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.
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Bone Broth Recipes for the Season

It’s definitely that time of year when drinking a cup of good bone broth really hits the spot and makes you feel all warm and good inside.  I’ve only discovered and started making my own broths this past year, but I know it will be something I’ll continue to do for the rest of my life.  Aside from being extremely nourishing and very healing to the digestive tract, it’s also such a great way to utilize every part of the animal.

In honor of this time of season, I wanted to share a great article entitled Broth is Beautiful by Sally Fallon.  She gives great information regarding these broths as well as a few recipes.  Please see below.

And I’ll share my process as well.  Here at our home, we eat lots of roast chickens, so our broths are usually chicken based.

  • Collect drippings from chicken after roasting and refrigerate.
  • Once drippings have cooled and solidified, skim off the fat and keep this refrigerated to cook with later.  I like to use it in veggie bakes.
  • Remove all meat from the carcass.
  • Put drippings, carcass, sea salt and Tbsp of vinegar (helps to draw out the good stuff from the bones) into large pot or slow-cooker.
  • Cover the carcass with filtered water.
  • In large pot on stovetop: cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down to low heat for a simmer.  Simmer for several hours if possible.  I usually do at least do 3-4 hours, but others recommend 6-8.
  • In slow cooker:  Cover and put on low for up to 12 hours or longer!
  • Skim off any impurities that may float to the top.
  • Remove bones, add more sea salt to taste if desired, and serve.
  • We also like to add cabbage, serve in a big mug and eat with chopsticks!  How fun!

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BROTH IS BEAUTIFUL by Sally Fallon

“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” says a South American proverb. Said Escoffier: “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.”A cure-all in traditional households and the magic ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from bones of chicken, fish and beef builds strong bones, assuages sore throats, nurtures the sick, puts vigor in the step and sparkle in love life–so say grandmothers, midwives and healers. For chefs, stock is the magic elixir for making soul-warming soups and matchless sauces.Meat and fish stocks play a role in all traditional cuisines—French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern and Russian. In America, stock went into gravy and soups and stews. That was when most animals were slaughtered locally and nothing went to waste. Bones, hooves, knuckles, carcasses and tough meat went into the stock pot and filled the house with the aroma of love. Today we buy individual filets and boneless chicken breasts, or grab fast food on the run, and stock has disappeared from the American tradition.

Grandmother Knew Best

Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

Fish stock, according to traditional lore, helps boys grow up into strong men, makes childbirth easy and cures fatigue. “Fish broth will cure anything,” is another South American proverb. Broth and soup made with fishheads and carcasses provide iodine and thyroid-strengthening substances.

When broth is cooled, it congeals due to the presence of gelatin. The use of gelatin as a therapeutic agent goes back to the ancient Chinese. Gelatin was probably the first functional food, dating from the invention of the “digestor” by the Frenchman Papin in 1682. Papin’s digestor consisted of an apparatus for cooking bones or meat with steam to extract the gelatin. Just as vitamins occupy the center of the stage in nutritional investigations today, so two hundred years ago gelatin held a position in the forefront of food research. Gelatin was universally acclaimed as a most nutritious foodstuff particularly by the French, who were seeking ways to feed their armies and vast numbers of homeless in Paris and other cities. Although gelatin is not a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine in large amounts, it acts as a protein sparer, helping the poor stretch a few morsels of meat into a complete meal. During the siege of Paris, when vegetables and meat were scarce, a doctor named Guerard put his patients on gelatin bouillon with some added fat and they survived in good health.

The French were the leaders in gelatin research, which continued up to the 1950s. Gelatin was found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice and cancer. Babies had fewer digestive problems when gelatin was added to their milk. The American researcher Francis Pottenger pointed out that as gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid, which means that it attracts and holds liquids, it facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut. Even the epicures recognized that broth-based soup did more than please the taste buds. “Soup is a healthy, light, nourishing food” said Brillant-Savarin, “good for all of humanity; it pleases the stomach, stimulates the appetite and prepares the digestion.”

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