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How Your Gut Affects Your Entire Body

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Let me tell you about Mary. She sat on the front row of one of my classes and cried throughout my class while I talked. Right after class, she came up to me and explained how much these probiotic foods I teach about had changed her life. Sick with digestion and depression and feeling hopeless, she found encouragement and hope from my books to give these foods a try. A year later, she was a different woman and was off her prescription meds for depression and her food allergies had gone away. She just cried as she told me all about her plight, and of course, I cried right with her. It was such relief and joy that our bodies couldn’t contain it all it, so the tears just kept falling in gratefulness. Who would have ever thought that invisible microbes would be the answer to our prayers and cries for help. I certainly would have never thought such a thing; but I recall that it started as a still, small voice inside of me — “Make the kefir.” It was one small choice that became the tipping point for so much change. When I see people find the answers as I did, it’s fuel to the fire that drives me to tell as many as I can.

These precious microbes that are making your body your own are designed to help you and they affect everything. We are just scratching the surface of what they can do. Everyone in medicine and scientific research is waking up and studying microbes. We’ve been ignoring them for many years, even killing them with antibiotics and forgetting to rebuild them. Our diets have slowly starved them and destroyed over 30% of our diverse strains and left us in sad shape. The sickness and sadness I encounter has helped me find my way to a new world and I want to help you too. You’re never alone – you have 100 trillion microbes in you right this second, and all they care about is you. It’s a wonderful plan and my job is to help you understand all of this.

What your microbes can do

90% of the Serotonin is made in the gut

As it turns out, approximately 90% of the serotonin in the body is located in the gut. Bacteria not only interact with neurotransmitters, but they can also produce their own. Certain beneficial bacteria can influence GABA receptors in the brain. Other bacteria in the gut can prompt or inhibit inflammation in the gut and elsewhere in the body.

For example, drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are sometimes prescribed for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These drugs are typically used to treat depression. However, physicians have discovered that when treating depression in patients with IBS, these patients also find relief from irritable bowel symptoms when they take an SSRI drug. These findings have been confirmed with MRI imaging: there is a clear relationship between gut function and brain function. So, serotonin made mostly in the gut is a neurotransmitter. It is responsible for regulating things in the body such as mood, appetite, and sleep. The right amount of serotonin in the brain produces a relaxed and positive feeling. Since your bacteria help produce serotonin, you’ll need to have more help from your bacteria to feel good – and not just good, but fantastic. And believe me, I have experienced this many times over.

Gut disorders

I have seen everything from IBS, colitis, ulcers, celiac disease, constipation, chronic diarrhea, and many other digestive disorders vanish after consuming cultured foods. So how do these microbes heal and restore the gut? They do it when you have enough of certain strains of bacteria that work to repair the gut lining, make a protective barrier to keep out pathogens, and reduce inflammation. Then they do something even more exciting – they help you digest your food and get more nutrients from the foods you eat. When you add enough of certain strains of bacteria, they assist in the ridding of food allergies. Researchers have found that most food allergies are caused by overuse of antibiotics.  I have found this to be the case in my body. These antibiotics kill certain strains of bacteria that help us digest our foods. When you put these strains back into your body, it is important to try to consume them at every meal. I did this with my daughter, and her food allergies are no more. The bacteria do the work inside of you. They do what you cannot do on your own because they’re designed to do this for you. All you have to do is feed them the right things and let the magic healing begin.

Gut Bacteria are responsible for your immunity

Approximately 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. If your gut bacteria are properly balanced, your immune system will most likely function properly and help ward off illnesses. Do you get sick a lot? Well, you shouldn’t. Most likely you’ve taken a lot of antibiotics and not built your microbes back into their proper place, and then you struggle terribly because your microbes can’t do their job for you. To help you understand it better — you have helper T-cells – some kill foreign invaders and others alert the cells that there is something that needs to be destroyed. The amount of your good bacteria will determine how much of an army you have that fights for you inside your gut.

Detoxifies you from chemicals and pesticides

One of the newest things I have discovered is how much these microbes detoxify you. I always thought it was mostly the liver that detoxified you from harmful chemicals and toxins, but 50% of the body’s detoxification is handled by the bacteria in your gut. For instance, Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxin linked to over 40 diseases, is found in everything from thermal printer receipts, paper money, canned food liners, dental composites, and of course plastics. BPA is a powerful endocrine disrupter and it is now found inside everyone. Researchers have found that two common probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium Breve and Lactobacillus Casei, help the body detoxify itself from BPA by reducing the intestinal absorption of this chemical.  In addition, the good bacteria in cultured foods can detox the pesticides in foods. For instance, kimchi – one of my favorite cultured vegetable foods, has been known to degrade a variety of at least five chemical compounds. It degrades these chemicals by 83.3 percent after 3 days of fermentation on your counter and up to 99% in six days.

Another study found that kimchi contains a strain of bacteria capable of breaking down sodium nitrate, which is linked to a variety of chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer. The study found a depletion of sodium nitrate by up to 90.0%. Sodium nitrate becomes toxic when it is converted in food products, but bacteria can degrade this chemical. Four lactobacillus strains were capable of breaking down this toxic byproduct. Lactobacillus bacteria is found in so many of these cultured foods. It can play a huge role in detoxifying heavy metals from the body that can damage our cells and it does this without us even knowing that it’s happening. Don’t you think that’s super cool?!

Perchlorate is an ingredient in jet fuel and fireworks that widely contaminates the environment and our food. Sadly, even organic food has been found to contain high levels of this toxicant, making it exceedingly difficult to avoid exposure. But Bifidobacterium bifidum is capable of degrading this chemical.

Okay so how do we do this?

Let’s just fix our guts with lots of healthy microbes and let them take care of us instead of worrying about it and trying to learn to pronounce these crazy chemical names. They will do the work for us, and we just have to keep them happy. That means consuming lots of probiotics and prebiotic foods to feed the probiotics. I have three foods that I love and I think work the best: kefir, cultured vegetables, and kombucha. This is what I call the Trilogy. I started with kefir. It was a kefir smoothie, a peach smoothie to be exact, and it changed everything for me.

I tell the story in the recipe below.

The Peach Smoothie That Remembers When

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Doctors, scientists, and researchers are all starting to realize just how powerful the gut truly is. Gut health can affect every system in the body. Find out how probiotic foods can change you from the inside out!

The Peach Smoothie That Remembers When
As I opened the blender the smell of peaches, kefir, and vanilla hit me, and the memories flooded back. I felt my heart open and heard a voice in my head, “Do you remember the first time you made a peach and kefir smoothie? Do you remember how scared and sick you were? Do you remember how you used to eat and how much that has changed?” It’s true—everything is different now and each time I have this smoothie, the smell reminds me of that. I feel grateful and I remember just how much my body loves me. I hope you’ll have a moment in your life when you fall in love with your body—when you discover how it's here to serve you and care for you. Maybe you’ll have tender moments when you realize how it constantly turns your food into the cells of your body. We have a contract with food and our body has signed the deed. But you get to choose what it receives. Choose wisely - it can make all the difference. ~Donna
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  1. Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth. About 30 seconds to one minute.
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