Trying to Love your Guts..it's a long game
I recently posted a short video about my efforts to recreate balance and harmony in my microbiome, hadn't reaped the results I'd be hoping for. This could be seen as a reason to give up and question the process or, it could be seen as a milestone, an opportunity to learn and gear up for more change.
Thankfully, I have a big picture understanding of what's happening and I'm not one to give up on my health so I'm strapping in for more....more pushing into new territory of discomfort, supplementing, self awareness, personal development. This work requires more than just turning up for an appointment, taking some pills and not eating bread. It inevitably leads you to question everything you've ever known about how you view treatment of ill health, your resilience and stamina and how much you are prepared to change.
You see, the problem with identifying gut issues is that we humans are tough! We come to tolerate and assume our bodily functions and routines to be "normal". For example if I ask you if you have a bowel movement and you tell me every 3rd day and that's normal - it may be normal for you but in the world of guts and poo it isn't! Another one is hydration - you may not feel thirsty much and just drink a few cups of tea a day but believe me, many of us are dehydrated - this directly affects our bowels, but also a ton of other body systems like our skin, liver function, brain and cognitive health, the list is endless!
So you can see how we can all go about minding our business, thinking we're in reasonable health. On the whole, we probably have an acceptable level of health, but wouldn't you rather have a great health just by learning some preventative life strategies? Education is so important in living a preventative lifestyle and maintaining wellness throughout our lives.
Once upon a time, this information was inter-generationally passed on but we live such segregated lives now that the time, opportunity and connection to others just doesn't happen. Yes, the internet is a wonderful tool for gaining information but that one on one, face to face interaction is more than just information. There's all that body language and ability to show care through the "human factor".
So, back to guts...you know all those small little things you put up with? That persistent but slight nose drip, achey joints, bloating and fatigue after lunch, the tight pants that seem to be getting tighter? They are all symptoms of gut dysfunction. Sure, you can go eat some probiotic foods, spend weekends making kombucha and that's all good but you may not have addressed the root causes of your ailments.
You may need to look at an elimination diet (effective but takes time to evaluate what's going on) but if you're past that point, then testing can be very powerful. This may come in the form of stool sampling, blood, hair or saliva testing depending what you're looking for. In my case, I've had some pesky parasites and yeasts show up. Remember we want balance, we need those parasites, yeasts and bacteria but they need to be in balance. With the wisdom and guidance of my naturopath, we started on a course to rebuild that balance.
Retesting showed things had changed but not improved and we had to move to more powerful herbs - in moving into this new phase I really have had to stop drinking (that meant also weekends), staying compliant avoiding food intolerances, drinking more water and thinking about life in general. It's changed me, how could it not? Patience, resilience, discipline, focus, kindness, awareness, caring for others - all things that have been called into question but I'm glad to say, I have enhanced these skills.
Another month on, I do feel different and some changes have occurred, but I won't know for sure without another retest. I am manifesting my guts will be in a happy place! The last line of defence is to resort to antibiotics - this is what we want to avoid at all costs but sometimes we just have to go there and do our best. Whatever the outcome, it's OK.
So, I share this story with you to give you hope and understanding. Redirecting our bodies towards health and returning to balance is not for the faint hearted and it takes time to heal. It's about being open mentally and emotionally, trying new things, saying yes to new things but saying no when you need rest and... reminding yourself that everyday things are improving, because you have set a course of change in place.
If my story, resonates with your experiences or you feel you need help, please drop me a line, I'd love to hear from you.