Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bone Broth Cleanse - Total Gut Repair

Before my Christmas break (at the end of my second quarter) I decided to finally take the initiative to repair my completely damaged gut. I've experienced digestion and skin issues for as long as I can remember. I always THOUGHT that I was eating 'healthy' and that I could eat whatever I wanted to since I was an athlete, but come to find out - I'd been damaging my digestive system which ultimately impacted me in many other ways. I also learned that our digestive system is closely connected with our brain and our immune system! In 2007 I was diagnosed with 'ulcerative colitis'. Something I was told that I'd have to live with for the rest of my life. I could take expensive steroids every day OR I could control it with de-stressing activities, a proper diet, and exercise. Something inside of me knew that taking medications for the rest of my life wasn't the right choice, and I feel that my own 'innate' took me down the right path leading me to the amazing profession that I am apart of today - chiropractic. After many years of trial and error, I realized that even though I was putting GOOD, HEALTHFUL FOODS into my body, my digestive system was so damaged that it couldn't even handle the good micro/macronutrients that I was supplying it. In November 2013, I went to a workshop at Dr. David Jockers office (a chiropractor in the Atlanta area) and heard about his 'bone broth cleanse'. I reached out to Dr. Jockers and began this crazy journey that I'm about to share with you! 

Symptoms that I'd been experiencing for many years prior to the cleanse:
1. Constant gas and bloating
2. Extremely painful sores inside of my mouth and sometimes on my tongue
3. Acne
4. For a short period of time I had something that looked like a rash on my hands, ankles, stomach, and chin
5. Instant stomach ache from certain foods
6. Troubles sleeping (ever since I was a child)
7. I would get sick every year

Choices that I THOUGHT were 'healthy' and good for my body:
1. Eating A LOT, and constantly (as early as 6 am until as late as 9 pm)
2. As an athlete/runner I thought that I should be consuming as many carbohydrates as I could: bread, pastas, oatmeal, granola, etc.
3. More fruit (and sugary fruit!) than I really needed in my day
4. Little meals and snacks throughout my day
5. As a vegetarian I was eating a lot of beans, eggs, soy, and nuts

Here is a link that describes the purpose of the cleanse and how to do it!

To sum up my bone broth cleanse (the length of each phase depends on the individual and how severely damaged his/her gut is):

First Phase: For 12 days I consumed ONLY homemade bone broth between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm (intermittent fasting). I typically had 2-3 large bowls depending on my schedule. Throughout the day, even outside of the 8 hour eating window, I drank as much liquid as I could. The liquids I could consume included water, apple cider vinegar, water with lemons/limes, and herbal teas.
I took a raw women's supplement, Vit D3, Fish oil, and a hefty detox supplement called AdaptGen/Terra Firma from a company called Beyond Organic. The supplement can be found here.

Most people ask me how I felt during this phase:
I actually felt really great! My body would tire out very easily but I was extremely focused mentally.
If I ever felt tired of sluggish I would take a shot of coconut oil or butter to give myself some energy. I won't lie to you - the first 2-3 days were NOT FUN. I felt nauseated in the morning which was most likely due to any parasites and bad bacteria 'dieing off'. I also didn't feel great probably due to all of the toxins that were trying to be excreted from my body. But I had to push through, keep taking my supplements, and drink as much water as I could.

I DID NOT exercise. I went to yoga a few times and did some light walking, but other than that my muscles didn't have any fuel to run off of

Now I know that this sounds like absolute starvation and torture to some of you but I'll explain why this phase is so important. So much of our energy is directed towards our digestive system because we are constantly eating and needing to break down those foods. Restricting myself of calories, sugar, fiber, etc. gives my digestive system time to rest and repair itself and allow for my nervous, immune, and endocrine systems to utilize that energy. That's why I was so mentally awake! My brain didn't even know what to do with all that energy!! I obviously didn't want to completely starve myself of any nutrients and calories so that is why I ate/drank bone broth. You can see from the picture posted above that homemade bone broth is great for gut repair, detoxing, reducing inflammation, etc.

I lost an unnecessary 10-15 pounds during this phase but I've already put back on 7-9 pounds of good fat and muscle! :)

Second Phase: On Day 13 I stopped with the bone broth and started to introduce LIVING, FERMENTED, CULTURED foods.

This included:
-raw cheese
-fermented veggies
-amasai (cultured dairy drink)  

Each food was slowly introduced with only a few tablespoons at a time. I had to listen to my body and see how it reacted when introducing these foods and then I could slowly bump up the quantity.

Around day 15 or 16 I introduced steamed vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts.

I continued with my daily supplements (I was now finished with the hefty detox supplements) and included a probiotic supplement.

The purpose of this phase is to introduce GOOD BACTERIA into my body. If you are unfamiliar with how important your gut bacteria is, then check out this video

Third Phase: Now, I honestly messed up this phase of my gut repair program. I was home for Christmas break, staying at my parents house, it was my boyfriends birthday, and I was in a friend's wedding.

The purpose of this phase is to slowly re-introduce foods to see how I reacted to them. So I'd add in a little bit of meat (organic chicken, beef, etc.), steamed vegetables, and protein smoothies.

If I ate something and had a stomach ache or bloating within the next hour, then I knew that I couldn't tolerate it. There's also an allergy test that you can do on yourself by checking to see if your heart rate increases after eating something. I could also tell if my body was unhappy with something by looking at my skin.

Foods I found that I CANNOT tolerate: 
-nuts ( :( )
-any wheat, flour, grains
-I haven't even tried eggs but I most likely cannot tolerate them (I was eating so many eggs, the same thing with nuts - I probably overdid it )
-hard liquor

The biggest thing for me was fixing my skin issue. My skin was looking much better until about the 4th week/third phase because I introduced foods too quickly and I had eaten some things that I shouldn't have.
My acne is better than it was, but I'm going to try another mini bone broth cleanse this weekend and re-introduce foods more slowly this time. It may just take a few tries and my gut might need some more time to heal or I could still have a hormonal imbalance.

Other improvements from doing this cleanse:
- I can tolerate raw cheese and cultured dairy drinks which I NEVER would have been able to previously to this cleanse!
-Regular bowel movements
-I have more energy
-Regular menstrual schedule
-No more painful sores in my mouth! (which is a huge thing for me because I had them my entire life and no doctor or dentist could help me)
-I feel like I'm at a healthy weight (I was pretty in shape to begin with but I feel like I've shed some 'bad weight' and put on healthier fat/muscle)
-I now continue to intermittent fast (only eating between ~11 am - 7 pm)

Some things that I did throughout this cleanse to help rid my body of toxins (we are exposed to toxins EVERY DAY!) 
-Coffee Enema
-Dry Brushing
-Epsom Salt Baths
-Sweat session in a sauna
-Hot yoga

This bone broth gut repair/cleanse is great for ANYONE to do...whether you have digestive issues or not. Dr. Jockers explained it to me in this way: Our digestive system is like a computer that needs to be rebooted. We can't have it running 24/7! The same with our brain and muscles, right? We need sleep to shut down our brain and let our bodies heal....our muscles need a day off from the gym so that they can rest and recover. The same goes for our digestive system and it's better to have your gut in a proper state of healing and functioning NOW, rather than waiting until it's a problem later down the line or in our old age.

Another MAJOR COMPONENT to this was keeping up with my chiropractic care. Our nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) control EVERY SINGLE FUNCTION of our cells, tissues, and organs in our body. This system is so important that our skull and vertebral column were created to protect it. The brain sends messages down the spinal cord and out through our nerves to tell our cells/tissues/organs what to do and essentially 'keep them alive and running'. If our vertebral column isn't aligned properly, it puts pressure on those nerves which interferes with the messages from the brain. For example, if our heart isn't getting a clear signal from the brain, it CANNOT function at 100% - leading to dysfunction and ultimately disease. If there was an interference with my nerves going to my digestive organs, no matter how much bone broth I drank or how many supplements I took, my digestive system would not be able to function at 100%.

It starts with a properly functioning nervous system first and foremost! With that, a healthy diet, exercise, and minimizing the amount of toxins in our body we can live life to our fullest potential and achieve great things!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at