You Aren't What You Eat; You're What You Absorb!
Now Playing: I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet by Carol King
Think about it. You have a beautiful plate full of wonderful food, sitting in the heat on a day when it's 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. How long until it is something you would not want to put into your body? That's something to think about!
The entire process of nutrient assimilation and elimination of wastes should occur within 12-14 hours after each meal. There is an easy test to see how long this process is taking within your own body. It's called the Corn Test! (The Beet test works really well, too!) Just eat some corn, and then see how long it takes to show up in the stool. (It's as good as any high-cost sophisticated test you can find!)
Digestion starts in the mouth. No, let me retract that phrase. It does start in the mouth, but the quality of the food has something to do with it, too. The more natural foods are, the easier they are to digest. On that note, let me say, that digestion begins the moment the food item is picked. (In my mind, all food comes from the earth, but the same holds true the moment the animal dies--thereafter it begins to break down.)
Take fruit, for instance. When a fruit is at the perfect stage of nutritional readiness, do you know what happens to it? It falls from the plant. That is the best time to eat!
The next thing that happens is that it starts to break down. From that point on it goes gradually bad, until it's rotten and spoiled, and then it returns to the earth, if it is left on the ground.
This process is due to enzymes. Enzymes help digest our food. Enzymes are part of the chemical make up of a plant, so this process can easily occur.
The enzymes in food, in turn, help foods to break down inside us, and nourish our bodies just as they nourish the soil. It's a pretty good system that works very well...WHEN it is allowed to work.
But man is silly, and due to "necessities" of modern "convenience," food has become so overly processed that the enzymes are usually destroyed. We ship foods from place to place, and so we do things to food to make it last the trip. Sometimes we pick the food before it is ripe, and then let it ripen inside the truck, but it isn't the same. The nutrients don't enter the food from the plant until just before they are ripe, so if we pick them too soon, the nutrients just plain aren't there.
Sometimes, too, we chemically ripen the food. That's even a worse thing to do. Then not only do we have food without the proper nutrition, but it's been poisoned (to some extent, yes!), and then somehow we still call it food. (This is on top of the poison that is sprayed on most conventionally grown foods, to help build the immune system of bugs!)
Please excuse me if I sound a bit upset, but I don't like it when people poison my food! I'm very careful to watch what I eat, due to that!
Often that's not even the end of the story. If not being marketed as whole foods, which is the best, then it is used in some kind of way which surely destroys whatever is left of its goodness. Canned foods are processed with heat, and so ALL the enzymes are destroyed. Food in boxes? Well, we'll be sure to write another whole blog about that! All I can say now, is it depends on a whole lot of things.
The point is that the further away food gets from the original design, the more difficult it is to digest. I would highly suggest using digestive enzymes to help supplement what's been taken out of our food. We produce enzymes within our own body, but these are not all meant for digestion,and we deplete our body of what it needs to operate optimally if we're borrowing enzymes for liver function, for instance, or heart function, to use for digestion. We have a finite amount.
Now let me say that digestion begins in the mouth...
No. It begins in the nose. I forgot about how my mouth waters when I smell something sooo good! Think about the smell of freshly baked pie, or the way it smells on Thanksgiving. Saliva starts to increase! This is your body preparing for food! Saliva helps break down the food.
NOW it begins in the mouth!!!
It is very important to chew our food properly, because enzymes are released in this way via saliva, as well, and if we rush through this phase we miss out. Enzymes are secreted while we are chewing which are vital to the digestion of carbohydrate foods. Of course chewing is important to the digestion of all foods, to begin the process of breaking it down into the wee tiny pieces it needs to become before anything enters our blood. (Nutrients have to get into our blood!)
So the food travels on down into the digestive system, and the stomach then does it's work. The stomach is more than just something to fill...It has important jobs! Protein begins digestion here, with hydrochloric acid and enzymes working together. The stomach churns the food then, and begins to liquify it.
The food then leaves the stomach, with aspirin and alchol being the two substances already absorbed. It enters the small intestine, which is actually much longer than the large intestine, it is just less big around. The small intestine measures around 22 feet in length, while the large is only about 5 feet long.
This liquid, called chyme, then moves through the small intestine, and fat is digested here with the help of bile acids and enzymes, along with further digestion of proteins and carbohydrates.
Absorption begins in the small intestines for all except as mentioned above, and continues in the large intestine, where vitamins and other nutrients are pulled from the stool. It is very important that we keep this in mind as we consider what's in the food that we eat. Whatever chemicals as such are in our food is subject to absorption into the blood. Pay attention to what's in your food!
After the journey through the small intestine is made, this liquid enters the large intestine through the ileo cecal valve, and it is there where it becomes solid waste. The rest of the nutrients are pulled from the liquid along with most of the liquid.
If we don't drink enough liquid, more water is pulled from the stool, thereby making it dry and hard, contributing to a problem with constipation.
By the same token, if the walls of the large intestine are so covered with undigested fecal matter that the liquid cannot be sufficiently absorbed, this sometimes accounts for diarrhea and runny stool. In this way, diarrhea is sometimes actually a symptom of constipation, especially if chronic. (Acute diarrhea is usually the body's way of getting something out really quick!)
This leads me to a very important point. What are we leaving behind? In a sense, the above scenerio where the interior walls of the colon are so covered with feces that water cannot be absorbed and diarrhea occurs, maybe another part of that equation is the fact that the body is trying to rid itself of poisons! That's what undigestion food in our system becomes, and I'm sure nature is trying to rid itself of this toxic filth. Irritable bowel syndrome is common, as are a myriad of other problems, as well.
It is quite possible to be carrying around 20, 25, 30 or more pounds of undigested fecal matter inside our body! Think of what that could do to our health!
It is estimated that 90% of all illness comes from the bowel. If not eliminated efficiently, waste matter putrifies within us, and this substance is absorbed into the bloodstream affecting areas throughout all of the body. Consider the chart below:
The longer the transit time, the more poisons that are generated, and the more they are absorbed and carried to different parts of the body, as shown.
When the process of digestion -> absorption -> elimination is hampered, the colon gets built up with sludge. We can get blockages in our large intestine, which can cause all sorts of problems for us.
Problems such as constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, polyps, diverticulitus, Crohn's Disease, hemmorhoids, and colon cancer, to name of few.
But other problems which are not always associated with the colon can sometimes also be traced back to problems resulting from improper elimination of waste matter, such as headaches, backaches, skin problems, allergies, arthritis, depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia, high blood pressure, problems with weight, irritability, low resistance to illness, sinus problems...Many things you normally wouldn't think of as being a problem with the digestion, absorption, and elimination of food, but quite often, they are.
When the elimination of wastes is not efficiently handled by the bowels, it places a larger burden upon all the other eliminatory organs within the body--the liver, kidneys, lungs and the skin. It also places added stress upon the lymphatic system. The whole body becomes overburdoned with waste, and fatigue quite often sets in.
Putrified waste in the bowel is a breeding ground for bacteria, and parasites, too.
Okay, now that I have your attention, (and yes, people in the USA get them, too...), let's talk about how to help prevent such a thing! Let's talk about how things were designed to work.
1. Ideally, as stated, food should only be in the system for 12-14 hours. To test this, eat corn and then watch to see when you see it again. If you don't like corn, then eat a whole lot of beets, and wait for your stool to turn red.
2. When the evacuation occurs, it should be effortless.
3. You should be eliminating as many times per day as you ate the day before. Remember, what doesn't come out, stays in. (And nutrients are very small, so most of the bulk is waste.)
4. The product should be in length as long as from the inside of your elbow all the way down to your wrist. Additionally, it should be as big around as the circle you can make with your fingers by placing the tip of your forefinger into the first joint of your thumb.
5. It should float, and it should break apart easily when the toilet is flushed.
6. There should be no or little smell. (Bad odor is a sign of putrification.)
7. There should also be no or little gas, for the same reason as stated above.
How can this be achieved? Well, I'll tell you what has worked for many people I know, and for many people I don't.
First of all, water consumption is very important. You can't get something clean without water, now can you? That just doesn't make sense!
So get used to drinking water...Pure water, and plenty of it. Water is needed, too, to help make sure blockages do not occur. Without enough water, constipation results.
The rule of thumb is to drink 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight.
The foods that are eaten play a very big role in this whole process, as discussed somewhat above. The best foods to eat in relation to what we're discussing are whole grains, (sprouted grains are the best!), and fresh raw fruit and vegetables,in part due to the high fiber content of these types of foods. (Organic, vine ripened, local is best for nutrient content without the pesticides and genetic toying around. We'll talk about that sometime soon.)
Fiber is what sweeps the intestinal walls and works to keep them clean. There are two types of fiber--that which is absorbable and that which is not. The non-absorbable fiber is what works to act as a broom and sweep waste from the colon, and the absorbable type does the same thing for our circulatory canals.
Raw foods are also where the enzymes are. Once food is cooked, they are gone. Some foods, such as grapes, figs, avacados, pineapples and honey, contain more enzymes than needed to digest themselves, and so they serve as a source of enzymes to help digest other foods. It is wise to eat these foods.
It is very unwise to eat foods which are overly processed and refined, for these foods not only "stick to your ribs," but they literally stick to your guts. (Hmmmm...And then they make you sick to your guts!)
Additional food enzymes may be used to supplement the enzymes in the food we are eating. I would recommend that you choose an enzyme source which is plant based and wide spectrum, and use enzymes whenever you eat.
There are a great deal of herbs which have historically been used to aid the body in its natural eliminatory function, such as cascara sagrada, psyllium, senna, and others. Many herbs help digestion, as well, such as the dandelion eaten raw before meals.
Relaxation also assists the digestive process. It's hard to digest when we're stressed. It changes our chemical make up when we are stressed. Our bodies are ready for fight or flight, not to eat. Muscles, nerves, and hormones are all involved in digestion, among other things. It's almost better not to eat at all than it is to eat when we're stressed.
Exercise plays an important role in elimination. Just remember...You have to MOVE to MOVE!
Issues of digestion and elimination are issues which directly relate to basic body design. If you're having a problem with food, first look to the food. Then look to how you process it, next. A sluggish bowel might indicate a sluggish lifestyle. Take a look at what you might do to increase your ability to help get this food through in a natural way.
Unnatural ways are very hard on your health. Chemical laxatives and digestive aids are extremely aggressive, and your body comes to rely on them, rather than doing the work for itself. If you give your body the food that it needs for fuel, and don't give it things that are going to clog it all up, then everything should work fine.
"Should." In a situation where all conditions are ideal, and no extenuating circumstances exist, or in cases where there is already a back-up of toxic waste. In these cases, natural things can be used in a more aggressive manner, but the gentle way usually works best. Easy does it, my friends, especially when dealing with bowels!
Colonic irrigations can also be very helpful keeping things moving along. Enemas can be given as well. We'll discuss how to do this at a different time, very soon.
As for the colonics, if you would like an irrigation treatment, we have a very well practiced (50 years licensed and practicing!) colon therapist who is within our wellness network of friends. We would be happy to make a referral to him, should you like more information on this. You can e-mail us at email@example.com. Please feel free to ask any questions you'd like.
Below you will find listed a few of the books on the subject that I'd recommend. (They make excellent reading material for in the bathroom...If you are in there long enough to read these books, chances are they might be just exactly the books that you need!)
Dr. Jensen's Guide to Better Bowel Care, by Dr. Bernard Jensen.
Also by Dr. Jensen is, Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management--a very informative book!
Another good book regarding the colon is, Colon Health: Key to Vibrant Health, by Dr. Norman W. Walker.
Finally, two books on enzymes that I would recommend are, Enzyme Nutrition: the Food Enzyme Concept, by Dr. Edward Howell, and Food Enzymes for Health & Longevity, also by Dr. Howell.
Goodnight, God bless, and remember to eat your liquids and drink your solids! (In other words, remember to chew your food well!!!)
In the Spirit of Healing,
Dr. Mary Jo Eshelman
Together, we can master this thing!
All Natural HealthWorks!
Holistic Education and Research Unlimited...
The information presented is the author's personal and professional opinion, and is intended for educational purposes only. Nothing printed here is designed to take the place of a physician's advice. If you are experiencing problems with your health, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed health care professional. All Natural HealthWorks! is not responsible for any damages or ill-effects resulting from the information presented herein, nor do we make any recommendations regarding your health. We are simply here as a resource for you in making your own choices for your health yourself.