From the Introduction
The human gut microbiome is likely the hottest scientific health topic right now. Even those who don’t know the word “microbiome” are aware of what’s called the gut-brain connection, or the second brain in the gut, and the existence of probiotics. What most people may not know is the extent to which scientists are discovering the diverse roles that our inner microbial colonies play in keeping us healthy and happy. Or how Eastern teachings are chock full of detailed information explaining the importance of the gut, the role of digestion on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of the individual, and how to manage gut health naturally.
Indian doctors practicing Ayurveda have known for millennia that most disease starts in the gut. Like their Chinese medicine peers, they have elaborate formulas for regulating gut health, and highly evolved yet simple dietary guidelines that anyone can follow to reestablish healthy digestive functioning. Think the digestive system doesn’t take precedence over other bodily systems? Then imagine how you’d feel if you were looking forward to an event but couldn’t leave the house because you had diarrhea, or if you wanted to go have fun on your beach vacation but suffered with constipation, gas, and bloating the whole time. Then recognize that this is a daily reality for too many people. Not only that, but since science has firmly established that some chronic, often debilitating diseases and cancers have in common certain bacterial communities in the gut, we have more serious, seemingly concrete reasons to pay attention.
The homeostasis our microbiome constantly works to maintain has not only been mentioned, but emphasized by traditional cultures and medicine systems for thousands of years. Maintaining a balance of humors, doshas, elements, fluids, metabolic processes, thermoregulation, systems of circulation, bodily tissues, life airs, biological rhythms, and yin and yang is the crux of traditional preventative medicine, treatment, and vital longevity. Ancient cultures had people who lived to 100 and beyond. They didn't have hand sanitizer and antibiotics, yet under normal and harsher circumstances than we experience in modern living, they still flourished. And we are here because of them. In such harsh circumstances without the comforts or conveniences of modern society, how did so many of them make it so long?
Perhaps the wisdom to live with optimal health has been within us all along and it's as unique to each of us as our fingerprint. That's right, your microbiome is as individual to you as your DNA, a snowflake in a storm, or your fingerprint. Just like there is only one you, there is only one mix of your individual microbiota. It is interesting to note that the aforementioned ancient medical systems also believed in the concept of individual constitution, not a one-size-fits-all scenario. These unique constitutional tendencies are recognized to require specific diet and lifestyle tweaks in order to stay balanced and therefore, healthy. It is my belief that these ancient prescriptions for ultimate vitality and maximized good health are the best tool we have in lieu of enough science to know what to do to take optimal care of ourselves and our microbiomes. They are vital, living, systems of medicine in practice all over the world today, including, most likely, your own community.
There is a lot of information in this book, and there is a lot of information that isn’t in this book. I want to make clear that this is not a scientific paper, nor is it pseudoscience. It is a delicately balanced blend of what the average intelligent, free thinking, interested human being needs to know from a modern scientific and medical perspective as well as from the teachings of Eastern medicine, in order to understand the microbiome in a way that helps them heal. I haven’t gone into the cacophony of microbes and where they are and what they do. That is something that our knowledge of is changing every day. What doesn’t change are the guidelines Eastern medicine clearly lays out that we can follow to maintain optimal health.
My interest lies largely in managing the microbiome holistically, using the science and wisdom that goes back millennia as a guide, and then implementing it into daily living. If you are serious about truly taking charge of your health and are open to living more according to natural cycles and by common sense in many cases, then read on. If you’re frustrated with feeling drowsy, bloated, unfocused, or unmotivated, if your cycles are disrupted, your sleep disturbed, your emotions unpredictable or stuck in one gear, read on. The information contained in this book is for you. It weaves together what we have always known with what we are confirming daily with the scientific method. Why wait another century until the principles of Chinese medicine or Ayurveda are scientifically proven? Read on to prove them in the lab of your own life and feel free and healthier now.