Trust Your Gut by Listening to Your Intuition
Over the past three weeks, I’ve been on so many antibiotics, not to mention pain medication and anesthesia, and it has completely wreaked havoc on my system. I am grateful for all of it, especially the antibiotics, because without them, I quite possibly could have died, but now, with three days still to go in my prescription, I’m trying to figure out how to get my body back to health and feel normal in the best way possible. I have begun to take a high quality probiotic, and I’m being careful with the foods I choose to eat, but it’ slow going and I won’t lie…I’m getting a bit frustrated. I’ve ordered a book that came highly recommended called The Longevity Paradox - How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age. I’m on the quest for how to eat healthy food, heal my gut and find some balance at the same time! Also…I’m really excited about having a glass of wine, but it will have to wait until Friday! What I am discovering and really knew all along is that my emotions and my gut health are interwoven so tightly. Addressing just one issue won’t ever solve the entire problem, so learning to take care of myself, emotionally as well as physically is the key to “dying young at a ripe old age”.
I found this article by Dr. Christiane Northrup yesterday and wanted to summarize it for you. I’ve been a long time fan of Christiane Northrup and have referenced her book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom for years (every woman should own a copy of this book for reference). What I’ve come to realize is that being healthy is about much more that eating healthy food, it’s a combination of healing yourself emotionally as well as physically. Midlife can be a time of tremendous change. Life is completely different that it was 15 years ago, for most women. Our children are grown, our marriages have changed and in many cases, our sense of purpose is gone. Finding the path back and discovering who we really are and what we really want out of our new lives can be difficult. It’s not something that’s talked about in our society very often. Midlife is a time when women have so much wisdom to offer and life to live, but so often, we’re left feeling alone, confused and unsure what to do next. All of this combined with our changing bodies can be too much for our systems to take. Hopefully, over the next few weeks, as I begin to navigate some of these issues, I can help you to figure out a few things as well.
Most women suffer from some type of digestive problems at midlife…weight gain, bloating, gastric reflux, constipation, irritable bowel and ulcers are all common reasons that women seek medical help. In so many cases, our diets are to blame. Doctor’s often prescribe medications that mask the symptoms, but don’t address the problem, so we continue to feel worse and worse and need more and more medication. It has also been proven that the symptom masking medications can lead to other health risks. Is this really how we want to live? Not me!
Most conventional doctors prescribe antacids to repress symptoms of heartburn, such as Tums, Mylanta or prescription drugs such as Zantac and Tagamet, Prilosec and Nexium. But long term use of these drugs can change the ecology of your gut. This is important because the bowel wall contains nearly two-thirds of your body’s immune defenses and you need a healthy bowel to keep harmful toxins from reaching other organs in your body. These drugs can ultimately affect the health of all the organs in your body and prevent your gut from absorbing vital nutrients.
Another issue, as I mentioned above is antibiotics. Antibiotics kill the normal flora (good bacteria as well as bad bacteria) in the bowel that are necessary for the absorption of nutrients. Chronic use of aspirin also affects the stomach and small intestine, causing inflammation.
Taking the time to actually find out what is causing the problems is the first step in healing. If you’re masking your gut issues with medication, you’re probably masking your emotional issues as well and that could be making your physical symptoms worse. Taking a holistic approach is crucial to beginning the healing process.
Try these suggestions to correct the imbalance in your system and and begin to restore your digestive health.
Eat complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, oatmeal and brown rice and stay away from high glycemic carbs such as white rice, prepared cereals and sodas.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Consuming large quantities of food at mealtime increases insulin. Try five small meals per day.
Stop taking antacids. If you need to take one, make sure it does not contain aluminum.
Try taking aloe vera, Vitamins C, E and B, licorice root, ginger, peppermint and chamomile tea. Also, find a good quality probiotic that contains a range of friendly bacteria. This can very helpful in restoring the flora in your bowel. Make sure to take a calcium supplement that contains magnesium and Vitamin D as well as a polypeptide supplement. You may want to talk with your integrative practitioner to find the best supplements for your needs.
Drink plenty of water. It helps rid the body of toxins.
Cut back or stop drinking alcohol which is an irritant.
Eliminate bread for a week and notice whether your digestive symptoms lessen. Many people are sensitive to gluten and don’t know it.
Emotions and gut health are very closely related, so listen to your body and figure out what it’s trying to tell you. Keeping a journal can be helpful in matching your symptoms to your emotional state.
Learning to Take Care of Yourself
Most of us are so used to taking care of others and taking care of ourselves is something very foreign to us. For our adult lives, we’ve been the ones to hold everything together and now is the time to stop that. You deserve to be taken care of and it is one of the most important steps on your path to living a healthy, vibrant life.
You don’t need to be responsible for everyone and everything!
You are allowed to make changes that make you feel good, such as a new hair cut, a new dress or a new job!
Other peoples problems are not yours and you don’t have to and most likely can’t solve them!
You are allowed to feel good about yourself and your body no matter where you are. That is the first step in the journey.
Self Care Isn’t Selfish. You Can’t Take Care of Anyone Else if You Don’t Take Care of Yourself. Make it a Priority! Listen to your intuition and “trust your gut”! Your body tells you so much if you’ll only listen!
If you had asked me a month ago, I would have told you that I practiced fairly healthy habits and compared to some…I did! I have realized that I have some work to do spiritually and practically and I think these suggestions are a great place to start!