Testing the Transit Time of Your Foods and Why It Can Help You

bowel
Transit time refers to the amount of time it takes ingested foods to move through the digestive system, from the time it is taken into the mouth, to the time it is eliminated through our bowel movements.  Testing the transit time of our diet is beneficial because it gives us a clearer picture of  what is going on inside our bodies and helps us to understand the possible problems that may be occurring.  If we discover our food is eliminated in 12 hours or less, this could be an indication that we are not absorbing adequate nutrients from the food, which can result in deficiencies and malnourishment.  If the foods are taking more than 30 hours to be eliminated, this is an indication of constipation, which can result in an increase of bad bacteria in the gut, inflammation throughout the digestive system or the reabsorption of fecal matter back into the bloodstream.
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In order to test our food’s transit time, we need to ingest a marker, or rather, something that will be visible in our stool once it is eliminated.  Some of these markers include corn kernels, sesame seeds, charcoal tablets, beetroot or chlorophyll.  The marker you choose will depend on the general color of your stool and/or your personal preference.  If your stool is generally lighter in color then the best markers will be the darker ones, such as charcoal, beetroot or chlorophyll.  If your stool tends to be darker in color than you will find better success with the corn kernels or sesame seeds.  Some people recommend swallowing the kernels and seeds whole so they will be more visible, however this may not be necessary or desired.
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Average transit time is anywhere between 12-72 hours, although optimal transit time is between 14-30 hours.  Our transit times will be determined by the foods we’re eating and our overall health, and will vary accordingly.  If we are ingesting mostly low-fat, fiber rich foods like fruits and veggies, and consuming hydrating drinks like water and fresh juices, the transit times will be shorter.  On the contrary, if we are ingesting mostly high-fat, drying foods like well-done meats and dairy, and consuming dehydrating drinks like alcohol and coffee, we will notice the transit times to be longer.
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Directions for the transit time test are as follows:
  • The transit time will be conducted 3 times in order to establish accuracy.
  • While conducting the test, be sure to record food, liquid, exercise and stress levels on the Transit Time Record Form provided below.
  • After your first bowel movement of the day, ingest a chosen marker as specified above and record the time the marker is taken.
  • Observe the following bowel movements until you see the marker.  Record the time when it is first visible.
  • You will ingest the marker two more times, however, you will move the time that you ingest it in order to determine a more accurate transit time.

Here is an example to help you:

  1. Subject A has first bowel movement of the day at 10 a.m.
  2. She ingests a beetroot marker immediately after.
  3. The following day, Subject A’s first bowel movement is at 10 a.m. again and she is able to observe the bright red coloring of the beetroot.  So this tells her the transit time of her food was no more than 24 hours.
  4. To get a more accurate transit time, Subject A will move the time she ingests the marker.
  5. The next time her bowel movement is clear of any previously ingested marker, she will ingest the marker again, only 4 hours later.
  6. Her stool was clear the following day at 10 a.m.  She ingests the marker at 2 p.m.  The following day her marker is visible with her 10 a.m. bowel movement.  This indicates a transit time of no more than 20 hours.
  7. Again, the marker will be moved even more to determine if the transit time is even shorter.
  8. Once a marker-free stool is observed, Subject A will ingest a new marker, however this time it will be taken 6-8 hours after the bowel movement.
  9. Subject A’s next clear bowel movement is at 10 a.m. the following day.  The marker is ingested at 6 p.m. that evening.
  10. The following day her first bowel movement is at 10 a.m. and the marker is not present.  She can now determine her average transit time is roughly 20 hours.

Table Salt vs Sea Salt

sea salt 3We desire salt for a reason.  We were meant to consume it!  All of this talk of salt (mainly the sodium that’s in it) being unhealthy for us is nonsense.  And I’m so happy to finally know this!  The taste of salt is just too good.

Unfortunately, sea salt (or mineral salts), the kind of salt we should be consuming on a daily basis, has gotten a bad rap from table salt’s dark shadow. These are two completely different substances.  One is harmful.  And one is extremely helpful.

WHY IS SEA SALT NECESSARY?:

  • Provides our body with 2 important minerals: sodium and chloride.  The body is unable to produce these minerals on its own.
  • Provides over 82 trace minerals which our body NEEDS to work optimally.  Sodium functions best in combination with other minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium.  This is what nature intended.

WHY IS SEA SALT NOURISHING?:

  • Controls the amount of fluid in the body.
  • Helps to maintain balance between acid + alkaline levels (pH balance).  Did you know is it the most alkaline-forming substance known to man?  Wow, now that’s a statement.
  • Creates electrolytes, which are essential for proper body function.
  • Supports proper adrenal function.
  • Helps to regulate sleep.
  • Helps support the nervous system.
  • Relieves allergies and skin diseases.
  • Prevents muscle cramps.
  • It is a whole food!  Natural.  Unprocessed.

REFINED SALT FACTS:

  • Is chemically made of 2 minerals, sodium and chloride.
  • Contains NO trace minerals, creating an unnatural food that is out of balance with what our body needs.
  • Often times, iodine is added to table salt, which can create a toxic level of iodine in our bodies and potentially harm the thyroid.
  • Toxic additives are included to prevent the salt from caking.
  • Refined.  Processed.  Bleached.  Unnatural.

THINGS TO KNOW

  • 1 – 1.5 teaspoons per day.
  • True sea salt with be a pale grey color and slightly moist.

REFERENCES:

  1. Healing Naturally by Bee Wilder
  2. Weston Price Foundation

sea salt 1

LOCAL + SEASONAL + ORGANIC: 10 Reasons Why It’s Important

  1. 271152_10151449832953277_1619459724_nSeasonal foods are in harmony with nature and help us to adapt to the changes in climate.  Right now where I live, sweet potatoes are in abundance and are deeply nourishing and warming to the body as the cold, damp weather arrives.  In contrast, during the summer season, the wet, juicy foods will appear, like grapes and berries, which help to keep the body cool.  Why mess with nature’s perfect plan?
  2. Local food is CHEAPER!  Who doesn’t like to save the big Benjamins?  (That’s a $100 US bill for all you foreigners.)  I can go to  my local, organic farmers market and walk away with 2 grocery bags full of produce for a fraction of the cost I’d pay buying imported organic food from the local grocery chain.
  3. Local food is fresher and picked at it’s ripest state.  The fresher the food, the better.  Beneficial substances called phytonutrients develop in foods as they ripen.  But often times, when produce is being shipped long distances, it has to be picked before it’s achieved this optimal ripeness, creating nutrient deficiencies in these foods.
  4. Organic food is SAFE to eat.  Pesticides used on conventional produce is designed to be toxic in order to kill insects, fungus, weeds, molds and anything else deemed a “pest”.  So what makes you think it’s okay for you to eat it?  Did you know that millions of birds are killed every year because of these toxic substances?  And that of the 75,000 synthetic substances available today, a large amount of them have not been properly tested to determine their safety?  It’s easy to forget these things when we can’t taste or see these pesticides, but it matters, plain and simple.
  5. Organic food is grown in good soil, which we all need so desperately.   Did you know that the human body needs over 60 different vitamins and minerals?  These nutrients come from the foods we eat, which ultimately comes from the soil it’s grown in.  Lush, hearty, nourishing soil is SO important on many levels, for us and for our planet.  Here in HK, food can only be certified organic if it’s been grown organically for 7 consecutive years.  This means the soil is being replenished and restored through the organic methods of farming, passing all of this good matter onto the food we’re eating.  Hooray for fabulous soil!
  6. Eating seasonally ensures your body is getting a variety of nutrients.  People who eat the same food all of the time are only supplying their body with those specific nutrients over and over again.  But if we eat with the seasons, our diets are continuously changing, giving our body the chance to obtain more of what it needs.
  7. Buying local, organic food supports the right people and companies.  If we buy from local farmers who are farming the “right” way, we’re helping to create demand for these nourishing, clean, whole products, and supporting the people who are doing something good and positive for this world.  And maybe one day, those big business agricultural companies like Monsanto, who are into genetically modifying our food and trying to monopolize global seed distribution (my opinion anyways) will be put out of business and remain only a very distant memory.
  8. Eating local + seasonal + organic food makes your body and mind feel GOOD.  Our optimal physical and mental potential can only be reached by including healthy, whole, loved-up food in our diets and health plans.  How can this amazing creation of a human mind and body be sustained, maintained and supported to thrive by living off of foods with toxic pesticides that have been genetically engineered in a laboratory?  It just doesn’t make any sense to me!  And I really hope it doesn’t make any sense to you!
  9. Eating with wisdom and awareness can help fight the war on disease and be the best preventative care around.  I believe food is the best medicine.  “Pay the organic farmer now or pay the doctor later”.  As we watch the world evolve into a genetically-modifying, pesticide-using kind of place, we also see disease, obesity and mental disturbances soar.  Why does everyone know someone fighting cancer?  Why is obesity commonplace and normal?  Why are random acts of violence on the news more and more these days?  Pure, healthy food can help us conquer diseases of the body and mind WITHOUT.ANY.DOUBT.
  10. Eating locally, seasonally and organically gives us back some control over our health, empowers us with an acute awareness of what’s going into our bodies and reminds us that we are rightfully responsible to take care of this beautiful temple God has given us.

*** For more information regarding the effects of genetically modified food, please click here.

*** To know more about Hong Kong’s food system, please click here.

*** For a list of local Hong Kong organic farmer’s markets, please click here.  In addition to these, there is one in Sai Kung at the Lion’s Nature Reserve on Sunday’s from 9.30-11.30.

A Tbsp of Coconut Oil a Day, Keeps the Doctor Away!

NutiveOrganicCoconutOilBenefitsI am absolutely becoming obsessed with coconut oil!  I’m cooking with it, using it as a lotion on body and face, and now taking a tablespoon or two of it every day to aid in the regeneration and restoration of my beautiful bowels.  Amen!  The more I learn about it’s health benefits, the more I’m willing to use it liberally.

Whole Self Health, in my opinion, is a pot full of many different ingredients.  A bit of food nourishment here, a little inner healing there, a dash of love everywhere, and what have you, and you’ve got yourself a very highly functioning Self.  This has been my experience anyways, and that’s the only place I can speak from.  We are holistic beings yes?  Yes.  So sometimes, or all of the time in my case, we need holistic healing.

Which is why I was so excited to meet dynamic Miss Coco Oil.  She’s another weapon for my holster.  Another shiny tool for my tool belt.  And quite a slick one at that!  So let’s take a look.  The benefits:

  •  Antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, so anything that might fall into these categories could be helped.  Some examples would include: athlete’s foot, eczema, herpes, candida, influenza, AIDS, urinary tract infections, ulcers, diaper rash, hepatitis C, etc.
  • Is completely non-toxic without any harmful side-affects (How many pharmaceutical companies can make this claim?  Wouldn’t you rather medicate with something like this?)
  • Helps to increase metabolic rate, which in turn leads to weight loss – “Back in the 1940s, farmers discovered this effect accidentally when they tried using inexpensive coconut oil to fatten their livestock.  It didn’t work!  Instead, coconut oil made the animals lean, active and hungry.” ~ Dr. Joseph Mercola
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Unlike trans fats, coconut oil does not form any harmful by-products when heated during cooking, so it is a great option when frying.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Boosts the immune system – “The lauric acid in coconut oil is used by the body to make the same disease fighting fatty acid derivative monolaurin that babies make from the lauric acid they get from their mothers’ milk” ~ Mary Enig
  • Increases energy – Nature’s richest source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which means it is very easily digested and immediately burned by your liver for energy without any insulin spike.
  • Supports beauty – use as a lotion to alleviate dry skin, prevent wrinkles, eliminate dandruff.  Also use it on psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema or any other skin ailment.
  • Has been documented to aid in the relief of digestive disorders: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, constipation, diarrhea.

And since real life testimonials are sometimes better than research and case studies, you can check out some of those HERE.

And don’t forget these things to remember when purchasing some of this miracle oil sent straight from the heavens:

  • The oil will solidify in cold temperatures and become liquid in warm temperatures.  This is a good thing, so no worries.
  • The oil should always be crystal clear/white.  If it’s any shade of yellow, it’s not the real thing.
  • Make sure you buy cold pressed (which means destructive heat has not been used to extract it), organic (chemical free) raw/unrefined (least amount of processing) and in a glass jar (the oil will leach chemicals from plastic).
  • It should have the aroma of coconuts!
  • No need for refrigeration and will stay fresh for up to 2 years!
  • GO SLOW if ingesting this as a supplement.  You may experience nausea or diarrhea if you take a big heaping tablespoon of it and never have before  (this is actually a detoxification affect), so start with maybe a teaspoon/day and increase the amount every week or so.

Three cheers for coconuts!

For those interested, here is one man’s story of how coconut oil helped heal him from Alzheimer’s.

Kefir: What, Why & How

(FYI: I do not have any milk kefir grains to share at the moment!  Thanks!)

I’ve recently begun making my own kefir (thanks again Rini!) and it has been an absolute hit here at the Odells!  Have you ever tried it before?  Do you know why it’s good for you?  Do you want to learn how to make it yourself?  Yes, you say?  Well come along and I’ll do my best to answer all those questions.

Let’s start with the WHAT:

  • Kefir (click here for correct pronunciation and click here for my pronunciation) is a fermented/cultured milk drink that has a zesty, slightly tangy taste.  By putting kefir grains (pictured below) into milk (cow, goat, raw, pasteurized, full-fat, skim, etc.) and letting it sit at room temperature for about 24 hours, the milk becomes fermented and infused with active, live, good bacteria.  The kefir grains will continue to multiply and grow each day, allowing you to share these grains quite easily!

Kefir grains!

WHY:
  • Kefir helps to repopulate your gut with good bacteria/organisms.  These good organisms will help promote balance and well being within your digestive tract.
  • Rich in protein, calcium, B12, niacin and folic acid.
  • Full of digestive enzymes.
  • Helps to regulate bowel movements; eradicating diarrhea/constipation.
  • The grains feed off of the lactose (milk sugars), converting it into healthy lactic acid.  For this reason, many people who are lactose intolerant can still successfully consume kefir.
  • After taking antibiotics, or consuming diets high in pesticides or chlorine which deplete healthy gut flora, kefir can help reestablish what’s missing.

HOW

  • First, you need to find kefir grains somewhere.  By doing a simple google search, I’m sure it won’t be too hard.  For my American friends and family, check out the Kefir Lady.  (Brother Jeff, she lives in Ohio and also sells goats, fyi) She ships within the United States.  And if you’re in Hong Kong, just let me know and I’ll grow you some from mine and give you the extra!  Once you have a starter, you will never need to buy more again, because the grains will continue to multiply, as long as you continue to use them daily.
  • What else will you need?  Strainer, bowl, 2 mason jars (one to use for fermenting and one to store the finished kefir in) and of course milk!
  • Make sure all of your utensils are plastic (I didn’t know this when I took the above picture.  Oops!)  Because the grains are active and alive, they are able to die.  Metal does not mix well with them and can kill the good bacteria.
  • What kind of milk do I recommend?  If you can get your hands on raw, full-fat milk, then you’re one lucky person and I’m officially jealous.  Check out Raw Milk Facts to learn more.  Here where I live, the best I can find is hormone free full-fat, so that’s what I use.
  1. Put grains in mason jar and cover with 2-3 Tbsp of kefir (this is optional) and milk. Stir.  I use 1 Tbsp grains for 2 cups milk.  This is plenty of kefir for us each day.

    Kefir grains


    Grains covered with fresh kefir

    2 cups of milk added to kefir grains and fresh kefir

  2. Store at room temperature out of the sunlight for 24 hours.  I use my yogurt maker actually and it’s been working quite well.  Otherwise, just store it in a cupboard or something.
  3. After 24 hours, strain the kefir from the kefir grains.
  4. Refrigerate made kefir and serve chilled.  (I think it’s much better served cold but you can drink it straight away too if you prefer it that way.)
  5. If kefir grains have grown and you have too many for the amount of kefir you’d like to make, just pull away the excess and eat them or give them away!  A great way to recycle what you don’t need.
  6. Start the process all over again to keep those grains going.  Such a fun process!