handful of few clients who chose to do a water fast over a number of days, for either spiritual or their own health reasons. The results from the treatments for those who did a water fast were not as as effective, likely due to a lack of fibre and whilst this their digestive system had a break, their body goes into starvation mode and this can be very tough on the rest of their vital organs. [I know that people have their own motivations for doing this, be it spiritual or for health but its an observation from my treatments].
Now we might not all be able to afford a regular juice detox retreat holiday, or we may not have the time within our current set-up but I have partnered with Nude Juices, a Malta based juicing company which provides juices direct to your door, at your convenience. In this helpful collaboration Nude Juices have offered to provide a 3 day juicing cleanse (8x 250ml juices) per day for €75 and you can receive the benefits of a colonic treatment for €80 (saving of €10 per treatment). The ingredients are sourced from organic farms and are free from GMO’s, which is highly important when juicing. Enjoy the benefits of both to reset your digestive system, promote regularity and aid your detoxification processes till the19th October 2019. Its the small daily habits of self-care, nutritious meals, exercise and honouring the detoxification process that we feel healthier in our internal organs and our overall total well-being. As we all know health within shows on the outside.
A word on exercise & juicing:
Exercise should form a part of your daily lifestyle habits and plays an important role in a juice cleanse, but your exercise choice should not be too strenuous. I would recommend that you choose something gentle and keep your exercise time to a shorter period. Yoga, walking, trampolining and swimming are beneficial, gentle enough and stimulate your lymphatic system. Its important to remember that whilst you may have a reduction in calories, but are still obtaining nutritional support through juices you are likely to have less energy, so listen to your body and honour it.
Some useful juicing lifestyle tips to consider:
- It is not recommended to do a juice cleanse for more than 3 days without consulting your doctor, nutritionist or naturopath.
- Time your colonic treatments well. Aim for a minimum of 1 treatment at the end of the cleanse but 2 treatments will take your results further; one at the start and one at the end.
As always it is very important that if you do decide to juice you do this knowing that you are healthy and have no chronic illnesses which could be exasperated through a juice cleanse. If you are under the treatment of a doctor this would need to be approved by them. In addition it would not be suitable if you have any of the following health concerns; high or low blood pressure, diabetes, heart, liver or kidney failure and are undergoing specialist treatment. If you are taking medication ensure that you have cleared any juice cleanse with your doctor. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it would not be recommended to undergo a juice fast. If you feel you have specific health concerns then please drop me a message and if it is out of my remit I will be happy to refer you to a naturopath, who I work with closely. She will be happy to provide a consultation.
To book your colonic hydrotherapy treatment at the discounted rate of €80 till 19th October 2019 drop me an email at email@example.com, call me on +35679084102 or DM @gloriouslygoodguts
To enjoy your discounted juice cleanse for 3 days at €75 for 8 x 250ml of juices till 19th October 2019 contact Karla at Nude Juiceson +356 9983 8377 or head over to @nudesjuices for further information
Disclaimer: This is not intended to diagnose or prescribe but to inform, it is advised that you contact a professional doctor specialising in the subject.
Gloriously Good Guts went to print with The Pink Magazine for The Times of Malta.
July was rounded off with very humbling milestone in my professional career, as I was able to to share a holistic perspective on gut health, when my article 'Whats gut got to do with it?' was published in The Pink Magazine, supplement for the Times of Malta July edition. This also marked a personal achievement of mine, which has been to write, share and hopefully inspire good health and well-being feelings. I am a very reflective person - I believe this provides us space to acknowledge how far we have come, take some beneficial detours and still keep sight of the destination. So in sharing my article I encourage you take the time for yourself to take stock, look how far you have come and re-establish those personal and professional goals,; hopefully taking you one step closer to being the best version of yourself.
There is no online version but if you missed the supplement below is the content - please enjoy and share if you think it will inspire someone in their journey for a gloriously good gut.
WHATS GUT GOT TO DO WITH IT?
"With the rising increase in gut health concerns across Europe, is it not about time we turned our attention to the importance of our own gut health? The Digestive Health Across Europe report (2018) identifies that across Europe 1 in 4 people are affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and only 1 in 3 people seek medical assistance for their digestive health concerns. These figures highlight the vast amount of people who suffer in silence, perhaps managing as best they can and considering it a normal but inconvenient part of their daily lives, that is until they reach breaking point. It is important to acknowledge that our modern lifestyles our gut health is being compromised by increasing stress factors and poor diets, but good gut health isn’t just something that we should focus on when we are trying to get out of pain and distress. It is a part of a better understanding of developing a ongoing intuitive connection with your gut and acknowledging its' importance. This may seem like an alien concept to most but given that 70-80% of your immune system is held within your gut, poor gut health can and does have far reaching consequences on your general health, wellbeing and your energy levels.
Who wouldn’t want to feel healthier, happier and have more energy?
When we do eventually seek medical advice for digestive discomfort; having struggled for some time we are often looking for an immediate resolution but it can take a long period before digestive health diagnosis is found and several ‘trial and error’ attempts of different pharmaceutical recommendations before there is an improvement in symptoms. The thing about gut health, well it is more than just a ‘what goes in then comes out approach’ - good gut health is about lifestyle choices, individualised nutrition and developing an awareness of what works for you. Research has over the last decade focused on the 'micro biome'; for the average Joe and Jane thats your gut bacteria. Your micro biome begins its own unique development when you are born, as you leave and obtain bacteria from your mothers birth canal, and this is continually altered every time you eat something or come into contact with others. Your day to day environment playing an important role in your micro biome. Think of it as your tiny village within! Turnbaugh et al (2007) found that there can be variations of 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells held by every person and that these are largely within the gut. Thus, making up a hugely diverse set of nationalities (gut bacteria) amongst your villagers. For most this can be a difficult or strange concept to understand, but the important thing is to understand that by creating a symbiotic relationship with your gut bacteria, which is diverse and constitutes good gut bacteria and and you will reap the physical, mental and emotional rewards.
The thing about bacteria, is that in order for the good to thrive, just like humans, they needs to be fed and provided with a good environment. Thankfully you have full ownership over how you choose to house these bacteria, and every time you eat & drink you have the opportunity to replenish and feed your bacteria. It is incredibly important that we consume a diet high in fibre, not only because your gut loves fibre but it also helps to keep you fuller for longer and has many nutritional benefits. But as Andreu Prados (2016) found where a diet lacked in fibre, this impacted on permeability, the quality of the gut mucous and increased chances of pathogens entering the gut barrier junctures. In addition to this, it is incredibly important for your gut mucous, immune system and microbiota that your diet contains probiotic and prebiotic foods. The better your food choices and your gut will thank you in return with tremendous benefits.
Have you ever noticed how the more sugar and unhealthy fats you eat, the more you want them?
Well thats because the bacteria which live off these food choices are multiplying every time you feed them and when they multiply they take over more space, speak louder than the good bacteria and win in the foods you consume - hence you giving into your cravings. It's a case of ‘he who shouts loudest wins’. In the same bite, it is important to acknowledge that the healthier you eat with more plant varieties, the more plentiful your good gut bacteria, which 'call' for better food choices. It shouldn’t have to take a nutritionist or personal trainer to inform you that the better your food choices, the better your health, sense of wellbeing and physical performance both in your daily activities and fitness and wellbeing pursuits. The better shape your gut is in, the greater ability you have to provide your body with the nutrients from your foods; directly affecting your physical, mental and emotional functioning.
So getting down to the nitty gritty…What is the link between your gut and your brain and what can you do?
The gut has been referred to as the second brain and it goes beyond just having a ‘gut feeling’. The brain and gut are directly connected via the vagus nerve; referred to as the gut-brain-axis. Your left and right vagus nerve starting in your brain, take a web like descent to your vital internal organs via your central nervous system, down your spine, and connecting down to your small and large intestine. Every primary digestive organ and assisting organ is connected by your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, (just like your muscles) is better off when well toned. This equally takes practice and repetition. It is not good for your sympathetic nervous system to be out of balance, either your sympathetic ‘flight and fright’ and your parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’.
Although it is acknowledged that it’s pretty difficult in this hectic world not to be in fight and flight, which impedes good digestion. But in life we should practicing obtaining balance, the yin-yang effect. In todays constantly active culture it is incredibly important to value the importance of your parasympathetic nervous system as an important part of your daily self-care. This can be something that we have to re-learn, to tap into. Particularly in a world where the ’crazy busy’, ‘superman/superwoman’, being a ‘driven’ professional and ‘burning the candle at both ends’ have become the ‘norm’. You can develop your self-care by accessing and creating some quiet space in your life, for you. Which can be done through meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, walking in nature, reading and engaging in any calming activity - find what works, take the time, make the time and in time you will feel the benefits. It is also equally important to ensure that you engage in regular exercise. Not only so you can reap all the health and aesthetic benefits, but also to encourage the process of detoxification through sweating and elimination. Just strike the balance. You owe it to yourself and your gut bacteria to improve your health and well-being and those around you will benefit from your renewed vigour and mood.
Whats the link between your autonomic nervous system and your gut health?
Well itis important to know that your digestive system is governed by your parasympathetic nervous system and as a process, functions best when uninterrupted and in a calm state. This means giving yourself the time and space to enjoy food without being interrupted by your bleeping messages, email notifications or being distracted by the hum drum of the background television and worse still your inquisitive mind of social media scrolling. Put in place boundaries with yourself, acknowledging the benefits of these boundaries and the carry over they provide. These modern technology vices will all be there when you have finished your meal. For now I challenge you to be present in your important bodily function of absorption and digestion. Notice the smells, taste and textures of your food and the satisfaction that follows with mindfully eating. Then take a moment or two to allow your stomach to start digesting. These could be your first steps to changing your digestive health.
This all being said it should come as no surprise that your digestive system is affected by stress! Stress comes in different forms (relationships, financial, deadlines, toxic load) and it impacts on us all differently. Paul Enck (2017) in a study of military soldiers found that the gut wall lining (intestinal permeability) and microbiota were impacted upon due to the physiological stress during their training period. Although this study is of a group of participants undergoing intense physical and psychological stress, its important to acknowledge that we all experience stress to some degree but our body cannot differentiate between the different type of stress. A little stress can be beneficial, it can be the driving force in meeting your deadlines, but ongoing and persistent stress which is not managed and counteracted with rest, relaxation and self-care will have an impact on you physically and mentally. There have been links between those affected by IBS and being affected by anxiety and depression. A large proportion of your feel good chemicals are made in your gut and a healthy gut makes and retains more happy chemicals. This providing further reason to find and engage in activities, to spend time with others and to give yourself positive experiences for your feel good factor.
Let’s not underestimate the importance of good quality sleep, one of the most under-used naturally restorative functions available to us, and at no additional cost. Your gut lets you know the benefit of good sleep, by way of easier and fuller elimination, no bloating, no sugar and unhealthy fat cravings and improved mental clarity. Become a master of your own sleep hygiene and you are one step closer to developing a good gut and even closer to your total health. This can mean regularly going to bed at a set time, committing to your natural circadian rhythm and making sure you have at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
SO WHAT'S THE TAKE-AWAY?
Understand the importance of your nutrition and making conscious food choices, this includes; Prebiotic’s, Probiotic’s and Fibre.
Make time for exercise in all its different forms.
Give your head and gut some space to relax and de-stress.
Enjoy your food, honouring the process of digestion and make sure you are well hydrated everyday.
Give your gut-brain axis some enjoyable joint experiences by spending time in nature, which is great for your parasympathetic nervous system.
When your gut is out of kilter and you would benefit from a re-set, seek professional help from a colonic hydrotherapist to help you restore balance.
And finally, but most importantly don’t forget to listen to your new friend, the gut-brain connection, its likely to be whispering OR SCREAMING something that is valuable."
So there you have it my first published article and hopefully one of many. Since arriving on this tiny and beautiful island it has been my mission to help others in their health and well-being journey and the written word is just one form in which I hope to do so. Watch this space for collaborative retreats, educational workshops and more...
So heres to being bold in your pursuits for being the best version of yourself, to following your gut instinct and for nurturing the good gut feels.
Image from www.thetimesofmalta.com