Our Pillars of Wellness
How bowel reprograming can reduce inflammatory disease
At Eden we believe there are some basic pillars to good health. We apply these pillars as the foundation of our health care routines and wellness retreats. Our principle pillars are clean nutrition, proper bowel function through bowel reprograming, mental, emotional and physical well being. I will go into detail about each pillar to help give you a better understanding of why these things are critical to cultivating thriving health.
Inflammatory disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world and given the wide variety of diagnosis related to inflammation the cost of treating inflammation is in the trillions globally. Due to the high number of people in developed nations suffering with some form of inflammatory bowel disease I thought this would be a good place to start. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has significantly increased since the 1950’s. The CDC estimates that 3 million US adults and 2.5 million adults from Europe are currently diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel condition of some sort. Children are at an even higher risk of developing inflammatory disease as 8% of them are already currently diagnosed with some form of inflammatory bowel disease. Be it Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, chronic fatigue, celiac disease, or intestinal obstruction, there are many diagnosis to give to this particular set of symptoms.
All of these diseases have similar symptoms including:
Frequent diarrhea with or without bleeding
Gas and bloating
Alternating loose stool and/or constipation
These diseases also have many similar causes.
Some contributing factors are:
Birth Control Pills
Overuse of antibiotics
These factors are pretty general so I am going to go down the list and provide a little more info as to why each factor is on the list. This may help you to discover why you may experiencing these symptoms and give you some suggestions for how to decrease exposure to inflammatory substances.
Diet– More people are eating highly processed foods that are filled with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, deodorants, colorants, and possibly more. Although a direct link has not been made between this massive shift in our food supply it is definitely an area I feel is worth taking a look at. As I try to do in my own life I recommend to others, eat as local, organic and seasonal as possible. Decrease your chemical load by consuming foods that are as free of industrial farming chemicals as possible. Some allergies can be subtly but extremely damaging to overall health. We recommend that everyone get tested for allergies as it can be a huge benefit to know what you are allergic to and what is causing your body to respond with inflammation.
Immune Dysfunction- Many have reported that shortly after they contracted another disease, like a flu or fever, their immune system began to overreact and start attacking their body and mainly their intestines. I think the important thing to question here is why is the immune system overreacting? Could it be because of some of the other factors on this list? It has been my experience in years of private practice that the human body wants to function properly it simply needs the right fuel. Unfortunately it does not appear that our modern food and lifestyle choices provide the right fuel for thriving health.
Genetics– It’s been shown that there may be a link between family members and inflammatory diseases. Given the current research about genetics we now know that we have the ability to turn off and on certain genes with our diet and lifestyle choices. I question if it is a direct strictly genetic link or if the group of related patients have the same diagnosis because they are exposed to similar diet and lifestyle choices?
Environmental Toxins- On top of what I described under the diet section our bodies now have to contend with a much higher rate of environmental chemical exposure than ever before in history. There have been over 80,000 chemical combinations registered for use on humans through the FDA. Only about 1% of those have been tested for safety. Chemicals are in the air, the water and the food and thus in our bodies as we are only an extension of our environment. The human body is in part a large filter designed to clean out our blood stream from all the things we are exposed to in life. All the more reason to incorporate daily cleansing techniques into your routines and habits.
Gut Microbiome– This is the complicated and delicate dance the good and bad bacteria do inside our bodies everyday in order to maintain homeostasis. A recent study actually suggests we have more organisms like bacteria living on us than we do human cells. Interesting!!! Given that information I think it is good idea to support the good bacteria by drinking lots of clean water, and consuming sufficient amounts of pre and probiotics.
Medications– Prescription drug use is on the rise and many of them have detrimental side effects to the digestive system. The most common ones being brith control pills, antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS), Nitrates, Theophylline (medications that typically end in thine), and calcium channel blockers. If you take any of these than you will want to take extra good care of your digestive system.
GMO’s– Genetically Modified Organisms. I understand that we as humans have been genetically modifying foods since the dawn of the agricultural age. GMO’s have transitioned into a new area of combining genes across species and incorporating many chemicals into the DNA of the chosen organism. Good or bad it is definitely new technology and recent studies are beginning to show a link between these foods and an increase the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease.
Stress– Mental and emotional states have a well documented effect on physical health. We know that when exposed to certain stressful situations humans excrete a hormone called cortisol. If not properly utilized by the body (ie. fighting or running away from the stressor as per the fight or flight response) cortisol does cause systemic inflammation in the body leading to a host of diseases in our culture including inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. It is important that we learn stress management techniques to help rid our bodies of excess cortisol and decrease our inflammation. On a side note tears are one of the only ways the human body can excrete cortisol in its complete form without having to process it through the liver (giving the liver a much needed break). So next time you feel the tears wanting to flow don’t hold back, let em fly!!
We hope this brief look at inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease helps you to understand where some of these diseases are coming from and where to start looking for your solution. If you would like more information about how to reprogram your bowel function, decrease inflammation, identify your allergies, manage stress, or cleanse your body please contact us.
Dr. Randi Raymond
Founder, Eden Retreat Center