For certain, I will mention poop a lot on this blog.
To a large degree, wether we like it or not, our overall health is defined by three things: our attitude, our habits and our bowels. These truths came to me at different times in my life. I clued into the attitude thing very early in primary school. I’m a “glass half full” kinda girl. And I’ve been tweaking my habits pretty much my entire adult life. But, the bowel part of the equation eluded my understanding for many critical years.
It’s interesting that colon health begins as soon as we are born, via the colonizing of healthy bacteria passed on during birth from our Mothers and attendants during the labor process, and yet it’s something that we don’t fully appreciate as vital until much later in life. Like me, many people don’t learn about colon health until they are in a bind.
My introduction to colon health came after living on the Big Island of Hawaii for a little less than a year in my mid-twenties. My uncle owns a Kona Coffee Farm and, after living in New York City for four years, I took up the opportunity to work there to re-connect with the Earth. While living on the island, I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the aquatic “seasons”, playing game after game of beach volleyball and reading about how nutrients affect our bodies.
I lived on the my Uncle’s property, with my boyfriend at the time, in a tiny house that pre-dated tiny houses. We ate ample quantities of produce from the farmer’s market, drank fresh roasted coffee and became vegetarian due to the high costs of protein on the island. My boyfriend walked away with a tan and I ended up with a parasite. I guess I ate one tree fallen Papaya or wild boar nuzzled avocado too many. The following year amounted to a general malaise, that included headaches, loose bowels and nausea. I did a series of parasite cleanses and a broad spectrum anti-biotic- pretty much the gut equivalent of Hiroshima.
It was time to confront my colon. I don’t know where it started, but let’s blame it on being a middle child and not being allowed enough time in the bathroom. This led to having mental issues with pooping in public, which leads to not pooping in public. This leads to impacted fecal matter. Which is to say, poor colon health. Add a bonus paradise parasite and I’m deep in the muck!
Building Blocks Of A Strong System
I didn’t need to connect the dots all the way back, but rather just get a clean slate via colonic therapy. Then build a healthier appreciation for my large intestine and it’s critical role in my overall health. For many, pooping just happens. But, at that time in my life I had overpowered my physical urges with mental stigma, and needed to unwind that spool to get things flowing naturally again. And, anyone who knows me, knows that I have a powerful mind and can be rather stubborn. I would need an arsenal.
Enter the supplements. Probiotics of course. But also teas and pills and powders and husks. Plus exercise, enemas & energy work. You know how some people try every diet to lose unwanted weight? Well, I’ve done something similar to gain colon health.
Fast forward over 15 years from living on the Big Island and I can say I have a measure of both colon knowledge & health. I follow a gluten free, high fiber diet, drink lots of water, exercise regularly, have my own bathroom and have settled on my favorite pro-biotic supplement (it’s not Kona Coffee). I secretly rejoice when I have a bowel movement in a public bathroom. I think I said “hallelujah” with my outside voice when I passed a stool in an airport bathroom for the first time. May not be a big thing for you, but for me- it’s was serious, mental hurdle crossed!
But, all this being said, I still suffer from the occasional constipation, especially when traveling. Enter my dear mother-in-law, Cheryl. She came across this bread recipe years ago called “Living Bread”. She has made this powerful bread in so many variations, but has finally come across the combo that works well for most people that try it. And a lot of people have tried it. Cheryl is wonderful at creating and keeping community together. Her home has always been a meeting place for friends, family and strays alike. And people always ask her to make her bread. She has made this for young, elderly and ill people. It really is a colon health helper.
WARNING: This is a serious loaf of bread. It’s a large and in charge. Loaded with only nutritious, whole foods and healthy fats, bonded with psyllium husks, chia & flax seeds. This is not some pretty centerpiece for a family holiday table. But rather, it’s the anti-holiday table centerpiece. After you’ve gorged your colon with all the sticky stuff, make this loaf. Wrap it up tight (no preservatives) and store it in the fridge. Try half a slice to start. Drink a glass of water. See how your body responds. Some people take 48 hours to see cleansing results. I see results within 24 hours. And when I say results I mean hallelujah! (Yes, that was my outside voice).
Cheryl’s Living Bread
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup flaxseeds, whole
- 2 TB chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt4 TB psyllium husks
- 1 1/2 cup gluten free oats
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes
- 2-3 mini measures of stevia
- 2 loose handfuls of pitted prunes
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine nuts and seeds in a medium bowl. Process in a food processor or blender until they are broken down to a size that you like (Cheryl has a son that doesn’t like nuts, so she processes them fine. Also, Grandma eats this bread and the smaller pieces are easier on her teeth). You could leave them whole if you like. Transfer to another large bowl.
Combine salt, psyllium husk, oatmeal, stevia & coconut flakes into blender. Process until ground into a flour. Add to bowl with nut /seed mixture. Create a well in center.
Add water, maple syrup & prunes to blender. Process until blended, but doesn’t have to be smooth.
Using a wooden spoon to create a well in center. Add coconut oil to dry ingredients and stir until combined. Create a well in center again. Add liquid & prune mixture. Stir well, but no need to over mix.
Lightly oil bread pans with coconut oil. Transfer batter evenly between the two pans. Smooth top of loaves with a rubber spatula.
Transfer pans to pre-heated oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove pans from oven and invert the loaves on to a cookie sheet pan. Return loaves, upside down to oven for an additional 25-35 minutes.
Let cool before slicing.
Makes one large loaf. Store in fridge and eat within one week. Freezes well for up to a month.
This loaf lends itself well to variations. For instance, substitute apricots that have been soaked for the prunes(she did a mix of prunes and cranberries in the shoot) or omit the shredded coconut. You may have to add a bit more water if the batter feels too heavy. Once you have tried it a time or two, you will know if your oven requires up to 35 minutes on the final bake.
Seriously, you will be so happy to have this recipe in your arsenal!