What’s That In My Gut? Para-protection.
By Jhoane Robinson, Herbalist and Co-Founder of Cedar Bear Naturales
I remember my Mom’s words of wisdom. Such as “wash your hands before…” or, “wash your hands after…” (those we heard several times a day). “Keep your fingers away from your mouth!” (Yeah, we got that one a lot, too.) “Don’t ever go barefoot in a public restroom.” “Have fun at the lake, (or pool, or river), but don’t ever swallow the water.” Often it felt like nagging, but now I know better. Mom was very aware of the importance of protecting our health with good hygiene practices. She also warned us as we got older to only drink filtered water when traveling abroad, to wash our fruits and veggies, (even when they were grown in good, clean dirt), and don’t eat undercooked or raw meat. (Sorry sushi lovers, of which I am one.) With the wisdom of the passage of time, I have to admit that that Mom was right, and whether or not “cleanliness is next to godliness,” it certainly contributes to healthiness.
We all know that, while washing our hands helps keep an awful lot of ‘bugs’ from getting into our bodies, it doesn’t protect us from all that do get in. Our world is full of invisible critters that are too small for us to see, and no matter how careful we are, because we are living, breathing creatures, picking them up happens to almost all of us at some time in our lives. If, when, or how often we may pick up these nasty little intruders depends on many factors, such as:
Do you have pets? Do they go outside? Do they socialize with other pets? Is your cat a mouser? (Oh, and that old thing of not going barefoot – well, it’s especially important to not do that at the dog park!)
Do you have children? Do your children play in the dirt? Do they play with their pets? Do they play with other children? (Of course they do. They’re children!)
Do you travel? I hope you are able to. Just be aware that water and food cleanliness in many places and countries may not be up to our standards, and you probably need to take precautions.
Do you ever get dirt under your fingernails? (Again, I hope you do. You know? From getting your hands in the dirt from gardening n flowers. Just remember Mom’s words of wisdom.)
How do you know if you or family members, either two legged or furry and four footed, are affected? Often, it’s hard to tell. In our everyday lives, it’s usually not the kind of thing that makes headlines. Many small, nagging health issues such as lack of energy and fatigue, blue moods, difficulty with concentration, digestive distress, sleep difficulty, nervousness, restlessness, skin itchiness, sugar craving, food sensitivities, and teeth grinding may be related to things we may have picked up somewhere, somehow, perhaps in our own backyards. If you are experiencing unexplained weight loss (with accompanying loss of appetite and upset stomach), it could be because something else may be eating your food!
Since we don’t live in sterile bubbles that protect us from every microorganism and macro-organism on our planet from getting into our bodies, good intestinal cleanliness is really important and there are things we can do to have good ‘internal hygiene’ to wash them out and make sure they don’t ‘set up shop’ and stay.
- Drink plenty of pure, clear water every day.
- Eat healthy foods – whole foods, as organic as possible. But do wash your veggies. Even in the cleanest dirt, there are critters that aren’t good for us that we want to avoid ingesting.
- Include in your daily diet vitamin C containing fruits and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and plenty of onions and garlic.
- Reduce your intake of sugar, processed foods, and grains, (especially wheat), and avoid pork, or at least make sure it is well cooked.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Drink 1-3 teaspoons in 2-4 oz of water first thing in the morning to help keep the pH balance in your upper digestive tract in balance.
- Probiotic and fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are your friends at keeping the digestive tract in balance and helping to keep your internal environment a place where only positive things thrive. A good probiotic supplement is also beneficial, especially if you or yours have had antibiotics, which knock out protective beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.
- Herbs and spices in your kitchen such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cloves, and fresh garlic aren’t just tasty, they are wonderful health protectors! Grow your own of what you can, and make sure that what you keep in your kitchen is relatively fresh. Old stuff that’s been in your cupboard for years and years just doesn’t pack the punch. For health support, as well as best taste in cooking, replenish your kitchen cabinet’s herbs and spices regularly.
- Herbs such as cloves, black walnut hull, and wormwood have been used for centuries to create an unwelcoming environment in your gut to things that shouldn’t be there and to promote healthy digestion. Using them every now and again really makes a difference in your intestinal tract.
I can’t stress enough how helpful, effective and beneficial herbs are in supporting your health. Mother Nature has provided a whole wonderful world of remedies for us in the plants around us. You can learn how to be your own best friend in taking care of your health and the health of your loved ones around you with herbal support.
Cedar Bear’s Intestinal Cleanse, Intestinal Cleanse for Kids, and Pet’s Now! Intestinal Cleanse for Pets have digestive supporting and intestinal cleansing herbs and were formulated to help keep your intestinal tract clear. Check them out. And for a Total Intestinal Cleanse 5 Week Program, use Intestinal Cleanse, Colon Cleanse, Pau d’Arco Blend, Herbal Blood Cleanser, and Clove Bud Single Herb.
Jhoane Robinson is a traditional herbalist, health educator, and Co-Founder of Cedar Bear Naturales, Inc. The former editor and lead writer for a nationally distributed health journal, newsletter, and educational courses in natural and integrative health, she is also a yoga and meditation instructor and an organic gardener.