Guest Post, By Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D.
We all get gut instincts. We might pass up what seems like the perfect promotion or decide to go on a trip without understanding why. Sometimes we’re queasy about a seemingly friendly co-worker or we’re inexplicably drawn to a stranger. In India’s ancient healing system of Ayurveda, a pure or sattvic lifestyle boosts intuition and higher states of consciousness. A walk in nature, loving thoughts, daily meditation and a bounty of organic, plant foods are all sattvic. From a physiological standpoint, a diet chock full of seasonal veggies, fruits, legumes, grains, dairy, seeds and nuts boosts healthy gut flora. But do you realize those bacteria actually determine our health, mood, thoughts and personality? What we consume, and ultimately what we digest, actually makes us who we are.
Modern medicine is proving the three pounds of bacteria in our colon called the microbiome is the bedrock of health — something Ayurvedic doctors knew thousands of years ago. As a neurologist and Ayurvedic practitioner, I believe this teeming metropolis will revolutionize healthcare in the 21st century. Our gut harbors bacteria, fungi and other microbes we need to survive. These single-celled organisms digest food, make vitamins and train our immune system to banish intruders. They also make most of our serotonin, dubbed the feel-good hormone.
Microbes have been around longer than us humans — several million years longer. Believe it or not, each one of us has ten times more microorganisms than human cells. Each of these tiny citizens has its own DNA. We simply can’t outnumber these guys. We want to befriend the good, or symbiotic, bacteria that thrive on heaping platters of rainbow-colored vegetables and sun-ripened berries plucked from the bush.
Bad bacteria prefer processed foods pumped full of unrecognizable ingredients. The western world’s fast food smorgasbord — devoid of prana, or life force — is a feast for harmful flora. These parasites mushroom with unnatural doses of sugar, salt and fat— things like pop tarts, soda pop, waffles and fried chicken — and even through seemingly harmless staples like bread and pasta. While our ancestors ate wheat berries for strength in the winter, most of today’s wheat bread is a blend of refined flour, added gluten, sugar and fillers we can roll up in the palm of our hand.
Eating out of tune with nature destroys our healthy bacteria, degrading the intestinal walls — and quickly. A five-day study out of Harvard and Duke Universities showed that gut flora shift in as little as one day! Researchers divided two camps of eaters. One group ate meat, eggs and cheese; the other team got fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts. By the end of the five-day study, scientists could look at a stool sample and know definitively which group it came from. For the carnivores, several undesirable species became more common. One bug can cause inflammatory bowel disease in mice, and another can increase the risk of liver cancer. At the least, the study shows how quickly our diet changes our community of bacteria.
Stacks of new studies prove our microbiome is a key factor for our health. I saw this in my medical clinic time and time again. Neurology patients with conditions like Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease suffered from stomach issues for many years before they saw me. Constipation, bloating and gas are canaries in the coal mine, signaling an unhealthy microbiome. Yet, I found even highly motivated patients weren’t able to change their diets through sheer will power. An out-of-check microbiome controls our cravings. In my book The Prime: Prepare and Repair Your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss, we use Ayurvedic strategies to restore the body’s innate intelligence. Cravings shift spontaneously. Our gut becomes smarter and we’re able to receive its messages. Our mind becomes clearer and we can more easily access higher states of consciousness.
Whether you consider yourself generally healthy, have nagging symptoms you can’t kick or live with a full-blown disease, I consider this detoxification essential in today’s polluted world. We feed our good guys while sending the bad guys running for cover. We flush out toxins holding us back from our true potential.
I see so many people regain their vitality, digestion, sleep and mental acuity. Many lose weight too — just a beautiful side effect of healing the gut. But I won’t ask you to change your diet. That’s doing it backwards. Shift your gut bacteria and cravings shift spontaneously.
We know that each human being contains a world of teeming and interconnected bacteria. As we nurture them, they nurture us. We get healthier, happier, stronger and, yes, even more intuitive.
Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary is a physician, neuroscientist and Ayurvedic practitioner who has helped patients reverse neurological disease using a blend of integrative medicine and Ayurveda. Her book The Prime: Prepare and Repair Your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss lays out her protocol to flush toxins, calm inflammation and heal the gut. Her 16-week experiential coaching program The Prime Club offers in-depth videos and Q&A sessions with Dr. Chaudhary, as well as the loving support needed for sustained change. Learn more at https://theprimeclub.com.