Constipation. The topic that seems to plague many American’s but nobody wants to talk about. I wouldn’t want to talk about it either. But the statistics don’t lie. We use up a hefty portion of our paychecks every year on laxatives, herbal teas, and other “remedies” to help move things along. What is going on here? Our systems don’t really like to be irritated by these things all the time. Admittedly, going to the bathroom is of utmost importance. So what do we do about this problem? Most people deal with this at one point or another during life. It is probably one of the first things to address when dealing with health challenges. If you can’t get stuff out; you have a PROBLEM! You should be using the bathroom regularly. Wild animals don’t have any problem accomplishing this feat, so why do we? First we will look at some common CAUSES for these problems and them some short and long-term solutions to the issue.
CAUSES: Poor diet and emotional stress are the two biggest factors here. We simply don’t eat anywhere near what we were designed to eat most of the time. Packaged foods. Pasteurized cheeses. Bread. Sugar. Improperly prepared grains. These are not things our systems are designed to take in. Couple this with emotional issues. We need to be somewhat relaxed to digest our food effectively. This cannot be accomplished watching stimulating television, arguing with people we love, or driving in rush hour traffic. When we are stressed, we are in protection mode. Protection mode is the opposite of growth mode. Growth, healing, digestion, repair, etc. Years of dietary and emotional abuse to the system leads it to become very sluggish. It needs a tune up. Let’s look at a few ways to do this.
LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS: I am putting this before short-term solutions because I think it is far more important. There is always room for an emergency “toolkit” or for situations that we screwed up on our diet, etc. Long-term problem resolution is the goal here. So what to do? Most of us have somewhat screwed up digestive/elimination systems from years of eating junk food and stressing out. Our other organs of elimination are often gunked up as well. One thing I have learned is that bad food stresses out ALL the organ systems. The liver is one of the most important here. The liver helps digest fat. GOOD FAT! If we ate good fat all of the time then this problem would not be so prevalent. With bad fats our livers get clogged up over time. We then can’t produce very much bile in our intestines. Bile helps us digest fat and moves our bowels. It’s a vicious cycle. What are the bad fats to avoid? Pasteurized dairy products, anything fried, high-heated vegetable oils, high-heated meats/eggs, roasted nuts, etc. What about the good guys? Fat is not to be demonized either. Humans have consumed healthy fats for a very long time. In fact, fat can be very essential to your health. Fats to CONSUME from the vegetable kingdom would include raw olives/olive oil, avocados, raw coconut/olive oil, maybe a little unheated sesame oil, and raw soaked nuts/seeds. I would use caution with the nuts as they can cause some people digestive distress. Fats to CONSUME from the animal kingdom would include raw or lightly cooked egg yolks, raw butter, bone marrow, certain organ meats, organic meat that is lightly cooked, etc. You have to be careful with fat. In general, the more lightly cooked or unheated it is; the better it will process in your body. Stopping the process of taxing our livers is a KEY to fixing constipation. Kidneys are similar. They help with protein. Again; focus on lightly cooked, easily digestible proteins here. Especially avoid any fried, heavy meats. Things like really well-done steak, fried chicken-wings, etc. Round out the rest of your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables primarily. Grains/beans are somewhat harder to digest. You may find it easier to heal without them initially. I would eat some fiber, but go easy with it. Munching on raw salad and carrots all day will probably not fix your problem. Add in probiotic fermented foods to help digestion as well. As far as emotional stress goes; there are really three main things to do. AVOID IT, REFRAME IT, OR SOLVE IT. If watching the news or driving in traffic stresses you out; don’t do it after eating if possible. You may also choose to fix conflicts in relationships instead of letting them fester. Take time to realize when you are stressed and solve the problems.
CLEANSING: This probably going to be required if you have been eating junk-food for a good portion of your life. Things like liver, colon, and kidney cleansing. Eating a healthy diet is a great start. Sometimes our organs want a little more help. But even the best cleansing will not help much without changing the diet and lifestyle. Gentle cleansing is usually best as a long-term solution. There are a great many herbs that slowly get the organs filtering and de-congested again.
SHORT-TERM: All of us slip up from time to time. Most people probably know short-term “solutions.” I would advise against using harsh chemicals and drugs to accomplish this. Herbs are great here. Senna leaf tea will work well for most people. Enemas or coffee enemas can help get things moving as well. Generally speaking, I would avoid digestive enzymes on a regular basis. In cases such as holidays, birthdays, or other events when you are eating and living in a “different” manner, it may be wise to take a few of these. There are certain enzymes that help digest gluten/dairy so they aren’t as much of a burden on the system. There are really endless short-term remedies out there. Just don’t become dependent on them if you can avoid it.
These are the basics. Ultimately, long-term diet and lifestyle modification is your best bet here. Cleansing is a short-cut back to health. Short-term solutions are great for emergencies but should not be relied upon on a regular basis. Hope this got your brains moving guys =)