“You are what you eat”, the old adage goes.
As a regular subscriber to the NarkSide, you know just how little stock we put into cliches.
So, in true NarkSide flair, let’s scrap that cliche… That’s right. Wipe that line from your minds.
Swap it instead for a little piece of reality I like to call: “You are what you assimilate”.
You are what you absorb… Not just what you cram down your throat.
This isn’t to say that my previous rants (i.e. if you eat shit, you’ll look like shit) are negated however.
I see you fatties… piling the pizza and cheesecake in, literally eating yourselves to death.
A collective chuckle from the world’s health nuts? Don’t think for a moment that you’ve been left out of this rant.
So many of us in the health and fitness lifestyle take intestinal health for granted… indiscriminately piling gobs of protein and carbs into our stomachs in the hopes of adding lean muscle.
We exist on the flip side of this discussion… ironically mirroring the very behaviors we demonize… via ingesting similarly large amounts of supposedly healthy foods with absolutely no regard for form or function.
“But it’s healthy Nark.”
Gorging is healthy?
Thanks for the tip bub.
To clarify and correct however: The results, surprisingly, are pretty similar.
Indiscriminate food ingestion, regardless of whether the food choice is ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’, leads to bloated/distended abdomens, flatulence, lethargy, and poor elimination.
“But how could that be Nark? Surely we’re more healthy than they”, the health nuts among you must be saying.
“Who gives a rat’s ass Nark? I can pop some antacids and be fine in the morning”, the couch potatoes are saying.
Memo to both groups: “Shut yer trap”… You’re both equally wrong!
Undigested food sitting there rotting there in your gut is the same, whether it is of healthy origins or not.
Ergo the generation of toxins et. al. will be similar… Again, regardless of its origin.
Your digestive tract…that 30-foot tube which people tend to take for granted, is the foundation of your health.
Let me be more clear: neglect (and/or abuse) your digestive tract, and expect your health to degenerate.
Well… it should be simple… but, as is human nature, we tend to over-complicate things.
We allow ourselves to be governed by our taste buds, as opposed to our actual needs and responses.
e.g. Individual A is lactose intolerant, as well as allergic to grains.
Milk products give her flatulence, gut distension, lethargy, and sometimes diarrhea.
Grain products give her water retention (which denotes a systemic allergic reaction), and lethargy.
Systemic allergic reactions lead to impaired glucose tolerance.
Impaired glucose tolerance leads to increased visceral fat.
Blah, blah blah.
Will she, knowing any of this, cut the offending foods from her diet?
The media and society teaches us that ‘everything’s ok in moderation’.
The actuality is, however, that this is BULLSHIT!
Let me reiterate: This. Is. BULLSHIT!
Would you down arsenic because it “tasted good”?
I’d fathom not… However, that’s basically what most people do.
And this is with regard to both ‘healthy foods’ and unhealthy ones alike.
Guys you’ve got to remember that this 30-foot tube you take for granted exists to deliver the substrates necessary to sustain life.
This tube needs to be in good condition to deliver needed nutrients to their critical absorption points.
Irritation impairs assimilation.
Let’s again refer to our opening statement: “You are what you assimilate”.
What happens when assimilation is impaired?
Let me give you an abbreviated rundown:
- Bloating, belching, burning, flatulence after meals
- Otherwise unexplainable headaches
- Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation
- Systemic reactions after meals (e.g. itching, water retention)
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after taking supplements
- Rectal itching
- Weak or cracked finger nails
- Dilated capillaries in the cheeks and nose (in non-alcoholics)
- Skin eruptions, post-adolescent acne, or other skin irritations such as rosacea
- Iron deficiency
- Chronic intestinal infections, parasites, yeast, unfriendly bacteria
- Undigested food in the stool
- Greasy stools
- Skin that’s easily bruised
- Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
- Chronic vaginitis (vaginal irritation)
Additionally, there is a school of thought which attributed other symptoms, such as impotence, loss of libido, infertility, muscle atrophy, cramps, joint pain, arthritis, autoimmune disease, vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome to malabsorption.
Major Causes of impaired digestive health:
- Poor and imbalanced diets. (NB: ‘Imbalanced’ in this instance refers to a too-heavy inclusion of sugars, starches, and ‘unhealthy’ fats.)
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Frequent antibiotic or drug use
- A poorly function immune system (NB: stress, including emotional stress can contribute to this. Poor eating habits can as well.)
- Intestinal infections
- Parasite infestation
- Systemic/Gastric Inflammation
(NB: a number of these are either related to or exacerbated by a poor diet.)
Steps to maintaining/improving digestive health:
1. Choose high quality, fresh and (freshly) frozen foods
Cutting down on canned/boxed foods, I’ve found, can lead to dramatic improvements in gastric health. Preservatives et. al. are highly irritating.
2. Chew thoroughly
Digestion of carbohydrates (starches, sugars) begins in the mouth via chewing, and the release of saliva and enzymes. Most people rush through meals, subsequently not chewing thoroughly. As a result, when food reaches your stomach, digestion is harder than it should be. The same goes for proteins. While the digestion of proteins doesn’t start in the mouth, the process of proper mastication can make digestion faster, easier, and more thorough.
Chewing is the first and, some would argue, most important stage of proper digestion.
3. Boost Hydrochloric acid output.
The second most important stage of digestion occurs in the stomach. What compound plays the ultimate supporting role in this enviroment?
You guessed it… Hydrochloric acid (HCl)!
While HCl does not by itself digest food, it initiates and supports the process.
It triggers the enzyme pepsin to break down proteins.
HCl also destroys pathogenic bacteria and parasites, eggs and larvae.
Heck, HCl also prevents colon bacteria from moving up into the small intestine.
Can you say bad-ass?!
It is both your primary signaling agent, as well as your first line of defense.
It can only do its job if it’s present in appreciably adequate quantities however… and this is where an increasing number of people meet their first issue.
Due to high-stress lifestyles and poor dietary habits, more and more people are producing less and less HCl.
Part of the solution can be found in supplementing with Betaine HCL and pepsin… This can be further augmented by reducing stress levels.
However, let’s face it… most of us can’t fathom doing less in a world that demands more.
At the very least however, you can add these supplements to boost HCl output, and digestive efficiency.
4. Supplement with digestive enzymes.
Digestion: Digestive enzymes assists the body in breaking down foods.
Assimilation: They can also improve the body’s ability to extract nutrients from foods.
Digestion + Assimilation: The basis of our entire discussion today.
To reiterate: You are what you assimilate.
I generally suggest going with two digestive enzyme formulas:
1. An all-in-one formula (which includes Lipase; Amylase; Cellulase; Lactase; Invertase; Malt Diastase)
2. A needs-specific formula. (e.g. If your protein intake is high, you’ll need to supplement with an additional protease formula…)
As a self-professed carnivove (lol) I’ve found great personal success with bromelaine as my primary digestive enzyme.
I’d suggest that you assess the type of dieting style you subscribe to (whether it be keto-dieting, moderate-carb, vegan etc.), and supplement digestive enzymes to suit.
5. Prebiotics/Probiotics Power!!!
Your intestines house loads upon loads of bacteria. Some are ‘good’, others are ‘bad’. The ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ generally dictates the state of our intestinal health. An imbalance favoring
the ‘bad’ bacteria can lead to leaky gut, an overabundance of bacterial pathogens, an overgrowth of yeast (e.g. candida) and illness.
Supplementing with probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks add healthy microflora to your intestines, tipping the balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ towards ‘good’. Adding susbtrates (like
organic apple cider vinegar) which feed the ‘good’ bacteria, can assist… so can utilizing specialized Probiotic supplements.
6. Fiber up and water down!!!
Yet another argument for the conscious ingestion of water I’m afraid.
This tip incorporates the inclusion of fiber however…as the two go hand in hand.
While all of the preceding tips relay ideas for maintaining health… I’m afraid that they are more or less useless if those backed up pipes aren’t cleared.
Here’s where fiber and water come in.
Fiber can be broken down into soluble and insoluble types… both of them being important to digestive health.
Basically, fiber adds bulk to stools… decreasing the transit time throught the intestinal track.
Insoluble fiber, which remains unchanged through-out, assists in the elimination of previously undigested matter which may have stuck to the intestinal wall.
Soluble fiber has the additional benefit of being a prebiotic… i.e. it feeds the ‘good’ bacteria.
Its byproducts (i.e. short-chain fatty acids) also offer numerous health benefits.
As stated above, water and fiber go hand in hand.
Soluble fiber attracts and absorbs water… thus increasing the bulk and softness of stools.
Water is as much of an essential component to proper elimination… as elimination is to assimilation.
8. Give your digestive system a break.
While I’m not a fan of fasting, I *have* done it on multiple occasions. As a bodybuilder, and avid fitness enthusiast, it would seem counterintuitive to eat nothing. Truth be told, I’m not telling you to eat nothing. I’m simply suggesting that, for a spell, you ingest foods that won’t irritate your digestive tract.
Simple pseudo-fasts can be done in this manner:
[Duration: 2 weeks]
For a 180lb male:
- Meals 1-6: 2 scoops hemp protein + 1 cup berries + 1 cup unsweetened hemp milk + 1tbsp flax meal + 1 tbsp hemp oil [stevia + cinnamon to taste]
- Prior to workouts: 10grams Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
- Post-workouts: 10 grams BCAAs
For a 120-140 lb female
- Meals 1-5: 1 scoop hemp protein; 1 cup hemp milk; 1 tbsp almond butter; 1 tbsp flax meal [+stevia + cinnamon to taste]
- Prior to workouts: 5 grams BCAAs + 1 cup berries
Post-fasting, we’d follow low-stress re-introduction phase: [Duration: 2 weeks]
For a 180lb male:
- Meal 1: 1 scoop whey protein isolate + 1 cup berries + 1 cup unsweetened hemp milk
- Meal 2: 3-4 soft-boiled eggs
- Meal 3: 4 oz steamed tilapia; 2 cups steamed broccoli; 2 tbsp oilive oil
- Meal 4: 2 slices ezekial bread; 2 tbsp organic almond butter
- Meal 5: 4 oz steamed tilapia; 2 cups steamed broccoli
- Meal 6: 1 scoop whey protein isolate + 1 cup unsweetened hemp milk; 1 scoop flax meal
For a 120 lb female:
- Meal 1: 3 soft-boiled eggs
- Meal 2: 1 slices ezekiel bread; 1 tbsp organic almond butter
- Meal 3: 3 oz steamed tilapia; 2 cups steamed broccoli; 1 tbsp olive oil
- Meal 4: 2 scoops hemp protein; 1 cup hemp milk; 1 tsp cinnamon
- Meal 5: 3 soft-boiled eggs
Narkissos’s gut-health supplementation regime:
Taken with every meal:
- Bromelaine 1000mg
- Betaine HCL 1000mg
- Pepsin 20 mg
- An all-in-one formula containing: Lipase; Amylase; Cellulase; Lactase; Invertase; Malt Diastase
Narkissos’s “Health-never-tasted-so-sweet” shake:**
1 cup unsweetened Hemp milk
1/2 La Yogurt lowfat unsweetened probiotic yogurt
1/2 cup “Irresistibles” Whole frozen Strawberries
2 scoops (30gr) “Jarrow Formulas” Hemp protein
2 scoops (30gr) Flax meal powder
2 dashes of cinnamon powder
6 ice cubes
Splenda/Stevia to taste
**Based on Sunset Sealy‘s “Breakfast Shake”
Happy assimilating guys!