Grains… Much Harder to Digest than You Think

Essays > Health Sandipa

3 – Sandipa and Sambodhi’s notes about health continue…

Many health issues can be traced back to a malfunctioning of the digestive system because the digestive tract can be populated with the ‘wrong bacteria’. The digestive tract can become coated with a thick layer of undigested gluten gunk, due in large part to breads that have not been given enough time to rise (ferment) before being baked.

This intestinal situation offers the ideal habitat for unwanted microorganisms like candida, which not only rob you of much needed nutrients, but poop and excrete toxic substances into your gut, which then, unfortunately, enter into your bloodstream.

It’s a bit like trying to eat your dinner with a newspaper in front of your mouth. Your gut is lined with tiny mouths that want to ‘eat’ the food that passes through. But they can’t if there’s a layer of gunk between them and the food.

Wheat

Big bakery franchises have squeezed out the time-honored craft of slow baking. I once asked a franchisee how long it took to bake their bread and he proudly told me “not more than 40 minutes from flour to finished product.” That’s insane! Any yeast that takes not more than 20 minutes to rise, is an industrial strength species that will overtake the other yeast species which would have, if given time, transformed the flour into a digestible form.

Bread needs to be given time to rise for at least 24 hours in a warm spot, in order for the flour to be properly pre-digested (fermented) by the yeasts. Only then can our digestive tract obtain the nutrients from the bread. Otherwise we will be contributing to a sorry scene in our guts. Sometimes referred to as ‘wheat belly’. If this is not addressed a downward spiral towards conditions such as diabetes follows.

Slow methods of leavening bread, like sourdough, make the bread more nutritious and break down the grain to be beautifully digestible. Sourdough is a culture containing wild yeasts and lactobacillus bacteria… yes the same type that form the front lines of our immune system in the gut – you heard of friendly flora, well that’s them.

We don’t have 2 or 3 stomachs, a rumen or a crop or a gizzard like the grain eating animals and birds in nature. But we do have the kitchen bench top – and we’d better put it to use! (Thank you Dr Jim Reese.)

Ferment (which is another name for soak) your grains like oats and rice also, right there on the bench (or if the weather’s hot, in the fridge) for a couple of days – the longer the better. Before cooking, pour off the excess water containing all the broadly termed ‘anti-nutrients’ that have kept the seeds / grains dormant – in suspension for years until the magic time when they come alive.

XXXX Detox… square one

Let’s call a spade a spade… To get to the joys of a great functioning body, free of symptoms like eczema, headaches, obesity, flu, infections, colds, dizziness, low energy, diarrhea, muscle pain, arthritis, hay fever etc etc – the list of our aches and pains small and large is endless – there is a small mountain to be climbed and the first step is: ‘making your guts healthy again’. This is the foundation that needs to happen before any other health adjustments and treatments can have any lasting effect.

Symptoms – make no mistake, they are the body’s way of asking for your urgent attention. It is the root cause of these symptoms that needs responding to. Suppressing your symptoms quickly so you feel better in a few days, is not smart, because you would be ignoring an important message, putting your long-term health at risk.

I’m reminded of a tv ad for pain killers that used the slogan “Soldier On!” I used to think, yeah right, ‘take that pain killer and soldier on to an early grave!’ Nothing wrong with an occasional pain killer (the glass of water you take it with helps a lot) but don’t use them to avoid dealing with the underlying causes of the problem. A body that’s aching with pain is a body that sending out an SOS, don’t ignore it.

So first things first. How to sort out the intestine and start the process of bringing it into good shape: One word: detoxification.

Scientists agree that we live in symbiosis with our good bacteria, we are made up of literally millions of them! More of them than we have cells in our body. We rely on these guys to do important functions like digesting our food, but through our diet and toxic load the bad ones have gotten away!

XXX Good bacteria, bad bacteria

Detoxification, how do you do it? Starve out the undesirable microorganisms (bad bacteria) and then later, reintroduce the friendly flora (good ones) back into your gut. This is easier said than done. It’s a process you don’t want to do on your own, because your body can go through a healing crisis. Huh, a what?

A healing crisis happens when the body at long last receives the proper healing attention it needs. Sometimes there is an initial response of an aggravation of symptoms… It’s like this: once the body gets the tools (= proper diet and the right kind of nutritional supplements) to heal, it plunges into the healing with great gusto, off-loading toxins left, right and centre… even reliving cell memories of past illness experiences etc. This can easily be misinterpreted as things getting worse, not better.

You need a naturopath with a steady hand who can guide you through this process, because to you it will appear as if you’re not on the right path, but your naturopath, if he or she has the right diagnostic tools, will know when your healing journey has begun and may welcome such crisis, or make adjustments to your program as needed. He or she will give you confidence to persevere.

It’s important to find a naturopath / healer who understands how detoxification works. In this book we shine some light on the concepts that we have experienced and that make sense to us. If you’re already working with a naturopath you can hold him or her up against that light. If you haven’t found a naturopath yet, this book may help to find an experienced one, a good one. They are quite rare.

We worked with Dr Jim Reese who is a healer and acupuncturist of New Mexico and then Northern California. He takes the long and slow approach. Inspired by him we changed our diet in many ways because it made sense to us what he was saying. For instance, for six months we cut out anything that tasted sweet to the tongue. Yes, even fruit. Anything that has a sweet taste, we did not eat it for that time. Why? Because in this way you can slowly but steadily starve off the bad bacteria that are inhabiting your gut, as broadly speaking, they thrive on sugars.

Note: It appears that Dr. Jim Reese does not have a website, but on this page he answers questions about Nature’s Biotic Probiotics, and conscious nutrition. (There is more than one Dr James T Reese in America, not to be confused with the motivational speaker, stress management one, www.jamestreese.com, who proliferates on google searches.)

XX Bad bugs

You see, bad bacteria and their partner in crime, candida (a kind of fungus) have aggressively taken over the receptor sites and they happily live in the gunk we have coated our guts with, leaving no habitat for the much needed friendly bacteria. We’ve been feeding those raiders their ideal diet of sugar and more sugar and wrongly prepared bread and grains, forming the gluey coating… just what these characters enjoy – a groovy home!

When you take away the food supply of your bad bacteria, all kinds of resistances can come up, because these bacteria not only have a hold over your digestive system but they also influence how you think and feel. They can inhabit many places in the body including your brain and wreak havoc there. Our body cells live in a symbiotic relationship with our bacteria, these bacteria influence us on every level, be that physical or mental.

You can feel your bad bacteria – we’re not kidding! Just cut out sugar, (ie anything sweet to the tongue) from your diet for a week and watch what that does to your emotions / feelings. Many people have told us it drives them crazy – that’s your bad bugs hanging around your chemistry, sending messages demanding their food: gimme sugar!

It was good for us to be in the care of a naturopath, because when we were craving for something sweet it was great to have someone remind us that this craving is caused by none other than the bad bacteria we are trying to eliminate. It’s only natural that these critters will put up a fight when they’re being starved out and sense their end is near! They have infiltrated our body system and are sending messages like: “oh, it wouldn’t hurt if I just had that little piece of chocolate cake today, what harm can it possibly do?” When you hear that voice, saying these or similar words, know that it’s your bad bugs talking to you!

You have the freedom to ignore them.

XXX Sugar blues

Our detox took time, more than a year and it can take longer. We did it totally, without relapsing into our old way of eating – nothing drastic, simply being consistent was the key. It helped that we knew about Osho’s active meditations and emotional release techniques, like gibberish.

Sugar is an addictive drug and, like any addiction, it can be hard to break the habit. When you do this kind of detox you need help on all levels. Many naturopaths are not trained to deal with the emotions that can come up. If you’re serious it will be good to learn some meditation and emotional release techniques, they could be the difference between success and failure.

Over time, for us, our way of eating became so in tune with our bodies, that things like vegetables and (even some lemons) started tasting sweet and our tongue started to enjoy healthy, nutritious food.

We re-educated our taste buds. Now sugar tastes funnily artificial and who wants that furry coating on your teeth! Well, your bloodstream certainly doesn’t. It’s mainly your bad bugs that do, and it’s good not to help them proliferate.

Best to stop feeding them so sweetly! Best to gently but persistently give them the boot! And an unceremonious landing in the toilet bowl. But how?

 

Read on in our next issue…
Read all previous parts…
If you wish to download Sambodhi Prem and Sandipa’s book, please go to: The All and Everything of Healthy Living

 
Sambodhi and SandipaSambodhi Prem and Sandipa have experienced the world of alternative health for years and now they’d like to share what they’ve learned. They are two artists, musicians and gardeners… what do you get when they decide to write a book about health? You get a book that’s more poetic, more from the gut and from the heart, than from the head, because they’re able to say things that many health professionals don’t dare to say… When you have been on the brink of death (like one of them has) and been around the block with intestinal malfunction, depressed immune system, migraines, or walked up a flight of stairs and felt so tired that you needed a day’s rest, you start looking for answers.
We have previously met Sambodhi Prem and Sandipa in this magazine as singers and songwriters, when we presented their song Sweetness
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