Here I am 42, mother of 4, engaged, mompreneur, writer and SICK. You can’t look at me see that I am sick, but I am. I had a bowel blockage in 2019 from being shot in 2009 and well nothing has been right since.
I know that I have told you in my last blog all of the requirements that I have from my doctor and all the things that I am doing over the counter.
But this time I want to talk about GUT HEALTH and what I am learning. I am not a pro, I do not claim to be a medical person. I don’t even think that you should read this unless you are just wanting to know what I am doing for me and what I have success with. We are all on our own paths and our bodies are not the same.
GUT HEALTH – “Gut health” describes the function and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Ideally, organs such as the esophagus, stomach and intestines all work together to allow us to eat and digest food without discomfort.
Well ok, but really. What does that mean for me and what should I do?
Here we go!
All food is ultimately broken down in the gut to a simple form that can enter the bloodstream and be delivered as nutrients throughout our bodies. This is only possible with a healthy digestive system. (not mine) A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off infectious agents like bacteria, viruses and fungi. A healthy gut also communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain general health and well-being.
Now, everyone at some point experiences digestive problems such as abdominal pain, bloating, loose stools, constipation, heartburn, nausea or vomiting. When symptoms persist, it may be a sign of an underlying problem that needs medical attention. Weight loss without a good reason, blood in the stool, black stool (a sign of bleeding in the gut), severe vomiting, fever, severe stomachaches, trouble swallowing food, pain in the throat or chest when food is swallowed, or jaundice (a yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes) could potentially indicate an underlying gastrointestinal problem with serious consequences. Consult your doctor if any of these symptoms occur. I happen to have abdominal adhesions, this makes for a very uncomfortable body.
So what are adhesions?
An adhesion is a band of scar tissue that joins two internal body surfaces that are not usually connected. Organs or tissues within the body stick (adhere) to other internal surfaces.
Adhesions develop as the body attempts to repair itself. This normal response can occur after surgery, infection, injury (trauma) or radiation. Adhesions may appear as thin sheets of tissue similar to plastic wrap, or as thick fibrous bands. For me, it was the exploratory surgery that was done after I was shot. The bullet hit all major organs so they had to check the intestines to be sure nothing was damaged.
Adhesions can affect the female reproductive organs (ovaries, fallopian tubes), the bowel, the area around the heart, the spine and the hand. They can cause a range of problems including infertility, dyspareunia (painful intercourse), pelvic pain and bowel obstruction or blockage. Adhesions can also lead to a complex set of problems called adhesion-related disorder (ARD).
Adhesions are a widespread problem. Up to 93 % of people who have abdominal surgery go on to develop adhesions. Abdominal adhesions also occur in 10 % of people who have never had surgery.
OK FINE BUT WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MY GUT HEALTH!?
I have so many adhesions that I need to be sure that I take care of the whole system so that I can process foods and POOP! Yep, I said it. I have a hard time with bowel movements because of these suckers. GUT HEALTH IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME so that I do not have to get a colostomy bag. After all, they can’t keep cutting out my intestines. (They have had to do that already!)
So back to “GUT HEALTH” Here is what I am setting as the goal for this week: 14 steps to healing my gut!
Eliminate food intolerances and allergies
This one is not easy and quite honestly should be done alongside someone who knows a lot about food intolerance and allergy. The reason is that too often people will do an elimination diet of sorts, and eliminate far too many things (which may or may not be necessary). If you are unable to work with someone, at the very least, consider starting a Gut Healing Bullet Journal. (I will talk about that at a later date)
With zinc, glutamine, quercetin. All three of these are great for the lining of your stomach and help with leaky gut syndrome. You can talk with your doctor about supplements. I am lucky my dad is a nutritionist and works with Pure Encapsulations.
Take a daily probiotic
Because I know the next question, the answer is, “Just Thrive.” Our entire family uses and loves the Just Thrive probiotic.
Eat foods that contain friendly bacteria
i.e. prebiotics. Remember, this is a list of general ways for beginning a gut healing journey. If you have already been diagnosed with something like SIBO, then prebiotics might not be for you right this instant. You should look up some prebiotic foods. I will blog on them at a different time.
Supplement with digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes are critical for most people at the beginning of their gut healing journey because they help the body break down harder-to-digest food.
Drink homemade broth
Seriously! I know there is controversy out there about whether or not broth is healing, but I feel like I am living proof that it is. If you want more information on bone broth benefits again look them up. I will blog on this as well. And if you can’t stand the thought of brewing your own batch, then choose THIS packaged bone broth.
Eliminate toxic substances
(Think outside of the food-box, too). Listen, everything has the potential for being toxic, I get that. But if you focus on this one think about things like food additives and pesticides to a specific food that induces an allergic reaction from the body. This can also include toxic people and relationships, household cleaners, personal care items, and more. Yes, they are everywhere. The point is to reduce as much as possible. (I am having hard time with this one.)
Remove stress <- a huge one
Stress is also toxic. No, you cannot remove all stress either, especially when you recognize that stress includes all of this. I am a mother of an ADHD child who also has Aspergers so stress comes and goes all day long for me.
Say no to sugar
and refined carbohydrates. (I feel like just kill me now!) The sugar addiction is real, and if you think this is just a food fear thing, it’s not. If you’ve never tried saying no to sugar, now might be the time to experiment.
Ban anything artificial
Why? If your body doesn’t understand it, how will it properly process it? Yep, this one is going to be hard for me when I go out.
Become an unprocessed machine
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it one hundred times – eat food as close to its natural state as possible. I am going to try to shop only on the outer isles of the grocery store. Think about it….
Drink a ton of water
(Bonus: a beautiful water bottle for it.) Water is critical for not only the digestive system, but our bodies are mostly made up of water so the whole body needs and depends on it. I happen to have to drink 21 cups of water that is 168 oz . each day! So breaking it up into 32 oz bottles and know that I have to do that bottle 5 times helps!
or begin to ween off: antibiotics, medications, NSAID’s and drugs of all kinds. WARNING: I am only talking about unnecessary things and doing so with a qualified medical professional. I’m certainly not the person to say there is never a time and place for these things. I don’t have to take prescription drugs so I am ok with this part. No shame.
Add in more omega-3 fatty acids
They are anti-inflammatory and include things like salmon, walnuts, flax, and chia seeds. For me this has to come in a pill I am not able to eat nuts due to the adhesions. I do love fish and wish I could do salmon every day but let’s be real.
So as you can see I have all this to do on top of the no no list you can find in my last blog: Doctors Orders – Sh*t got real!
Check back in with you again soon!