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Is Your Digestive System Crying Out For Help?

In today's day and age, the mention of allergies and intolerances is heard all the more often. With the advancement of science, we now know exactly what enzymes break down what, which foods feed certain bacteria and what foods we should be avoiding. In addition to us now knowing a lot more about how our bodies function, we must also look at what we are putting into our bodies in this modern world.

Food has changed infinitely since our grandparents were young - avocados were certainly not a regular in their salads, while microwave burgers were something completely unthought-of and simply alien!  With the development of mass farming we now have access to a whole range of meat products at every turn, wheat in just about everything, fizzy drinks of every flavour, the fastest food you can imagine and basically whatever we want! So how is this affecting our poor old digestion and  how many of us are tuning in to what our bodies are really telling us?

Lets then look four different areas of the diet:  

1. Meat. The modern day Western diet consists of almost 40% animal based products. To break this down, our digestive systems are having to work far harder than they have ever had to before. Our gallbladders are put into overdrive and our liver is having to go like the clappers. Unsurprisingly, this is hugely stressful for the body and consequently very acid forming - needless to say, this added stress then plays a prominent role in the development of cancers and other diseases. The digestive system has to produce many more digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to break down meat that is passing through the gut. Animal based products can take weeks to break down and can cause bloating, gas, purification and extreme discomfort. There is little wonder then that it is widely known that those living as vegetarians are much more likely to live for longer.

2. Sugars. Thankfully the dangers of our sugar filled diets are really being brought to the limelight at the moment. We really cant stress enough how much of a poison sugar is to our digestive system. Bacteria such as candida are in heaven when there are large quantities of sugar available to them. Living in the warmth of the large intestine and regularly fuelled by sugary treats, candida will thrive. If this is not kept under control, candida can turn into a yeast or fungus and cause anything from headaches to bloating, feelings of extreme tiredness and lack of concentration.

3. Dairy. As we have said before, leave the cows dairy to the cows. Cows dairy contributes to about 70% of the calcium in the Western diet but for some reason, people seem to think that this is the only source of calcium available to us. Eating enough fruit, veg and whole grains will mean that you are taking on ample calcium without having to touch the white stuff at all. Past the weaning age, we are simply not designed to process large quantities of dairy products. Lactase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down dairy, and in humans, the production of lactase slows down at a certain age and then is stopped completely for some. Without this enzyme one will be exposed to extreme digestive discomfort and endless further consequences. The majority of us are lactose intolerant - only around 35% of us are able to process lactose efficiently meaning that the rest of us are putting our stomachs through a thoroughly unnecessary level of stress.

4. Genetically Modified. The increasing number of foods that are genetically modified are also having a strong affect on our digestive systems, not to mention the increasing use of pesticides and chemicals. The presence of unnatural products in the gut can cause an explosion of growth of unhelpful bacteria. These bacteria in turn can start to damage the lining of our digestive tract, thus allowing molecules to seep into our blood stream that otherwise would not have been allowed to pass. These particles are then pumped all around our bodies in our blood explaining why food intolerances can manifest themselves in all sorts of symptoms from itchy skin to acne to headaches. So if you stop to think how much meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods you are eating there is little wonder that you may not be feeling great. More and more of us have or are developing food intolerances. You can beat an uncomfortable stomach, persistent bloating, headaches, migraines and skin issues by tuning in to your stomach and the foods that you are putting into it. Think about each of the elements above and address how you can change them - choose almond, rice, oat, hemp or soya milk instead of cows. Goat and sheep cheese are so much better for you than cows cheese. Cut down your meat intake and try wherever possible to choose organic. The pressure you will be removing from your digestive tract will be huge if you make these changes.

For more dairy, gluten, sugar and meat free recipes, check out our cookbooks and online recipes. 

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