say aloha to aloe
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
I spend a few weeks each year on an island. The skies are fickle, the land is lush and the sea and sand are sweet as can be. Chickens run wild and every so often you hit a patch of road that smells of aromatic, rotting fruit.
Can you guess where I am?
It’s my yearly working vacation in Hawaii — taking the time to cleanse my body and soul.
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for lounging in the water, getting smacked by waves, treading water, and getting gritty with sand as I dive into a book of fiction (for a change!).
While that’s all good (hello vitamin D), it does mean I need to take extra care to protect my skin as I hope you do too during your time in the sun. Your skin is your largest organ of detoxification and it certainly deserves your care and attention!
Did you know, you’ve got a second skin that needs your tender loving care too?
That second skin is the tube that runs from your mouth to your anus – it’s your inside skin, your digestive system!
When we turn our attention to digestion, I like to consider all aspects that might be affected — from top to bottom. That includes the brain (yes, your thoughts kick-start the whole process), the teeth, the mouth, the stomach, the small intestine and the colon (this is where we get to indulge in poop talk).
And, while you’re at it, you might find that our featured gut lovin’ ingredient this week might be just what your skin (inside and out) needs!
This week’s gut lovin’ ingredient provides soothing support:
and it helps you say aloha to easeful elimination
You’re likely familiar with the idea of putting aloe on your outer skin to soothe either a sunburn or an unfortunate encounter with some fire — from the stovetop, the fireplace or your campground dinner.
(I’ve always got a bottle in our house in both Portland and Hawaii.)
But can aloe actually provide some benefits for that internal skin as well?
It can! I’m a big fan of the internal use of aloe.
It was over 3,500 years ago that the health benefits of aloe were first documented, but the research didn’t stop there.There’s now a body of contemporary research that contributes to the reasons that fuel my aloe enthusiasm.
I like to incorporate aloe vera juice into particular clients’ daily protocols and smoothies to help address specific digestive disturbances from heartburn to ulcers to intestinal or bowel inflammation to diarrhea. But why?
aloe and digestion
I want to be clear here that when I’m talking about consuming aloe internally, I’m referring to the juice, not the gel. I prefer the Lily of the Dessert brand — either the whole leaf or inner fillet. You can find it organic and in glass bottles at most health food stores.
As I noted above, aloe vera juice soothes the lining of the intestines just as it soothes burns and wounds on your skin. By doing so, aloe can have the following positive benefits on your digestive processes:
- balancing acid and alkaline levels in the stomach, helping to ease gastric irritation
- promoting proliferation of good bacteria in the gut
- improving bowel regularity without causing diarrhea
- slowing transit time to allow for optimal protein digestion and nutrient absorption
- helping to ameliorate yeast in the alimentary canal (that’s your digestive system)
- quelling internal systemic inflammation due to specific anti-inflammatory enzymes included right in your aloe juice
If you’re going it alone, I recommend starting slowly, with just 1 ounce in your morning water or smoothie.
Try this aloe-inspired digestive superfood smoothie recipe. It’s a long-time favorite of many of our Counseling Services clients.
Digestive Health-Foodie Smoothie
- 4 raw Brazil nuts
- 1 whole cucumber, peeled
- 1 large celery stalk
- small handful spinach
- 1/2 cup organic aloe vera juice
- 1 scoop protein powder (pea protein, collagen or whey if tolerated)
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 15-20 drops vanilla stevia (or to taste)
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon maca (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
your gut lovin’ homework?
Look for some aloe and start low, with just one ounce in water, your favorite smoothie or our aloe loving option above.
And note that the work it’s doing is internal, but it will also help elimination flow more easily. Watch your bowel tolerance and adjust quantity accordingly. You can slowly increase to up to 4 ounces of aloe juice.
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