Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Digestion Relief -- Shhhhhhh -- Can We Say, Constipation?

Occasional Irregularity Strikes Us All At Some Time in Our Low Carb Journey! 

Misty Humphrey of Healthy Transitions is a certified
holistic nutrition coach who gives empathy, support,
and shows you how to reclaim health!
Thanks to my dear friend, Misty Humphrey, certified holistic nutritionist and health coach, you will finally be able to answer the question of how to tame your gut and end constipation while following a low carb-keto, paleo and primal lifestyle. Misty will tell you some of the main causes for constipation and teach you how to tame those mean grumblies once and for all. Misty will give you the full poop on poop! So don't miss a word and take notes! You never know when you will face a bout of occasional irregularity.

Please be sure to visit Misty at Healthy Transitions, where you can find free online diet plans of many different persuasions (cuz face it, there's no one-size-fits-all-lifestyle-solution)...and the best part of all is that you can hire Misty to become your personal wellness coach and holistic nutrition counselor. She tailors meal plans and gives recipes to fit your exact nutritional needs!

And Misty doesn't counsel from a "high in the ivory towers position." She knows what it's like to battle disease, weight, and all the issues that come with being sick and fat. Misty has successfully maintained an 85+ weight loss and brings empathy and caring to her practice. She shows us how to "be an example of disease prevention not disease maintenance. Eat well feel well!"

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So Join Us a We Discuss: Digestion Relief, the Constipation Report!

Misty Humphrey, CHNC - then and now!
Are you a low carber who just can’t seem to get your digestion under control? I know your bloat!  I suffered from chronic constipation my entire life.  Interestingly enough, so did my Father and now, one of my Sisters.  Some might chalk it up to genetics as so often we hear and to some degree this is truth.  However, I once heard a saying that made complete sense; “While genetics can load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger”.  You may have genetic predispositions but lifestyle can turn genes on and off much like a light switch. 

There are many signs and symptoms of digestive disruption and if you visit your local health food or vitamin store or throw a post on your favorite forum, you will hear a variety of different remedies from increase your fiber to push the magnesium to drink salt water until you have excruciating cramps.  Your elimination does not have to be a violent one so I recommend a gentle enema or vitamin c to bowel tolerance rather than the salt flush. 

What is right for someone else may not be right for you so take pause and ask yourself a few questions before you run out and purchase a remedy that just cleans you out and leaves you wiped out:
  • Do I consume enough bacteria and fiber containing foods?
  • Do I consume enough foods to support and feed my internal bacteria?
  • Do I have slow emptying of the GI Tract?  (Is Peristalsis working properly)
  • Am I properly hydrated?
  • Do I get enough exercise?
  • Do I have an exorbitant amount of stress?
  • Could I have food allergies?
  • Could I have parasites?
  • Have I been on several or even recent rounds of antibiotics?

Everyone has a remedy for the symptom but have you found the cause?  Today, it is said that we consume far less fiber and bacteria than our ancestral past.  Processed foods have taken over the table where fresh produce was carefully and lovingly extracted from our own yards.  With this, we sterilized less and consumed more bacteria in the form of soil organisms.  Remember grabbing a fresh tomato off the vine or a carrot out of the ground, wiping it on your pants or hosing it off and consuming immediately?  Yes, these are the friendly organisms we are missing in our diets today.  We have a friendly ecosystem and you are approximately 90% bacteria.  Every process in the human body relies on bacteria from vitamin uptake to poop, we need these friendly flora to maintain good health. 

One should have a bowel movement 1-3 times daily for optimum health.  To this day, I wonder about the person who has a perfect BM 3x daily but I think too much. 
What is poop?  Poop is ¾ water, 1/3 dead bacteria, 1/3 indigestible fibers and the remaining, cholesterol, salts, undigested food and mucus from the lining of the intestines.  All of this is highly variable of course because we are all individual in our biochemical make up. 

The longer poop sits in the colon, the drier it becomes.  When our feces sit in the colon, the body automatically draws the water into the bowels to make a firmer poop but if it sits too long, it becomes dry and just continues to grow causing bloat, pain and general discomfort.  At this point, you feel like you’re delivering a baby or as my gluten intolerant daughter would say “muffin poop”.  This is scary particularly for children. 

You can build and maintain a nice poop factory with a little tweaking in the diet.   This can lead to permanent change rather than a temporary daily fix.

Some suggestions for raising and maintaining a healthy bacterial balance include:
  • Lacto fermented foods such as sauerkraut, carrots, beets and pickles from the refrigerated section or homemade to save a few bucks.  Be sure your store bought items are clearly labeled “live cultures”
  • While we don’t need to count fiber grams, consuming several cups of a variety of vegetables and fruits will provide you the fiber you need.  Some fibers are easier to digest than others so choose based on your current status.  Some may be able to eat broccoli while others can barely look at broccoli without bloat and an avocado is the only fibrous food they can consume. 
  • Raw vinegars, Apple Cider and Coconut vinegars are all “live” foods
  • Purchase fresh veggies that are not pre-cleaned and treated and try not to use highly chlorinated water to rinse them.  A little vinegar can do the trick with filtered water maintaining the integrity of the soil organisms especially if organic.   
  • Feed your flora with “prebiotic” resistant starches like jicama, asparagus and jerusalem artichoke to name a few lower carb options.  Your bacteria need food too and they consume more sugar than you do but in the form of non-digestible sugars, those you do not digest.
  • Use botanicals such as lavender rather than toxic antibacterial soaps.  Your skin harbors a large amount of bacteria and this organ absorbs everything as if you were putting these toxins in your mouth. 
  • Maybe you have sluggish peristalsis or the movement/contractions of the intestines to move food and subsequent elimination.  Some loud vocal gargling or opera style singing can stimulate the vagus nerve to begin movement.  This is particularly helpful for those who suffer from delayed gastric emptying. 
  • Be sure you are not becoming dehydrated.  Pushing water isn’t necessary rather monitoring your activity/thirst levels are more important.  You obtain water in foods too so don’t forget to chew your water!
  • If you sit all day, try to do some form of movement.  It really doesn’t matter whether you’re rebounding or marathon running, the activity is your choice.  Just move!
    You have more neurons in your gut than your brain.  If you are suffering from stress, this has a direct impact on the smooth running of your digestive tract. This is referred to as the “gut brain axis”
  • Have you been tested for food allergies?  Try eliminating gluten to begin with as this is historically a “muffin poop” builder.  If that doesn’t help, you might consider an elimination diet with the guidance of a nutrition educator such as myself in determining which foods are contributing to your digestive distress.
  • Most parasites other than that of Giardia can contribute to constipation.  We all have the ability to suffer from these unwanted bugs that use us a “life host” so I like to recommend using a botanical like wormwood and black walnut every 3 months or so to combat these little buggers. 
  • Some are more difficult than others to eliminate but with proper stomach acid and enough anti-parasitic food chemicals, these guys might check in but they won’t stay too long. 
  • Last, and probably one of the most important issues we face today is the over-use of antibiotics.  I’m not referring the prescription you needed for that bout of strep throat or your horrid sinus infection, I’m also referring to the amount of antibiotics in your food supply as well, water supply.  If you are not consuming 100% organically grown pastured animals, you are receiving small doses of antibiotics via meat and dairy.  Over time, this can lead to devastating of your internal eco system. 

This is a small window into your internal garden.  We’ve only touched on one small aspect of digestive distress but it seems to be the most common on dietary intakes through my practice. 

Take a look at the popular “Bristol Chart” to determine where you are on the “poop-o-meter”. 

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

If you suffer from diarrhea, you can look forward to another story from me addressing those unique circumstances. 

Until then, I have provided you with a great lacto fermented recipe and I hope you poop well! 


Misty Humphrey's Kimchi
Fermented, spicy Korean "Sauerkraut"
  • 1 Head Organic Green Cabbage
  • 1 Head Organic Purple Cabbage
  • 1 Cup Shredded Organic Carrot
  • 6 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 8 Large Organic Radishes Sliced Thin
  • 2 Heaping Tbs. Shredded Ginger or More to Taste
  • 2 Tbs. Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Dry Chili Flakes

  1. Cut cabbage in bite size pieces. Add to a ceramic bowl or stock pot, cabbage, garlic, ginger, salt and chili flakes. Pound these ingredients with a wooden mallet to "bruise" it and break it down a bit. You beat it up per se. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and put into quart sized mason jars. As you add it to the jar, use a wooden spoon or the mallet to "beat down" further so the kimchi is compacting until liquid comes to the top of the jar. Leave about one inch from the top and cover tightly, store at room temperature for about 3-4 days then refrigerate.

  2. If you have a Wide Mouth Canning Jar air lock fermenter like the one above, it’s preferable.  You can make your own beneficial bacteria foods for just pennies on the dollar! 
Fermented vegetables will remain good in your refrigerator for several weeks, even months! Be sure to visit Misty's website for additonal fermented recipes such as:

Pickled Reb Beet Eggs and Whey (fermenting starter)

Thank you again, Misty for your energy, and helpfulness and for being thrilled to step forward to helm me out while undergoing lymphedema treatment! You've been a blessing to me all throughout breast cancer treatment!!

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