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How Digestion Affects Health

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How much does digestion affect health? The truth is, it has a profound impact on how well you feel and how everything in your body functions. Everything you consume will ultimately have an effect on your well-being. Throughout the history of time, sage practitioners and health professional have understood that a healthy gut supports our entire foundation of wellness.

If we can’t digest our food, and if our food isn’t real or recognizable by the body, the digestive tract function will become impaired. As a result, all organ systems in our bodies will begin to malfunction.

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, a pediatric neurosurgeon, has done an extensive amount of research on this system in the body and how it affects all the other organ systems. I was fortunate enough to hear her speak at the Weston A. Price Conference last week in Philadelphia. Although I already knew about many of the things she has been sharing with the health and medical world in her research, I learned some other things which were truly astounding.

From personal experience in finding treatment for her own son who was diagnosed with autism many years ago, she made the connection that no body system functions in isolation and that everything is connected. “Most psychiatric patients suffer from digestive problems. They have unhealthy inner ecosystems where there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast and fungus; they cannot digest food properly. This creates a large number of neurotoxins that can move from their intestines through the damaged intestinal lining into the blood stream where the toxins are carried to the brain.” In her research, she discovered that most modern illnesses can be linked back to the state of health in the digestive tract.

From the Weston A. Price Foundation web site review of Dr. McBride’s book:

“When a baby is born, it acquires the flora of the mother during its passage through the birth canal. If the mother has a history of antibiotic or contraceptive use and poor digestive health, her flora will likely be unhealthy. If she does not breast-feed her baby, the gut flora of the child will be further compromised. The infant will often develop digestive problems such as colic, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, feeding difficulties, intestinal damage and malnourishment very early in life and is typically afflicted by a host of allergies. The child usually has frequent ear infections treated with many rounds of antibiotics, which only make the situation worse.”

Genetic history, gender,  the state of nutrition prior to conception in the parents, medication and drugs, and environmental factors certainly also play a significant role in the development of disease. But without a doubt the digestive tract one of the primary mechanisms through which these factors can allow such developments to manifest themselves in noticeable symptoms and illness.

With high disease and illness levels present in the world, we are now understanding the connection to digestive health to many disorders – even though on the surface they may seem unrelated.

Here are some tips for successful digestive function and health:

  • Limit beverage intake while eating. Most overeating occurs because of dehydration, so hydrate before and after you eat – 1/2 hour before and 1 to 2 hours after eating. If you do drink with meals, try something warm that will aid digestion such as peppermint or ginger tea. Keep liquid intake to about 4 ounces during meal. Kombucha and bone broths are excellent foods to consume that will help keep your mineral levels optimal and reduce dehydration and other health issues. Too much liquid dilutes hydrochloric acid production in the stomach and can diminish the digestive tract’s ability to properly digest food you eat. If your hydrochloric acid production is low due to poor dietary habits, consider taking a hydrochloric acid supplement such as Betaine HCL 750 mg tabs by Designs For Health or Betaine HCL by Pharmax.
  • Avoid processed, packaged, and prepared foods, including refined foods with sugar. Sugar weakens the digestive tract and lowers immune system function. If you don’t do a lot of food preparation or cooking at home, consider doing this more in the future. Prepared and processed foods usually contain preservatives, chemicals, toxins, and have been altered in some way as to make nutrients dead and unavailable to the body. Real food prepared from scratch at home will support your digestive tract and health optimally.
  • Eliminate trans fats and hydrogenated oils. Replace with butter, lard, and tallow from healthy animals on pasture, coconut oil (for high heat cooking), and raw oils like pumpkin seed olive oil for raw consumption (great for salads).
  • Replace conventional and industrial sources of protein and meat with grass-fed meat and meat products. Instead of conventional eggs and poultry, switch to pasture-raised poultry and eggs. Meats, poultry, and eggs from healthy animals and birds on pasture are not treated with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals. They are also from environments using organic and sustainable practices, and by their very growing methods contain more essential nutrients for health.
  • Take an Omega 3 supplement daily – cod liver oil is best in winter. Try Green Pasture Products fermented cod liver oil. Fermented cod liver oil is also the most potent source of natural Vitamins A and D – critical nutrients in maintaining general health.
  • If you eat grains, give yourself a break from wheat, which is normally the most processed and causes the most allergies/health problems. Try whole, soaked and/or sprouted grains including amaranth, quinoa, millet, kamut, buckwheat, and occasionally spelt. Try to keep to no more than 2 servings per week, and consider eliminating grains altogether if you have a chronic problem. This measure will help eliminate issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, candida syndrome, and other more serious problems like IBS or Crohn’s Disease.
  • Eat more fermented foods – kefir and real yogurt made from raw milk, cultured vegetables, and sauerkraut.
  • Eat bone broths made from home-made stock from healthy birds and animals on pasture. Bone broths are easily digestible and are an excellent source of nutrients and minerals that will heal your body.
  • Eat vegetables cooked and with healthy fats like butter, ghee, lard, tallow, or bacon drippings. The fat-soluble vitamins present in healthy fats help to digest and assimilate vegetables into your body more efficiently.
  • Raw juicing with plenty of greens is a good way to get your daily intake. When juicing, avoid high glycemic choices such as carrots and beets. For a good guide to juicing, read Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS).
  • Avoid soy unless fermented such as miso or tempeh. Do not eat soy cheese, milk, or soy proteins. These foods are all processed and soy contains phytic acid which inhibits the absorption of minerals and nutrients into the body. Soy also contains estrogen which can be harmful in excess and especially for men and boy’s reproductive systems.
  • Drink filtered water regularly. Another good way to stay hydrated is to add unsweetened, not-from-concentrate organic cranberry juice (and lemon juice) to your water. These are excellent detoxifiers and promote healing.
  • Mealtime should be relaxed and stress-free. If you are anxious or upset, avoid eating.

If you have had a compromised immune system and digestion due to poor diet and other factors, here are some recommendations to help heal your gut:

  • One of the best ways to heal your gut from the effects of a lifetime of poor dietary habits is the GAPS diet as recommended by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. For more information, visit the GAPS web site.
  • You may want to consider taking a digestive enzyme for additional support for digestion. Some brands available from the health food store which are good include Digest Gold and Garden of Life. For more potent support, ask a qualified health professional who has access to professional line of digestive enzymes. Some practitioners can recommend very powerful enzymes which are not available on the mainstream market, and depending on your individual need, this type of product may be appropriate.
  • You may need additional fiber in your diet for a period of time to help overcome issues you are experiencing as a result of poor dietary habits. Good products to take include Colon Plus by Biotics Research or Gastro-Fiber by Standard Process. Or, consult a knowledgeable practitioner who can recommend a good product.
  • Use aloe vera daily. Drinking liquid aloe vera is very soothing and helps heal the digestive tract of a variety of disorders. Aloe vera encourages the bowels to move more efficiently and effectively, and is a great detoxifying agent. Good brands to use are George’s and Country Life. Drink several ounces of aloe vera in the morning at least a half an hour before breakfast and between meals (two hours after eating) for maximum benefit.
  • Foods that do not digest properly such as processed foods or because of stress result in overgrowth of harmful bacteria and digestive disorders as well as lethargy, mood disorders, and other issues. You may want to consider a detoxification protocol to help heal your gut. Talk with a qualified practitioner who has experience in this area to find out which protocol is best for you. For more information about basic detoxification, read How Cleansing Positively Affects Your Health about the different types of detoxification, or It’s Time for A Fall Detox!

For more information about the digestive organs and how they affect health, read Gallbladder Disease and The Standard American Diet – My Personal Account

For more information about gallbladder/liver detoxification, read My Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse Experience

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My Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse Experience

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For many years I experienced digestive difficulties and various health problems. When I was pregnant with my son in 2000, I experienced a ruptured appendix during my 7th month of pregnancy and he was born 9 weeks premature.

The night I came home from my near three-week stay in the hospital, I began to have the first of various gallbladder “episodes”. These attacks were some of the most unpleasant and painful I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Seven months later at the order of my surgeon, I had my gallbladder removed. I had tried some natural products from the health food store before having my gallbladder removed, but having no experience treating this sort of thing nor anyone to consult for advice, my efforts failed to yield positive results. Had I known then what I know now, I would have performed the liver and gallbladder miracle cleanse to remove stones that were harming my health and causing the attacks.

Gallbladder and digestive disease have completely and utterly altered my outlook on health forever. I was very sick for over five years to the point where I wasn’t feeling well enough to do my normal activities such as taking care of my son nor maintain a healthy relationship with my husband and family. I was weak and in bed a lot. Sometimes I’d have muscle weakness, heart palpitations, nausea, or shaking for days at a time. I thought my body was falling apart and I didn’t know why.

Discovering the root cause of health ailments

Before I changed my eating habits, I was consuming alcohol and eating a  lot of processed foods regularly (what can I say, I used to party a lot and enjoyed having a good time a little too much!). Because I was a music promoter and event coordinator for my local underground music community, I’d often keep hectic social schedules and stay out late. Although I was eating some healthy foods, I was still consuming a lot of refined carbohydrates and my fair share of processed foods. My stress levels were also sky-high.

Doctors had failed to help me overcome my health challenges, and simply offered pharmaceutical drugs as a solution. The prescriptions would sometimes sit in my purse for months; I was scared to become a drug-dependent patient like so many other people I knew.

Eventually I began to read about how food can affect health and it all started to make sense. After research, conversations with qualified practitioners who knew about nutrition and listened to me and knew what kinds of problems I was having, I started to eliminate various foods from my diet like refined sugars, wheat, soy, pasteurized dairy, and other processed foods and noticed startling results – I began to feel better.

How I’ve begun to overcome health challenges

Since 2005, I have completely changed the way I eat and no longer buy processed foods. In that span of time, I’ve discovered better health than I’ve had much of my life. I attribute the change to my discarding of junk and processed foods, and switching to meals made at home, from scratch, and wholesome, real ingredients. I can’t always afford organic or sustainable, but I do the very best I can.

I make most everything from scratch including salad dressings, sauces, and condiments (when I can). If I can’t make it from scratch, I do the next best thing which is to buy a product from the store which has the least amount of ingredients in it, doesn’t contain artificial additives, preservatives, or chemicals. One example of something I might buy instead of make is that I buy organic ketchup because the conventional equivalent is incredibly nasty. We don’t use a lot of ketchup in our house, but when we do I want it to be healthy. I could make my own, but this is something I haven’t started doing yet – it’s on my list.

I make compromises in some areas, while compensating in the more important places – such as with fats and proteins. I buy organic grass-fed meat and raw milk for my family to make sure we are not getting genetically-modified material, pesticides, antibiotics, nor hormones in our bodies.

I’m a big believer that real food can eliminate health problems. I also firmly believe that synthetic vitamins and minerals are not going to do the job – which is why I know all those fortified foods sold in the store in packages are no better than cheap supplements claiming to offer nutritional benefit are a waste of money.

Health issues from years of a poor diet

Despite all my efforts, I’ve still been experiencing some health challenges. For the last six years, I’ve had fibrocystic breast condition. This condition occurs when the lymphatic system becomes congested or clogged with toxins. The breast and armpits contain thousands of lymph nodes and pathways for the elimination of waste and toxins to exit the body. When those lines become blocked, lumps can form. Many conventional doctors tell patients that these lumps are harmless and normal.

Fibrocystic breast condition and other benign lumps are often a symptom of estrogen-dominance. This occurs when there is a deficit or excess of estrogen due and little no no progesterone in the body. These hormones are in a delicate balance, and when they are offset by the food we eat or environmental toxins, health issues can occur. Estrogen dominance is a very common problem for men, women, and children in modern life due to the excessive amounts of estrogen in our environments. False or xenoestrogens are found in our food and water, soil, and many of the items we use in our daily tasks – plastics, clothing, personal care products, materials used for buildings,  carpets and furniture, cleaning products, containers, and so on.

These substances have had a profound effect on our bodies and our health. Some research suggests that excess estrogen can effect sexual function to the extent that fertility, menstruation, puberty, menopause, and other sexual functions and development are noticeably altered.

Thyroid problems, iodine deficiency, and hormonal imbalance

Another contributor to these types of breast cysts and others in the body is iodine deficiency. Besides thyroid problems, iodine deficiency can cause hormonal and endocrine imbalances which lead to cancer and many other degenerative diseases. When the body lacks sufficient amounts of iodine, it becomes increasingly unable to eliminate toxins.

Dr. Brownstein, M.D. believes that this deficiency is responsible for many cases of thyroid disorder, breast, and other cancers people are being diagnosed with, and that these conditions are often connected to one another. He also believes that thyroid medications prescribed by doctors for these problems do not work because they fail to address the underlying problem, which is nutritional deficiency in the body.

It just so happens that I had a blood test last year to determine whether I was having thyroid issues, and the results revealed that I was hypothyroid – a condition where the thyroid is underactive in the body. The function of the thyroid gland is to convert iodine into two thyroid hormones, thyroxine T4 and triiodothyronine T3. Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. I had a lot of the symptoms of this syndrome – fatigue, dry skin, irritability, fatigue, depression, weakness, abnormal menstrual cycles, cold and intolerance. My physical appearance didn’t necessarily match the stereotypical image of a hypothyroid case – I had never had weight problems, and had actually experienced the opposite issue of having trouble gaining enough weight most of my life.

Dr. Robert J. Rowan, M.D. believes digestion is also a key to absorbing iodine and other nutrients: “Poor digestion – many organs need iodine, but can’t absorb it until the blood measurements reach very high levels. The stomach and salivary glands are two such organs, but they can’t uptake iodine in any significant amounts until the blood level reaches 100 times what the thyroid needs. Most people do not produce enough stomach acid as they grow older. I firmly believe low gastric acidity can be caused by iodine deficiency, as iodine promotes stomach acidity!”

As intrinsically connected as iodine and digestion are to one another, it’s easy to understand why digestion would be impaired if it could not adequately absorb the nutrients it needs to maintain good health. If stomach acid levels are low, digestion won’t function they way it should. Dr. Rowan stated that as people get older, stomach acid production goes down. It is also true that a processed diet filled with toxic, nutrient-depleted foods would cause that problem to become worse over time.

Insomnia

Another issue I’ve had for some years is the inability to sleep soundly if I consume too many carbohydrates. It was worse when I was eating processed foods. But even when I stopped eating those and started consuming real, whole foods, I’d still have problems. I’m sensitive to breads and grains – wheat, spelt, kamut, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, corn, rice (even organic, and soaked or sprouted), and most anything with sugar in it – so alcohol and desserts too – as infrequently as I consume them, and even though I normally consume the healthiest forms of these as possible.

Years ago when I was eating poorly, I used to have terrible episodes in the middle of the night with a string of symptoms – shaking, racing heart, sweating, a jittery, butterfly feeling in my stomach, and nausea. This sounds a lot like anxiety, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought it was for a long time, and so did all the doctors. So if I eat too many carbohydrates I can look forward to a jittery butterfly feeling in my stomach that can keep me awake for at least an hour or wake me up in the middle of the night.

My sleeping patterns have become much more regular and I have much less trouble sleeping than I used to, but my goal is to completely eliminate all my symptoms and be able to sleep soundly and to be able to fall asleep without any trouble.

The United States history of iodine deficiency

In this country, evidence of iodine deficiency appeared in the 1920s as a result of processing foods and the depletion of trace elements from the food supply due to modern farming methods. Companies saw a need for iodine and began to add it to table salt. The campaign spread and incidences of goiter began to drop significantly.

Several decades ago, doctors began to believe that their patients were consuming too much salt because of the increase in high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. The American Medical Association began issuing recommendations to the majority of the population to lower their salt intake. Medical professionals completely disregarded the fact that trace minerals found in soil and in naturally-mined salt is essential to human health. Today we are once again experiencing a massive deficit in iodine and other trace minerals in our bodies – which contributes to high disease rates.

Real food is only part of the equation

With the type of eating habits people in developed and now in many other countries have, it’s no surprise so much damage is done. From my own experience and research, I believe that once you have gone beyond a certain point of abuse, more drastic measures have to be taken to regain health. Real food is extremely important, but by itself sometimes it’s not enough.  Detoxification and cleansing is really important because they seek to remove those foreign and harmful substances left behind from a poor diet and repeated abuse which cause health problems that the body and nourishment are simply incapable of eliminating on their own.

There are also a lot of  juice drinks, food bars, supplements and other products on the market which people invest a lot of money in because they believe these products will restore their health. From my own experience, I’ve observed that you can take all the supplements and products on the market you can possibly afford and your health won’t improve unless you restore the balance of your inner body and gut. It’s critical to first heal the environment in your digestive tract. The liver gallbladder miracle cleanse is an excellent way to accomplish this.

The importance of preparation

If you are a person who has not lived a healthy lifestyle most of your years, it is really important to take some small steps in the beginning to make certain you don’t overload your body with too much detoxification at once. Before doing a liver gallbladder cleanse, it is a good idea to get your dietary habits under control and begin with one or two activities at a time to prepare your body for release of toxins. Once you get going, you will notice results, but you must go slowly and deliberately, and have patience. Remember, it took many years for your body to get in the state it is currently in, and healing is no different.

Colon cleansing and detoxification

A good way to begin is to consider having colonics to get the foundations started in repairing your digestive tract – which the waste removal system in your body that absorbs everything you eat. Although your colon is responsible for managing the removal of waste, it is also an environment where many important nutrients are absorbed as well.

The colon’s job, then, is two-fold: remove waste and also redistribute important nutrients back into the body for support and health.

Donna Gates of Body Ecology explains the three major reasons why colon cleansing is so important:

  1. The average person has 7 – 10 pounds of fecal matter remaining in the colon – even with regular bowel movements daily.
  2. What accumulates on the colon wall from waste is a breeding ground for parasites, yeast, bad bacteria, and viruses.
  3. For many people, these elimination pathways are essentially blocked, and over time this promotes the build up of toxins. Estimates have shown that the average person is exposed to over 123 toxic chemicals from food, water, personal care products, air, and stress.

Colonics performed by a qualified practitioner are an effective method to aid the body in the removal of impacted fees and built up residual plaque formed in the lining of your colon due largely to the consumption of processed foods and beverages, stress, and poor lifestyle.

A colonic is done while you are reclined and a plastic tube inserted into the rectum to allow warm, filtered water to soak and wash out debris and toxins adhered to the colon. The procedure is not painful or unpleasant, but it does take anywhere from about 45 minutes to an hour. Afterward you eliminate one last time in the restroom. You can expect a sense of lightness, clearness, and well-being after a colonic that is difficult to describe – your body has just dumped harmful toxins and begun the healing process.

Intestines also become coated in toxins as well, and with repeated cleansing, detoxing, and colon and liver/gallbladder cleanses, these substances are removed and washed away. The result is improved health and sense of well-being – which is literally priceless.

I have spent the last five years of my life with a much improved diet and devoting time to various types of cleansing and detoxification. It may be the case that until now, I wasn’t ready for the liver gallbladder cleanse, and that my body needed that preparation time. That preparation time is different for everyone. Just realize that it does take time.  If you aren’t willing to invest some time and money in your health to eliminate toxins and prevent diseases from developing in the future, you must also realize that the expense, misery, and duration of illness and disease to come could be tenfold of what you are experiencing now.

The digestive tract – the beginning and end of health

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death in the United States as reported by The American Cancer Society. They further report that rates have been dropping in the last 20 years, and attribute this occurrence to better screening and earlier detection. The most widely accepted and used treatment for cancer is chemotherapy and/or radiation, drugs, and surgery.

An investigation by the Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Australia, into the contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year survival in 22 major adult malignancies, showed startling results: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.” [Royal North Shore Hospital Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 2005 Jun;17(4):294.]

When you abuse your digestive tract, you are upsetting the entire balance of your health. If you digestive tract has been polluted with toxic and foreign substances, this activity gradually and continually breaks down its ability to absorb and impart nourishment to the entire body. On the extreme end, this is why cancer and many other chronically ill patients have a very diminished ability to digest and absorb food.

Many people experience digestive distress and other symptoms that might seem completely unrelated to digestive difficulty every day of their lives. They might have absolutely no idea that cancer or some other serious illness may be in their future if they don’t stop consuming artificial, toxic food-like substances or avoid real foods like meats and fats because they have been told by their friends, family, or health care provider that these foods are bad for their health.

If you have gallstones and liver stones in your body, here are just some of the symptoms and/or health issues you can expect to experience:

  • low appetite
  • food cravings
  • digestive disorders
  • sleep issues
  • hernia
  • difficulty breathing
  • infections
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • nausea or vomiting
  • depression and emotional disorders
  • impotence
  • menstrual and menopausal disorders (PMS)
  • skin problems
  • puffy eyes
  • vision problems
  • loss of muscle tone
  • weight gain
  • flatulence
  • abdominal cramping and bloating
  • prostate and urinary issues
  • hormonal imbalances
  • infertility
  • cancer
  • osteoporosis
  • chronic fatigue
  • kidney disease
  • cuts or wounds that don’t heal
  • nightmares
  • liver spots
  • numbness and sciatica
  • stiffness
  • yellowness of eyes and skin
  • tooth and gum problems
  • headaches and migraines
  • asthma
  • multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia
  • hot and cold flashes
  • muscle and joint pain

It’s quite a list, but when you understand the absolutely critical job your digestive system has of allowing your body to properly digest the food you eat to nourish your body for all the functions it maintains, it really shouldn’t be all that big of a surprise that this system’s condition can so profoundly affect your health.

Liver gallbladder miracle cleanse

For a few years my next-door neighbor, a nutritional therapist, has talked about the liver gallbladder miracle cleanse. I’ve also had discussions with various other health care practitioners about it – naturopaths, nutritional consultants, and colon hydrotherapists. It always seemed sort of mythical to me, and I couldn’t imagine going through this experience nor what sort of results might be achieved from doing it. It seemed like a lot of trouble – there is a preparation period and a lot of different schedules of activities that must be adhered to in order to achieve optimal results of the protocol.

The part that bothered me the most about it was the fact that the cleanse requires going without food for about a 20-hour period. This just seemed completely unnatural to me and frankly, I do very poorly when I go without food for long periods of time. For years I’ve had blood sugar trouble and have required high amounts of protein in order to function. Carbohydrates are for the most part, not agreeable to me and actually cause me sleep issues if I eat too many of them (which for me, isn’t a lot).  I thought that as more time went by and the fact that I was eating well, my sleep issues and the cyst in my breast would improve. After all, I had performed many detoxifications, cleanses, and abstinence from unhealthy substances. Surely this should have done the trick; but this was not the case.

This spring, my neighbor mentioned that she thought the key to my remaining health issues was the liver gallbladder cleanse. I knew she was right, but I was also apprehensive.  I worried endlessly about many different things: that it would be too hard to to do, too much trouble, that people would think I was insane, and that I couldn’t get through the no-food part of the cleanse. But I was also desperate to bring my health back up to the level at which I know it needed to be. I didn’t want to end up with breast cancer and become unable to take care of my family.

So I decided it was time to do it.

The cleanse, as described by Andreas Moritz in his book The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse, effectively rids your body of substances that “clog up the body’s cleansing organs, creating a toxic environment incapable of maintaining good health”.  And I absolutely agree that these substances cause health issues and unless they are removed, they will continue to cause damage.

Here are the pros and cons of this cleanse: Andreas Moritz is a believer in vegetarian and vegan diets for health, and I don’t agree with this philosophy. I believe fats, and in particular – animal fats – are essential for health, provided they are from a healthy source such as grass-fed, no chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, etc. Since Moritz is a vegetarian, he recommends avoiding animal products in general and on the cleanse for best results.

However, he goes into very detailed explanations about the digestive system and the liver and gallbladder in general and how abuse of these important organs can lead to a variety of degenerative diseases – circulatory, lymphatic, nervous system, complexion, digestive, excretory, reproductive, bone, emotional, and many others. Great detail about how the different organ systems function is given, as well as how all the different disruptors in our health can cause disease – processed foods like refined carbohydrates, sugars, trans fats, poor sleeping schedule, stress, watching television (yes, really), dehydration, use of pharmaceutical drugs, and fluoride poisoning from municipal water systems and even food and beverage products.

The effect that gallstones and liver stones have on health is insidious and far-reaching, and the root causes of these substances developing in the body stem from poor diet and lifestyle choices – and these are all things people have complete and utter control over – even though, admittedly, it does take some effort to avoid many of the things that are blamed for gallbladder, liver, and digestive disease.

The players in the cleanse

Moritz’s book says to avoid animal fats and dairy products six days prior to the cleanse as well as sugar, refined foods, and alcohol. I attempted to avoid as much animal fats and dairy products as I could for the sake of the cleanse process, but still ended up eating a number of meals with those ingredients because I was just plain hungry.

The only reason I would recommend avoiding animal products during this preparation is because it helps to prepare your liver, gallbladder, and digestive system to be in purging mode – which is the ultimate purpose of this protocol – not because animal products are unhealthy to consume. The harder your digestive tract has to work on digesting foods, the less capable it will be of flushing out the unwanted substances; and it does take more effort to digest meat and meat products.

If you undertake this cleanse, I would recommend simply cutting back on some meat and dairy consumption as you are able. But don’t do it if it makes you feel ill or weak. Something that got me through my meals without meat and dairy is a supplement I bought from my employer who works with cancer patients who are on very serious cleansing and detoxification protocols – MAP – Master Amino Profile from International Nutrition Research Center, Inc. This is an outstanding product, and I took 5 of these on the actual day of the cleanse. I took MAP away from meals and either alone or with a piece of fruit for maximum effectiveness. I absolutely do not recommend using MAP as a replacement for food, and especially when you are not cleansing. I would only ever use it when you must do without protein and fats during detoxification.

Apple juice or malic acid You are also required to drink 32 ounces of apple juice daily (in addition to your normal 64 ounces or so of water) because apple juice contains malic acid which helps to soften the stones in the gallbladder and liver. If you cannot tolerate apple juice, you can purchase a container of powdered malic acid (used by wineries) and add it to your water daily (sources for this substance are noted in the back of the book).

Colonics It is also a good idea to have a colonic the day before you begin the actual cleanse from a qualified colon hydrotherapist. The colonic helps to clear out any debris from your colon so that stones are able to pass without incident. Having another colonic on the third day after the first day of your cleanse is also important to clear out any remaining loose stones that can get trapped and cause problems.

Eliminating fats on the day of the cleanse On the beginning day of the cleanse (day 6), you must omit all fats and animal proteins from your diet. It seems drastic, but it’s only for one day. This is to assist the liver and gallbladder in being able to put all its activity on purging of stones from the body. For breakfast you can eat oatmeal and some fruit.

Lunch should consist of vegetables, rice, and some salt for flavor. It is especially important not to cheat on this part as it can cause you to feel ill and negate the maximum benefit of the cleanse. You should not use any other spices, seasonings, or substances in your food. From 1:30 to 2 p.m. you should have no other food for the entire day.

Epsom salts At 6:00 p.m. you intake one of four servings of epsom salts in water (six ounces of water). You can mix the epsom salts – 4 tablespoons – ahead of time in 24 ounces of water for the four servings. The epsom salts act as both a laxative and to widen the bile ducts for ease of passage of stones through the body.  At 8:00 p.m. you intake your second serving of epsom salts. Epsom salts do not taste salty, rather they possess more of a bitter flavor with a curious sweet aftertaste. It’s not intolerable, but not delicious. Fortunately, it’s only 6 ounces (3/4 of a cup of 8 ounces of liquid). I drank mine through a straw to get it down quickly.

Enemas At about 9:30 p.m. if you have not yet had a bowel movement or have not had a colonic in the last 24 hours, you should do a water enema. Enemas are easy to do and are very beneficial to the colon and digestive tract. I actually used a coffee enema for my first round (I did two of these during my cleanse).

For optimal results, the best quality coffee to use is Wilson’s. The caffeine in organic coffee helps to trigger the liver to dump toxins and stones. This method is used widely by practitioners and health care professionals on cancer patients to assist the body in removal of toxic and harmful material that contributes to disease. If it’s good for cancer patients, you can bet it’s great for those of us trying to avoid cancer and other disease.

Organic, extra virgin olive oil This oil is one of the main components of the cleanse and is mixed together with citrus fruits, freshly squeezed, just before bed for the night. I used a sweet and mild variety of olive oil for taste purposes, and the mixture I made was absolutely delicious. Some olive oils are more pungent in flavor, especially when eaten or tasted alone. But it may not matter when it’s all mixed together with the juice. You will take this oil with a juice mixture (see grapefruits, lemons, and orange juice below) at around 10:00 p.m. directly before going to bed.

Grapefruits or lemons and oranges for juicing I juiced lemons and oranges (with a hand juicer) as I thought the taste would be better with these as opposed to grapefruits. I used about 4 oranges and 2 lemons. The book describes the concoction as being difficult for some people to get down all at once. I found the lemon/orange combination with the olive oil really tasty. It depends on what type of fruits you like and use, and the olive oil as well.  Your total liquid volume for intake with the oil and juice is about 10 ounces. I drank mine through a straw to make it easier to drink quickly.

Time to rest It’s absolutely imperative that you give yourself time to rest and relax during this process. Our natural inclination in a first-world society is to load up on activities and task ourselves with obligations. But one of the things that contributes to disease along with environmental exposure to toxins, poor lifestyle, and eating habits is constant and unending stress. During the cleanse, you should plan to be home and free yourself of obligations to conserve energy and provide your body with all the necessary faculties to focus on the purpose of the cleanse.

Infrared light sauna This is an optional detoxification activity, but I highly recommend it. My colon hydrotherapist offers an infrared sauna service at her office, and it is far superior to steam saunas because it encourages purging of internal toxins without the danger of breathing in dangerous chlorine and other chemical fumes of steam saunas.

Dr. Lawrence Wilson, well-known medical doctor who treats patients with cancer and other degenerative disease, believes that infrared light saunas are “the finest single modality for toxic metal removal”:

“In essence, sauna therapy helps rejuvenate the skin, the largest eliminative organ in the body.  It helps decongest the internal organs by shunting blood to the body surface.  It helps to spare and protect the kidneys, as most all toxins eliminated by the kidneys can be eliminated in the sweat.

Heating the body assists it to kill pathogenic microorganisms, and helps destroy weaker, toxic metal-laden cells.  Saunas also drastically increase circulation, assisting to dislodge stored toxins and assisting nutrients to reach all the cells to improve energy output.

The sauna is also a powerful inhibitor of the sympathetic nervous system.  According to Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology, when heat is supplied from outside, normal heat production, a sympathetic activity, shuts down.  Also, shunting blood to the body surface to remove heat requires and causes inhibition of the sympathetic system.

Infrared energy supplied by far infrared and infrared light saunas adds other benefits such as deep tissue heating, decoupling of toxins from water molecules, production of heat shock proteins that help regenerate cellular structures, and more.  Saunas also have a long history of safety that extends over literally thousands of years.”

As added benefits, they are also the best methods I have found to remove toxic chemicals, another serious health hazard.  They are also powerful infection-fighters, and able to dig out old chronic infections that deplete one’s energy and secrete biological toxins that are hidden causes of systemic disease.”

Our skin is the largest organ on our bodies, and it is the means by which many of our toxins are excreted. I believe that sweating, which we do when we are exercising, is the actual thing that causes weight loss, not the exercise itself. When we store toxins in our bodies, they cause weight gain and myriad health problems. It’s only through shedding of these toxins that we can realize health improvement.

A side benefit of elimination of toxins is weight loss, lymphatic drainage, and general cleansing. No one should ever undertake a detoxification protocol with a primary goal to lose weight. The goal should always be focused on regaining health and as a result of losing those toxins, the weight comes off naturally. During a major cleanse such as this, a sauna is simply one of the most effective and safe methods of providing your body with more support and boost for total detoxification. Talk with your health practitioner about whether an infrared sauna would be useful for your individual needs.

My results

Many times along the way during the preparation of 6 days before the cleanse, I told myself if I couldn’t do it, it wasn’t the end of the world. If things got too difficult, I would just bail. But I kept going anyway, despite my doubt because I had various people pushing me along and telling me my results would be great and to keep focus on that ideal. And they were right. During the cleanse, the only discomfort I experienced was that I was hungry, but I never felt sick, nauseated, light-headed, or otherwise ill. I felt some abdominal movement and gurgling when the stones and fluid was moving though my body. But otherwise I had a good night of sleep directly after I started the cleanse.

It has been several days since I started eating again and I feel fantastic. I was tired and fatigued the first day or so, but it was nothing nothing that sleep and good food didn’t cure, and it’s definitely not the worst or most unpleasant tired I’ve ever felt in my life.

The most exciting part about this process though, is that so far I have passed probably over 100 stones, and I have felt no pain whatsoever. The natural substances you intake during the preparation and during period cause the stones to soften which enables them to pass painlessly.

Although I felt fatigued, I cannot describe the wonderful feeling of well-being I have. I am glad to report that my two problems – the cyst and my sleep issues have improved noticeably over the last two weeks since I started my cleansing.  I’m also taking a food supplement as recommended by my employer – a nutritional consultant – for breast health called Breast Protect Option. This product is highly concentrated in red wine extract, medium chain triglycerides, and calcium.

The book says you will have varying degrees of results depending on your individual body and how closely you follow the recommendations. Some people go back to feeling tired or sick (if they were in the first place) some days or weeks after the cleanse.  This is usually an indication that you have more stones which have moved forward and need to come out. As long as those stones remain, you’ll continue to have one or more types of chronic health problems. It may be mild or noticeable, but nevertheless you will benefit greatly from continuing to perform cleanses until you see no more stones.

I have personally felt great since completing the cleanse, have continued to see stones come out and other material that my colon hydrotherapist tells me is definitely mucoid plaque from the intestines (a by-product of toxins and residue from processed foods that were not passed through the excretory system and remain in the digestive tract). All of these things are unwanted substances that were in my body for years and are finally gone. I’m looking forward to great improvements with each successive cleanse I will perform in the future. Although I am unsure just how many that number will be, I am willing to commit to a schedule of cleansing over the next year and more to achieve the results I’m seeking.

What’s in it for you?

Cleansing can only improve your health. Digestion is essential to health, and beneficial gut flora which is also crucial to immune system function and overall health, can also be compromised when we eat processed foods and live an unhealthy lifestyle. When we eat foods that don’t contain nutrients and lack the qualities which cause our bodies to allow the production of good bacteria, our immune systems suffer as well as our digestion. Eating a healthy diet to include real, whole foods is important – and that includes foods rich in probiotics (friendly bacteria) to populate your digestive tract with the necessary, diverse colonies to support health.

The liver and gallbladder cleanse is important because if your gallbladder and liver are full of stones – and statistics show that upon autopsy, most people (over 80 percent) do have them in their organs – your digestive system is not functioning properly and you cannot properly absorb nutrients from the food you are eating. So even if you are eating healthy but previously had an unhealthy diet, your digestive tract can be damaged from poor diet to the extent that you are not gaining the maximum nutritional benefit from the foods you eat now. If you are not gaining maximum nutritional benefit, other facets of your health can suffer as well.

Individual results will vary, but some people pass thousands of stones during one cleanse. Initially I wasn’t sure whether what I was seeing was stones or not, but the book says stones vary in size between rice-sized to pea-sized, to as large as grapes or some small rocks. They can be whitish to tan or yellow to pea green in color. The lighter the color, the shorter span of time they have remained in your body. I’ve definitely seen some larger, pea green stones as well as the smaller variety.

Once you have started cleansing, it is important to keep performing more cleanses every few weeks to a couple of months until you have two consecutive sessions that bring no more stones. If you perform a cleansing session and then don’t continue, you can risk more health issues due to stones that become lodged or displaced from movement of the stones during the cleanse.

Stones that are in the back and middle of the liver will move forward once those in the front move out, and will remain there until additional cleanses are performed. As with many natural treatments, this procedure is not a quick fix or cure-all, it should be followed carefully and faithfully until you see no more stones.

In addition, if you perform these cleanses but continue to maintain a poor lifestyle and diet, you will not reap the benefits of this protocol. Adherence to a healthy diet is critical to the success of these cleanses and your improved health in the future. Once you have done all necessary cleanses to completely eliminate stones, it is a good idea to repeat this cleanse again once or twice a year.

Maintaining a healthy diet that includes plenty of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates is critical to the success of your health and to keep from generating stones and mucoid plaque in your digestive tract.

Organic and sustainable foods are important, but if you are on a budget it’s best to try to get all your animal products and fats as from the most clean source as possible (such as sustainable-raised or grass-fed) and perhaps compromise by purchasing conventional fruits and vegetables. Fats are stored in our cells and are the most nutrient-dense foods that provide our bodies with the maximum amount of energy any food can deliver. That’s why eating those foods from the right sources is so important.

If  you have eaten poorly a majority of your life, you may need a boost for a period of time to get your body back to where you need to be with high-quality, whole food-sourced supplements. I can attest to this, because for several years I have used whole, traditional foods and high quality supplements sourced from real food. It has made a tremendous difference in the health of my family and myself.

Remember that as long as stones remain in your digestive and eliminatory organs, the food you eat will only go so far towards nourishing your body. Toxins, stones, and poor gut flora are all inhibitors to absorbing the nutrition from healthy foods you consume.

Here are some general ways to rebuild your digestion function and health, whether you are cleansing or not:

  1. Avoid processed foods and sugar, white flour products, and refined carbohydrates.
  2. Find a good probiotic and eat naturally fermented foods like yogurt or kefir from whole, raw milk, sauerkraut, kimchee, and other cultured vegetables.
  3. Eat whole foods, organic foods, and unprocessed foods.
  4. Make rest, stress relief, and moderate, enjoyable exercise a priority. Rest helps your body replenish itself and exercise enables muscles and joints to become strong. Exercise should be viewed not as a mechanism for weight loss but as a tool to get your lymphatic and circulatory systems moving as another method of removing toxins from your body, which will naturally encourage weight to stay at normal levels.
  5. Eliminate plastics, pesticides, chemicals, harsh cleaners and detergents, and other toxins from your environment. Discard dangerous cleaners and personal care products from your home and opt for home-made cleaners or natural brands that are good to you and the environment.

Want more information on gallbladder, digestive, and appendix issues?

Gallbladder disease and the standard American Diet – my personal account

Testimonies of people who have achieved healing and health through real food:

Guest Post: Kathryne Pirtle

Real People, Real Food: Two interviews

This post is part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival. Please visit her site and read the other great real food posts there.