Healing Digestion is something we should all be aiming for in our lives. If you are experiencing any of these common digestive tract symptoms: gas, bloating, reflux, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea then, chances are, if you went to the doctor you would be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If the symptoms are bad enough you may be given a medication to reduce the acid or something to help with constipation or diarrhea … but this is just addressing the symptoms and not treating the root cause.
Let’s, for a second, compare your gut microbiome to a diverse garden. Some foods you eat (vegetables, fruits, organic meats) fertilize the flowers or good bacteria. Other foods you eat (sugary, highly processed, artificial foods) fertilize and grow more weeds or bad bacteria. Our typical Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) tends to “feed the weeds”. When we have an imbalance in the gut, or dysbiosis, we are unable to break down our foods, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste. Inflammation leads to the body dysfunctioning which then leads to disease. This can simply feel like low energy, achy muscles/joints, be bloating, constipation/diarrhea or it can lead to things like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and even cancer.
The Functional Medicine Approach
The functional medicine approach to disease is to heal the gut. We do this first by removing any foods that may be “feeding the weeds“. Next, we kill the weeds. Finally, we “reseed the garden” with a group of highly diverse flora i.e. probiotics. It is critical to remove the bad bacteria first or there isn’t space for the healthy bacteria to grow. In functional medicine, we refer to this process as the four R’s. Remove, replace, repair, reintroduce.
Action: Start adding a variety of fresh vegetables into your daily menu. Try to eat a variety of different colors, shoot for a rainbow!
Fun Fact: The human body has 10 times more bacterial cells than it has human cells. That’s right you are actually more bacteria than human!