Improve Your Digestive Health

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Ill digestion is something no one wants to deal with, yet something we’ve all experienced at some point or another. Digestion can wreak havoc on your mood, your body, and can ruin your social life and sense of well-being. I suffered dramatic digestive problems for years when I ate a diet high in animal products, sugar, and refined foods. Even after I ate healthy foods and gave up processed foods, I still had severe issues that never seemed to go away no matter what I tried. Switching to a plant-based diet was like turning a light switch on inside my body. Within literally days, every negative health issue just sort of dissipated on its own. I felt like a new person and couldn’t believe the difference one simple change had made for my digestive health.

Improving your gut health is important since what goes on in the inside controls nearly every aspect of your health. Eighty percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, which means when your gut is compromised, so is your immunity.

A plant-based diet that’s full of clean, whole foods can improve your digestive health and immunity all in just one week. To get the best results, follow these tips:

1. Start With Non-Starchy Veggies and Greens

Non-starchy vegetables are a healthy mainstay of any diet, but especially important if you’re a plant-based eater. Non-starchy vegetables provide high amounts of nutrients, with low amounts of high-glycemic carbohydrates. This not only makes them friendly to your blood sugar but also easier to digest. Non-starchy vegetables are easier for the body to break down than starchy foods that cause fermentation in the gut. Some great examples include: leafy greens, celery, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, bok choy, cabbage,and green beans (which are more like a vegetable than a bean and low in starch and carbs.) Be sure to cook your vegetables well so you digest them even easier.  Making a gut-friendly green smoothie with fresh leafy greens is a quick and easy way to improve your digestion even further, and a delicious one at that!

2. Go Slow With Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are wonderful, healthy foods for their nutritional benefits. They contain magnesium, potassium, protein, iron, B vitamins, and are full of fiber to keep you full and to keep you regular. However, as most of us know, they aren’t the easiest thing for a plant-based newbie to eat. I’ve been plant-based for seven years now and still don’t tolerate them too well. However, since they are wonderful choices to include in the diet, I’d suggest you starting slow with beans and legumes instead of going overboard or mixing them altogether. Start with chickpeas, edamame, green peas, lentils, and black beans, all of which are a little more tolerable and easier to digest than some beans like kidney and pintos.

3. Embrace Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are necessary on any diet, plant-based or not. Though a low-fat vegan diet may be beneficial in many areas, some healthy fats are needed for optimal digestion and for overall health. Fat helps the body produce bile, which is critical for a healthy functioning digestive system. Bile also helps elimination and can help the body digest food properly. Healthy fats also help your body absorb the nutrients you’re consuming from other foods better, such as those from vegetables and greens. Some vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K, are also fat soluble, which means you have to eat fat for them to be absorbed and metabolized. Include healthy fats from plant-based foods such as: avocado, coconut, hemp, chia, flax, raw nuts and nut butters. A few tablespoons a day or more is likely all you’ll need to get dramatic results in your digestion. Try making your own coconut butter if you have some time. Coconut is an anti-viral agent to ward off fungus and a highly beneficial food for your gut.

4. Go for Ancient Whole Grains Versus Refined Grains

Even if you’re not sensitive or allergic to gluten, opting for gluten-free, ancient whole grains in place of refined grains that contain gluten. Since highly processed sources of gluten can be a potential problem for digestion, go for gluten-free, ancient whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet, and teff instead. These are some of the healthiest grains you can eat and contain no potential allergens like glutinous grains such as wheat, barley, oats, and rye do.

5. Eliminate Most All Processed Foods

Processed foods can weaken digestion overtime, even if you seem to tolerate them well. Chemicals, methods used to produce food, and extensive exposure to a wide variety of processes make them less than optimal when it comes to making healthy food choices. Even those that seem nutritionally healthy on a label or that are gluten-free, raw, vegan, etc. will still be less optimal than whole, clean, plant-based foods will. If you do have to buy processed foods, be sure to choose those with a short ingredient list and those free of refined and added sugars. Sugar and chemicals reduce your good gut bacteria, so you’ll want to avoid purchasing items that contain them however you can.

6. Eat Foods That Are Good for Your Gut

Part of having a healthy gut is eliminating the bad bacteria we encounter from the environment, chemically-based foods, mold and foods containing harmful yeasts (such as cheese and bread) and replacing it with foods that can help your body produce healthy bacteria instead. This includes fermented foods like kimchi, miso, coconut yogurt, and sauerkraut, which contain plant-based probiotics, along with vegetables, leafy greens, low-glycemic fruits like berries, green apples, cucumber, tomatoes, squash, and avocados. Low-glycemic foods are optimal for gut health since reducing the sugar intake in your diet will keep your gut bacteria healthy and well-balanced. You’ll also want to consume a few other plant-based foods that improve digestive health to assist you even further.

By: Heather McClees
Source: www.onegreenplanet.org

2014-10-22T11:51:51+00:00

Related Questions

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    Q: What Are Some Natural Sweet Treats (Junk Foods) I can Consume? Under free will you can consume what you like, but healthier products are best. You will find plenty of "healthier" snack, treat, and junk foods at good health food stores such as Whole Foods Market, PCC Natural Food Stores, Erewhon, Trader Joes, Natural Grocers, New Frontiers, etc. Just make sure to abstain from salt, sugar, and other harmful chemicals in the products you buy. We list many companies of alternative foods and products (and their website addresses) in our ALTERNATIVE DIET AND LIFESTYLES MANUAL.

    A:

    Recommended: ALTERNATIVE DIET AND LIFESTYLES MANUAL

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    Q: Thank you for always answering my questions. I have about two more. Okay, I'm currently living overseas where I'm limited on raw fresh foods (vegetables and fruits). I want to do the detox but I'm concerned that I won't have everything as far as raw food to be successful. I have access to basics (apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, melons, lettuce, cabbage, bean spouts, carrots, celery, peppers, green beans, peas, bagged nuts,) but nothing exotic by any means. Then I was told to safely eat some of the food in the local economy that we should wash it with a 5% bleach solution (is that safe...and if on the detox I'm thinking that would be a no go). Two questions?Given the mentioned availability of raw foods could I be able to successfully complete the detox (I don't have an issue with eating the same things over and over again) and two what can I do to clean local produce so that its safe for consumption? Apparently part of the issue is that they use human feces to fertilize. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response

    A:

    Yes, it seems you have enough raw food available to you to complete the cleanse.

    In order to clean local produce, rinse thoroughly with apple cider vinegar to "disinfect" it. If apple cider vinegar is unavailable, just use water.

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    Q: I have incorporated fish into my diet because I have been craving. Is moderation okay.... meaning my fruits for breakfast a regular lunch with salad and a salad for dinner okay to pretty much moderate other foods? It is challenging for me to become a vegan. Do you have any suggestions on how to still eat healthy to maintain an alkalized body with certain foods with moderation that are not raw? I still drink my green veggies at least twice a day. I am praying that my results will be negative.

    A:

    FISH IN MODERATION IS OKAY FOR YOU. TO MAINTAIN ALKALINITY, DESPITE THE ACID-FORMING THINGS YOU EAT, JUST MAKE SURE TO EAT AS MANY GREEN FOODS AS POSSIBLE. YOU CAN ALSO TAKE 6 CAPSULES OF ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD TOO! YOU’RE DOING GOOD SO KEEP YOUR THOUGHTS POSITIVE AND ON YOUR DESIRES.

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    Q: What types of grains are allowed with the raw foods diet during the FULL BODY DETOX? Are whole grain breads and cereal bars ok? Please clarify. Also, should I stop taking my birth control pill while on the detox? I hear it will cancel out anyway?

    A:

    IN REFERENCE TO GRAINS, ONLY SPROUTED GRAINS. NO CEREAL AND CREAL BARS! OF COURSE STOP TAKING YOUR BIRTH CONTROL PILL BECAUSE THE FULL BODY DETOX TARGETS ALL TOXINS AND POISONS AND MAN-MADE/PHARMACEUTICAL BIRTH CONTROL PILLS ARE TOXIC AND POISONOUS. IT WILL MOST CERTAINLY CANCEL OUT.

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    Q: After I finish the Full Body Cleanse, and the Anti Viral Cleanse for HSV, will I have to follow a RAW diet forever? I want to go back to my normal (healthy but cooked) food diet, which will still include a substantial amount of raw foods.

    A:

    Of course you don't have to eat RAW forever, your diet plan sounds smart and wise!

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    Q: Is the FULL BODY DETOX gluten free. I am allergic to gluten and I am trying to find a detox diet to get all of the gluten out of my system and become healthy again.

    A:

    100% gluten-free!!!

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    Q: What are some tips and healthy foods and supplements for pregnant women? and what are good exercises that are simple? (I just want a healthy, beautiful baby)

    A:

    Please consult our free article entitled â€PRE-NATAL HEALTHâ€as well as our â€HERBAL CHART†on our home page.

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    Q: I am a 55 year old female. I have an overactive bladder. I am trying to control it myself, without medication. I have not tried herbs. I eat fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins (not beef or pork). I added back more meat proteins 1 1/2 years ago because I was becoming so tired and lacking energy. (I read The Schwartzbein Diet, which helped convince me to add more protein.) I don't eat much sugar, salt (only 500 mg./day) or hardly any processed foods. I drink water and licorice tea, because it makes me feel good. I believe in the power of positive thinking. Can you help me with this?

    A:

    The steps you are taking in your diet are a great start. Try going raw, and eliminating grains and meat altogether. You can get enough protein and healthy fats with avocado, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, coconut. You can also add Vegan Protein Powder to smoothies.

    I also recommend you give our Full Body Cleanse a try to further detoxify your entire body. After detoxing, the ideal formula for you is our Kidneys Bladder-Adrenal formula.

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    Q: I had surgery to drain a cyst on my right ovary, while in surgery the doctor hit my bowels, and they had to call in a surgeon to repair my bowels. I am on this low fiber diet now, and not able to eat raw foods. This means nothing in the green family like lettuce, or greens since they are hard to digest. This list includes no nuts, or fresh fruits with skin. How can I can complete a cleanse, if I am not able to eat the raw vegetables and nuts?

    A:

    Simply perform your cleanse of choice and just eat as best you can, okay?

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    Q: I would like to know what herbs you advise I should take for: healthy skin/even skin tone, hair growth and weight loss. I am pregnant at the moment but I would like to use herbs in approx 10 weeks. I am from England, I'm A 25 year old black woman who is beginning to take my health seriously! what foods do you advise I take out of my diet?

    A:

    Please read our "PRE-NATAL HEALTH" article for the answers you desire! This is a common inquiry for us so we created an article on the subject matter.

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    Q: Hi, I'm a 36 year old African/American woman with 4 children whose been trying to lose weight off and on for the past 16 years. I lose the weight but then I gain it right back after I go off of my diet. I know that I need a good body/colon cleanse, but what I need to learn how to do is to eat the right food's to keep my body healthy. I've been conditioned to eat the foods that I do eat, I need to know how do I go about "de-programming" myself from the bad food's and program myself to want and crave the healthy one's? I'm open to any suggestion's you have, even using crystals and meditation. Thank you.

    A:

    Time is limited here in "Ask the Herbalist" so I humbly request you consider a full length health consultation. However, I can tell you that you'd greatly benefit from a FULL BODY DETOX Cleanse.

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    Q: EXACTLY WHAT ARE THE STARCHY FOODS AND HOW DO WE COMBINE THEM....I THOUGHT IT WAS MOSTLY BREAD AND PASTA.....BUT IF THAT IS TRUE THEN I WOULDNT BE FOLLOWING THE RAW FOOD DETOX??

    A:

    Correct! Don't worry too much about the starchy vegetables. Just think of grains!

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    Q: I see also that you recommend a complete diet with these programs. I am guessing its a vegan diet right? I wanted to ask something on that is coconut milk and coconut oils ok for that? I personally had a very hard time trying to eat that many vegetables and many ph balance vegans seem to think fruits aren?t good either. I eat that many vegetables one it tears me up the next day and two I just cant consume enough calories that way. I can try and make up for it by eating things like almonds but I eat to many almonds I get the same problem the next day. Now coconut milk (unsweetened) and a digestive enzyme works for me for picking up extra calories.... but I hear very conflicting information about coconut and its saturated fat content. Is it ok to use daily as a part of the diet for cleansing? And your oxy-drops are those the same as the drop for ph balancing water?? Or is it something different? I am wanting to start lifting weights as I need to put on some muscle and I?m wondering if its something that would be beneficial in combating muscle soreness by increased oxygen in the body.

    A:

    The diet we recommend is vegan-based, and RAW FOODS. Fresh fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds are ideal.

    Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil are excellent products to have in your diet. The healthy fats will keep you fuller.

    Oxy-Drops can help balance your electrolytes that need to be replenished after a workout in order to keep your body performing efficiently. 

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    Q: I am very interested in Dherbs herbal formulas - they appear to be high quality, good formulas. I have a question for you. I eat a vegan diet, about 50% raw foods (sometimes more), get regular exercise, and love to spend time in nature. I am a generally healthy person who rarely gets sick. I have healed myself from asthma and allergies and other ailments by living a healthy lifestyle and using herbs and energy work. However, I do still suffer from cramping during my period (probably endometriosis) and from cervical dysphasia due to HPV. I would love to get these cleared up, too! What do you recommend in terms of your herbal formulas? For example, should I do the whole body detox first, then start in with the ailment specific recommendations, or start everything all at once? Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciate.

    A:

    We would recommend that you first start out with the Full Body Cleanse, followed by the Anti-Viral Kit, followed by the Female Cleanse. These should help you to clear up those unwanted reproductive ailments and provide essential nutrients for female health.

    After this series of cleansing, we also recommend the the following supplements in order to to stay on the path towards whole body wellness.

    Menstrual Cycle Formula
    Female Hormonal Formula
    Female Health Tea
    Anti-Viral Formula

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    Q: I was wondering in your list you include foods that are classified as acidic (AC). I thought we were to avoid acidic foods so we can stay alkaline or do we need some acidic foods? I am guessing that there is a better explanation but please let me know. My partner and I have changed our diet after watching your videos and Dr Sebi’s video and we are very curious about this.

    A:

    I TRUST YOU READ MY ARTICLE THAT COVERS THESE FOODS BELOW. BELOVED, ACID FOODS ARE NOT BAD (UNHEALTHY) AND IN FACT YOU NEED SOME ACID FOODS TO BALANCE OUT THE DIET. THE PROBLEM IS WITH ACID-FORMING FOODS (COOKED FOODS: MEAT, DAIRY, REFINED STARCHES, REFINED GRAINS, ETC.). SO THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACID FOODS AND ACID-FORMING FOODS. AND YOU DO KNOW THAT MOST OF WHAT WE ARE EATING IS HYBRIDIZED, RIGHT? WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF WHAT WE ARE EATING TODAY. EVEN DR. SEBI EATS HYBRIDIZED FOODS. HE CAN'T HELP IT. WE DON'T CONTROL THE FOOD SUPPLY. REMEMBER, MA'AM: BALANCE IN ALL THINGS. SOME ACID FOODS ARE GOOD AND NECESSARY BUT ACID-FORMING FOODS ARE UNHEALTHY AS THEY CREATE MUCUS IN THE BODY.

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    Q: On WebMD there is information stating that high fiber foods such as raw fruits, and vegetables can irritate or flare up Crohn's disease. But, your article on Chron's disease says to switch to a vegan diet after detoxing. Why would raw fruits and vegetables flare up Chron's disease? Why do your articles suggest to eat raw fruits and veggies when people say it can irritate the disease?

    A:

    We don't subscribe to that. We do our own homework at Dherbs.com. There is no confusion at Dherbs because we use logic, reason, common sense, intuition, wisdom, etc. So we are not confused in regards to food and health.

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    Q: If I may ask, what is it specifically about the baby's diet that is conducive to eczema? We try to give her a normal, healthy, nutritious diet. Exactly which foods are acid-forming so that we may alternate them out of her diet? As for my wife, she has taken several detoxes in the past with no results. She is now expecting and breastfeeding so I don't believe a detox would be the best thing for her at the moment. Are there any other suggestions you can offer us for currently treating these problems?

    A:

    The acid-forming foods are eggs, meat, dairy products, and refined grains. Shop for vegan foods. Your wife can drink DETOX TEA and use HEALING SKIN OIL (externally) as well as drink vegetable juice (which greatly cleanses the blood). Please consider a consultation so that all questions may be thoroughly answered and so you all can get on the path of healing together as a family.

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    Q: I just purchased the WEIGHT RELEASE CLEANSE AND REGIMEN and today is my first day. I'm unable to get through on our inquiry line. The diet isn't completely clear to me. Although it says miso soup is ok, I'm unclear on other things. For instance, is tofu ok? What about hummus? What do sprouted grains consist of? Would Eziekial sprouted grain breads and tortillas be ok? The miso soup is the exception to the dietary rule! NO tofu, NO Ezekiel grain breads (no processed grains at all). Sprouted grains are grains (or seeds) soaked in water overnight and consumed. They are not cooked! Hummus is okay (as it's not cooked). Recommended article: "WHAT IS RAW FOODS" Visit our articles section!

    A:

    The miso soup is the exception to the dietary rule! NO tofu, NO Ezekiel grain breads (no processed grains at all). Sprouted grains are grains (or seeds) soaked in water overnight and consumed. They are not cooked! Hummus is okay (as it's not cooked). Recommended article: "WHAT IS RAW FOODS" Visit our articles section!

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    Q: For the last 2 weeks, I've been eating only raw foods. My daily intake mainly consist of snow beans, green beans (string beans), kale, carrots, a small amount butter and crackers, bananas, apples, pears, lettuce, tomatoes, dates, spinach and filtered water. My question is: Am I getting the required nutrients and how would I know if I were not and specifically, how would I know what nutrient was missing. I also take the MALE HORMONAL FORMULA and JACKRABBIT FORMULA (regardless of whether I intend to engage in sexual activity).

    A:

    OF COURSE! WHAT TO KNOW FOR SURE? GO GET A MINERAL TEST DONE. FIND SOMEONE IN YOUR TOWN WHO DOES NUTRITIONAL TESTING OR LIVE BLOOD CELL MICROSCOPY.

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    Q: Could you please supply me with a number of different foods that are OK to eat or a good place to shop for reasonable foods while on the Full Body Detox? I am waiting for my shipment to come and I'm not exactly sure what foods I should be eating?

    A:

    YOU WILL BE EATING ALL RAW FOODS. PLEASE READ OUR ARTICLE â€WHAT IS RAW FOODS†LOCATED ON OUR SITE UNDER ARTICLES. RAW FOODS IS RAW FRUITS, VEGETABLES, SEEDS, AND NUTS. NOTHING COOKED! NO MEAT, DAIRY PRODUCTS, REFINED GRAINS AND STARCHES, ETC. A GOOD PLACE TO SHOP WOULD BE WHOLE FOODS MARKET AND TRADER JOES.