Saturday, December 25, 2010

Oh the things you can do with poop!

Boy howdy, it's been a long time since I've blogged!  That was quite a Fall:  two trips to the east coast, an awesome autumn cleanse with Andrea Nakayama and Andrea Livingston, oodles of new clients, a deeply satisfying Chanukah with family and friends, soaks and saunas galore, and a real enjoyment of the foods of the season.  (Thank you hearty kale, mushrooms, and winter squash for your existence!)

And now it is Winter, the first day of it, to be exact.  My wonderful hometown of Portland, Oregon has gone cuckoo with all of the hubbub of Christmas;  The streets are bursting at the seams with traffic and noise;  The parking lots of all major and minor stores are full to the brim;  The energy is high;  The days are dark, wet, and short; and of course, there is a lot of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol being consumed.

On a positive note, this is the season of giving, which brings me to the topic at hand.  Now if you are a person who is squeamish or gets grossed out easily, STOP READING THIS BLOG, because the gift I am going to tell you about is probably the most disgusting, most vile, and heinous thing you can imagine.  But it's also kind of cool, which is why I am blogging about it.

Just a month ago, I was asked if I would give the gift of my poop to a friend.  As you can imagine, it's an odd request.  No one has ever asked me for my poo before.  And why would they?  Fecal matter is amazing, but stinky and gross, and should definitely not be handled unless absolutely necessary, like changing diapers and such.  I'm no Scrooge, but sharing my "eliminations" with a friend or stranger has never been on my radar, holiday or not!

If you are like me, you are probably wondering why anyone in the world would ever want someone else's poop.  Here is the answer:  fecal transfusion (aka bacteriotherapy).  My friend, you see, has been very ill for many years with ulcerative colitis.  She has done everything known to man to keep herself in good form, but this year has been a hard one on her leaving her unable to work or function and glued to her bed for more than six months.  And while she is slowly getting better, she is not too proud to do anything and everything that may help.  Hence the idea of a fecal transfusion, which after consulting with her doctor, she decided to try.

Fecal transfusion?  Here's the concept:  You take the poop of someone who is healthy, ideally a family member, blend it in a blender, and with the help of an enema bag, you put that watered down healthy poop into the colon of the person who is ill.  There are fancier ways to do this that are being done in doctor's offices and hospitals all over the world,  but the idea of transfusing the healthy poop into a sick person's body is the same.  Check out the stuff from Dr. Thomas Brody in Australia if you want the nitty gritty.

"Why not?," I thought to myself.  I was just going to flush it anyway.  It's not like I need to be stingy with my poop or anything.  I am a colon hydrotherapist, after all.  If someone wants the gift of my doo doo, then they should definitely have it, no matter what the reason.

In spite of my willingness, my brain wanted to understand why doing such a thing could be useful.  I looked online, read testimonials, and even noticed it mentioned in The New Yorker food issue from November.  It is not a joke.  It is actually something people do and have done for decades.  If you can get beyond the "Eeeew factor," the theory makes sense.

It's all about good bacteria.  If you have come to All's Well That Ends Well as a client then you probably know that we are #1 fans of good bacteria.  Good bacteria is essential for our overall health and well-being;  It is a pillar of our immune system, helping us to fight off infections and bad bacteria;  It helps us to poop well;  It supports healthy skin;  It keeps cravings for sugar in check.  Look online and you'll see that the list goes on and on about the benes.  Good bugs are everything.

And yet, we don't live in a society that is down with bacteria.  Bad bacteria freaks us out, and our cultural answer has to become extremely anti-bacterial.  This would be awesome if we were anti BAD bacteria and pro GOOD bacteria, but no such luck.  We live in a society that believes the answer to bad bugs is complete annihilation.  Sooooo, we pasteurize everything we can get our hands on;  We make sure that all of our cleaning products kill 99.99999% of all bacteria, even the good stuff;   We bleach the crap out of everything, and we throw antibiotics at every illness possible.

We are, in essence, throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  Because without good bugs/bacteria in our guts, we get sick.  On a small scale this can mean chronic infections especially the yeasty variety, compromised immune systems, food cravings, skin problems, and digestive issues.  On a big scale, this can mean serious illness and gut problems, hence my friend with ulcerative colitis.

The theory of a fecal transfusion is that you put that baby back into the bathwater.  Bring on the good bacteria and more!  I know this may be difficult to conceptualize, but inside that large intestine of yours is a whole world.  We have hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of different strains of good and bad bacteria in there, not to mention soil of sorts!  My friend compares it to a forest.  You've got soil, flowers, plants, trees, shrubs, animals, bugs, birds, and more! And like a forest, there are predators and scavengers that ideally keep the balance of the gut in order.   The same is true with your gut.  So when my friend put my poo in her body, she was getting the whole shebbang!

And after just one "experience," she reported feeling better and having the best elimination she has had in months!  Well, I am sold!

My first batch of homemade sauerkraut love!
Here's the good news for you, dear reader:  no need for the average Joe or Jill to ever do a fecal transfusion.  But what you should take away from this post is that your body desperately and extremely needs good bacteria!  If you've ever taken antibiotics, even one time in your entire life, then do your body the favor of helping that internal forest to grow.  The most ideal way to get this is by eating fermented food.  Anything cultured is bound to be good for the gut.  Bring back raw sauerkraut, naturally-fermented pickles, plain whole yogurt, kombucha, kim-chee, miso, tempeh, and everything you can think of to bring the good bugs in!  Eat raw vegetables and fruit which naturally have good bacteria in and on them.  Take a probiotic supplement.

Put cultured food back into our culture so we can keep our poop to ourselves.....

(It's so much easier than you could ever imagine.)
Video with Frank Giglio...

1 comment: