Healing and Repairing my Digestion: Part I

For more on my healing and repairing digestion series, check out: Part II, Part III, Part IV

When we don’t listen to what our bodies need they have a tendency of screaming the solution in the form of symptoms. When we experience these irregularities it’s usually a sign that we’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way and our life needs a bit of adjusting. If we’re attuned to our needs, we catch them right away and adjust accordingly. But if we’re careless, or distrust our innate wisdom, they can multiply and get downright nasty.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what my body has done and it took me about 3 months to finally check myself before I wrecked myself. And the result; as I mentioned earlier this week, has been to make my health my #1 priority.

Around October, I became frustrated at my inability to gain muscle despite all of the work I was doing at the gym. No matter what I changed, what physical activity I participated in, I maintained the same muscle definition, body fat % and weight.

I decided to go against my whole food, natural ‘eat what you want, when you want – internal wisdom‘ approach to a low-fat, high carbohydrate eating style, then to a high-fat, low carbohydrate approach weeks later.

This shift had me second guessing my ‘internal wisdom’ and discrediting the messages my body was sending me.

When I went low-fat I was craving nut butters, oils, coconut, nuts, anything fatty I could get my hands on. When I went low-carbohydrate I was grumpy, started to experience headaches, and struggled with very old and dark disordered eating thoughts.

Although my energy was great and muscle was forming, I was getting more and more constipated by the day. How could I feel so good while my digestive system continued to become weaker and weaker?

The Tipping Point

There was a night where I sat in font of the TV craving a strawberry quinoa flake bake but chose to ignore the craving because I wasn’t eating grains. I sat with this for awhile and realized that this path of low-fat, high-fat, primal eating, defining what I was going to eat and when, had slowly removed the trust and connection I had with my innate knowledge.

The power to understand what nutrients my body needed was gone. So I began preparing a plan to get myself back on track:

  • Green smoothies once per day to increase daily veggie consumption
  • 20 minute daily meditation to help alleviate stress
  • Smaller meals more often to lower the impact on my digestion. Instead of having 3 meals at approx. 500 calories each, I switched to 5-6 meals at approx. 300 calories each
  • Get back to intuitive eating and trust in my internal wisdom
  • Continue to food journal to rule out sensitivities or allergies

It’s amazing how quickly our intuition goes when we’re not feeding it positive, uplifting thoughts.


Building a Supportive Network

I accepted that tapping into my intuition would be a lengthy process but something told me that this wasn’t the only thing that was contributing to the issue. No matter how diligently I food journaled, I wasn’t able to link foods to the symptoms I was having.

At this point I was at a loss. I didn’t know what steps to take, where to go, or what to do. Tbest thing you can do for yourself when you’re in this position is get help! I began looking for a Naturopath whose approach was focused on nutritional healing and who could perform allergy tests, and a colon hydrotherapist with a background in healing diets.

I met with my new Naturopath earlier this week and was so happy with the outcome! His approach is exactly what I was looking for. He focuses primarily on nutritional changes, then moves to supplementation, followed by medical tests if every other effort doesn’t work.

Although our ultimate goal is to do allergy testing, doing it now while my body is under stress could result in false positives – sensitivities to foods I’m not actually sensitive to.

The way he explained why this occurs was perfect – when our digestion is slow, the gaps in between the muscles of our colon open and small particles of proteins are able to pass through these walls. These proteins are then attacked by our immune system. Thinking the protein is a danger, our immune system builds an immune response to this protein, and therefore creates a sensitivity or allergy to that food. Once you’ve closed the gaps by regulating your digestion and letting your body relax and heal, allergy testing becomes much more affective and accurate.

Repairing Digestion

Our action plan from our first appointment was to:

  • Incorporate proper eating hygiene:
      • Relaxing when eating by listen to music, not reading, working or engaging in conversation that’s stressful.
      • Chewing food at least 40 times per mouthful.
      • Only eating when hungry
  • Increase hydrochloric acid to assist with digestion:
      • 5 minutes before each meal consume: 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or 1/2 fresh lemon juice with 1/4 cup water.
  • Increase healthy fats:
      • 1 teaspoon of fish oil twice a day.
      • 1 avocado per day. Has high fiber and high fat!
  • Support smooth moving digestion:
      • 2-4 grams of vitamin C powder per day.
  • Give my digestion a break with a two day juice fast.

Healing Digestion

I’ve started up with all of  the recommendations but the juice fast. Those babies take a couple of days to plan and implement, but I think I’m ready now! In combination with weekly colon hydrotherapy sessions, next weeks’ plan goes a bit like this:

  • Sunday: juice fast preparation day
  • Monday: juice fast day 1
  • Tuesday: juice fast day 2
  • Wednesday: smoothie transition day

Juice Fast Preparation

The day before a juice fast is just as important as the fast itself. You want to make sure you’re not eating heavy foods that are going to cause any digestive upsets in the days to come. So, on Sunday I plan on having foods like:

  • Steamed vegetables
  • Fruit puree
  • Brown rice
  • Nut or seed butters
  • Hemp or rice protein shakes
  • Hummus

Generally speaking, winter is not the time to do fasts, detoxes or cleanses which is why I’m only planning on completing a two fast and will not be combining it with any detox supporting herbs. The two day period will give my digestion a time to relax and repair without going into hardcore detox mode!

I’ll be posting all of the recipes for the juices and smoothies that I plan on filling my days with, along with tips on how to have a successful juice fast when you are a busy lady like myself. Juicing and smoothie making can consume a lot of time but there are ways you can prep in advance to make things easier.

I’m sorry for the long post today! Many of you have expressed interest in digestive healing and health, so I hoped that sharing my story may help.

If you’re not interested in the journey, at least stay for the tasty juice and smoothie recipes (cough, caramel apple smoothie, cough) I’ll be whipping up next week. They’re sure to be delicious!

See you soon ;)

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  1. Very good blog you have here but I was wanting to know if
    you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed in
    this article? I’d really like to be a part of community
    where I can get responses from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!

  2. This is just what I’m looking for. I started making smoothies about a month ago to help increase my veggie intake. I’ve also eliminated all non beneficial starch. Apparently my digestion system decided to simply stop working altogether b/c of this change. Your Vibrant Life and Cleanse book (of which I recently purchased), I’m hopeful will help. Hence my entrance to the Vitamix giveaway….Looking at the Red Rush now.

  3. Hey Leanne, Not sure what happened to my other post it disappeared. I am wanting to be healthier and lose weight. And need to get my digestion on track what are your suggestions? I have been juicing for a few days and it hasnt seemed to help. Thanks, jamie

    • Hi Jamie – no worries at all. Have you taken a look at my FAQ? There’s a whole section on how I healed my digestive system. You can check it out here: http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/faq let me know if you have additional questions!

      • :) Thanks. This may be a silly question, but why stay away from a bunch of raw veggies?

        • Hi Jamie – if you’re trying to heal your digestive tract, many find it difficult to properly digest raw veggies. It’s best (at first) to lightly steam them.

  4. Hello Leanne, I love all the helpful posts. My digestion is not regular at all. Do you have any suggestions to getting it on track. I have been making smoothies with my magic bullet some and the other day I bought a juicer and have been using it the last few days. One of those days I basically had only juice all day and that didn’t seem to help my digestion yet. I’m really an amateur at healthy eating but really want to get healthier and lose weight. Sorry if this seems silly but thank you, Jamie