HEARTBURN! GAS! CONSTIPATION & DIARRHEA! ACID REFLUX! DIFFICULTY SWALLOWING! SICK AFTER EATING! LEAKYGUT!
Digestive troubles come in many forms.
In America, we have become very accustomed to treating each symptom, usually with some sort of drug. If one has the scoots (things going too fast), here is a drug to stop it up. If things are plugged up, here is something to turn it loose. Too much acid? Take this stuff that will neutralize acid or the fancier stuff that stops acid production altogether.
Drawbacks from stopping stomach acid production.
For example, if a product stops acid production (Prilosec, Nexium, etc.), it stops digestion. This might sound OK until you remember that the primary reason we eat food is to get nutrition. No digestion equals no nutrition.
Another huge problem with this approach is that the symptom is treated but the cause is ignored, a serious mistake.
So, when I look at digestive problems of any sort, my mind immediately goes to the real question:
What is causing this?
There are several factors for the CAUSES of digestive issues.
The first is, “What are you eating?” Many “foods” sold at in America are not foods and are not digestible. And if you somehow did manage to assimilate them, they would harm you.
As one of many examples, our bodies have no natural means for breaking down shortening and margarine because both are surprisingly close molecularly to plastic. If somehow these do get broken down enough to get into our blood streams, they will generally float around there until they finally come to rest at a point in the artery that you definitely don't want clogged.
A second example is genetically modified foods. This is a tricky one because these grains and beans look like the real thing. But as a species, we learned to digest foods over thousands of years, and though these GMO things look real, our bodies reject them as foreign poisons because they have a very different makeup. They just make us sick, cause autoimmune issues and so much more.
So it is important to first eat digestible, real food.
Most of these will be found in the outside aisles of the grocery store (if they are present at all). Fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt, milk and butter. Some of the nuts and a few of the breads are also edible. These are examples of foods. But manufactured products riddled with sugars, fake flavors, colors and sweeteners and empty calories don't make the cut.
Another huge issue is HOW WE EAT. Why do people buy fast food? Well, besides it being cheap and available, it is FAST!
Unfortunately, most people EAT this and most of their other food FAST.
I think before we dig in deeper, I think we should stop right here and take a look at how digestion is supposed to work.
- We should eat real food that is actually digestible.
- We should chew each bite until it is totally mushy before swallowing it.
- We should primarily drink water and good beverages between meals, not with the meals.
- We should not eat carbs (starchy foods like potatoes, noodles, and bread) with our meats. They digest at very different speeds.
- We should snack very little between meals.
The Horrors of Fast Food
A typical person going through the drive through at burger whopper buys a burger or two, a large order of fries and a jumbo soda.
- The burger has beef from cows grown on GMO laden grains and regularly dosed with hormones and antibiotics. All the toxins taken in by the cow are concentrated about 100X into the meat.
- The buns of the burger are GMO wheat grown in poisoned fields and speed-dried using super poisonous Roundup. Even back in the days before the buns were made from GMO grain and poisoned (decades ago), the healthiest part of the wheat was even then stripped off and thrown away to make bread white.
- The lettuce and tomato were grown in very toxic conditions.
- The catsup is loaded with high fructose corn sweetener from genetically modified corn, which is very toxic to people.
- The fries were grown in poisoned soil and deep fried in undigestible fats or oils.
- The drink is a flavorful combination of toxic sweeteners, colors and flavors bathed in chlorinated, fluoridated water.
As bad as this all is, how we eat it compounds the problem. Remember I mentioned above that we are supposed to chew our food? Well I've watched, and I promise you most people don't! Their “chewing” actually consists of taking two or three swipes at each bite with our teeth to maneuver it so that it is pointed toward their throat. And then they take a big gulp of their beverage through a garden-hose sized straw and wash it down. And boom, they are right on to the next bite!
This whole picture causes a number of compounding digestive problems. Even if this meal had been thoroughly chewed and had not been washed down with a beverage, it would have still been difficult to digest because it cold barely be called food in the first place. So in an attempt to make “lemonade out of lemons,”, our bodies secrete lots of extra acid in hopes of breaking the stuff down. Because the food wasn't chewed enough, the bigger chunks require more acid yet. And because the acid is diluted by the beverage, still more acid is needed.
So now we have a stomach full of lots of acid and chunks of difficult to digest food in a bath of toxic liquids. What else could go wrong? Glad you asked!
The next issue is that the bread portion of the burger breaks down quite fast. Everything else breaks down slowly. The problem here is that the valve at the bottom of the stomach cannot open to let the stomach contents move on to its next step, the small intestine, until the meat is broken down as much as possible in the stomach. Unfortunately, by the time this occurs, the bread portion of the hamburger is fermenting (like a compost pile) and giving off gas. This bubbling gas flips the highly acidic liquid up into the throat, burning those tissues.
Now we have tons of acid and it is getting into the esophagus where it doesn't belong. So people take drugs or antacids designed to either stop acid production or neutralize the acid. Either way, digestion stops and the “food” that started this whole cycle just sits inside and decomposes.
This is the sequence experienced by millions of people every day.
There are other huge issues too. Picture someone eating something that is heavy in grease and flour such as pizza (and washing it down with soda) or donuts eaten with coffee. So here is the problem with these and other similar combinations. In the old days, wallpaper covered much of the interior of homes, and all the old timers know that the wallpaper paste was made from wheat flour and water, just like that used in paper mache.
Problems with Consuming Grease, Flour and Water
By consuming grease/flour/water combinations that are difficult to digest, we end up with our intestine coated with a layer of glue, a layer of grease, another layer of glue with grease, another layer of glue, another layer of grease, etc. Difficult-to-digest food gets trapped between this plastic-like layer and the intestinal wall, where it rots and puts off toxins (like those you could expect from eating spoiled foods). These toxins have only one place to go, and that is into your blood stream.
This is largely the story behind leaky gut, and it is certainly a factor in chronic feelings of being sick and tired.
There are still other factors. For instance, raw foods contain enzymes needed to assist in the digestive and assimilation process. But people today eat foods that are cooked and processed far more often than they eat raw foods. From this, digestion is further hampered.
Another huge issue relates to the friendly bacteria that live in our intestines, roughly four pounds of these friendly bacteria! These bacteria manufacture vitamin K, crucial for clotting of blood. They form a major part of your immune system. They help to break down foods for proper assimilation. In short, they are there to help keep us healthy.
Unfortunately, various things we consume kill these bacteria. Chlorine and fluoride in drinking water kill friendly bacteria. (Remember, that is why chlorine is in the water.) Preservatives in food (designed to kill bacteria) kill our friendly bacteria after it is eaten. Some of the genetically modified grains actually grow antibiotics right into the grain as they mature in the field, and these in turn kill friendly bacteria when we eat one of the hundreds of products made from these grains. And of course, don't forget medical antibiotics, taken for everything from earaches to the common cold. If they can kill one type of bacteria, they can kill others.
Another very common cause of digestive issues is nerve interference anywhere between the brain and the digestive system. The brain controls and coordinates all actions and functions in the body through the nervous system. But if there are short circuits in this “wiring” system, things don't work right.
Here's an example. Your stomach can make perhaps as much as a liter of hydrochloric acid a day or it can make as little as none. This is s strong acid. Put a pair of blue jeans in a bucket full of it and all that will be left in a few hours is the snap and zipper. Therefore, we might want just the right amount of hydrochloric acid! Unfortunately, there are several situations that exist where the brain isn't able to get the controlling messages through to the stomach. The most obvious is where a person injures his middle back (where the nerves come out to the stomach) and these nerves become compressed or irritated. The stomach doesn't know how much acid to make so it might make a lot or it may make very little. It is a lot like if you were driving your car down the freeway and the steering wheel came off. Where would the car go? Who knows, right?
Incidentally, some of the nerves from the spine speed up the lower intestine and other slow it down. When these get out of balance, one could easily experience constipation or diarrhea, irritable bowel or colitis.
As you can see, there is one right way that digestion works and dozens of wrong ways. In today's toxic, hurried and highly processed world of food, it's a mine field.
You almost need a coach to guide you through to safety.
We find it is necessary to teach our patients how to shop for food, what products to buy, how to prepare their meals and finally, how to eat it. You wouldn't have had these problems 10,000 years ago but today they are ever present. So don't feel bad, you're not alone!
If you have digestive issues of any sort, we would be happy to meet with you and give you some tips or answer your questions. Whatever your situation, it's just not a good idea to go forward, covering up the symptoms you're experiencing with drugs or other remedies. There is always a cause (or several) for any health issue or symptom. Why not get to the basic, underlying cause and be done with it?
We invite you to contact our office. Many people take advantage of our no charge no obligation phone consultation. Consider one if it seems like a good option.
Here's the bottom line:
No matter how bad it is, how long you've had it or what you've been told, the cause(s) can almost always be found. So let's get together on the phone or in person and see if we can unravel it. You'll love feeling great again!
Dr. Erwin Gemmer