Categories
Big Picture

The Beginning Blueprint

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First, Begin With Light

Proper, therapeutic light will improve every facet of your health, but especially your circadian rhythm, digestion, inflammation, and hormonal balance.

Infrared is super critical for thyroid health (metabolism), as well as boosting energy levels and hormone production.

Make this first step: Get daily supplemental infrared light (15-30 minutes).

Artificial blue light during the day is harmful to the skin, eyes, and brain chemistry. However, blue light at night (from any source) is infinitely more harmful — and, therefore, important to monitor and reduce.

Even small amounts of blue light at night harm your melatonin levels throughout the night, wrecking your gut health, immunity, metabolism, and… everything.


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Next, Focus On Your Circadian Rhythm

Along with severely reducing bright light at night, getting bright morning light is among the most critical steps you can take for your circadian health.

Meal timing sends strong signals to your brain about the time of day. Eat early meals (especially breakfast and lunch) to cement your circadian rhythm.

Bright daylight midday reinforces the circadian rhythm.

Brightness by day, darkness by night = circadian bliss.

Movement is also incredibly important for the circadian rhythm. Try to get some light-or-moderate exercise most days, around midday. Late morning or mid-afternoon is perfect.


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Third: Food or Gut Health?

Which makes more sense for you to focus on?


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Then, Notice Your Environment

Environmental toxins are becoming much too prevalent in the modern world.

Begin noticing your environment — and whether it improves your health or detracts from it.

Living in a clean space is quite impactful to your health, especially in the “built” indoor world.

Not much time for cleaning? A simple trick is to own fewer possessions.


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Last, Let’s Calm The Mind

Some things we can change — others we cannot.

A calm, clear mind will serve us in whatever direction our path takes us.

You don’t have to be perfect. Give yourself permission to be calm — even for one minute.

A Path For Your Journey.

I’d be personally thrilled for you to join our movement, get access to the resources and, if you like, become involved in our discussion group. — Travis

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. $6/mo.

(return home)

Categories
Big Picture

What Is Illness?

To Reverse Illness, Let’s Understand What It Is

Fatigue, insomnia, inflammation, and digestive issues are trending up — and they’re happening at shockingly younger and younger ages.

The markers of aging are arriving earlier than expected for a substantial portion of the population.

“Over half (54 percent) of millennial respondents reported having been diagnosed with at least one chronic illness.

https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/reports/the-health-of-millennials

Chronic illness can even lead to poor financial prospects for the young, and people of any age.

Reversing The Trend

To flip these trends, is it necessary to become an expert about every facet of the human body?

Must each person deeply understand the interactions between nutrients, hormones, and physiology to restore health?

When I was hyperfocused on smaller variables, my health did not improve so much. But when I looked at the big picture, my health returned.

Yours can, too.

Let’s understand the big picture of illness, so we can reverse it.


Four Stressors Of Illness

Stress is the scientific name for any phenomenon that harms the body.

Small, acute stresses are normal and part of healthy living: moderate exercise, daily disappointments & challenges, competitive games, limited fasting, and short illnesses, for example.

In the proper context, acute stressors can even provide some benefit to the body — these are known as “hormetic” benefits.

Stress is only truly manageable by the body when acute: The challenge arises, the body meets the challenge, then we rest and recuperate. When stressors become continuous — or, chronic — the body has little defense.

There are four important “stressors of illness” — that appear to be primary contributors to the onset of disease.

For the time being, we will exclude emotional stress, though it is certainly as important a factor as any when discussing the onset of, and recovery from, disease.

The Four Stressors Of Illness

Pathogenic Infection
Pathogenic Infection

The world is full of countless pathogens, bombarding the body daily — from sick people and sick buildings.

Nutrient Deficiency
Nutrient Deficiency

Nutrient deficiency is surprisingly common — and caused by poor diet, soil quality, pathogenic infections, inflammation, and poor gut health.

Toxicity
Toxicity

The modern world is especially toxic, yet toxins are also released by pathogens inside the gut, mouth, and elsewhere in the body (endotoxins).

Circadian Disruption
Circadian Disruption

Every aspect of modern life has the potential to be disruptive to the circadian rhythm.

Let’s dive into the four stressors of illness, see how they all work together to degrade health, and explore ways to improve each situation.


Stressor #1

Pathogenic Infection

Pathogens Are Active

Pathogens bombard the body all day, every day.

The skin is well-suited to repel most pathogens (while microbes do live on the skin), but the mouth, ears, nose, and throat represent excellent opportunities for pathogens to enter the body.

Technically, the bodily areas where microbes flourish — the hotspots of the human microbiome — are outside the body. Nevertheless, the human microbiome greatly alters biological function.

When a pathogen gets inside the body, the immune system should quickly identify it and kill or deactivate it. The pathogen may then disappear or, more likely, go dormant until a more opportune time appears.

The healthy human immune system even regulates the microbial life in microbiomes located outside the body (gut, mouth, ears, vagina, and nasal passages). As the immune system suffers, these “external” microbiomes become less well-regulated.

A strong immune system can ward off invading pathogens, rendering their infectious capabilities, at best, acute.

Immunosuppression

When the immune system is compromised (as is common in chronic illness and aging), pathogens inside the body and in the microbiome can become resilient, very much at home in the body.

In the immuno-suppressed and chronically ill, outward signs of infection are often absent, with — instead — elevated markers of inflammation and/or white blood cell counts. Over time, the development of symptoms: fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, and poor digestion.

How do these low-grade chronic infections by these pathogens (mainly: bacteria, fungus, viruses) affect health?

It is through these means that pathogens can harm major organs and affect day-to-day quality of life — even in chronic, low-grade infections.

These low-grade infections are frequently difficult to detect by medical tests and direct observation by a medical doctor.

However, inflammation will almost certainly be high and, again, signs of elevated immune activity can appear in labs, though they likely won’t raise alarms for most doctors — when perhaps they should.

When a chronic immune response has existed for long periods of time, immune markers may over time become low: The immune system is compromised and unable to properly respond to the pathogenic threat.

The Hidden Infection

Harmful pathogens typically “hide” in various microbiomes around the body.

From these various locations, pathogens can release hormones and toxins into the bloodstream, impacting every aspect of biology. They can also enter the bloodstream, themselves, if mucosal barriers weaken.

Medical science is currently taking the first steps to understand the world of the “gut microbiome.”

Unfortunately, this new field will require much more research to truly understand it and therefore manipulate it with medical precision.

At this time, microbiome tests are starting to identify the species in your gut — but we don’t really know what to do about those findings, yet. Many alternative practicioners sell testing packages and prescribe heaps of supplements to take. Taking a thousand new products at once can make for a grueling regimen — and impossible to interpret any changes in symptoms.

What seems best is to slowly treat “general dysbiosis” of the gut, utilizing one new step at a time, while using all tactics available to boost the immune system: proper circadian rhythm habits, foods, supplements, photobiomodulation, sunlight, and improving the healthfulness of one’s environment.

In the immune-compromised, infections are rarely of a single pathogen. Instead, multiple “co-infections” exist, with each pathogen affecting the body in different, yet simultaneously ways.

When the challenges are many, multiple tactics are required to challenge the scope of the problems.

MARCoNS

The acronym stands for Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. This bacteria is highly pathogenic and resistant to antibiotics because of a powerful biofilm which protects it from potential threats.

This is a newly-discovered kind of infection, typically residing in the nasal passages — although it’s being found in the mouth as well.

Dental & Mouth Infections

The oral microbiome is just as complex and diverse as the gut.

When the oral microbiome goes wrong, conditions like thrush (a candida fungal overgrowth in the mouth), gum disease, cavities, and abscesses are likely.

Perhaps worse, these infections send a constant 24/7 drip of toxicity and pathogens into both the bloodstream and the digestive system — causing chronic system-wide inflammation and gut dysbiosis.

Questionable dental practices can lead to persistent, low-grade, hidden infections in and around teeth that can even escape the notice of dentists.

READ MORE: Your Oral Health

Unhealthy microbes in the mouth can chronically activate the immune response — leading to body-wide inflammation and even many systemic diseases:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Digestive diseases
  • Alzheimer’s disease

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453018301642

Pathogenic Toxicity Can Cause Every Component Of Disease

Unhealthy microbes (in the mouth, gut, nose, or elsewhere) supply your body with a steady stream of endotoxins.

As a result, the body will spend biological resources to both detoxify the endotoxins and kill off the hosts. An immune response will occurs — and never finishes.

Nutrients will be used up rapidly to meet the demands of an overburdened liver.

The body will also ramp up inflammation round-the-clock, and this will cause digestion and general absorption of nutrients to plummet. Hence, chronic, low-grade infections cause nutrient deficiency for two reasons: both depletion of nutrients for detox, as well as interference with proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Nutrient deficiency and toxicity cause inflammation, and all three will eventually affect sleep quality — as the immunocompromised body descends into chronic illness.

Stressor #2

Nutrient Deficiency

A Common Issue

Low nutrient levels are actually common — even in the first world. But when health is suffering, the become a big cause of further issues.

Poor diet can result in nutrient deficiency on its own. Eating lots of refined grains can result in B-Vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Modern industrial farming practices have resulted in falling soil quality — and the mineral quality of our food has suffered in response.

Too much time indoors can result in a Vitamin D deficiency. Food has very, very little Vitamin D.

Eating little vegetables and no organ meats can result in a Vitamin A deficiency. An overburdened liver may have a hard time converting carotenes to Vitamin A, too (genetics can cause this as well).

Poor gut health can result in poor nutrient absorption across the board. Low levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut can lead to deficiency in B-vitamins and other nutrients and compounds such as butyric acid and Vitamin K2.

Last, we’ve already seen the two ways pathogenic infections can bring about nutrient deficiencies.

For most people strugling with illness, most or all of these factors are affecting their nutritional health.

How Does Nutrient Deficiency Cause Disease?

When nutrients are low (due to elevated detoxification requirements or poor absorption), virtually every system in the body suffers: Metabolism drops, energy storage drops, immunity drops, digestion worsens, sleep plummets, and inflammation rises.

The body adapts to fuel and nutrient shortages by slowing the metabolism — to use nutrients less rapidly. This is also known as hypothyroidism.

This is the body’s response to famine or starvation — “starvation mode” — the body will slow down its metabolic (energetic) processes to avoid churning through limited reserves and supply.

When the metabolism is slowed (hypothyroidism) the body will not be able to adapt to normal pathogenic exposure. The body’s defenses against daily pathogenic bombardment will be less effective during nutrient scarcity. In fact, the body will even try to sequester nutrients away from pathogens — to starve them out. Unfortunately this leaves your own body starving for nutrients, too.

In chronic illness, nutritional immunity doesn’t lead to recovery, it means pathogens will survive longer in a weakened body. Pathogens will always opportunistically find a place to call home, if available, and when the immune system is compromised, the body is a ready host.

Chronic nutrient deficiency will also undermine sleep, hormone production, and even mental performance and emotional regulation. This can — over time — lead to a compounding situation where things just aren’t working correctly, pathogens multiply in the body, and medical tests still may not be able to find anything wrong — besides, perhaps, irregular WBC counts.

STRESSOR #3

Toxicity

Environmental Toxins

Toxins also include the more everyday-varieties we often hear about: heavy metals, industrial chemicals in our food supply our sprayed on our new products, VOC’s in new homes, and even mold in sick buildings.

Exposure to environmental chemicals is increasing globally… Toxicants are present at all stages of development, potentially accumulating to cause a lifetime of ill health.

https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/137/12/2794/4670095

The accumulative nature of toxicity in the body should be alarming.

We simply have no idea how our collective and personal health will fare after decades of daily exposure to the tens of thousands of untested synthetic chemicals present in modern life. What little we do know about our environmental toxin exposure isn’t very promising.

Endotoxin

Toxicity doesn’t only show up from the environment.

One of the most important toxins to address is endotoxin from pathogens living in the gut (or mouth, nose, ears, and vagina) — the human microbiome. In the gut, endotoxins are released when pathogens (bad microbes) ferment food. This is tremendously disruptive to the body’s function — and because the toxins are released whenever food is eaten, it can make life a living hell — that’s not an exaggeration.

“The liver is the major source of the acute phase proteins, and it is constantly burdened by toxins absorbed from the bowel; disinfection of the bowel is known to accelerate recovery from stress.”

Ray Peat, PhD

Another quote from Peat, partially in reference to endotoxin:

“When estrogen overlaps with endotoxin (as it tends to do), multiple organ failure is the result.”

Ray Peat, PhD

Toxicity, in all forms, overburdens the organs.

Gut Health

The gut has two main functions:

  • Absorb nutrients
  • Trap and transport toxins from the body (via bowel movements)

When the microbiome goes bad, it becomes home to plentiful harmful pathogens. These pathogens release toxins into the blood stream — especially when they digest food after a meal. These toxins, of course, are called endotoxin.

If there’s any reason to improve gut health, it’s to reduce the toxic load on your body that pathogens create via endotoxin. When toxicity falls and inflammation lowers, nutrition can then be properly absorbed — into the bloodstream and into cells.


Stressor #4

Circadian Disruption


Disruptions of circadian rhythms have been associated with many diseases, including metabolic disorders and cancer.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684296/

Chronic disruption of the circadian rhythm is a slow-moving disaster for health.

Nearly every aspect of modern life works to undermine our circadian rhythm.

Further, an overemphasis on “hours of sleep per night” has distracted from what actually makes for a restorative and optimal night’s sleep: When we sleep those hours.

Syncing The Circadian Clocks

The body is full of circadian clock genes — each organ has clock genes, and they are tied to the brain’s central clock: the SCN (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus).

One of the major keys to restoring health is to get all of these clock genes synced up so that each organ can perform its functions in concert — and the body becomes a free-flowing highway instead of a traffic jam.

It really is this critical — studies have found nearly every single marker of health worsen due to worsened sleep. Even small, temporary shifts in sleep quality can have deep impacts on health markers. It’s no secret that most chronic illness sufferers struggle with sleep and their circadian rhythm.

Poor sleep (and poor circadian rhythm) is no benign symptom — it’s a direct cause of illness and disease. Fixing it at all costs must be priority number one to improve health.


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Each Stressor Causes Others

Any stressor experienced, once it becomes chronic, will develop into other stressors of illness.

Pathogenic Infection

Will Cause

Nutrient Deficiency

Will Cause

Toxicity

Will Cause

Circadian Disruption

Will Cause

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Is Inflammation A Cause Of Illness?

Not At First

Inflammation is most likely not the root cause of your health issues.

Instead, inflammation is most likely a symptom of the four stressors of illness.

Chronic Inflammation Does Cause Damage

When inflammation remains high for long periods of time, it causes many other problems, too. Therefore, even though inflammation is only a symptom it will begin to cause other downstream problems over time.

Acutely, [the stress] response is adaptive; however, chronic elevation of inflammatory proteins can contribute to health problems including cardiovascular, endocrine, mood, and sleep disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17524614

If your body is always inflamed, there’s a cause — and that cause needs to be corrected, rather than merely “fighting inflammation.”


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Inflammation Is A Response To… Stressors

Inflammation is meant to be temporary. It responds when tissue has been damaged — to clean away damaged (dead) tissues so healing can occur.

But what if inflammation is always high? Possibly due to chronic low-grade infection?

If there’s inflammation, there’s a cause.

“Inflammatory cytokines are released in response to stress, tissue damage, and infection.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17524614

When chronic inflammation is present, nutrients won’t get absorbed. Inflammation interferes with insulin’s driving of sugar molecules and nutrients into cells. Inflammation essentially can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to absorb all nutrients.

“Independent of the cause and location, inflammation – even when minimal – has clear effects on gastrointestinal morphology and function. These result in altered digestion, absorption and barrier function. There is evidence of reduced villus height and crypt depth, increased permeability, as well as altered sugar and peptide absorption in the small intestine after induction of inflammation in experimental models…”

“Even Low-Grade Inflammation Impacts On Small Intestinal Function”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835780/

Another quote from the same study:

“Inflammation may influence the intestinal absorptive area, epithelial cells, and barrier function via released inflammatory mediators and… activated immune cells.”

These quotes are pointing, also, to an increase in intestinal permeability when inflammation is present. High intestinal permeability (leaky gut) allow pathogens from the gut access to the bloodstream — and therefore the rest of the body, where they can wreak more havoc and cause more inflammation.

Chronic inflammation can also result from injuries that aren’t healing properly (due to re-aggravation or infection) as well as any other ongoing stress that isn’t resolved.


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How Does Mold Fit Into All This?

Toxicity

First: Mold supplies toxicity.

Mold releases toxic VOC’s (mycotoxins) into the air. These VOC’s are fat-soluble and become stored in our body. They overwhelm the liver and cause inflammation. This causes the digestive process to shut down and — between poor digestion and overburdened liver detox — the body becomes deficient in nutrients. Toxicity and malnutrition disrupt the circadian rhythm, leading to compromised immunity. Ultimately, infection is the next logical step in the. process.

Infection

There has long been plenty of evidence throughout the animal kingdom that fungal species can live “inside” their animal hosts — and quite a few common diseases around the world are caused by fungi.

Here’s a passage from an article about how fungi are beginning to deeply threaten the health of indoor pets:

“Spores of these moulds spread aerially. If inhaled by those with weak immune system, they can overcome the body’s defences and start growing inside the nasal passage, sinuses and lungs. The moulds may even spread to the brain and other organs through blood.”

https://theconversation.com/brace-yourself-internet-cats-and-dogs-at-risk-from-new-fungus-15498

There also may be a simple reason antifungal drugs seem to help diseases like MS.

There could very well be a fungal (or other pathogenic) component to many of the “big” diseases. It’s possible a large component of aging is a process of slowly losing the battle to pathogens, toxicity, and nutrient deficiency — rather than mere hardwired genetic programming.

As mold (and sick building syndrome) becomes a larger and larger epidemic, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if these diseases continue to become more prevalent.


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What About EMF?

A Complicated Subject

The simplest way to think about EMF is that it scrambles your body’s internal processes via pulsed electromagnetic signals.

It’s similar to the way a strobe light can greatly harm some people (“Flicker Vertigo” — which occurs when a strobe light flashes at 1Hz to 20Hz, which is in the frequency range of brain waves).

Wireless pulses are much more rapid than a strobe light, and they pulse in the frequency range that cellular processes occur, causing serious issues with their function over time. In other words, we don’t consciously think 100,000x times per second, but our cellular processes are happening at that speed.

The body’s nervous system and cells communicate via extremely low-intensity electrical signals. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that rapid electromagnetic pulses impact the function of our cells and nervous system.

Studies have shown EMFs effects on the body include:

EMFs can penetrate all the way into and through our tissues — thereby potentially affecting every cell in our body.

EMFs come in various types (wireless pulses, magnetic fields, and electric fields), but these all negatively impact the body by sneakily interrupting or interfering with the body’s processes.

The greatest harm from EMFs is to people who already have weakened health status.

Therefore, EMF can be a major source of the factors that cause disease. It’s important that people take at least modest steps to reduce EMF exposure.

As the 4G network grows and 5G networks go live around the world, it’s important to understand what these technologies are doing, how they behave, and what you can do about it.


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How Do We Improve?

Remove the bad, add the good.

Of the four stressors, rank each in order of how much they hold you back. Then, pick one to address.

Is your circadian rhythm clearly weak? Start here!

Is your gut health struggling? If so, it’s causing toxicity, harming sleep, compromising your immunity, and causing nutrient deficiency. Start here!

As you strengthen one area, your knowledge will grow and you can improve the other stressors, as well.

Add Good Habits

To improve your health, you’ll have to add good habits into your life.

What are those good habits?

  • Getting daily sunlight and additional infrared light.
  • Cleaning up sick buildings (or getting out of them).
  • Caring for our digestive health.
  • Eating meals at the proper times.
  • Caring for our circadian rhythm.
  • Moving a little bit every day.
  • Addressing nutrient deficiencies safely and wisely.

When we understand the stressors and add these good habits, it’s incredible what we can achieve for our health, no matter the severity of the situation.


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The Big Picture

One Step At A Time

We don’t change our life all at once.

When we take one step at a time, we can begin to build a truly restorative life.

One that includes healthy light habits, sleep habits, digestive health, food choices, and environmental health.

Light boosts immunity, improves digestion, breaks down toxins in the bloodstream, and is #1 factor in sleep quality.

Light also improves mood, brain chemistry, and thyroid health.

Sleep is the backbone of immunity and gut health, the frontlines of improving nutrient absorption, the realm of autophagy (a partner of detox).

Melatonin is anti-cancer and restorative to the gut.

Gut health affects pathogenic load (70% of the immune system is in the gut), nutrient absorption, toxicity (waste is removed via the gut), & sleep (if your gut is poor, sleep will likely suffer).

Mold can cause pathogenic fungal infection in the gut, nose, and mouth (and possibly elsewhere around the body).

Mold impairs nutrient absorption (worsened gut health), produces toxic byproducts (mycotoxins and other VOCs) in buildings.

Food matters for:

  • Immunity against pathogens
  • Nutrients provided to the body
  • Exposure to endo- & exo-toxins
  • Sleep quality. Food must be well-digested.

Nutrient balance affects:

  • Immunity (minerals & fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin C)
  • Optimal detoxification
  • Sleep quality (via vitamins & minerals)

The thyroid does have an indirect effect on:

  • Immunity
  • Nutrient levels
  • Toxicity
  • Sleep (especially)

This is because the rate of metabolism controls how much energy is available for all biological functions. Less energy means weakness, system-wide.

Here’s how your location can affect you:

  • Immunity. Through exposure to toxins & pathogens.
  • Nutrient levels. Via poor gut health
  • Toxicity. Through exposure to, pollution, environmental toxins or endotoxin from worse gut health.
  • Heavy mold or EMF exposure can seriously impair sleep in some people.

(return home)

As a supporting member, you’ll enjoy access to all resources — as well as ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group. — Travis

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

Categories
Big Picture

9 Concepts

Focus your energy on what really matters.

What Matters Most For Your Health?

In a world of too-many-options, and a thousand social media figures clamoring for your attention, which paths make the most sense for our health?

In choosing a path, it’s best to keep an eye on simplicity, sustainability, and what will deliver true results — even after the initial excitement (and rebalancing from previous habits) wears off.

If the goal is to truly improve or recover health, here are some fantastic places to build from.

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Blue Light

Why Is Blue Light Bad?

Blue light is rapidly becoming a hot-button issue in the health world.

Its effects on brain chemistry, stress hormones, the thyroid, and — most of all — sleep, are quickly moving this issue from a “fringe topic” to a mainstream concept.

The most direct negative effect blue light has on your health is on sleep quality. Why? Your body needs darkness at night for melatonin to rise properly.

Bright light — and especially blue light — instantly lowers melatonin levels in the brain. Exposure to blue light at night — when melatonin needs to rise to initiate sleep — will disturb your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and (most of all) wake up feeling refreshed.

Bright light at night as been linked to cancer, as well as many other diseases.

Blue light at night impacts everyone, but is most harmful to those struggling with health challenges.


How To Reduce Blue Light At Night

  • SCREENS — Dim your screens: TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets
  • INDOOR LIGHTS — Choose low-wattage incandescent bulbs, amber bulbs, or red LED bulbs. Around 8pm, lower the lighting around the house. Wear yellow, orange, or red glasses before bed to block blue light.
  • BEDROOM — Use blackout curtains to block light from LED streetlights, and don’t allow electronics in the bedroom that have bright lights.

SUMMARY

When melatonin is low, sleep will suffer. The best way to harm your melatonin? Bright, blueish light at night.

Read more.

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Morning Light

Dark Nights. Bright Mornings.

Morning sunlight is one of the most healing, restorative habits available.

The circadian rhythm is being proven to control nearly every function and organ in the human body.

Morning light revs your circadian rhythm exactly as nature intended it to: by lowering your melatonin at the beginning of the 24-hour wake/sleep cycle.

Morning sunlight is much brighter than indoor light, yet gentle and rich in healthy red spectrums. This wakes you up and signals to your brain the precise time of day.

Studies show bright morning light is healthy for many reasons (even for weight loss), but its effects on the circadian rhythm are certainly the most profound. Researchers who found morning light to be effective for weight loss suggested even this result was due to the light’s circadian rhythm benefits.

The circadian rhythm impacts every single aspect of the body. If you want to fix your health, fix your circadian rhythm.

Morning light also tops the list for its impact on your mood and mental health. Who wouldn’t benefit from a better mental state as we improve and recover our health? Of course, there are also additional benefits from merely being outside in the fresh air.


How To Get Daily Morning Light

  • OUTSIDE — Get outside within the first 2-3 hours after sunrise. Heat lamps are a viable alternative when sunlight isn’t available due to weather or your schedule.
  • SIT OR STAND — Grounding via hands or feet is superior. Grounding in water is optimal.
  • GAZE — Gaze at the horizon, in the direction of the sun.
  • DURATION — The longer you take in the sunrise, the greater the effect on your circadian rhythm — but even a few minutes is highly beneficial.

SUMMARY

Morning light has immense benefits for the body and mind, and there’s no better way to start each day. With daily morning sunlight, we give our body its best chance for a robust sleep cycle — and robust health.

Read more.

3

Meal Timing

When chronically ill, food often digests poorly.

As such, eating habits can become haphazard and unstructured.

If that sounds like you, this is an opportunity to greatly improve how you feel.

Why? When you eat may be more important than what you eat (and what you eat is pretty important).

There are many common mistakes concerning meal timing:

  • Eating too late in the day.
  • Skipping meals (especially breakfast).
  • Eating & grazing all day.

Eating at the best times also locks in the circadian rhythm more deeply. The act of eating signals “daytime” to the human brain. When combined with wise light habits (morning light + reduce blue light at night), smart meal timing will set the stage for a deeper sleep.

Getting a proper feeding schedule back is critical to improving and recovering your health.

The Bodily Rhythm Should Look Like This:

Eat, then digest.
Eat, then digest.
Eat, then digest.
Sleep.

Every day!


How To Time Meals

With some slight wiggle room, the best times for meals are:

  • BREAKFAST — 7AM — Or, within 30 minutes of waking. (6:30-7:00AM is the optimal wake-up time).
  • LUNCH — Noon (or slightly before)
  • DINNER — Finishing before 7PM.

Not hungry at the appropriate time?

Try to eat at the proper time anyway — over time, it will establish the correct meal times in the body’s clock.

Sleep will improve, digestion will improve, and many other benefits will arise along the way. After a while, eating at the right times can get much easier and begin to serve the body well.

SUMMARY

Every cell, every organ, and every bodily system runs on a schedule — including the digestive system. Eat at the right times every day to help optimize digestion, heal the gut, and fix the circadian rhythm.

Read more.

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4

Sleep & Wake Time

Consistently wake up and go to bed early.

Late nights can be fun and absolutely worth the time spent deepening friendships and making memories.

However, what more typical evenings?

Chronically late bedtimes and wake-up times are certainly harming to health.

The circadian rhythm is among the most important regulators of the body, controlling digestion, inflammation, immunity, mental acuity — and more. It’s important to protect sleep and wake times at (nearly) all costs when trying to recover or improve health.

Enjoy more energy, digestive health, immunity, and brain function — just by shifting sleeping hours forward.

The Perfect Sleep Schedule For Optimal Health

SLEEP: 9:30PM
WAKE: 6:30AM (or sunrise)

SUMMARY

Start sleeping on a schedule. Just give it a few weeks. When combined with other steps in the Sleep section, the circadian rhythm can become a powerhouse for health and recovery.

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Macro Ratio

So many diets ignore the macronutrient ratio.

The “macro ratio” refers to the amounts of carbs, protein & fat eaten in a day (or in a meal).

Why Is Balancing “Macros” Important?

First, all three macros are required to make hormones (which directly affects sleep, digestion, immunity, and energy levels).

Excellent macronutrient balance also supports balanced blood sugar levels, making it a staple of diabetes management.

Your body is actually made of all three macros, too: Many people might know the body is made of fat and protein, but even carbohydrates are utilized in cell membranes to keep the cell stable in solution.

Muscles store energy in the form of glycogen, a carbohydrate. The body may have a pound of glycogen stored throughout the body, to be used for energy.

We need all three macros — and for them to be in balance in the diet.

What’s A Balanced Macronutrient Ratio?

A 2:1:1 ratio (carbs : protein : fat), measured by calories.

The 2:1 Carb-to-Protein Ratio

This ratio is a perfect middle-ground that can support the metabolism, optimize gut health, and supply proper nutrition.

Highly active folks may need more carbs — perhaps a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein.

Begin by exploring the carb-to-protein ratio (2:1 vs 3:1 or maybe 1:1), then figure out how much fat is required per day. Fat intake may affect hormone production: so watch sleep and libido.

Low fat is typically be less than 50-60g per day, while high fat might be doubling that (this will, of course, vary by body size).

SUMMARY

The “macro ratio” may be a huge step in journey to health.

Track your calories for a few days (using Cronometer) — and then figure out if you need to improve your ratios to something like 2:1:1.


Read more.


6

The Big Nutrients


Ultimately, all nutrients matter for chronic illness — a lot.

However, not all are equally important, at first.

Here are three big nutrients you need to figure out before you worry about other things.

Vitamin D

Many folks with chronic illness are low in Vitamin D.

Sunscreen has been popular for decades. In illness, it’s common to stay indoors a majority of the time.

If these two scenarios present, and there has been no supplementation, Vitamin D levels are almost certainly low.

How To Fix Low Vitamin D

UV LIGHT

Vitamin D is created from UV-B light.

SUNSHINE — Get UV-B light via sunshine!

  • 20 minutes every day with skin exposed) weather
  • Minimum: 2x/week

TANNING DEVICE — at home or a salon

  • (1x/week — bed must contain both UV-A and UV-B).

SUPPLEMENT

Low-dose Vitamin D supplements (2000-4000 IU/day for 1-2 months).

  • Supplements are inferior to sunlight for vitamin D, for many reasons
  • Go slow. Overdosing on Vitamin D is common and harmful

COFACTORS

Vitamin D’s partner nutrients are necessary to support absorption and allow Vitamin D to function properly in the body.

The main cofactors for Vitamin D are:

  • Magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K2
  • Smaller cofactors: Zinc, Sulfur

Sodium/Potassium Balance

Sodium is not harmful in and of itself — it’s an essential nutrient that most people need more of.

How is this possible? Most people who limit sodium intake actually just need to increase potassium (and magnesium, calcium, etc). It’s being low in these other minerals that makes sodium relatively high. Sodium is high in relation to its partner minerals, and bringing levels up of those partner minerals will bring sodium back into balance.

And those of us who are struggling to recover our health? We often need extra sodium. This is because the body wastes sodium (among other nutrients) in hypothyroidism. It seems that most people with health issues are low in all nutrients — and those levels for all nutrients can’t rise until we bring sodium levels up, first.

A more healthy person will need to bring up potassium levels, first. Most young, healthy folks should make their first step raising potassium levels via their diet or a simple potassium supplement (which can allow for a clear “personal test” of one’s response after taking potassium).

And yes — there are many (around 30) other nutrients to think about. But you’ve got to bring up these big nutrients, first, and then bring up the rest.


SUMMARY

Trying any health approach without first understanding (and mastering) vitamin D, sodium, and potassium levels could amount to time and energy being misused.

Read more.


7

Your Environment

The modern environment is a smorgasbord of variables that can negatively affect your health.

Here are the three ways your indoor environment(s) might make your health worse:

  • Air Quality
  • EMF
  • Light

Air Quality In Your Home

Air quality suffers because modern buildings are trapped spaces with little air flow from outside (where air is almost always MUCH cleaner).

Trapped air means that chemicals on new products (flame retardants, etc), and cleaning agents remain in the house for long periods of time instead of dissipating.

Trapped air means mold issues get worse. VOC’s, mycotoxins, and spores given off by mold growing (in walls or in HVAC systems) builds up over time — causing your body to become more and more sensitive to these harmful compounds.

Trapped air means humidity can rise in your home. Trapped air can also mean radon can build up over time. Really, trapped air means any levels of anything troubling can rise — air turnover is what protects against this.

Unfortunately, oxygen levels will never rise inside your home from trapped air. Oxygen is depleted as inhabitants breathe — and the highest concentrations of oxygen are in outdoor air.

AIR QUALITY SUMMARY

Notice air quality as you go about your day. Clean regularly, maintain building systems, never let water damage your home, and use your nose to smell for musty smells.


EMF In Your Home

Cell towers within 1000 feet of your home can present a problem, too.

EMFs are fields around electronics. Radio-frequency fields are emitted from all wireless devices — you should limit your use of this technology. Become aware of WIFI routers, bluetooth emitters, and smart devices. Either disable their wireless functionality, or turn them off completely. This is particularly important at night, during sleep.

Ungrounded electrical wiring also presents a large risk to your health — as do grounded wiring that wasn’t installed correctly. You’ll need an EMF meter to adequately test fields in your home or work, and I highly recommend you purchase on. The Cornet d88t is the best meter without spending over a thousand dollars.

Make sure you aren’t sleeping close to EMF emitters — including electrical outlets, wireless devices, and breaker boxes.

EMF SUMMARY

Sleeping or working next to strong EMF sources may crash your blood sugar, lower melatonin, cause inflammation, and cause more metabolic stress. Put distance between EMF sources and your bed — and learn to disable wireless functionality when not in use (or leave it off, like I do).

Light In Your Home

The ideal living space would have lots and lots of natural sunshine pouring in all day. If this isn’t possible, you’ll need to get incandescent and halogen bulbs rather than LEDs and fluorescent bulbs — which are very harmful to sleep, the brain, the eyes, and hormone balance.

The older types of lamps (incandescent & halogen) are truly full spectrum and emit lots of healing, soothing infrared light. The newer bulbs do not.

Remember to make your home dim before bedtime. Bright light in the eyes directly inhibits deep restorative sleep.

LIGHT SUMMARY

The light in buildings can promote health, or harm it. Take steps to improve the healthful properties of indoor light sources.


SUMMARY

Sick buildings make people less healthy. Become educated about buildings and their health. Sleep, thyroid, gut health, blood sugar, and more are affected by building health.


8

Mind The Gut

Is now a good time to improve gut health?

For most people, improving gut health can be as simple as take 1-3 proven supplements, cleaning up your diet, and improving the circadian rhythm.

In more difficult cases (which are becoming extremely common), gut health can feel tricky. Addressing it can be uncomfortable and overwhelming, even.

What’s Happening In The Gut

When the symbiotic relationship in our gut microbiome begins to fail, it can be very, very uncomfortable. These are living organisms living inside us, digesting our food, and affecting our tissues, nervous system, hormones, and even emotions.

Improving the health of your gut is incredibly important for long-term health.


SUMMARY

Don’t wait to address your gut health. You can 1) incorporate gut supplements, 2) improve your diet, or 3) focus on elements that indirectly improve gut health (light, sleep, movement, environment).


Read more.


9

Daily Infrared

One of the most consistently beneficial practices found in health research.

There is a lot of hype about infrared light these days — and for very good reason, the research is excellent. There is an equal surplus of products.

Studies show that many frequencies of infrared light stimulate, soothe and protect every bodily function

  • digestion
  • sleep
  • energy
  • metabolism
  • mood
  • wound healing
  • recovery after exercise
  • recovery after injury
  • recovery after surgery
  • liver health
  • brain health
  • digestive health
  • immunity

If you haven’t experienced just how incredible infrared light can be, I urge you to find out soon. Make it one of the first steps you take.


We feel most infrared wavelengths as heat.

SUMMARY

Few things are as important for the improvement of health as daily infrared light exposure.

Read more.


10

Discussion

Endless Paths To Follow

In your health journey, there are so many different directions you could go.

It’s possible some ideas will bring you progress and relief. Unfortunately, it’s also possible some will be a waste of time — or worse — cloud the picture with incomplete ideas that will be hard to let go of.

Ultimately, what matters is what works in the long run. To find that path, it helps to know what helps most people and, ultimately, what works for you.

These 9 Concepts Are Compatible With Any Approach

The 9 Concepts will fit with nearly any health approach.

Make these nine steps the foundation of your sustained improvement.

To ignore these critical steps could hold back your recovery. So many folks don’t know about these truly foundational concepts — and continue to wonder why their sleep, digestion, mental health, and energy levels aren’t improving.

Finally, these steps can certainly kick start your progress, pushing you further along your path than you’d achieve without them.

I’d be personally thrilled for you to join our movement, get access to the resources and, if you like, become involved in our discussion group. — Travis

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. $6/mo.

Categories
Food Gut

Intermittent Fasting

Time-restricted eating is heavily promoted in the online health sphere and for good reason: It offers potential benefits that go beyond the diet.


1

What Is A Feeding Window?

When we intentionally eat at specific times and avoid eating the rest of the time, this is called time-restricted eating.

Rule 1

Eat only when the “window” is open.

Example: The window is open from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Rule 2

Fast (don’t eat) outside the window.

Example: Stop eating after 5 pm –> until the next morning at 9 am.

There Are Many Variations

There are all sorts of odd methods, (such as “one meal per day” or “36 hour fast/12 hour binge”). The more extreme the approach, the larger the amount of risk.

However, the most popular approach is an 8-hour feeding window. All calories for the day are eaten between 9am and 5pm.

There are some variations to the 8-hour window, but 9AM-5PM is the safest, most effective option for most people.

Intermittent fasting is eating within a window of time — and fasting the rest of the day.


Intermittent fasting is also known as
“time-restricted eating.”


2

The Benefits Of Time-Restricted Eating

There are definitely some interesting effects when eating this way.

Questions To Ask

  • Are these benefits available to everyone?
  • Are these benefits sustainable in the long-run?
  • Is time-restricted eating the only way to achieve these benefits?

You can lose weight.

  • You’ll probably eat fewer calories. It’s difficult to eat as many calories in a short time span.
  • Going hours and hours without eating causes your body to burn through its glycogen stores and burn fat for fuel.

It can be convenient.

  • Your whole day “opens up” when you don’t need to stop and eat.

Temporarily benefit gut health.

  • Microbes living in your gut largely determine gut health.
  • In poor gut health, bad microbes are fed at every meal.
  • When fasting, bad microbes are not fed — which means virtually zero endotoxin is released (by the bad microbes) for many hours of the day. This can represent a powerful relief from “systemic endotoxicity” caused by poor gut health for much of the day.

It can increase autophagy.

  • Autophagy — When the body cleans up old, junk proteins inside cells.
  • Occurs when food is not being digested — beginning after about 12 hours of fasting.

You can avoid circadian mistakes.

  • Eating is a signal to the brain that it is daytime.
  • Daytime eating tells the brain “It is daytime.
  • Therefore, eating at night confuses the brain’s clock, dysregulating the circadian rhythm.

Possibly improved NADH to NAD+ ratio.

  • A higher NAD+ ratio (to NADH) is associated with better longevity and metabolism.
  • This research is entirely in its infancy. Many notice no improvement from attempts to boost this ratio. It’s possible this ratio reflects, rather than causes, improvements in health.
3

What The Science Says

Perhaps surprisingly, the research about intermittent fasting is scant.

There simply aren’t many studies performed on the subject of time-restricted eating. Given how much internet attention this approach is enjoying, it’s amazing how little science is out there to back it up.

However, there is a 2018 study that demonstrated that time-restricted eating improved the following markers in pre-diabetic men, even though none of them lost weight:

  • insulin sensitivity
  • blood pressure
  • oxidative stress
  • appetite

The 6-hour feeding window these men followed was 8am to 2pm.

Therefore, the suggested benefits of time-restricted feeding are largely theoretical.

3

Many Options

There are many ways to implement a feeding window. Here are examples of different popular approaches.

2-Hour

Feeding Window

This is essentially “one meal a day” (OMAD).

Typically, one massive mid-afternoon meal.

4-Hour

Feeding Window

Typically, four hours of intense grazing — or, one long meal.

8-Hour

Feeding Window

Highly popular, though somewhat extreme for many.

Two meals per day is the most common method, here.

Two popular Options
  • 9am-5pm
  • 12pm-8pm

12-Hour

Feeding Window

A more sustainable option.

Three meals per day works, here.

5

Who Benefits?

Some folks might benefit from experimenting with time-restricted eating.

Those who could benefit most from intermittent fasting are those struggling with:

  • Poor gut health
  • Controlling calories
  • Needing to “change things up”
  • Needing a plan to follow
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight problems
  • Fatigue
6

The Risks

The challenges of intermittent fasting are not often mentioned, but they can be significant.

Skipping… Breakfast

It’s extremely popular to skip breakfast when following an 8-hour window.

This usually results in a 12-8 feeding time, with meals eaten at lunch & dinner. This can result in lots of afternoon snacking, too, to make up for inadequate caloric intake.

While the potential problems with skipping breakfast aren’t a terrible threat for most average people who just need to control caloric intake, it is still quite far from optimal.

The main issue: Research suggests that eating earlier in the day is better for all sorts of health metrics: weight, circadian rhythm, gut health, inflammation, hormone balance, and more.

8

The Best Option

The best meal timing is time tested. It even, perhaps, boring.

But it works — in all sorts of situations, goals, and health challenges.

Meal times are all but disappearing in modern society. In fact, only 27% of people eat three square meals per day.

Instead, 3/4 of Americans are eschewing meals and snacking whenever they can find a minute in their day.

What’s more? New research is showing the benefits of time-restricted eating can even be found with a large eating window of 16-hours. That’s hardly a feeding window at all.

Perhaps intermittent fasting is developing to combat the erosion of our meal times — to prevent us from snacking all day without any structure.

Three Meals Per Day

Our grandparents’ generation knew what they were doing — at least when it comes to meal timing.

This generation ate at times that supported every single biological function. They at early. They ate often. They stopped eating pretty early.

Back then, a typical daily meal schedule might look like this:

A traditional “three meals” is essentially a 12-hour feeding window.

Eat Dinner As Early As You Like

The best feature of eating three square meals: Folks without blood sugar instability can nudge dinner earlier to lengthen the overnight fast.

Earlier dinners will create a longer fasting window overnight while sustainably supporting high-energy performance throughout the day.

An earlier dinner means finishing dinner by 6 pm.


9

A Solid Approach

Benefits Of “Three Meals” Per Day

Eat Early

Take advantage of the metabolism-boosting effects of a solid, early breakfast.

Eat Often

Support the metabolism by skipping the extremely long fasting periods.

Eat Enough

You aren’t trying to squeeze an entire day’s food into a small window, just so you don’t fall short on calories.

It’s Sustainable

This way is likely to serve you well indefinitely. No gimmicks, it just works.

Eating shortly after waking up each morning is best for your metabolism and your circadian rhythm.

Finishing dinner by 7 pm is perfect for sleep.

  • You’ll have plenty of time for digestion to begin before bedtime.

No approach adequately solves as many problems as “three meals a day.”


10

Experiment!

The spirit of experimentation is almost always a good thing.

Especially for those who “need something different,” feeding windows can be a great way to change things up.

Feeding windows can counter the constant snacking that’s dominating modern society.

What’s the main risk with diet experimentation?

Some dietary theories teach dangerous theories and bad habits. Some instill fear of entire food groups. Eating disorders among health-seekers are all-to-common in the growing internet health sphere.

Don’t keep bad theories and bad habits after the experiment is over. If something isn’t truly serving you — and producing results — leave it behind.

Finally, over the long run, don’t forget that eating “three meals a day” — at proper times — is potentially the most optimal approach, because it:

  • Creates a sustainable “feeding window”
  • Promotes sleep
  • Support a strong metabolism
  • Allows for a “fasting” period

Read more:

This page is for members.  We’d love for you to be one!
 

As a supporting member, you’ll enjoy access to all resources — as well as ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group. — Travis

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

(return home)

Categories
Food Gut

How To Fast

Why does fasting help some people?

Because there’s a big problem with eating during poor gut health: The microbiome poisons the body after meals.

Even healthy microbiomes do this to a small extent. But an unhealthy gut overloads the entire system with endotoxin after every meal — causing lethargy, brain fog, bloating, and discomfort in the body. In response, inflammation rises, nutrients are depleted, and we feel cold and tired.

It’s the opposite of how we should feel after eating: warm and energized.

Even healthy food can feed bad microbes in the unhealthy gut.

Eating food will feed the microbes that reside in the gut — whichever types are present.

In dysbiosis, the GI tract is dominated by lots of bad microbes, which means an increasing number of foods eaten will overwhelmingly feed bad bugs.

In the dysbiotic gut, even healthy food can feed bad microbes.

Enter: fasting.


1

Can Fasting Be Improved?

Fasting gives the gut a break, and therein, gives the body a respite from the onslaught of endotoxin it receives after each meal.

The body can even activate its autophagy, cleaning up the bloodstream and cells.

This relief from endotoxin is a major component of why many feel better during temporary fasts or restrictive diets.

Fasting Is A Somewhat Temporary Solution

However, simple fasting — or, eating nothing for a few days — may lack the firepower to cause a more permanent shift in one’s digestive health.

“Bad microbes” can be incredibly hardy; they can survive in the gut (or outside it) without food easily for a couple of days. Most are able to hibernate, ready to activate once food reappears.

Therefore, besides the temporary relief and a brief uptick in immune function, the results of a traditional fast may be short-lived, leading folks to fast repeatedly… or indefinitely.

There are also some long-term risks to frequent fasting: a slowing of the metabolism or, sometimes, worsened sleep due to insufficient caloric intake.

Make The Benefits Last

Can the concept of fasting be improved? Yes, it can.

A fast is an opportunity to directly tackle the health of our gut microbiome.

By augmenting a fast with gut-restorative supplements and foods, it can represent a chance to truly “reset” the gut’s microbiome.

In more severe situations, it may also beneficial to “prime the pump” by clearing out the gut via a short liquid fast (2-3 days) of raw, pressed fruit & vegetable juices. Including lemon and herbs (such as garlic and ginger) in the fresh juices is an excellent step.

In the big picture, an augmented fast (which includes gut-healing supplements and foods) represents a last resort before considering antibiotics & antifungals to address pathogens in the gut.

The Improved Fasting Process

2

Liquid Fast

(Optional Pre-Step)

The Goal:

To Clear Out An Unhealthy Gut

When the microbiome is dominated by unhealthy flora, it may be best to clear out the gut. This allows gut-restorative foods and supplements to work more directly inside the gut.

Warning: It is possible to “strip” the gut with too much “colon cleansing.” This should — at most — be done rarely, with caution, as a last resort, and with consult of your doctor.

3

The Gut-Healing Fast

Follow parts 1 & 2 simultaneously.

Gut-Restorative Foods

Part 1

Eat Exclusively “Gut Healing” Foods

Some foods are so healing that they directly improve gut health when eaten. These are the foods that should be eaten during this period.

Three qualities make a food “healing for the gut.”
  • Antimicrobial (kills pathogens)
  • Probiotic (supplies new good microbes)
  • Prebiotic (fibers that feed good microbes)
Healing Foods List:
  • Raw or Manuka Honey
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Coconut Water
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil (high quality, extra virgin)
  • Celery (whole or juiced) or Carrots (whole)
  • Any “Bee” Product (Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen, etc)

For the most part, these foods will be raw and unheated to preserve enzymes. However, not all raw foods are equally helpful to the gut. Furthermore, a “raw diet” is not a magical solution to heal the gut. Stick to only the best foods best results.

A small amount of meat may be tolerable in some people.

Gut Supplements

Part 2

Choose Any Gut Supplements

Antimicrobial Herbs

Oregano is a powerful antimicrobial. OregaRESP combines oregano with other potent herbs like cinnamon and cumin.

View on iHerb.com

Other herbal antimicrobials to combine:

Colostrum

Colostrum has multiple benefits for the gut: it kills pathogens, boosts immunity, and feeds good microbes.

View on iHerb.com

Colostrum also helps regulate blood sugar and gut motility — both excellent qualities during a fast.

Prebiotics — (Pectin, FOS, etc)

Prebiotics feed beneficial microbes in the gut. Not all prebiotics are equal. Apple pectin is particularly gentle, regulates blood sugar, binds to toxins, and promotes the growth of beneficial microbes.

View on iHerb.com

Probiotics

Probiotics populate the gut with healthy microbes. The Garden of Life probiotic is the gold standard, in my opinion. Start with one pill (or even half that, if necessary, by opening up the capsule and mixing in water).

These probiotics are refrigerated, meaning they may be best purchased from a local store. Not all delivery methods will ensure that they arrive cold. If the product is delivered warm, it likely will not retain its potency beyond a couple of weeks.

Enzymes

Enzymes are a huge factor in the gut’s immune system, attacking and killing pathogens by “eating” through their cell walls. Supplemented enzymes also help break down food for better nutrient absorption.

View similar option on iHerb.com


4

Total Calories Per Day

Eating gut-restorative foods provides much-needed fuel for the body during a fast while also improving gut function.

Fruit is excellent for some folks, but in others, the sugar/fructose can feed bad microbes. Honey may be a much better choice due to its antimicrobial properties.

Just as “gut supportive” foods are superior to a strict fast, eating more calories — when from gut-healing foods — is usually better than severely undereating.

Eating enough calories will enable better sleep, provide needed nutrients, and keep the metabolism higher. This is superior to having insomnia due to hunger pangs and insufficient fuel. It also is better than lacking nutrients, which are necessary for recovery.

That said, it’s common for sleep to improve even during a true fast. However, this is not sustainable for long. A few good nights of sleep during fasting is probably the most one can hope for.

It’s better to eat adequate calories from gut-improving foods and provide fuel to the body.

After all, your body needs ample energy to recover and fend off illness.

Minimum: Half The Calories

Do not go below 50% of your normal caloric needs.

Ideal: Eat 75+% Of Caloric Needs

If you can eat 75-80% of your caloric needs — you can extend the fast longer, even to several weeks.

The main goal here is to eat enough to enable good sleep. A secondary goal is to give you enough energy to be active during the day, keep the metabolism up, and have energy to improve, heal, and recover.

You might be surprised by how well-nourished you feel, even at only 80% of your caloric intake, when the gut is digesting foods well. (This might especially shock people coming from a pro-thyroid background). I’ve seen many hypothyroid people sleep great when undereating — particularly while doing an “augmented gut fast.”

Obviously, as the fast comes to a close, we transition to more normal foods and higher, proper caloric intake.

Find Your Caloric Needs

You don’t need to be precise with calories. There is no correct amount of calories during this time. Remember, we are trying to fix the gut, here, because its dysfunction is holding you back more than anything else. Whatever supports gut restoration is best, so listen to your body and your gut. If you feel more (restorative) food is a good thing — go for it.

5

How Long Should I Fast?

Eating less than 50% of your daily caloric needs?

1-2 Days, Max

One or two days might be the longest you should fast when eating very little.

Eating 75+% of your daily caloric needs?

5-10 Days

If you get enough fuel — with exclusively or mostly gut-healing foods — you can extend the “fast” for quite a bit longer.

During this time, we seek to shift the gut microbiome’s population as much as possible — away from dominance by pathogens and toward healthy, diverse populations of beneficial microbes.

Anytime we eat below our caloric requirements there’s a risk of malnutrition and slowing the metabolism. Therefore, the more calories you can eat during this time, from gut-supporting foods, the better.

6

Frequency

How often should we fast like this?

Not Often

This doesn’t need to be done too frequently.

It’s common in fasting groups for folks to fall in love with (or, rather, become dependent on) fasting. It’s common to see folks who repeatedly fast for weeks, ceaselessly “detoxing.” Perhaps this never-ending fasting is a signal that the approach isn’t working.

As always, caloric intake will determine how long the fast can last — and how frequently it can be executed.

Short Fast (1-2 Days), Once Per month

It may be sustainable to do a short gut fast once per month — for 1-2 days per month.

LONGER FAST (3-10 Days), A Few Times Per Year

A more intense version of this fast should only be done a few times per year, at most.

Of course, after the fast, continue a wise gut routine, and return to eating normal, healthy food in proper amounts.


7

Fasts + Fiber

The liver constantly filters and purifies the blood, removing metabolic waste, endotoxin, and other harmful substances.

Fiber Soaks Up Liver Toxins

Once the liver removes toxins from the bloodstream, these toxins must make a long journey before they leave the body.

Toxins must transit through the entire intestines before they’re excreted in a bowel movement.

For this detoxification process to work, toxins need to be soaked up by fiber upon entering the intestines.

Without fiber, liver toxins (frome bile) will not stay in the gut — they’ll be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This continual reabsorption of toxins back into the bloodstream can wear out the liver over time — and lead to chronic inflammation, impacting nutritional status, energy levels, sleep, and further damage the liver.

For long-term recovery of health, it’s important to trap the liver’s bile toxins with fiber, thereby keeping harmful substances inside the gut where they belong until elimination.

Fasting Fiber — Choose A Prebiotic

Fiber can be difficult to digest in poor gut health.

Therefore, it’s wise to take a gentle fiber that won’t be fermented by “bad” flora — such as: a great prebiotic.

Apple pectin is an incredibly effective and gentle prebiotic. FOS is a close second.

Pectins have an ability to trap toxins (they’re called “binders” in the detox and mold communities for their ability to “bind” to toxins in the gut), yet they also behave as prebiotic fibers to feed “good” microbes in the gut. Pectins can improve blood sugar control in diabetics.

Charcoal is an average-at-best option, in small doses. It can be constipating, though, and generally does very little to improve the long-term health of the microbiome, but may soak up toxins and slow motility in the gut during a liquid fast.

Fiber is needed during this “fast.” Fiber’s inherent function — to soak up toxins excreted by the liver — is a critical component of restoring and improving health.


8

Should I Eat Meat?

(or other proteins)?

Protein can be good during a fast.

It facilitates liver detox, a healthy metabolism, hormone production, sleep, and more.

Protein can also keep your energy levels up throughout the day — so you don’t have to become a hermit while you fast.

If meat is well tolerated (or you tend to do well on a low-carb, high-meat diet), eating some meat during your “fast” could be beneficial. Be sure to make it high-quality meat: lean toward fresh, organic, grass-fed, cage-free.

However, if meat doesn’t digest well, you should almost certainly skip it during a fast.

Protein powder could be an option. However, the only protein powder I feel comfortable recommending is a whey (cow or goat’s milk) such as:

Plant proteins (and some whey) are being found to have high levels of heavy metals. Use protein powders sparingly.


9

Become Well-Rounded

These Topics Will Optimize Your Fasting

Chances are, if you don’t understand these topics, a fast will not be as effective.

Why? Because gut health is a symptom of the lifestyle. The circadian rhythm, light exposure, and nutrient status greatly affect gut health.

Without that foundation, the results of a fast will likely be short-lived, or worse, a failure.

The principles outlined in these topics can prevent years of headaches, deepen sleep while eating less food — and help you come out of the fast ready to capitalize on the new progress.

Complete expertise in these areas is not required before you fast. However, when you feel somewhat comfortable with these topics, you’ll have a better chance of success with a gut health fast. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to fixing your health, and this holds true for your gut.

Your Environment Controls Your Gut

A last thought. If you’re struggling with gut health, there could be something wrong with your environment — either currently or in the past.

Long-term mold exposure is a direct recipe for disastrous gut health and, if ongoing, can absolutely derail any attempts to restore digestive wellness.

EMF (from wireless technology) is rapidly becoming a big problem in the developed world, too. It can directly disturb blood sugar levels, sleep quality, and the microbiome of the gut. If you’re quite ill, you’ll likely benefit from mitigating your exposure to it, as well. Getting to know your environment doesn’t have to be an overwhelming obstacle.

As a supporting member, you’ll enjoy access to all resources — as well as ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group. — Travis

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

(return home)

Categories
Gut Symptoms

Digestion

In 2013, 74% of Americans were living with digestive issues. It’s likely that number has only grown since. What’s going on?

SYMPTOMS OF POOR GUT HEALTH
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Food Intolerances
  • Limited Diet
  • Poor Appetite
  • Stomach Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Food Allergies

The gut is the main hub of your immune system. When gut health is poor, your protection from invasive pathogens is weakened. Your nutrient absorption suffers, too, and with it, all bodily functions suffer. This is a recipe for long-term disease, but it can be reversed.

To restore great gut health, we must develop a competent gut health routine that involves more than diet and supplements, alone.

DIGESTION: Rating Influences

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Discussion

(1)

Influence On Digestion:

10

To improve the gut, we must understand what we’re trying to fix.

Gut health depends on many factors, including hormones, nutrition, diet, and sleep. However, the gut flora are where the rubber meets the road.

These microbes digest our food, release nutrients for us to use, and fight off infection. 

Manipulating your gut flora — building up “good” flora and increasing hostility against pathogens — is critical to improving your digestion long term.

(2)

Influence On Digestion:

10

It’s not obvious how deeply light affects digestion. It should be.

Gut health is linked to the quality of light your body receives through the course of the day. 

UV light (from the sun) on the skin directly changes the makeup of the microbiome in the gut — and the effect is independent of the effect of Vitamin D.

Learn more about improving the light you allow in your life, and watch your digestion improve over time.

(3)

Influence on digestion:

10

Your circadian rhythm directly controls your gut health.

Your entire body runs like a super high-functioning business — and everything needs to run on time. 

When you throw off your sleep schedule, you throw off your body’s ability to tell time and therefore, coordinate its functions.

In circadian disruption, immunity suffers quickly — and, as a result, one of the first systems to fail is the gut.

(4)

Influence on digestion:

8

Your food matters, but eating a limited diet won’t solve gut problems.

Simply avoiding the foods that cause the most symptoms is the first step to improving your gut health.

However, we can set a long-term goal: To restore your gut health so you can eat all the wonderful, natural foods that provide necessary nutrients and tastes you crave.

After all, one of the most important dietary recommendations for great gut health: Eat a diverse range of natural foods.

(5)

Influence on digestion:

8

Nutrient balance can have a fantastic effect on your digestion.

Proper nutrition is mission critical for every bodily function — and this is particularly true for gut health.

Without adequate nutritional balance, the gut simply cannot absorb food properly, nor turn extract energy from food.

Correcting nutritional deficiencies — which are common in poor gut health — can help your body turn food into energy for your body to use. This, in turn, powers your body to overcome challenges via better metabolism, sleep, digestion, movement, and detoxification.

(6)

Influence on digestion:

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(if applicable)

Mold can wreak havoc on the gut microbiome. 

Constant inflammation, high cortisol, and a weakened immune system — if you’re having major gut issues, it’s worth considering whether you might be (or have been) exposed to mold in your home or place of work.

Fungal issues can be at the heart of many pernicious ailments — and with mold being a fungus — getting a handle on what your immediate environment is exposing you to may be of immeasurable value.

Be prepared, modern buildings are susceptible to mold and, therefore, it can be an involved process to remediate them.

(7)

Influence on digestion:

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(if applicable)

Your immediate environment determines the quality of the air you breathe in your home and work. High exposure to chemicals (flame retardants and other chemicals from newer products) or radon indoors can overwhelm the body with toxins and directly harm your gut and whole body.

Heavy metals (mercury from broken fluorescent lights), and EMFs can affect your ability to properly digest food, as well. 

Keeping your home clean, becoming more aware of the potential issues with your home or work, and taking methodical steps to improve your environment are necessary steps to taking control over your environment.

(8)

Influence on digestion:

7

Exercise directly improves the health of your digestive tract.

Daily movement is critical for improving bile flow and blood flow to the gut. It also keeps the metabolism and detoxification processes humming along.  

The digestive system is like riding a bike — things must keep moving through the system or you’ll fall.  Moving daily keeps your bike moving and balanced.

Any amount or type of exercise that you can tolerate and sustain is what’s best for you. Find something doable and, preferably, that you enjoy!

If you’re open to a recommendation, swimming gentle laps is an incredible exercise for all people. Sit in a sauna afterward if you can!

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

(return home)