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Get to the root

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2013-07-23

It’s not just what you eat. It’s how it gets there.

Eater’s Digest, from Replenish PDX is one eater’s monthly reflection on the journey of her food.

This monthgetting to the root of it all

What do the following symptoms have in common?

The commonality in all those symptoms is that they share a root cause.

That’s right. All those disparate manifestations, from your belly to your skin to your brain, stem from the same place.

Do you know what it is?
It’s your gut.

If you know anything about gardening, you know that pulling a dandelion out by its leaves will not make it go away. It’ll grow right back. Dandelions proliferate from their long taproot. If any part of the taproot remains, then the weed will quickly regenerate.

Your health is like this too.

The health of your digestion. The health of your respiratory function. The health of your skin, your immune health, and even your mental health. They all need to be addressed at the root to seek resolution.

To take that dandelion analogy a step further, the root of all those seemingly diverse health concerns listed above lies deep inside you. If we ignore the core inner workings, then the symptoms described will continue to crop up like the most pernicious weed.

I know it may be odd to consider that the state of that long twisting tube buried in your abdomen is a key factor in a host, if not most, health conditions. Yet the symptom you experience might not be a “condition” in and of itself, but instead a warning sign that something’s gone awry in your primary organ of digestion and absorption.

This is where the principles of functional nutrition come into play. If your health care addresses only the weed, it’s unlikely that it will lead to your long-term relief and vitality. Yet by identifying, addressing and gaining knowledge about the underlying root cause or causes, you have a much greater chance of finding success with your own particular health challenges.
When your small intestine is suffering, you are too. And who knows where it’ll crop up?!

Though you might not think of your splotchy skin as having anything to do with your innards, their impairment is the reason that all those fancy creams only work for a short time, if that.

Again, you can pull the weeds out of the garden, but if you don’t tend to the root, they keep coming back, again and again. The very first root that needs your attention, is your gut.
The small intestine, when in good repair, is your core gatekeeper for optimal health.

Ultimately, your gut decides what will travel into the circulatory system and what will not.

But let’s back up a bit, shall we?
Let’s get gut savvy. . .

Your food is broken down into smaller nutrients higher up in the digestive system ~ in the mouth, in the esophagus and in the stomach. Auxiliary organs of digestion, the pancreas and gallbladder, produce enzymes to help the food decompose a little further. Those enzymes are pumped into the “gates” of the gut.

Yet what comes out of those gates is dependent on the health of that primary organ of digestion and absorption. . . your small intestine.

It may be called ‘small’, but it’s got a BIG job! Perhaps the biggest job when it comes to what you consume and how you feel.

There are intricate chemical processes that selectively sort and choose what will be introduced into circulation. If nutrients that aren’t properly digested leak into the bloodstream then the suffering begins. Uh oh. This can even happen from the very best foods and your very best intentions.
It’s not just about the food. It’s about what your body can do with the food you choose.

This means that your health is about the state of your insides as much as it is about what you eat. That grief can take the form of gas, bloating and indigestion, as I mentioned, but also create more systemic problems from disrupting your mental health to increasing your internal toxic load to inciting hormonal dysregulation.

At Replenish we’re always looking to find the root cause of symptoms. We know well that when it comes to chronic health issues, the Band-Aids just don’t work. Like so many others, you may have discovered this the hard way.

Because one of the root causes of all symptoms is typically the health of the gut ~ even if you don’t experience any symptoms related to your digestive system ~ we make it a top priority. It needs to be in good repair.
And repair in can!

In Refresh: A TrulyFood Summer Cleanse, we’ll be focusing on learning to repair your gut. This is why I love this cleanse so much ~ it gets right to the root of the matter, many matters, giving you the tools to clean and restore your ultimate gatekeeper during the week of cleansing and beyond.
You can learn more about the Summer Refresh Cleanse by clicking right here.

You can also join me on Saturday, for a live Facebook Q&A, hosted on the Replenish PDX Facebook Page, to ask your questions and get answers about what an intestinal cleanse can do, why it can be helpful, what the process will be like for you, how this differs from other Replenish programs, and anything else that’s keeping you from diving in and getting to the root of it all.

I’ve been thinking of this cleanse as boot camp (or root camp) for your gut.

Hey, it’s summer time! Send your gut to camp!


  • gas and bloating

  • constipation

  • allergies and/or sensitivities to certain foods or smells

  • eczema or acne

  • brain fog, anxiety and depression


Eater’s Digest Homework:

Get your just desserts!

I love finding yummy ways to get to the root cause of symptoms and initiate internal healing. The key word here is yummy.

Health should not be a drag.

That’s why I’m a big fan of delicious cleanse protocols, like we’ve created for you in the Refresh Summer Cleanse, that invite you into a deeper understanding of Why and How to do your internal yard work while enjoying every bite.
The principle healing ingredient in this tasty dessert recipe ~ which is not only healthful, but a real crowd pleaser ~ is the agar, sometimes called agar-agar. Agar is derived from sea algae, but don’t worry, it has no taste. It produces a jell-o like consistency, and works much like gelatin*. You’re going to love this homework!
Gut healing benefits of agar include:

[By the way, if you’re counting, agar has almost no calories!)

Blueberry Kanten

1 ½ cups blueberries

3 cups plus 2 Tbsp. apple juice

1 tsp. vanilla

pinch of sea salt

4 Tbsp. agar flakes

1 Tbsp. arrowroot

Add blueberries and 1 cup of apple juice to a high-speed blender. Blend well and strain through a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer.

In a medium pot over medium heat, combine blended liquid with 2 cups of apple juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and add vanilla, sea salt, and agar. Simmer this, whisking occasionally for up to 10 minutes or until all agar is dissolved.

Place the last 2 tablespoons apple juice in a small bowl and add arrowroot powder. Whisk until smooth and add to simmering juice mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow glass pan. Place in refrigerator until firm and cool, approximately 1–2 hours.

Using the S-blade on a food processor, blend the cooled kanten until it has a pudding-like consistency. Serve cold and top with Maple Cream, if desired.

Store in a glass container for up to 3 days.
Serves 4
Maple Hemp Cream

1 1/3 cups hemp seeds

2/3 cup water, plus more to blend if needed

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ cup maple syrup

pinch of sea salt

1-2 teaspoons lemon zest (optional)

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Place in refrigerator and cool until thick and creamy.
Recipe created by Andrea Livingston for Replenish PDX. The kanten recipe was inspired and adapted from an original recipe by Meadow Sisto.

  • its composition of about 80% soluble fiber, allowing it to pass through the digestive system and do a cleaning sleep along the way (metals, toxins, be gone!)

  • its ability to increase peristalsis, the wave like movements that help food traverse through the system, helping to relieve both gas and constipation

  • its propensity for absorbing glucose, helping the body from storing unnecessary fats and sugars


  • If you want to use gelatin or can only find agar powder (and not flakes), note the approximate conversions below, though we have not tested the kanten this way:
    1 tablespoon gelatin = 2 tablespoon agar flakes = 1 teaspoon agar powder


Are you thirsting for a summer recharge?
August 5th – August 11th

Let us guide you through a TrulyFood refreshing and healing summer cleanse with over 40 delicious recipes and full-on cleansing support!

“Live” (online teleseminar) on Saturday August 3rd
(or attend when you can by listening to the recording)

mark your calendar and reserve your refreshment now!
click here to learn more!
What’s the difference between a detox and a cleanse?
Click here to learn how you can determine what the best Replenish program is for you!

(Don’t miss the EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!)

  • How and why to cleanse your gut for optimal nutrient absorption, immunity and energy

  • Which foods boost your body’s ability to detoxify, feel lean, and recapture your vitality

  • How to feel delighted with your meals and nourished even while cleansing!

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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