By-Donna Gates for Selina Naturally®
The inner ecosystem is a civilization that lives in the small and large intestine. In a healthy body, this civilization consists mostly of neutral bacteria. Fifteen to twenty percent of the civilization is considered good bacteria, these are bacteria doing important things for the digestion of foods. Also, even in a healthy body, there are a small number of “bad” bacteria which do not throw the system out of balance. There have been over 400 different microorganisms identified that could live in the gut. Many of them, as I mentioned, are neutral. Bifidus and acidophilous are two microorganisms that are beneficial and important, especially if you eat dairy products. We need acidophilous in the small intestine and bifidus in the large intestine. The acidophilous in the small intestine processes the food so that when the food gets down into the large intestine where the bifidus are, they benefit from the efforts of the acidopholous. That’s an example of how a balanced civilization works together. As we have begun to learn about this garden of Eden in the gut, there are many misconceptions that we first believed were true, and then later have come to understand as only half the truth. Yeast is an example of this.
We have heard so much about candida yeast, many people have come to believe that yeast is a bad thing. But yeast can live in a healthy digestive tract and they probably play a more important role than we realize at the moment. We have not fully studied this world, we are constantly learning more about it. When most of the beneficial bacteria are destroyed, for instance, through antibiotic use, candida yeasts change from a neutral form into a pathogenic form. They are left in the inner world and they become greedy and rapidly multiply. They grow tentacles, then they burrow into the mucosal lining and create holes or what we now call leaky gut. They destroy the integrity of the mucosal lining which prevents proper digestion. Substances that should stay in the intestines leak out. The yeast themselves can leak through and move through the body carried by the blood. They can colonize anywhere. They can group to the base of the brain. They can’t get into the brain because of the blood/brain barrier. They can go up to the brain and secrete toxins that have a negative effect on the brain. They can colonize around the heart and around the liver, they can get into the lungs and ear cavities creating a serious fungal infection. People can die from this. That’s an example of what can happen when we destroy the good and the bad takeover. But this can be prevented. By establishing a large number of neutral and beneficial bacteria at birth and maintaining this bacterial balance throughout life, pathogens never have a chance to take hold in the body.
Good digestion is simply critical to good health; it builds healthy cells, healthy cell walls, a strong body, and a healthy immune system. Without good digestion, even the healthiest food turns into toxins. Beneficial bacteria are critical to good digestion. Primarily, bacteria an active role in the digestion of food, making sure that the nutrients contained in the food are broken down and carried to the cells. Beneficial micro flora also manufacture B vitamins (B-12, B-6, and B-3). Among their many functions, the B vitamins play a crucial role in the digestion of fats. We don’t often consider the process of digestion, but vital digestion is critical. Beneficial bacteria are necessary to this process. Without good digestion, the intestines become impure and toxic. Micro flora act upon poison, neutralizing them and even changing certain poisons into a beneficial product. For example, animal protein creates toxic byproducts in the intestine. The microflora can change these toxins into useful amino acids. Another function of the micro flora is biological transmutation. Sometimes the foods we eat may be lacking in certain elements, like magnesium or zinc. The microflora actually have the ability to transform, through biological transmutation, one element into another element more needed by the body at that moment.
Ideally the building of a healthy inner ecosystem begins before birth. For the nine months of pregnancy, a baby is inside a sterile environment. With the birth process, the baby is exposed to bacteria for the first time. Hopefully, the mother has a host of beneficial bacteria in the birth canal.There are a few simple steps every pregnant woman can take to assure that beneficial bacteria are passed along to her baby. First, she should add live cultured foods to her diet, especially cultured vegetables and kefir. Cultured vegetables and kefir contain the live microflora needed by the intestinal tract. It’s interesting that traditional cultures around the world have eaten cultured foods. It’s only now, in the fast-paced, processed food world of today that live cultured foods have disappeared. Let me clarify that Sauer kraut, for example, is traditionally a live cultured food. When it is canned, it has been pasteurized and the live bacteria have been destroyed. Another recommendation for pregnant mothers is to limit sugar consumption. Sugar is the favorite food of candida yeast. When you give them too much food, their numbers will grow and upset the careful balance of the inner eco system. Also, limit use of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Antibiotics most certainly upset that delicate balance. I always recommend that pregnant women eliminate unhealthy, highly processed oils and choose organic, unrefined oils. Use flax, evening primrose, pumpkin and borage seed oils in salad dressings to obtain a healthy balance of Omega 3, Omega6 and GLA fatty acids. Cook with coconut oil which benefits the thyroid gland and contains caprylic acid, an anti-yeast fatty acid. These oils are key nutrients needed to build a healthy brain, a healthy nervous system and a healthy immune system. Soon, I believe we will finally understand that fetal nutrition is critical and can literally determine the quality of a child’s health.
The use of antibiotics and the overuse of sugar and processed foods can deeply upset the balance of the inner ecosystem. Often, a baby who has been carefully nurtured gets sick. We need to understand that sometimes babies get sick often because they need to cleanse or because their immune system is trying to get strong. A mom sees her baby with a stuffy nose, having trouble breathing and feeling fussy and she calls the doctor. The doctor too often prescribes antibiotics. The balance of the inner ecosystem is immediately upset. Since the practice of eating cultured foods is practically nonexistent in our culture, where is the baby going to get beneficial bacteria? In Russia, babies are fed kefir at four months old. If a mom eats live cultured foods and breast feeds, she will pass along beneficial bacteria to her child. Unfortunately, as a culture, we don’t understand the importance of beneficial bacteria .We don’t look for the signs of unbalance in our children and in ourselves and we don’t know how to establish and maintain colonies of beneficial bacteria. For example, when a baby has colic, he is suffering from gas. One of the reasons for gas is a lack of beneficial bacteria. I have instructed parents of colicky babies to feed their children just the juice strained from the cultured vegetables. The babies get instant relief. The beneficial bacteria immediately begin working to aid digestion and prevent gas. These hardy bacteria will settle in the baby’s intestines and multiply. Because a baby’s intestinal tract is so clean, establishing a balance of bacteria is easy. The opposite is true of adults who have years of eating less-than-healthy foods which gum up and even block parts of the intestine. An adult’s large intestine is five feet long and their small intestine is twenty two feet long. That’s a vast and dangerous territory compared to the simple, clean, small intestinal tract of a baby.
The first food nature provides for a baby is breast milk. Breast milk is sticky and sweet and actually creates mucus in the baby’s intestines. Although it’s commonly believed that mucus producing foods are unhealthy, the mucus produced by breast milk is a clean mucus that coats the intestinal walls and provides a habitat for the bacteria. Without this bed of mucus, the beneficial bacteria could not colonize. Also, breast milk is very sweet, this sweetness feeds beneficial bacteria and allows them to flourish. So how can an adult duplicate this natural process in their own body? It is a difficult and tricky task to bring balance to an adult’s inner ecosystem. The first step is to cleanse the digestive tract. I recommend the use of colonics, enemas, herbs and an alkaline diet to achieve this. During this stage, a person will want to start eating an alkalizing, non-sugar diet. The principles of this diet are outlined in my book, The Body Ecology Diet. Through the use of this diet, the blood will become slightly alkaline like it is supposed to be, candida yeasts and viruses will die. Aiding the cleansing process is extremely important at this stage. As the candida yeasts and viruses die off, as the intestines begin to release toxic build up, the system becomes overloaded with toxins. Flu like conditions, rashes,
and headaches are just a few of the symptoms of a body trying to detox. Getting a colonic, or giving yourself an enema is an extremely effective way to help the body rid itself of this toxic buildup. Also, I recommend eating the cultured vegetables in the beginning because they are incredible cleansing agents. Cultured vegetables are rich in beneficial bacteria and enzymes, do in the gut. Another problem facing many adults attempting to re-establish this balance is that their intestines are inflamed and even leaky. The Body Ecology Diet helps heal the inflamed intestines. I also recommend drinking a good Aloe Vera juice. Putting one teaspoon of a high quality glutamine powder into one of the popular green drink formulas available at the health food store also helps to heal the inflamed gut. Once the intestine is no longer inflamed, and the leaky gut is sealed, it’s time to add kefir. Kefir is a cultured milk beverage. Although usually made with cow’s milk, kefir can also be made with soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, as well as sheep’s or goat’s milk. High in beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir also contains a wide variety of minerals and essential amino acids, the B vitamins, and Vitamin K. The protein in kefir is partially digested and therefore more easily utilized by the body. Kefir has a direct effect on the nervous system; in fact the word kefir means “to feel good.” Kefir contains tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Tryptophan converts to serotonin and healthy
serotonin levels eliminate depression. Kefir has a tart taste, and a thick liquid consistency. It makes a delicious drink when blended with fruit or sweetened with stevia. Kefir is a very important part of the Body Ecology Diet, but it cannot be added until the inflammation and leakiness of the intestines are healed. To start, drink only small amounts of kefir so that dairy loving bacteria can colonize. Without this bacteria, the kefir cannot be digested. This is a step by step process. Even after the kefir is introduced, I do not recommend adding fruits and other sweet foods. Initially, the goal is to repopulate the intestines with beneficial and even neutral bacteria. At this stage, it is great to mix some acidophilous and bifidus into the kefir because kefir will ensure these bacteria reach their destination points. The final stage is when fruits and sweet vegetables and a variety of grains are able to be added back into the diet. I recommend a whole food diet, with an emphasis on vegetables and sea vegetables for everyone. At this final stage, a balance now exists in the intestines so digestion is healthy.
-Donna Gates, The Body Ecology Diet