It was wonderful to spend last weekend with my son Trevor and his fiancé Anna who were visiting from Boulder. I haven’t seen them since Thanksgiving. We cooked lots of food, kayaked, watched fireworks and went to a vineyard on the North Fork. Here are some pictures.
I am busy making recipes for the Nourishing Foods Summer Cleanse. It’s fun and delicious. One of the practices I teach in my cleanses is tongue scraping each morning. It is a simple practice of scraping your tongue before brushing your teeth.
Many of the members of the cleansing community tell me they have made this practice part of their daily routine even after the cleanse is over. I love hearing how the practices from the cleanse find their way into their life to deliver continued harmony and balance. This is one of the benefits of seasonal cleansing.
In Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine the tongue is used as a primary investigative tool. Ayurveda practitioners evaluate the state of your tongue as a first step to diagnose health problems. Your tongue is the entrance to your digestive system which goes on for another 30 feet.
This means that what is going on with your tongue indicates what is going on in your entire digestive system.
A strong digestive system is key for good health.
In today’s blog I will explain a few things to look for on your tongue and what it might indicate. Then I will give you tips to improve your digestion and information about tongue scraping.
First I want to explain a little bit about digestive health.
There are 3 important steps needed for good digestive health.
- Breaking down food into nutrients
- Nutrients absorbed into the cells for energy to do their job efficiently
- Removing waste
Being healthy is not just about the food. It’s about what your body can do with the food you choose.
Your small intestine or gut is where most of your food gets broken down and absorbed. When your small intestine is in good repair you have a much greater chance of having really good health.
I have been supporting my digestive system over the last few years with a paleotarian diet, tapping, meditation and yoga to heal my body from interstitial cystitis and the thyroid autoimmune condition hashimoto’s. I am happy to say I am cured of the interstitial cystitis and I have been able to cut back on my thyroid medication.
All of this from healing my gut and loving all of my thoughts and feelings even the so called “negative” ones. I realize don’t have to be afraid of any of my thoughts and feelings. What a relief!
I am looking forward to the Nourishing Foods Summer Cleanse August 3- August 7 to give my small intestine some extra support and to reconnect with my gut feelings. (yes they are connected)
As you know I’m a fan of yearly, seasonal cleansing. It brings me back into alignment with my body’s primary functions and also allows my detox organs to receive the tune-up they need to work for me. It’s one of the things I do to ensure my optimal heath.
Cleansing is an opportunity to slow down what is coming into your body, to give your organs a rest. Then by taking in simple nourishing foods that digest quickly and easily you will activate your systems of detoxification and elimination to nourish your organs and glands. This cleansing and nourishing results in feeling leaner, lighter and more energized. Summer cleansing allows the small intestine to rebalance and repair. When in balance you experience inner joy, happiness and peace.
This cleanse will cool and refresh your body during the long hot summer. You will emerge LEANER LIGHTER and STRONGER.
The Nourishing Foods Summer Cleanse
Revitalize Your Small Intestine
August 3-7 Mon-Fri
Let me guide you through a Nourishing Foods refreshing and healing summer cleanse with over 50 delicious recipes to choose fromand a few processes to connect back to your inner guidance (your gut feelings).
Checking Out Your Tongue
Go stick out your tongue and look in the mirror. There are 2 main factors when “reading” the tongue; tongue coating and tongue color. While this is not a complete list of tongue symptoms it is a good place to start.
Somewhere in the middle or back of your tongue is a tongue coat. It indicates how well you are digesting and assimilating the food you eat.
A thin, light, white coating indicates a healthy digestive system.
A thick tongue coating which may be yellow or white indicates an imbalance, usually poor gut function. It can also indicate that some system in the body is not able to perform its job efficiently in maintaining good health. It could also indicate inflammation or a viral or bacterial infection. If you have a think coated tongue it is a sign to slow down and do some cleansing to restore your organs.
No tongue coating could mean dehydration or exhaustion. A natural balance of fluids in the body is essential for healthy gut function and overall vitality. In this case increase your fluids and rest more.
The ideal color of a healthy tongue should be pale-red which indicates good circulation of blood and fluids in the body. Since blood is what nourishes the body, the tongue color also shows the overall health of the body and it’s organs.
Tongue color can range from pale pink to red or even have a bluish tinge.
A Red Tongue Color – If it becomes bright, beefy red you may have a dietary deficiency. Food gives us the energy to make blood. You may be low on Vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential for making the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
A tongue with a bluish or purplish tinge could be an indication of long standing inflammation. This color can be seen in people with chronic pain. It can also mean bad circulation; the fluids and blood are not getting to the cells to give them nutrients. It can also mean blockages in your emotions or even depression. It is good to have this checked by a doctor if it persists.
If you see a thick tongue coat or bright red tongue it is time to make some changes. A weak digestive system or overgrowth of bacteria will show up as a thick coat. Poor digestion left unattended can lead to problems involving the immune system and the hormonal system. We are seeing more people suffering from autoimmune conditions as a result of an impaired digestive system.
Tips to Restore Digestion to Change Your Tongue
Eat fermented foods to repopulate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria. Enzymes and probiotics assist in the digestion of your food and restore balance in your inner ecosystem.
Eat 70% of your diet as vegetables to get more of the nutrients and enzymes your body needs to function optimally. Have your plate be 70% non-starchy vegetables and the rest protein, fat and starch.
Add spices to your food. Certain spices such as turmeric, cardamom, ginger, coriander, fenugreek, black pepper, and fennel aid in improving digestion.
Give your digestive system a rest by signing up for the Nourishing Foods Summer Cleanse. You will improve your ability to digest and absorb the nutrients from the food you eat both during the cleanse and for the rest of the year.
Tap to reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm. When you are stressed your digestion is turned off. Each time you tap you release serotonin and DHEA into your body to calm you and restore your cells. Tapping helps release the resistance you may have to eating a healthier diet. Tap along with my video on Tapping to Eat A Healthier Diet
A tongue scraper is an important tool for your digestion. While you sleep at night your body is busy clearing out toxins. Some of the toxins are deposited on your tongue as a coating. By gently scraping this coating off first thing in the morning you avoid reabsorbing these toxins and help your teeth and gums.
I recommend a 100% copper tongue scraper. Click here to buy online. Also available in many health food stores. Copper is considered the best metal to use for tongue scraping because the mouth is loaded with both good and not-so-good bacteria. Copper not only seems to be toxic to the bad bacteria, it also provides important enzymes that are needed for the healthy microbes of the mouth to survive.
The Benefits of Tongue Scraping
- Reduces undesirable bacteria in the mouth that affect your gums, teeth and oral health. Reduces bad breath.
- Revitalizes the throat and keeps the sinuses cleaner by reducing bacteria that can travel into the respiratory system.
- Increases the function of taste buds to better taste and digest food.
- Changes the environment of the mouth to decrease bacteria entering your body
- Makes kissing more stimulating (my favorite benefit)
How to Use a Tongue Scraper
- In the morning when you wake up, scrape your tongue first thing.
- Hold each end with your hands and reach the arch to the back of your tongue as far as possible.
- Scrape forward 5 or 6 times, rinsing the white film off of the scraper between each scraping. It’s important to get the back of the tongue which may create a gag reflex, but this will lessen with practice. Be gentle but firm as you scrape.
- Rinse your mouth with water.
- Clean and dry your scraper with water – you may want to occasionally use toothpaste or baking soda to disinfect.
- Scrape your tongue prior to each brushing.