CHAPTER FOUR: Intestinal Cleansing
THE P R O B L E M
Many deaths begin in the colon. Every year, more than 130,000 people in the United States are told they have colorectal cancer and more than 46,000 colon cancer-related deaths occur. Cancer of the colon is the second leading cause of mortality in the United States.
The colon, together with the lungs, skin, liver, and kidneys, is designed to eliminate toxins from the body. When the colon is not able to accomplish its main functions, the fecal matter (by-products of undigested food) will stick to the colon walls, back up within the colon, and give off gases and bacteria as it rots. These bacteria get reabsorbed back into the body causing us to become toxic and can cause many health issues.
Think of your colon as being like the pipes beneath your kitchen sink. After you do the dishes, you run the chunks of food through the garbage disposal that has an opening on the bottom to release the particles into the curved pipe section called the “trap.” Normally, the particles would flow on through the pipes and out of the house. Let’s say you have a huge pan of lasagna that overwhelms the garbage disposal and large chunks get stuck in the trap causing a blockage. You don’t know about the blockage for a while, so you keep putting food down the drain. Eventually, the garbage disposal would also get backed up and then the sink would overflow. What would you do? Do you think it makes more sense to clean it out and to try not to clog it again or to ignore the problem and just hope it will go away?
In our own intestinal system, instead of surgically removing the problematic parts of the intestine, a natural approach would be to stop putting in the clogging foods and clean out undigested foods already in the intestines.
Understanding the Intestinal System
The purpose of the intestinal system is to absorb nutrients, eliminate solid waste products from the body, and reabsorb water. It is composed of the small intestine, the colon (also known as the large intestine), the rectum, and the anus.
The colon is actually a muscle that uses a series of contractions (called peristaltic waves) to move fecal matter through the “tube.” As the feces are pushed through, water is extracted and reabsorbed by the colon walls.
When you fight illness, it is important to begin with building the health of the digestive, absorption, and intestinal systems.
Contributing Factors to Intestinal System Problems
In the next two sections check off any of the following that apply to you:
Eating foods that are high in fat and low in fiber
Eating too many “pasty” foods such as cheese, pasta, and bread
Eating the wrong kinds of sugar, specifically refined sugar
Not getting enough exercise or drinking enough water
Recent or frequent use of antibiotics
Regular consumption of dairy products
Easily irritated or angered
Frequent use of chemical stimulant laxatives
Some Symptoms of Malfunction
Body odor and/or bad breath
Feeling low, uninterested or depressed
Slow recovery from illness
Food or chemical sensitivities
Recurrent yeast or fungal infections
Respiratory, sinus or allergy problems
Less than 2-3 healthy bowel movements per day (See next page)
Do You Have Healthy Bowel Movements?
Two to Three Bowel Movements Per Day
Many clients have told us they only have one bowel movement every day or fewer. Let’s do the math. Say you are 40 years old and have had only one bowel movement per day most of your life. That would mean you are 2 bowel movements per day behind schedule. Multiply that times 365 days per year and then multiply the result by 40 years. You will find that you are 29,200 bowels movements behind.
Imagine scraping the leftovers from three meals a day into a trashcan. Then, you never empty that trashcan. What would happen? It would begin to smell, then critters would show up. Does it make more sense to spray a pesticide or to empty the trash can?
Note: If you have not been having a bowel movement for every meal you’ve ever eaten, you may need to have more bowel movements than the meals you are eating each day – until you catch back up!
Eliminating Shortly After Each Meal
How long after eating a meal should it take for the food to be digested, the nutrients absorbed and the waste eliminated? We call the duration of this process “transit time.” People with healthy digestive and eliminative systems will commonly have a transit time of four to six hours. This means that the waste from breakfast would be eliminated shortly after lunch and the waste from lunch would be eliminated shortly after dinner. Consider what might be happening internally with a transit time of 12 hours, several days or even a week.
One way to test your transit time is to eat kernel corn. Most of us do not digest corn fully, so the kernels show up in the stool. Time how long it takes until you see the corn.
Complete and Easy Elimination
Can you read an entire chapter of a book while you wait for your bowels to finish the job? A healthy colon will eliminate waste in less than one minute and not just some of the waste, but all of it. Your colon should completely empty each time you have a bowel movement. Elimination should not be painful and you should not have to strain to “push” anything out.
Long, Brown, and Smooth
What should a healthy bowel movement look like? If it looks like it came out of a rabbit, your colon might be in spasm. The colon is a muscle and, as it tries to push hardened stool through its contours, it may be having spasms. This causes the fecal matter to be short or compressed in increments like a chain of beads. The collected waste from your colon should come out in one long section – at least six inches long. The color of the fecal matter helps to tell you if you are digesting foods and absorbing the nutrients. If you see chunks of food in your stool, you need to improve your digestion with more enzymes and healthier foods. If the stool is black or has the consistency of tar, it usually indicates the fecal matter has been in your intestinal tract for a very long time.
Sometimes loose watery stool occurs because the colon muscle is so constricted or impacted with fecal matter that only the fluid can get through. Consider this analogy: If you tried to push a wet sponge through a funnel, what would come out? Just water. The sponge is the fecal matter, the funnel is your colon, and the water is the loose stool.
Diameter of a Silver Dollar
Have you ever noticed that small children have really large bowel movements? Moms know this is an amazing thing. It seems impossible that a little body could expel something so large. You would think that as our bodies grow bigger, our bowel movements would grow, as well. It doesn’t though – it gets smaller. As fecal matter collects on the walls of the colon, the new fecal matter has to squeeze by to get out. That makes its diameter smaller. The fecal matter on the walls is stickier than the walls, which can cause even more buildup to occur.
Hold your index finger and your thumb on the same hand in the shape of a circle. That’s about the size of a silver dollar and approximately the diameter your stools should be. How much of your belly is filled with old fecal matter? Think of how that is affecting your health.
No Offensive Odor
The food didn’t stink when it went in, why does it stink when it comes out? Remember the example of the food on the kitchen counter? The longer it sits out, the more it smells. Fecal matter smells because the food you didn’t digest, absorb and eliminate is rotting within your body. If you had a transit time of four hours, you would not need a fan in your bathroom. As you regain your health and your transit time decreases, you may still have some odious eliminations because of old waste being evacuated. You may also experience a temporary increase in gas as old pockets of rotting fecal matter are dislodged from the colon wall. With time and diligence, you will one day discover with pleasure that it does not smell that bad when you eliminate. (Your family may be happy about that, as well.)
Floaters that Break Apart
If you have eaten healthy foods that were fully digested and quickly made it through the intestinal tract, not much bulk remains for elimination. Imagine yourself beside a river. If you picked up two handfuls of materials from the bank and tossed them into the water, what would float and what would sink? Dried leaves and twigs would float, but the dirt and rocks would sink. The rocks have more substance than the leaves. Undigested food has more substance than digested food. The leaves on the water would break apart from each other, but the twig would stay intact. Likewise, if the fecal material is not compacted, it will break apart under agitation. If you get a “floater” that breaks apart, rejoice! Tell all your friends! (Just kidding.)
If you have more sinkers than floaters, consider adding more fiber to your diet. Fiber is very close in composition to the sticks and leaves we spoke of in our example. By its nature, it is not as digestible as other food elements, so it acts like a broom to sweep out fecal matter. Fatty foods or sticky foods like cheese, pasta, and bread, tend to be heavier. Avoiding those foods may improve bowel health. Healthy bowel movements are one of the many benefits of applying the DAILY 7 concepts.
Clearing versus Cleansing
Colon clearing means that the number of meals you eat equals the number of bowel movements you have. This should happen every day.
Colon cleansing is more aggressive. Cleansing involves cleaning out not only the fecal matter inside the tube, but also whatever has compacted on the colon walls.
Cleansing too aggressively may make you feel ill because potent toxins are being dislodged. Consider reducing the aggressiveness of the cleansing, but do not stop!You might feel worse before you feel better. That is what is called a “healing crisis.” It is not bad and, unlike an illness, you can decide how quickly you cleanse. Detoxification is the release and removal of toxins from your system. In order to get well, your body will reverse the order it took to get ill. Pay attention to how you feel. You may be reversing a layer of illness and stress. Dull headaches are a common symptom of detoxing.
Taking the 4 recommended supplements discussed to this point (enzymes, greens, fiber, and probiotics) with meals helps you to digest absorb and “clear” that meal. Taking the same supplements between meals with plenty of water helps to cleanse out old material.
D A I L Y 7 H E A L T H S T E P S
Supplement your diet with enzymes, greens, fiber, and probiotics with meals and in between meals.
The colon is a muscle. Fiber expands the muscle. Non-fibrous meals do not exercise the colon wall. The colon muscle then begins to atrophy and lay flat instead of being shaped like a tube. Eventually, the fecal matter will start to back up.
If you are “plugged up” or “sluggish” in your gastrointestinal tract, you certainly need assistance to get things moving again. The DAILY 7 incorporates two types of colon products that assist and improve colon function: Fiber and Probiotics
Fiber acts like a broom, sweeping out new and old waste from the digestive tract. Some examples include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A food that is sticky or gummy when mixed with water probably is a non-fibrous food. Some low fiber foods are pasta, cheese and breads.
Wet Fiber vs. Dry Fiber
Wet fiber is fiber that is already hydrated with water, such as vegetables and fruits. Dry fiber does not have the water initially, but soaks up water before or as it moves through the gastrointestinal tract. Dry fiber is usually what we take in the form of supplements. It is very important that you always drink water after you take dry fiber supplements so that the fiber can expand and then be flushed out with water.
Fiber is absolutely necessary for almost all Americans because of our sticky, mucous-forming American diet. It expands in the colon and acts like a broom to clean out old fecal matter stuck on the walls of the colon. Just remember to start slowly and work your way up to your best amount. Also remember to get fiber throughout the day and not all at one time. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in wet fiber. The more fresh fruits and veggies you get in your diet, the less you will have to supplement your diet with fiber.
How Many Should I Take?
Fiber requirements vary depending on the foods you are eating, the daily condition of your intestinal tract, and what you are trying to accomplish in terms of cleansing the colon. If you are eating lots of fibrous foods, like raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, then you may not need additional dry fiber supplements. A good rule of thumb is to take 1-2 fiber supplements with each low fiber meal to make sure that meal pushes through the intestines. Then consider taking 1-2 between each meal with plenty of water if you want to clean out old waste.
Remember: we can’t stress it enough that you need lots of fresh water to push dry fiber through the system.
The healthy human intestinal tract contains billions of bacteria that live in a delicate balance with each other and in symbiosis with us. We provide them with a home and in turn they break down our food into easily absorbed nutrients and act as natural antibiotics by either crowding out or producing substances to kill unfriendly microorganisms. They also aid digestion in a variety of ways and promote immunity. Factors such as stress, disease, environmental conditions or the use of certain medicines can harm these friendly bacteria. Synthetic antibiotics practically wipe out beneficial organisms.
The cells that line the intestines have a very close relationship with the microbes that live in the colon. Some microbes called “probiotics” (pro-life) exist naturally in the intestines. Probiotics are “the good guys” and have developed a symbiotic relationship with humans. They number about 100 trillion and their main function is to keep more noxious organisms from colonizing our intestines. If the “bad guys” (such as bacteria, parasites, yeast, fungus, etc.) predominate, a breakdown in the integrity of the intestinal lining occurs. In other words, probiotics are the forgotten soldiers keeping us from being overcome by constantly mutating pathogens in our toxic environments.
Antibiotics (anti-life) are being prescribed in increasing numbers. Antibiotics do kill the bad guys, but they also wipe out the good guys. The result is that noxious organisms continue to be introduced through the diet, but the friendly flora is no longer available to do battle against them. With continued antibiotic use, the bad guys get stronger and it takes a more powerful antibiotic to kill them. Therefore, it is vitally important that the friendly flora be replaced during and after taking antibiotics. The immune system could be compromised until they are either replaced or grow naturally.
How Many Should I Take?
Everyone needs probiotic supplementation, especially if you have ever been on antibiotics. A doctor and a master herbalist both told us independently that most people are deficient in friendly flora and can benefit from probiotic supplementation even without having taken antibiotics recently. Again we recommend one to two per meal to help digest and process that meal and 1-2 between meals to build up the immune system and help rid the body of old waste.
Denial or Wisdom
Look at the people you see around you. How many of them have complexion problems, allergies or a lack of energy? These are all symptoms of a clogged colon. How many people do you know with big bellies? You now know most of what is in there. People are resistant to the message of colon cleansing, but ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.
Empower yourself with knowledge and apply wisdom. Success requires diligence in applying all of the DAILY 7 concepts and suggested supplements to your everyday life.
Tips for Good Elimination
• Eat high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains
• If you know you are going to eat a sticky food like pizza or pasta, take fiber supplements with it or eat some wet fiber with it, such as salad, carrots or celery.
• Reduce the amount of refined sugar you consume
• It is always better to take all your supplements right before you start eating so that you don’t overeat and then feel too bloated to take them. If you forget to take them before the meal, still make sure you take them after.
• Listen to your body throughout the day to determine how much and what kinds of fiber to take. Never take large amounts of fiber all at once. It is best to take small amounts more frequently.
• Increase your water intake. Drink 70% of your body weight in ounces of water every day. You cannot flush a toilet without water. The best lubricant for your intestines is water.
• Avoid “pasty” foods such as white flour, pasta, cheese, and breads.
• Clear and cleanse the colon continuously with the DAILY 7. This is a DAILY program that should be done the rest of your life. It is not a one-time thing; it is a lifestyle.
• Supplement your diet with e nzymes, greens, fiber and probiotics with meals and in between meals.
• It is very important that whenever you take any fiber you drink a lot of water. Fiber goes into the digestive tract and, when it comes in contact with moisture, it expands. This expansion can cause bloating and discomfort if you take too much at one time or do not drink enough water to rinse the fiber through your system.
• Avoid chemical laxatives. Addictions to chemical laxatives are common because the chemical can change the function of the colon muscle. After a while, the colon “forgets” how to function normally on its own. The DAILY 7 supplements we suggest do not change the function of the colon; they encourage the colon to do what it is designed to do.
• Reduce stress. One of the instincts of the colon is to shut itself down when in “fight or flight” mode. Stress mimics this reflex, thus reducing bowel function.
• Consider different positions on the toilet to maximize colon evacuation. Some people put their feet on a short stool.
• Before you get out of bed in the morning, give your abdomen a gentle massage. This can stimulate the colon muscle and make evacuation quicker. Drinking a glass of warm water in the morning may also help.
• Take a walk or participate in mild exercise to stimulate the colon.
• Consider different positions on the toilet to maximize colon evacuation.
• Before you get out of bed in the morning, give your abdomen a gentle massage. This can stimulate the colon muscle and make evacuation quicker.
Drinking a glass of warm water in the morning may also help.
LET’S REVIEW WHAT WE’VE LEARNED SO FAR
Which products help to “Clear” and “Cleanse” my colon?
All of the supplements we have mentioned so far in the workbook contribute to having healthy bowel movements by clearing out your current meal and cleaning out old waste from previous meals.
ENZYMES: The function of digestive enzymes is to reduce food particles to microscopic size. When digestion is efficient, the likelihood of clogs in the intestines is greatly reduced. Enzymes also assist in breaking down old undigested foods in the intestines.
GREENS: Most green foods are fibrous in nature and thus assist in moving other foods through the intestinal tract. Greens are also alkalizing, which reduces the acidity of rotting food particles. The acids can compromise the integrity of the intestinal walls to the point that toxic liquids leak through the walls and into the body cavity.
FIBER: Fiber not only acts as a broom to sweep foods out, it also give the colon muscle something firm to push against as it contracts for elimination of waste. Be sure you are drinking enough water to fully hydrate the dry fiber in the supplements, otherwise the fiber could become a clog in the intestines rather than acting like a broom.
PROBIOTICS: Whenever people have been on antibiotics or have had a lot of sugar and stress in their life, good bacteria are destroyed in the small and large intestine, which in turn allows harmful bacteria to grow in the colon. This product should be used on a daily basis to replenish the good bacteria. The more you have been on antibiotics or the more you get sick with colds, flu, yeast infections, etc., the more of these good bacteria you need. They are very important for building up your immune system and helping to relieve stress on the body.