Beautiful Bowels and Beyond

By Adrienne Ryan, Brisbane, Australia

A few months ago I was feeling not so great in my body. I was overweight, tired, my period had been going haywire and I had been experiencing discomfort in what I thought was my left ovary area. It had been some time since I had gone to my GP. Usually I visited him when I was too sick to work. This time was different. I was still working and going about my day-to-day life, but I realised that I wasn’t feeling good and I wanted to know why. I decided to book in for a thorough check-up to see what was happening with my 46 year old body.

I enjoyed being there with my doctor, taking the time to say, “Hey, I’m not sick sick, but I don’t feel well either.”

We did some hormone tests and these were all normal. It turned out the area I thought was ovary discomfort was actually my bowel and we scheduled a colonoscopy. My GP also recommended a bone scan.

I went back home and realised something had changed. I started to pay closer attention to my day-to-day habits and how they felt. I became more aware of the part of my diet that was based on instant food gratifications that tasted great but left me feeling buzzy, heavy, fuzzy, tired, bloated, itchy, congested, dull or depressed afterwards – signs that my body wasn’t enjoying what my mouth was. I started to realise that there were many foods that didn’t truly agree with me. As the weeks passed I began to let these foods go and noticed how much easier my food choices were and how I enjoyed not having the mental tennis match of will I or won’t I have a corn chip now? I had started to master choosing what to eat from my body’s perspective and not my mouth’s. I also began to see how the quantities of foods, or times and ways I ate also had an effect on me: too much and I would feel tired, too late and I’d wake up feeling whacked, too fast and I’d over eat.

A month came and went and I noticed how I didn’t have the same heaviness in my being that I did before. My weight changed a little, but I noticed a greater sense of lightness, ease and evenness. The other amazing thing is that my periods returned to what I considered normal for me.

I felt more alive and it was great that my period had normalised, but there was more to go. I still felt a bit sluggish and my digestion, even with the changes I’d made, was still not flowing smoothly.

I booked in for a visit with a naturopath and spent time beforehand filling in a detailed questionnaire he gave me about my health history. It was like writing an autobiography of my body and was a great confirmation of how much my health had changed from a severely asthmatic, allergy, eczema and bronchitis sufferer to a woman who, after making changes over time in my lifestyle  ‘suffered’ these things no more.  It was also inspiring because it made me aware of things that were not as severe as these past conditions, but none-the-less left me feeling less than well and vital in my body. I had begun to measure wellness not on the absence of illness but on the presence of a body that felt lovely, alive and beautiful to wake up with and be in every day.

The naturopath performed some tests and we came to see that for my body there was too much of some things (meat, some nuts and too many egg yolks) and too little of other things (mineral salts, cod liver oil, hydration). He suggested cutting back on the too much and increasing the too little. I have done this for three weeks now and, we’re becoming intimate here, my bowels have returned to a beautiful, regular, healthy consistency. I would never have said my bowels were terrible but how I feel now is so clearly different that I have a new level of ‘normal’ for my bowels.

Today I went into hospital for my scheduled colonoscopy. There were lots of questions to answer about diet and the consumption of drugs and alcohol, and information needed on current medications I was taking. When the nurse checked my answers with me I realised from her comments that it is not so ‘normal’ to not drink alcohol at all or to not be on any type of medication.

The procedure was done and I was aware of what was going on and really appreciated the gentleness and skill of my surgeon and his team. I was told I had a beautiful bowel and that there was nothing there to worry about. It was great to have the confirmation by the medical system that my bowel was healthy.

It was only later that I discovered I had perhaps answered incorrectly on the questionnaire when I said no to being on any medicine.  I realised that although I am not on specific medication, my daily life is actually full of medicine – what I choose to eat, drink, how I rest, exercise, prepare for the day to not be rushed or stressed, conduct myself gently through the day, the way I end my day and how I go to bed…is all medicine.

The more I use this medicine the better I feel in my body. It has been an ongoing experiment but the results clearly show how well prescribed this form of medicine has been. I am looking forward to discovering more of what it is to truly feel well and lovely in my body all the time.

378 thoughts on “Beautiful Bowels and Beyond

  1. Our life is our medicine and like you we can prescribe ourselves a loving diet and daily rhythm that supports our general health and well-being. Enlisting the support of the medical profession where necessary but being willing to do the ground work ourselves. I am still exploring this with my bowels and digestion and being open to what is unfolding with my stubbornness to let go of certain foods e.g. nuts that I have plenty of evidence interfere with the smooth flowing of my bodily functions.

  2. I too am noticing the impact of eating too late. It really does affect the way I wake up the next morning. Now I’m eating earlier, I wake feeling rested and more ready for my day. There is so much we can do to support ourselves, and the choices we make have such a huge impact, either positively or negatively.

  3. Thank you Adrienne. I know the battle of what my mouth wants to eat versus what my body wants to eat all too well. Your experience helps me to understand that letting go of foods that my body does not respond well to is a joy not deprivation.

  4. We have let our taste buds rule our bodies. I know I have, I used to eat anything that had a sweetness and certain texture that satisfied my taste buds but not my body and like you Adrienne, my body started to tell me that it was time to start listening to what it had to say instead of the 5 seconds of satisfaction that my mouth demanded. I would get unexplained pains and cramps after eating certain foods that my body could no longer cope with. It took me a while to accept this, as I would look at everyone around me who seemed to eat everything with no problem….I used to think: Why me? I now listen to my body, and I no longer have the pains and I feel healthier and have more vitality and I am truly enjoying life for the first time in my life, so for me listening to my body is simply the best medicine.

  5. A beautiful confirmation that the way we live and the choices we make can be the best medicine we can offer ourselves.

  6. The observations about food here makes it clear that we can use food to both support our body as well as to numb and dull it down. “Too much and I would feel tired, too late and I’d wake up feeling whacked, too fast and I’d over eat” … it is so specific. I have also noticed that different foods can have different impacts on my body. It is immensely loving and supportive to observe and wisen up to how we might be using food in our daily lives.

  7. Why take medicine only when we feel unwell? Why not take it daily through the way in which we choose to live? I can feel unwell if I haven’t eaten foods that support me, so my medicine is to now choose the right foods for me. So simple and it brings a great joy to life.

  8. ‘although I am not on specific medication, my daily life is actually full of medicine –’ Of course, how we live is our medicine and in a sense a medicine for others too. How important it is to keep on changing the medicine and the dosage as we ourselves change, keeping a close eye on what our body truly needs is doing everyone a favour.

  9. ‘signs that my body wasn’t enjoying what my mouth was.’ We convince ourselves that we like or even love certain foods and drinks but it’s really all in the head. Were we to ask the body it would be a very different story. We really know we are putting a lot of pressure on our bodies to manage all that we ingest but do we care? It is only when we begin to truly care that our bodies can begin to make their way back to the healthy, vital and harmonious state that we would like them to have/be.

  10. So true, everything we choose that supports a relationship with our body is medicine,”I had begun to measure wellness not on the absence of illness but on the presence of a body that felt lovely, alive and beautiful to wake up with and be in every day.” This is a game-changer for me, it makes total sense. There are days when I don’t feel right – I don’t need to go to the doctor or the hospital but I do need to do a check-in with myself, assess what I have been choosing and if anything needs a little tweak – then act, no drama.

  11. A great chronicle of how paying attention to our health results in significant changes to our health – and how prevention via awareness, love and care for our bodies and our being is possibly still the best cure.

  12. Great sharing Adrienne, how we live is definitely reflected in our body, and taking the time to look after ourselves and make self-loving choices definitely pays us back.

  13. A beautiful reminder that my body is giving me a very clear message to pay closer attention to what my body is communicating and that my delicateness needs confirmation in how, what and when I eat so I will feel the power of this beautiful quality more and more.

  14. This is such a profound message you share here Adrienne. How often do we consider that how we choose to live is medicine, that our lifestyle choices are healing or harming, and the way we are with ourselves affects us greatly? For this highlights the responsibility we all hold, in the quality of life we live and the state of well-being and vitality we hold in our bodies, as a result of every choice we make. And when we bring awareness to what we are choosing, why and how it feels in our bodies we are guided by an intelligence that has our best interests at heart, all day long.

  15. The way we live is medicine, the most important one we can ever administer – everything else, albeit very important, comes second.

  16. If we wait until we are actually sick sometimes we miss all the symptoms of not being well that has got us there.

  17. It is gorgeous that a little self care can have such a profound effect on our well being. These choices are indeed an integral part in taking responsibility for our health and the basis of a powerful combination in marrying the principles of Universal Medicine with conventional medicine… a foundation that could undoubtedly revolutionize medicine as all these testimonies show, for the part we play should never be overlooked.

  18. A beautiful testament of the miracle effect when we live our own medicine. If this was the first point of call when we felt ill or not quite right, we would take a lot of pressure of the medical system.

  19. I love the way you reconsidered what medicine actually meant for you. Wouldnt it be great if we all started making this claim when visiting health professionals? 🙂

  20. It’s very inspiring to read of your story Adrienne, although it seems you looked after your health well, you have taken it to another level. It shows that while we might measure our health as normal against the normal, doing so is a dangerous thing as the only normal is really what is right for us and each passing day that changes and might well require a different level of care.

  21. Life can indeed be a medicine and I love the way you have experimented with food and different things in your life, to see how it may affect the body. It is quite remarkable that so many of us have illness and disease yet we are not making those simple life style adjustments in order to do our part when we arrive at the doctors. Western Medicine generously provides such a support in this country but we cannot continue to abuse the system, a patient like you, is an ideal patient not because your bowel was healthy but because you were willing to adjust what is needed in order to make sure that it stays healthy.

  22. Beautiful realisation Adrienne, we offer ourselves the greatest complementary medicine to any ailment when we start to live medicine in our every day.

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