Gut busting – a nine-day gut-cleansing programme that works
Over the past few years nutritionists and doctors have started to highlight the importance of having a clean gut, which means a gut which is properly balanced in terms of bacteria and also able to both digest food and pull out nutrients efficiently.
An unclean gut has too much bad bacteria and (this is the yuk bit) pounds of undigested food which just sits there clogging up your intestines.
In his book ‘10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat’ Dr Frank Lipman states that when the microbiome is out of balance ‘your brain and gut suffer, your metabolism slows down and your whole body becomes inflamed’.
The symptoms of an unclean gut include:
Constipation and gas
IBS, acid reflux
Weight gain and inability to lose it no matter what the diet
Brain fog and poor memory
Depression, self-doubt and anxiety
Hormone imbalance and increased menopausal symptoms
Lowered immune system
Muscle pain and fatigue
So it is little wonder that more and more health experts are advocating a bi-annual gut cleanse. We can almost hear some of you wincing at the thought of colonic irrigation – but a gut cleanse is very different. It is a process of cleansing through clean food, keeping off all gut-inflaming products, using herbs and vitamins to boost elimination and nutrition and then lots and lots of water.
There are many protocols available on the internet, but beware that the vast majority are designed to sell supplements, usually at a very high price and very high promises. Any supplier who tells you that their product will ‘melt away fat in days’ is probably to be avoided.
This Sassista made up her own two week protocol and had it checked by a nutritionist. It is a little gruelling at times, but the benefits were immense.
Step 1:Checkwith your doctor if you have any doubts about your health or ability to do a gut cleanse.
Step 2: Get prepared. Set a date. Ensure you can do ten days straight where you can rest, cook your own food and avoid socialising where you might be tempted to break the diet of non-alcohol regime. Invest in a good body brush and get a large pack of Epsom salts for detox baths every night. You will need to buy herbs, supplements, clean food and, if you do not have one, a blender or Nutribullet. The checklist is:
Herbs: Dried wormwood*, turmeric, cinnamon, fresh parsley, fresh basil, cloves
Supplements:Berberine, vitamin C, a good gastrointestinal supplement (I used Dida), psyllium husk, a very high quality acidophilus to put good bacteria back in your gut. *
Foods:Spinach, a lot of salad leaves, avocado, limes, celery, apples, raw ginger, flaxseeds, sweet potato, coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut yoghurt, almond milk, fresh salmon or trout, houmous, lean chicken, cabbage, broccoli, onions, (red things for borsch), red peppers, a good bouillon powder such as Marigold, olive oil. If you can manage a budget for organic foods – all the better.
The foods you will be stripping right out of your diet are: wheat, sugar, animal milk, alcohol, high sugar fruits, coffee, fizzy drinks.
So now you are ready to go. The ten day protocol is:
Day One:24 hour cleanse fast. For a whole day you only drink wormwood tea (put two spoons of dried wormwood in a teapot and cover with boiling water, drink like green tea) and 3 litres of water. Three times in the day you take berberine, psyllium husk, vitamin C and the gastrointestinal supplement. At the end of the day, body brush and have a long soak in an Epsom Salt bath and go to bed early. Some people feel pretty grim by about 3.00 in the afternoon especially if they are used to caffeine and sugar. If you do, drink warm water and lie down – it will pass.
Day Two:24 hour nutri-boost.For a whole day you only drink five green smoothies spaced over the day. (See our Great Green Smoothie recipe). Keep to the same supplement protocol as day one. Keep going with the wormwood and 3 litres of water.
Day Three: 24 hour soup cleanse.Today is about making lovely nutritious and cleansing soups and introducing the good bacteria. I made a big cabbage soup with just onion, cabbage, carrots, spinach all chopped and simmered in the bouillon. I don’t blend too much in order to keep a fairly solid consistency. Keep up the supplement protocol but add in the acidophilus.
Day Four: Bring back the protein.Today start with two soup meals – pear and parsnip is rewarding while bortsch just sings with feel good colour. In the evening have grilled salmon with a big green salad.
Day Five: A little more normal.Start with a green smoothie, have a snack of celery and houmous at mid-morning, lunch is grilled trout and salad, dinner is soup. Supplement protocol and acidophilus. Cut water to 2 litres a day.
Days Six to Ten. Keep to the system.Every day starts with a smoothie – either green or berries and veg; lunch is grilled light protein (fish, chicken) and plenty of salad, steamed green veg or roasted sweet potato; evening is a warming soup. Two snacks a day of coconut yoghurt, houmous, a few nuts with a low-sugar fruit. Supplement protocol continues.
So what can you expect?
Well this Sassista embarked on a gut-cleanse after 2 years of eating a very good diet, moderate exercise, water and still gaining 20 pounds, bloating, getting tired, low and sleeping badly. At the end of ten days I see the following:
Clear skin and better hydration
Eyes which look Persil white and bright
No tummy bloat
Improved sleep – night sweats stopped
Weight loss of 5lbs
A few odd changes I had not expected – I wake up earlier feeling rested, my ankles no longer hurt in the morning, I walk faster and hit my fitbit steps goal earlier, when I sweat in the gym it is not as strong!
So was it worth it? Absolutely. More than that it was far from a chore – the food is lovely. The only thing I missed was a glass of red wine – but by day three I had forgotten it. If anything, I will keep going – another ten days another few pounds and a flat tummy, here I come.