• Dr. Shannon Haliko

Your ticket to vitality: A solid food vacation.

From the mind and heart of a physician on the quest for health


What is keeping you from living your ideal life? Energy? Focus? Anxiety or Depression? Research has shown that digestive health is the foundation for all of these ailments. Maybe you already knew this and you have been eating all the “healthy” foods recommended by the latest popular diet. But somehow, you still aren’t experiencing the benefits you desire. Certainly, other lifestyle behaviors influence your health such as sleep, exercise and stress reduction. But unless your digestion is functioning properly, gut inflammation affects other body systems due to brain-gut, immune-gut and other connections. Additionally, any toxins absorbed through inhalation, ingestion or skin exposure will have difficulty eliminating through an inflamed gut. That means toxins are stored in your body, creating more inflammation and chronic issues. Further, the types of bacteria, fungi, and parasites that live in your gut depend on the local environment.


A healthy gut has friendly microbe inhabitants which produce useful molecules for our bodies. An unhealthy gut is associated with bad neighbors which exacerbate inflammation and create their own toxins. Not a pretty picture.

Now, before you blame your body for not living up to its potential, consider that your body is working day and night to restore your vitality. You are the captain of the ship and it is time to take responsibility. Your crew, the 300 million cells in your body, are working tirelessly to keep your ship afloat and navigate the seas of life. The symptoms you are noticing (brain fog, anxiety, poor digestion, pain) are all signals to get your attention that the ship is on fire! You may have already noticed the fire when you received a diagnosis of an illness, but the changes you have tried haven’t put out the flames or restored the damage.


Why is this? Are you…


1) A toxin magnet? Continually exposing your body to toxins in your environment or foods?


2) Living the high life? And engaging in destructive lifestyle behaviors (poor sleep, high stress, lack of exercise) which prevent daily maintenance and restoration of your body?


3) Captain of a sinking ship? Barely hanging on despite the healthiest attempts at food and lifestyle because your body-ship is beyond usual repair methods?


Which type of person are you? For the first two types, you need behavioral changes. But for the third type, you require a period of rest and repair.


Traditionally, seasonal and sporadic periods of fasting have allowed the body to rest. We now know that fasting allows the body to use autophagy (aka “self devouring”) to remove damaged and unnecessary cells and molecules. But, many people are too sick to benefit from traditional fasting methods. Why? When the body enters into a fasting state, it begins the search for energy sources (fat, connective tissue and muscle). These are areas we typically store toxins. As the body breaks down these tissues, we release the hidden toxins as well. The toxins are shuttled to areas in the body for detoxification, primarily the liver. The amount of toxins in the average adult's body overwhelms the already burdened detoxification systems. This overload of the detoxification system leads to “healing crisis” symptoms, some of which are quite severe.


So is there a better way to provide rest and healing for the gut? Yes! A Solid Food Vacation, also known as a Juice Feast, has helped myself and countless others heal our digestive symptoms and improve our overall health.

For 80+ days, I only consumed freshly made juice from organic fruits and vegetables in quantities required to meet my caloric and nutritional needs.

The nutrient dense juices provided the right ingredients to stimulate repair in my body while being very easy to digest. As a result, not only did my constant bloating, constipation and food intolerances resolve, but my brain fog, insomnia and restless leg syndrome completely disappeared.


What surprised me, despite reading testimonies of countless others, is increased energy and vitality like I have never experienced before! Does that sound like a destination you would like to travel to?


Every long vacation requires planning. And since we are talking about your health, we need to be especially careful to support your body completely on this journey. This requires preparation, tracking and dedication. Going alone on this journey is not advised. I advocate for including your health practitioner in this journey to ensure your safety. After all, it's not just the journey you desire, but to arrive alive and with vital health. Additionally, it may be helpful to engage a coach or support group during your journey as there are many important and transformational challenges that benefit from the support of community.


 

Thank you for reading my article to the end. I am guessing you are quite interested. Good news!! I am preparing a book on this topic right now and I would love your input. Does this sound like a book you might read? If so, what else would you want included? Leave a comment below or email me at shannon.haliko@healthywithhaliko.com


If you want to be included in updates on the book, receive free chapters and discounted early copies, please add your email to my list below.


References:

1. Nicholson, JK etal. “Host-gut microbiota metabolic interactions”. Science. Jun 8, 2012.

2. Mousa, WK etal. “Recent advances in understanding the structure and function of human microbiome”.Front Microbiol. Feb 3, 2022.

3. Hou, K et al. “Microbiota in health and diseases.”. Signal Transduct Target Ther. April 23, 2022.

4. Nandwana, V. “The role of microbiome in brain development and neurodegenerative diseases”. Molecules. May 25, 2022.

5. Widhiati, S. The role of gut microbiome in inflammatory skin disorders: A systematic review”. Dermatol Reports. Dec 28, 2022.

6. Yoo, B etal. “The enteric network: Interactions between the immune and nervous systems of the gut”. Immunity. Jun 20 2017.

7. Sender, R etal. “Revised estimates fo the number of human and bacterial cells in the body”. PLOS Biol. Aug 2016.

8. Bagherniya, M. “The effect of fasting or calorie restriction on autophagy induction: A review of the literature”. Ageing Res Rev. Nov 2018.

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