Digestive problems would be one of the main ailments that naturopaths have to treat. Every man and his dog that comes to see us has some sort of digestive issue going on. The ones who say they don’t are usually the worst offenders, having learnt to live with a dodgy digestive system for many years.
Of course there are just as many treatments for digestive problems as there are different types of problems but I’d like to share with you some helpful tips to improve your digestion.
Firstly, let’s look at one of the major causes of bad digestion, parasites. The general term ‘parasite’ refers to any organism that invades and lives off another organism. There are many different types including Giardia, Blastocystis hominis as well as yeasts, fungi, protozoa, tapeworms and viruses.
We are all prone to coming in touch with these on a regular basis and if we have a strong immune system, can usually ward them off and carry on regardless. If our immune system is weakened or we are in general poor health and stressed (sound familiar?) these nasty organisms can hang around for way too long and contribute to a wide range of health problems.
Some symptoms may include bloating, abdominal pain, wind, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, low energy and allergies. Parasites are spread by animals and pets, drinking or swimming in water containing parasites and can be in raw and undercooked foods, especially meat, fish and nuts. Over-use of antibiotics can contribute to an imbalance in the gut flora and predispose you. Good filtered water is a must!
If you know or suspect you may have parasites, here is a good general cleanse that is very helpful at ridding the system of these nasty hangers-on!
Three Week Cleanse:
AVOID: Wheat, yeast, meat, dairy products, sugar, alcohol, black tea, coffee, preservatives, artificial colouring and flavouring, canned or packaged foods as much as possible.
1st thing on rising: A large glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon or lime.
Wait 30 mins before breakfast.
Breakfast: A cooked porridge of rolled oats, rolled rice, quinoa, amaranth or millet. Add 1-2 dessertspoons of LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds). Add banana, pear or apple for sweetening.
Morning tea: Dandelion Coffee, Green Tea, Chamomile Tea or Vegetable Juice. Rice crackers with avocado and/or hummus if hungry.
Lunch: Large Salad with sprouts, avocado and lots of dark green salad veggies (organic where possible). Dressing of flaxseed oil and lemon juice, sea salt and pepper if required. If hungry can have rice crackers, gluten free bread or brown rice to accompany salad. If the weather is cold, have a vegetable soup instead.
Afternoon tea: Same as morning tea.
Dinner: Brown rice and steamed veggies. Add ginger, garlic and turmeric.
1. Take a good anti-parasitic tablet or herbal mix depending on your symptoms. Something containing wormwood, black walnut, cloves and oregano oil is especially effective. See your naturopath for an anti-parasitic to suit your needs.
2. Liquid Chlorophyll – 1 tspn 3 X a day (can take with herbs).
3. Psyllium Husks – 2 tspns 2 X a day – first thing in the morning and last thing at night followed by two glasses of water.
4. Vit C – 1,000 mg tablet 2 X a day or ½ tspn of powder 2 X a day.
Finish the cleanse with a good probiotic for 1-2 months or until symptoms have subsided. Again your naturopath can help you with this.
Suzanne Staples, Naturopath, ND DBM ATMS