With your car, you can rely on a mechanic to perform maintenance. With your body, you do it yourself or it goes undone. A thorough knowledge of the entire digestive tract is necessary to allow you to perform needed maintenance procedures for your digestive system. It is important to understand the three basic areas of digestion: the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine.
The stomach and small intestine together are called the "upper intestine," or "upper GI." The colon and rectum are is known as the "lower intestine," or "lower GI." In the stomach, a load of hydrochloric acid is dumped on your food, transforming it into "chyme." After two hours of this kind of harsh treatment, chyme is moved into the small intestine where it is acted on by bile from the liver and digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Bile breaks down fat into fatty acids, so that lipases, the enzymes for fat from the pancreas, can break down the fatty acids. Proteinases breaks down proteins. Amylase breaks down carbohydrates and is secreted both in the small intestine and in the mouth.
Between hydrochloric acid, amylase, lipases and proteinases, the upper digestive tract breaks down the food you eat. When food has reached the end of the small intestine and is prepared to be pushed into the large intestine by peristalsis, a waving rhythmic contracture of the intestines, almost all of the nutrients have been extracted and absorbed.
The best way to take care of your upper intestine is to eat a lot of high-fiber foods. The upper intestine is easy to take care of, just eat the right foods and make sure you have plenty of stomach acid and enzymes.
The colon is another matter. The entire digestive tract is, on average, 28 feet long, about nine meters. The last five of these 28 feet is the colon. The colon is the toxic waste dump of the body, and most people take care of it by ignoring it and pretending that it does not exist. We treat the body in a parallel fashion to the way we have treated waste disposal in society.
It is no secret that the world is an increasingly more toxic place in which to live. This began with the industrial revolution. We breath toxins, they contact our skin, we drink them, and we eat them. Pollutants are everywhere, beginning with our drinking water, which is treated with heavy doses of chlorine to kill the bacteria. If chlorine kills bacteria, by the way, how do you suppose it treats the cells of your body? The only solution to this problem is to drink only steam distilled water.
Where food is concerned, the typical western diet is loaded with pesticides, has been treated with artificial fertilizer and contains artificial preservatives. The usual human diet has been altered drastically in the last seven or eight generations. The best solution here is to eat only fresh, organically grown foods of plant origin.
How likely is it, however, that you will be able to drink only steam distilled water and eat only fresh, organically grown foods of plant origin? If you are able to stay at home all day and grow your own food, maybe you can. Not likely.
The situation described here leads us to a discussion of the colon, because it is the colon which must finally encounter all these toxins, and the usual result is an overwhelmed colon. The colon is not immune to all these toxins; the result is a sick colon, which, like any sick organ, slows down and retains these waste products longer than it otherwise would.
"Transit time" is the time it takes a meal to travel from the dinner table to elimination from the colon. A healthy transit time is twelve to eighteen hours. However, the usual transit time in western countries is 65-100 hours! Putrefaction happens when that which has been rejected for digestion by your body is broken down by bacteria. Bacteria extract the last possible food value from the contents of the colon, and the waste products from that process are reabsorbed back into the body. As mentioned in the chapter on fasting, this is called "autointoxication" or "self-poisoning."
If you handle your body any other way than by eating only fresh, organically grown foods of plant origin, with plenty of pure water (about eight large glasses per day), you suffer from some degree of autointoxication. Even if you do treat your body to fresh, organically grown foods of plant origin, and you are older than 21 years, your colon is slow with age, and you also experience some degree of autointoxication. The point here is that your colon is probably sick right now, to some degree, whether or not you know it.
The most common symptom of autointoxication is mental dullness and fatigue. Other common symptoms are headache, constipation, diarrhea, colds, general aches and pains, particularly up and down the spine and especially in the low back, skin problems, common infections (due to lowered immuno-competence), morning sluggishness, gas, bad breath, foul-smelling stool, allergies, intolerance to fatty foods, premenstrual tension, breast soreness and tendency to repeated vaginal infections.
Most colon therapists are convinced, as I certainly am, that the great increase in colon cancer over the past few generations is due to autointoxication in the colon. High-fiber foods change the bacterial flora of your colon to noncarcinogenic organisms and drastically reduce the possibility of colon cancer.
The big problem with becoming responsible for your colon is that no one wants to. Let’s face it, this is not a nice area of the body to deal with. Nevertheless, it is necessary to deal with it, if you are to be fully responsible for your body. If you are not willing to handle the colon and keep it handled for the rest of your life, I assure you that you will pay a high price, much higher than any inconvenience you may experience in handling your colon now.
That said, what is to be done? There are two qualities you want to have in your colon. You want it to be (1) clean and (2) functional. If you are under 21 and eating only fresh, organically grown foods of plant origin, and your upper gastrointestinal tract is working well, relax. However, if you are not, you need to put some attention to this matter.
How does one cleanse one’s colon? How do you even know if it needs cleansing? You cannot look inside it to see how dirty it is. However, if you have symptoms from it, you can be sure it is quite messed up. Pain, discomfort, swelling, gas, constipation, a big belly; all these symptoms should tip you off that your colon is in trouble.
When food putrefies, the colon secretes mucus to protect itself. This mucus then glues the putrefied food to the colon wall where it may remain for years. If this has happened, there is little likelihood that you will be able to handle this problem by yourself. If it hasn’t happened, you have no way of knowing it hasn’t happened. Either way, I recommend at least one visit to a colon therapist. Everyone should have a dentist, and everyone should have a colon therapist.
I recognize that this is a frightening prospect. However, an experienced colon therapist can put you at ease and teach you more about your colon in one hour than you can ever learn from reading about the subject and much more than the typical physician knows.
So, how do you cleanse your colon? To be certain of the result, see a colon therapist. How do your keep your colon clean? Eat only fresh, organically grown foods of plant origin for starters. Beyond that, follow the recommendations of your colon therapist. This may include taking an intestinal bulking agent like psyllium or guar and an herbal agent to stimulate the colon and bring it back to life.
(For maximal detoxification you should combine your colon cleansing program with juice fasting.)
"Clean" and "functional" are the key words. "Clean" means without putrefied material glued to the inside of your colon by mucus. "Functional" means a fast transit time, something like 8-24 hours. What you eat now should be out within 24 hours.
I am not laying out a generic program for everyone to follow, because I cannot know your particular situation. My task here is to make you aware of the possibilities and to mention a few good reasons for you to follow up on this area, learn more and take better care of your colon. After those tasks are accomplished the rest is your responsibility.