Here at MJB headquarters, we cleanse twice a year and it’s always in the transitional seasons. I put together this little article to shed some light on why we do it from a physical point of view. It’s important to remember that there is a social aspect also. When we come together after a long winter we are reminded of social potential and celebration, this is the strength point of our October cleanse. Then in April as we head for winter again a social reminder that we have a team around us and we can draw upon the safe and caring connections made in the cleanse for support as we roll into the cooler months.
What is cleansing?
-Limiting food and fasting gives digestion a chance to pause, giving the immune system a chance to kick in.
-Increase in water.
-Aid in the elimination of toxins from your body
-Recognize and overcome sugar cravings and addictions
-Restore good bacteria in your gut
-Kick start weight loss
-Restore your body’s natural energy levels
So why do we do it?
Basically, it’s to get our body in line with the greater order of nature.
– Change in our natural habits.
– As we start to move more our body needs different nutrients.
– Weight loss or gain depends on the seasons. Need more weight.
The term “gut microbiota” generally refers to a dynamic community of about 100 trillion microbial cells harboured within the human gastrointestinal tract, and the term “human microbiome” refers to the about 3 million genes (mostly from bacteria) harboured by these cells. The microbiome is a community of microbes — eukaryotes, archaea, fungi, viruses, bacteria — that act together within a specific environment. They are directly responsible for the health of that environment and the way it functions, collaborating to confer benefits that can help an organism thwart stressors and invaders, and make it overall more resilient.
There are two ways we get delivered information about the gut biome. One is a general overview of basic principles delivered by health coaches and wellbeing experts and then jargon-heavy information from gastrointestinal experts.
It’s such a complicated subject because it’s one of the most complicated systems of the body and is only gaining recognition now.
Just to give an insight into how complicated this is, the biome has between 2 – 20 million genetic codes, we have 20.000. Just think about how new and exciting the discovery of genes was in medicine, to contextualise that the first genetic organism to be engineered was in 1973. Now everyone is scrambling to know more about the gut biome and many are going so far as to say gut health is responsible for all of the body’s healthy functioning. Think about those numbers for a second 20,000 to 2- 20 million. This means we know about 1% of the genetic material that drives our body, the other 99% is still mysterious and unknown. However, it’s been looked at historically the point is now scientists are really putting the spotlight on the microbiome and its function within the human bioorganism.
Microbes and their genes produce a large number of signalling molecules and these instruct metabolites. Metabolites affect every system of the body, especially the immune system. Metabolites are generated by food components that with the help of biome stimulate amino acids like tryptophan, which works with generating serotonin (think sleep, metabolism and general wellbeing) which works through the vegas nerve, feeding directly into the emotional regulatory system of the brain. Here we see this loop of health. The microbiome helps stimulate serotonin production but they are also affected by serotonin, this creates a feedback loop in the body of peak health as the gut biome begins to act more like serotonin. Biome also turns tryptophan into kynurenine which plays a role in neurodegeneration, and here we start to get a really clear picture of the body-mind connection, which looks more like the gut-brain connection when we get down to the nitty-gritty of the science. There is so much biochemistry here that I won’t get into it, even if I could.
What I would like to bring your attention to is the gut lining. We’ve all heard the saying ‘leaky gut’ This saying was coined about 10 years ago and what it refers to is a process that happens when the gut mucus lining is reduced and the gut microorganisms come in direct contact with the immune sensors, this leads to an activation of the immune system which allows microbes to get into the gut-associated immune system again stimulates the greater immune system. This creates metabolic endotoxemia, which means basically the bacteria has left the gut and is in the greater human organism, this puts the immune system into a continual state of shock and activation. This creates stress on the body and here we see another feedback loop in the body, one of dishealth (it’s an old English word, but I’m gonna use it). This loop happens because stress, along with the food we consume, is a contributing factor to the reduction in the gastric mucosa, and the gut lining. So stress reduces the mucus and then the biome hit the nervous system, creating stress and around we go.
So what affects the biome we have, the healthy ratios of good bacteria or even the absence of essential microbial organisms? There are three main areas to look at here. Foods and lifestyle, the early colonisation of the gut in infancy and increased medical practices such as an increase in hygiene and excessive use of antibiotics. The theory is the microbiome is very adaptable but the gut takes 10.000 years to evolve. Our diet has radically changed in the last 70 years and our bodies just haven’t been able to adapt. This has huge repercussions for overall health. There is consensus that the disruption of the gut microbiota (termed “gut dysbiosis”) is influenced by host genetics, diet, antibiotics, and inflammation, and it is closely linked to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. Basically, poor gut health is linked to inflammation in the body which causes heaps of problems. So gut health my friends is where it is at and this is why we cleanse, essentially to help restore healthy gut activity.
Biome in the soil changes and if we are eating seasonally then we have the ability to sync our bodies with the tides of nature. This process creates resilience and boosts immunity.
During the winter, we tend to slow down; the cold keeps us indoors and we become more sedentary. More waste accumulates within our bodies because of this, so this is why we spring clean. Alternatively in Autumn, our body is getting ready to store fat and slow metabolism. Again a connection to seasonal food helps our bodies to recognise this natural pattern and adjust as needed.