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.

431 thoughts on “Beautiful Bowels and Beyond

  1. Our bowels are like other parts of the body we ignore until something goes wrong with them. Building a relationship with them and getting to understand the language of the bowels is so beneficial to our overall well being, along with not blaming them when things slow down, stop or move too quickly.

    1. Julie I love what you’ve shared here about “the language of the bowels” and building a relationship with them. I’ve also been focusing on feeling my bowels through the day, the ascending, transverse and descending sections and understanding what they symbolise in esoteric medicine, as well as generally listening to them and feeling what may be impacting this part of the body. I’m also aware of other parts of my body, including my neck and the language it has for why things do or don’t feel great, and other parts of the body. It’s fascinating to build this relationship and be so aware of what the body symbolises and communicates and how my daily choices impact on it.

    2. Well said Julie, we ignore most of our body until something is wrong, but it’s really worth taking note of every part of ourselves and what is actually happening – rather than waiting for something big to go wrong.

  2. We often think that we get off scot-free when we mindlessly consume foods without worrying about the after effects but eventually, those choices do catch up with us; be it with excessive weight gain, sluggish bowels, feeling dull when we wake up and generally being low in energy. I have recently taken to reviewing my foods and have found that there are many things of which were not helping me to feel vital.

  3. Medicine is so much more than pills and surgery, it’s how we live and when you consider that this is almost all of life, it shows how our relationship with how we live and our bodies is vital. And it can be as simple as eating from our body and not from taste, a great reminder that we are so much more than our mouths!

  4. I agree our daily life is a form of medicine because every choice we make is either harming or healing and the key is to know the difference by building a relationship with our body, and through that we know what supports us and what does not support us.

  5. So true – the way we choose to live is a medicine, either good or bad, and recognising it as the medicine that supports our well-being is a great way to appreciate it, and that in itself is a part of the medicine.

  6. Every time we feel and honour what our bodies are telling us, we confirm our innate wisdom that is available to us at any time.

  7. There’s nothing like the feeling of having your bowels working as they should, in contrast to when they are sluggish and struggling. Having a closer look at our diet does help, along with what we are not dealing with in life and letting go of those things.

  8. So inspiring to read. I too can relate to the effects of eating too late and how certain foods leave you feeling heavy, bloated, tired, racy, congested and being constipated. I am still in the process of exploring what foods to choose to eliminate. I find a stubbornness around letting go with certain foods due to wanting comfort.

  9. Its great how your definition of wellness changed over this period of experimentation with your diet and how you were living. Its a testimony for how fast the body can heal once we start to take care of it and listen to its many messages rather than overriding them.

  10. I love how are bodies are so sensitive that they keep up with the nurturing choices we make for ourselves taking the opportunity to rid themselves of accumulated toxins and continually readjusting and showing us how to make the adjustments in our diets that will continue to nurture ourselves further.

  11. We often do not consider any of this in our day to day lives, and it is inspiring to read of the simplicity “…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.” We complicate life so much, in essence what you share is what we could all be learning and maintaining from childhood. Illness and disease rarely arrives suddenly, its path to being shown in the body comes from a line of choices we have made previously, life style diseases are an epidemic and they are growing and so conversely ‘Life is Medicine’ If we choose it to be so.

    1. It is generally accepted now that 80% of chronic illness and disease is caused by lifestyle choices, yet the other day I heard that taxes are needing to rise by £2000 per year per household to fund the NHS in the UK. To me this doesn’t compute, surely we need to change how we are living rather than forever keep raising taxes to support our self abuse?

      1. That is staggering and something that will only continue to increase while we rely on getting fixed rather than maintaining our health to the best of our ability. There will be times when we require support and it is vital we get it, however there are so many ways we can support ourselves in day to day life.

      2. Living in such a way that we don’t need to get fixed is surely preferable for all. But prevention is hard when we all come at illness and disease as things that come out of the blue and therefore just bad luck. Until we realise that our health is within our own remit and not a matter of chance, things will continue to worsen whilst the news stories about magic bullets will keep growing.

  12. “…. 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.”I love this. Yes, our life is medicine – not just the what we do , eat etc, but the how is as important, and whether it is harming or healing us.

  13. “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.” So true – I concur Adrienne. A lot depends on our definition of words, which can mean different things to different people.

  14. Amazing proof that our bodies are an incredible science and every little choice we make affects the balance and homeostasis of them, it’s simply about learning to refine our choices, diet, exercise, sleep, communication so we don’t interfere with this beautiful equilibrium.

  15. When you look after your body consistently for a while you can get blasé and think you can do what you like. But as my body reminded me yesterday it did not heal and improve just so I could abuse it again but to go deeper with the way that I live – thank you Adrienne.

  16. I love the idea that we could fill out a form and acknowledge the way that we choose to live is our best form of medication. I will take this to my next consultation.

  17. I loved the twist at the end. Of course we should enter life on the questionnaire that wants to know what medication we are on. That would give the doctors something to ponder on! Might trigger some questions and a great learning for them.

  18. “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.” Reading this has helped me to recognise and appreciate this is my measure of wellness too. I have not been feeling vital for a while now and am taking steps to change this, but hadn’t appreciated the massive changes that have already occurred in my body due to the medicine of my choices that I now live by.

  19. Paying attention to the way we are living and what we are choosing to eat deepens our awareness of feeling the true impact of certain foods in our body. Deepening our level of self-care can initiate huge changes in our body and the deeper relationship we have with ourselves the more we naturally make choices that nurture our way of being. Our body soon communicates when we have separated from our natural rhythm to guide us back to reconnecting with ourselves.

  20. It is great to put the bar of feeling well up to a level where we say ‘I am not sick but also not feeling well’. I noticed whilst reading how some foods and especially over eating gives me a discomfort in my stomach area after eating and that I accept this a just the way it is. Yet I feel inspired now to experiment with this and see if I can find out what it is that causes me this discomfort to eliminate it.

  21. I’d love to see ‘living medicine’ or ‘how i live medicine’ on the list of medications that we take as you are so on the money, it is our commitment to living in a way that loves and nourishes you that is our daily living medicine.

  22. There’s something very wholesome about your blog and about making life our daily medicine. It means every day we have the potential to make small adjustments that have ginormous effects on our health, all it takes is some willingness to investigate and experiment to see what truly works.

  23. Our everyday life choices effect our body, and I have learnt that in order to look after myself I need to make loving choices that support me and therefore my everyday medicine is down to each and every choice I make.

  24. This is beautiful Adrienne , its so wonderful hearing about a person taking responsibility and knowing its not a burden , but a huge pay off in how our life is . It must also have been inspiring for the medical staff to read your chart and the answer you gave to medical questions.

  25. Wow this blog has really inspired me, what an amazing way to approach life and your health with making constant little adjustments and the utmost care for your body and well-being. It’s remarkable how a few little tweaks can make the biggest difference.

  26. “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 very inspiring and makes me really value and appreciate the way I live as medicine as well. Thank you, Adrienne.

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

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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? 🙂

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

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

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

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. ‘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.

  41. ‘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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

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

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

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