If you’re locked down in more ways than one right now, you’re not alone!
Isolation constipation is a thing. It can be defined as a change in bowel movements as a result of changes in your daily routine. Maybe before you were going to the loo every day – and now you’re struggling to go three times a week.
Changes in your daily routine can lead to something called “gut dysbiosis,” or damage to the bacterial ecosystem living inside your gut. Gut dysbiosis can lead to – you guessed it – constipation!1
Why is this happening?
1. Change in routine
Your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, is determined by the gut bugs that live inside your microbiome. These little critters love routine – and they hate change! So the combination of stress, staying indoors, lack of exercise and – just maybe – some comfort eating? – can play havoc with your bowel movement schedule.2
2. Lack of exercise
Studies have shown that insufficient physical activity and sedentary behaviours are associated with increased reports of constipation.3 And although we all started out lockdown with mighty YouTube intentions, some of those may have now fallen by the wayside…
3. Eating more junk food
Shopping habits have been disrupted, and it’s tough to resist comfort eating junk when things are emotionally challenging. Sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods all play havoc with your microbiome.4 Damaging your gut bugs means they do their job less efficiently, and are slowing and less effective at digesting your food. Result? It sits in your system for longer.
4. Not eating enough fibre
Fibre doesn’t just “keep you regular.” It’s actually food for your gut bugs. The trillions of living bacteria inside your gut microbiome require 21 different types of fibre to survive and thrive. If you’re not eating a diverse, fibre-rich diet, with at least 30 grams of fibre per day (most of us get 10-15 g daily) then your gut bugs are fibre-deprived.5 As above, damaged gut bugs are less efficient at moving food through your system.
5. Not drinking enough water
Water is critical to keep things moving through your digestive process. When you’re dehydrated, water is being hoarded by the body because it needs more than it has, so it is reluctant to let any water go. Rather than using your water stores to cycle out waste from all of your cells, you are retaining that water within the body, thus also holding on to all of the byproducts of your bodily processes. Drinking water will help your cells cycle waste out of the body, flushing out excess water as well.6
So, what can you do to get things moving again?
6-Week Gut Cleanse
This process happens in two steps. Your gut microbiome is a natural ecosystem, just like a garden. And just like your garden, first you’re going to reduce the “weeds” or pathogens, and have a good clear out. And then you’re going to re-seed with the good guys!
Step One: Gut Detox.
Weeks 1-3: Take 3 cups Gut Cleanse tea + 170 ml kefir daily.
The kefir works to suppress pathogens, while simultaneously adding beneficial bacteria into the mix. Our kefir has six different strains of Lactobacillus, known as a “nursemaid strain,” that prepare the ground for other types of beneficial bacteria and foster their growth.7
The Gut Cleanse Tea contains dandelion, burdock and yellow dock. These herbs both naturally aid constipation and help clear the toxins out of your body. Like dandelion and burdock roots, yellow dock root is traditionally used to improve conditions related to a sluggish digestive system, such as liver dysfunction, acne, headaches, and constipation.8
Step Two: Gut Rehab
Weeks 4-6: Take 10 g Complete Prebiotic + 170 ml kefir daily.
After three weeks, it’s time to stop taking the Gut Cleanse Tea. Detoxes should never be taken for longer than three weeks, as they can deplete the system. Now that the toxins are cleared from your system and the bad bacteria have been knocked back, it’s time to introduce the Complete Prebiotic. This will feed the beneficial bacteria that have been introduced into the gut by the kefir.9
Keep taking the kefir the entire time, to continue to push the balance of bacteria toward the positive side. Remember, there are two armies of bacteria inside your gut: the good bugs and the bad bugs.
Sugar and processed food feeds the bad army, and kills off the good army.10
Once you start changing the population of bacteria inside your gut, you’ll find that it becomes much easier to resist sugar cravings and make good food choices. This is because your gut bacteria actually control your cravings, through your vagus nerve.12
You need to really exert your discipline for three weeks or so, while you get the bad bugs under control. After that time, you’ll find that your cravings get less, and it’s easier to resist the sugar cravings.
Feed the army that you want to win!