This article is in three parts, because you need some time to “digest” the information before undertaking any type of “cleanse”. Part 1 introduces the conditions during which it may be useful. Part 2 explains Week 1, and Part 3 explains Week 2.
The Conditions in your gut
Ok, so you’ve eaten too much over the holidays, or you’ve had a family thing, or you’ve just been to a party, or you’ve got sick and taken two courses of antibiotics and now every time you eat you feel bloated, tired and heavy, and your mouth feels like it’s full of sand.
This is what we call in Chinese medicine, “Damp with Spleen Qi Deficiency”.
It makes you feel awful and reduces the amount of energy you have, makes your head foggy and can sometimes disrupt your fluid metabolism leading to fluid retention.
How does this happen?
The intestines are lined with soft, comb-like structures, called intestinal villi, which are responsible for absorbing nutrients from food. If you eat a high fat diet, with lots of dairy and meat, rich foods and very little non-digestible vegetable fibre, food leftovers can get trapped at the bottom of the comb-like structure (as seen on the right). Once that has happened, the villi and associated tissue can become inflamed and blocked, reducing absorption of nutrients, and causing bacterial overgrowth. The types of symptoms you get when this kind of thing is happening include bloating, loose or irregular bowel movements, allergic-type reactions to food, and flatulence. These symptoms are compounded with drinking alcohol or eating a diet that is high in spicy foods and refined sugar, all of which contribute to inflammation. They mostly do this by providing food for bacteria, helping them to multiply. Inflammation also raises the temperature and creates optimum conditions for bacterial growth.
How can I prevent this from happening?
To prevent the buildup from occurring you can eat lots of veggies which are high in
cellulose like celery, asparagus, broccoli, kale and string beans. Cellulose, for those who are unaware, is the fibrous part that is left over when you eat celery. It is a carbohydrate which forms the shape and structure of plants, and is entirely non digestible. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat it, but just that the body does not break it down the same way it does with other carbohydrates, which are used to create energy in cells.
So. The moral of this part of the story is to eat your veggies. Especially if you are a huge fan of bacon.
When you get this feeling, you need Part 2 – The Cleanse.