Chapter 1-2 of Healing Foods by Walter Last
Clean out and sanitize your gastro-intestinal tract
One of the first and most important causes of our health deterioration at the biological level is an inability to digest all the food we eat. This may be because of habitual overeating; insufficient chewing; consumption of too much milk, bread, meat and other problem foods; wrong food combinations; emotional problems; vitamin and mineral deficiencies or inherited weakness of our digestive organs.
Poor digestion has two immediate effects: a proliferation of undesirable bacteria in the small intestine and putrefaction in the large intestine. A major part of our immune system is located in the small intestine with an important center in the appendix. For years there will be fierce fighting between our lymphatic cells and the proliferating intestinal microbes as well as the toxic products of their decomposition resulting in chronic inflammation of parts of the intestinal wall.
This may cause intestinal discomfort and various digestive disorders, in children often resulting in appendicitis. This chronic inflammation weakens the intestinal wall and allows proteins that are only partly broken down as well as bacterial toxins to be absorbed and cause allergies. Apart from many unpleasant symptoms, this will greatly weaken the immune system and predispose us to rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases and makes us susceptible to infections.
While the bowels are often overactive during childhood due to high bacterial activity, with increasing age we tend to become more and more constipated. This is largely due to a lack of dietary fiber and a decrease in the bile flow, indicating a deficiency of lecithin and choline. The walls of the bowels become weak and deformed as with diverticulitis, hard crusts begin to cover the intestinal walls and restrict its motility.
Eventually putrefaction products may cross the weakened walls of the large intestine and enter the bloodstream. This can poison the whole body though the liver, heart and brain usually bear the brunt of the attack. Irregular heartbeat, headaches and fuzzy thinking are frequent initial symptoms. Every part of the nervous system may be affected. In addition, the valve between the large and small intestines, the ileocecal valve, may become inefficient and allow bacteria from the large bowel to invade the small intestines and the bloodstream.
When the sewerage breaks down or is not working efficiently in a city, refuse will accumulate in streets and on properties and greatly contribute to the spread of diseases. It is similar in a body with inefficient bowel elimination. Waste products will accumulate in the bloodstream and tissues and cause or contribute to the development of most diseases as well as to the general deterioration of health. Bowel cancer is only the most obvious and direct result.
A diet of predominantly raw foods will in time correct these intestinal problems by supplying plenty of high-quality fiber and strengthening the bowel walls. I do not recommend the habitual addition of bran to meals, as this makes minerals unavailable, instead I recommend freshly ground linseed. Add 1 tablespoon or more to meals to ensure at least one and preferably two or three bowel movements daily. Do not heat the ground linseed but add it to the cooked food when cooled.
Another consequence of bacterial overgrowth, often in combination with food allergies, is inflammation of the pancreas in addition to that of the intestinal wall. This leads not only to a deficiency of digestive enzymes and problems of malabsorption, but it is also a main cause of insulin-dependent diabetes. The first and decisive step leading to this is the bottle-feeding of infants from birth. This deprives them of the important bifido bacteria and other protective factors that are normally transmitted with breast milk. In order to overcome these problems we must improve our eating habits, learn to chew well, eat less, combine foods correctly, eat more raw foods, especially vegetables and re-introduce beneficial bacteria.
A key step in improving the digestive functions, the immune system, and overall health, is the restoration of a healthy intestinal flora. This is important with all degenerative diseases but especially in life-threatening conditions, such as AIDS, cancer, and all autoimmune diseases.
Live cultures and yogurt containing lactobacilli are commonly used to repopulate the intestines with friendly bacteria. The bacteria gain most of their energy by converting glucose into lactic acid and acetic acid. These acids inhibit other microbes and help to absorb minerals. Most important for us are acidophilus bacteria that live mainly in the small intestines, and bifido bacteria in the large intestines.
Therefore, if you buy yogurt, look for a variety listing several, including acidophilus and bifido, on the label. If you avoid cows' milk products, you may temporarily buy soy yogurt. However, I do not recommend it for habitual use. Alternatively, use commercial cows' milk yogurt, or bacterial culture, just as an initial starter, and make your own yogurt as described in Recipes.
Alternatively, use high-potency capsules or powdered bacterial cultures. While these bacteria are commonly grown in milk cultures and can live on lactose, they do not require it as a food source, but can live on other simple carbohydrates that easily yield glucose. A lactose-free acidophilus culture is available for individuals sensitive to milk.
Buy powdered bacterial cultures in brown glass bottles. These should be refrigerated before and after purchase. Cultures that are bought off the shelf may not have many live bacteria left. Lactobacillus bulgaricus can survive the normal gastric acid and should be taken with meals, while other cultures are to be taken in a glass of water, in freshly pressed vegetable juice or herb tea (cooled down) 30-45 minutes before breakfast, and possibly before other meals.
Best known is Lactobacillus acidophilus which populates mainly the small intestines in omnivores or mixed-food eaters. Bifido bacteria, on the other hand, populate mainly the large colon, as well as the whole intestine in vegetarians with a high carbohydrate intake. For adults culture of Bifidobacterium bifidum is most suitable, while babies initially require Bifidobacterium infantis. Lactobacillus bulgaricus has excellent antibiotic properties and stimulates the immune system. It is good for those with cancer and AIDS but, unlike the other bacterial cultures, it does not normally reside in the intestines of Caucasians; it is, however, prevalent in Orientals.
In order to establish beneficial intestinal flora it is preferable to eliminate most of the harmful bacteria and fungi beforehand. I recommend taking garlic with Epsom salts, or in an isotonic salt solution, to flush the whole length of the intestinal tract. Water with the same salt concentration as blood is called isotonic, and is not normally absorbed but passes through the whole of the intestinal tract. An isotonic solution has a salt content of about 0.9 %, or approximately 1 heaped teaspoonful to 1 liter of water. Mix this with a medium to large clove of finely crushed garlic. Unpleasant symptoms due to so-called die-off of Candida will be minimized with this flush, as the dead microbes are washed out of the body. If, for some reason, the flush does not come out at the other end within a few hours, and you start feeling uncomfortable, then take immediately a tablespoon of Epsom salt. However, if you had already breakfast then it is better to try an enema.
Instead of an isotonic flush you may take garlic with a tablespoon of Epsom salt in a glass of water. Take the garlic first with a small amount of liquid, and then the rest of the flush or Epsom salt solution.
Fresh, raw garlic has strong anti-microbial powers. Even in a dilution of more than 1:1000 it kills bacteria and fungi. When garlic is crushed its enzymes form allicin from the stable alliin. Allicin has an active oxygen atom that kills microbes but also sometimes human cells by oxidizing the cell walls. Thus anemia has been reported in those formerly being treated for tuberculosis on a very high long-term intake of raw garlic. Dr Robert Beck also found that garlic adversely affects brain functions. Therefore, I prefer to use it mainly to sanitize the intestinal tract, or to overcome an infection, rather then for everyday food flavoring.
Drink the whole isotonic solution, as described above, within 10 minutes, first thing in the morning. This is followed an hour later by one or two cupfuls of acidophilus-bifido yogurt. If you feel unhealthy, with an established disease, digestive problems or an obvious or suspected Candida infestation, then continue this morning routine for several weeks. In addition take more yogurt or other forms of acidophilus-bifido culture with most other meals.
After beneficial bacteria have been re-introduced, stop using garlic. You may minimize garlic odor by crushing cloves while they are submerged in lemon juice.
Instead of garlic, you may use hydrogen peroxide in the intestinal flush. Try up to an ounce of 3% hydrogen peroxide in 1 liter/quart of 0.9% salt water. Start taking the acidophilus and other cultures an hour after the flush
Women with fungal or bacterial overgrowth should also use a vaginal douche with diluted hydrogen peroxide (up to 0.5%) when sanitizing the intestinal tract, and introduce acidophilus into the vagina as well. If using hydrogen peroxide orally over an extended period, take also acidophilus from time to time. Anaerobic microbes are most affected by hydrogen peroxide; bifidobacteria are also sensitive to it but are generally protected while living in the colon. Oral hydrogen peroxide acts mainly in the small intestines. Acidophilus is partly protected from the effects of hydrogen peroxide, while Lactobacillus bulgaricus has a strong resistance to it.
You may use diluted hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash, and gargle with it, instead of using toothpaste. With serious diseases also infuse diluted peroxide rectally. Immune cells produce hydrogen peroxide naturally to destroy microbes. Do not use antioxidants close to internal hydrogen peroxide. See also the related information in Hydrotherapy.
In the elderly, and especially those with chronic degenerative diseases, often even young asthmatics, the body frequently loses its ability to produce an adequate amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This leads to incomplete digestion of proteins, and poor absorption of vitamins B1 and B12, as well as minerals. The resulting mineral deficiency usually causes fingernails to be soft; also the hair may be unhealthy. Hydrochloric acid is also needed to activate pepsin and kill microbes in food.
An inadequate amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach often results in overgrowth of the digestive tract with undesirable and pathogenic bacteria and fungi. This can cause or contribute to malabsorption, intestinal distress, and allergies to products resulting from bacterial and fungal breakdown, and in turn will weaken the immune system.
Symptoms associated with insufficient gastric acid are belching, discomfort after eating, or food lying heavily in the stomach and anemia. Often the body is either overalkaline or overacid, and the energy level is low. With obvious mineral deficiencies, suspected lack of hydrochloric acid, and in most cases of chronic degenerative disease, it is beneficial to use hydrochloric acid supplements with protein meals, such as including meat, fish, eggs, cheese, legumes or nuts.
You may either buy hydrochloric acid - pepsin tablets or, more cheaply, diluted hydrochloric acid. Commercial diluted hydrochloric acid is usually 20% while the concentrated acid (from a hardware store) is 35%. To make a 2% solution that is safe to use, mix 1 part of 20% acid with 9 parts of water, or 1 part of 35% acid with 16 parts of water. You may then mix 1-2 (plastic) teaspoons of 2% acid with your meal. It may be mixed with the protein portion or used as part of the salad dressing. Alternatively, you may dilute the acid with ½ cup of liquid and drink it after the meal. You may protect your teeth by drinking through a straw.
However, habitually taking mineral acids may make the body overacid. Furthermore, those who do not produce enough stomach acid also do not make enough sodium bicarbonate to neutralize an increased amount of acid in the duodenum. While the stomach content needs to be acid, the content of the small intestines needs to be alkaline; otherwise nutrients are not properly absorbed. Therefore, it is advisable to take half a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in liquid about 2 hours after a small meal, and 3 to 4 hours after a large meal with flesh food or other proteins.
As an alternative to hydrochloric acid supplements you may mix lemon or limejuice, or cider vinegar, in addition to magnesium chloride with a protein meal. The food acid reacts with the magnesium chloride to form hydrochloric acid and magnesium citrate, or acetate. In this way you provide all of the key ingredients to activate digestive enzymes: acidity, magnesium and chloride ions.
Use about one to two tablespoons of lemon or limejuice but less of vinegar, and half a teaspoon of magnesium chloride, best dissolved in water. As the food acids tend to be metabolized, this combination does not normally make the body acid, and therefore it is not necessary to use an alkalizer a few hours later. You may further stimulate the digestion by drinking half a cupful of a bitter herb tea after the meal. Bitter ingredients are especially helpful for the liver.