Recently, some relatives were visiting me after not traveling for a long time, and the new climate, exposure to new adventures (stressors) and people, as well as eating out often prompted a set of diarrhea in one relative. “What should I do?” he asked. All I could do is give him my support and a list of at-home diarrhea remedies that I knew would help him recover quickly!
Knowing what I know about energy and how changing new environments (especially with different climates and altitudes) can cause the body to respond with cleansing in preparation for new energy, as it often does when seasons change, I knew that using natural modalities to bring balance to the body was key to restoring my relative’s health.
Our bodies get used to our habitual environments, and unless we expose them to new settings with novel elements, chemicals, germs, and environmental aggravators, they will have a hard time becoming strong and resistant to the novel demands imposed on our immune systems.
In other words, like little kids that touch and lick everything in sight, we also have to be exposed to other people and environments to become strong – not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally.
But, like everything in life, balance is key, and dipping our toes into new settings can gradually help us become more prepared to take plunges into more adventurous grounds with such adverse effects as diarrhea, food poisoning, flu, colds, inflammation, pain, and more.
If you are suffering from diarrhea, there are a few possible causes behind it as well as simple and natural at-home diarrhea remedies you can take to rebalance your gut flora, strengthen your intestinal lining, lower gut inflammation, and experience overall gut health.
Top 3 Causes of Diarrhea
Traveler’s Diarrhea: Opportunistic Pathogens, Parasites & Bacteria
Occasional diarrhea is most likely the result of a pathogenic infection. It occurs when opportunistic agents and one’s inflamed gut terrain converge and cause havoc to the gut in the form of discomfort and frequent watery stools.
Here are a few types of infections that can occur which lead to the onset of diarrhea:
Viral infections: Many cases of diarrhea are caused by viral infections, such as the stomach flu or norovirus.
Bacterial infections: Bacterial infections, such as E. coli or Salmonella, can also cause diarrhea.
Parasitic infections: Parasitic infections, such as Giardia or Cryptosporidium, can cause diarrhea.
In these instances, the gut infection causes loss of water and electrolytes from the body, including sodium, chloride, and potassium. The condition can be associated with other symptoms, such as vomiting, pain, and weight loss, but does not last longer than a few days (if caused by opportunistic pathogens).
When you travel, your body is not only trying to adapt to the changes of the new environment – the air, the water, the weather and other natural elements – but it is also exposed to new bacteria and pathogens that it is not used to. Short-term physical discomfort can simply be the body’s way of adjusting internally to a vastly new environment and not a result of any “illness” per se.
For example, if you’ve been very isolated in your home and neighborhood for long periods and only interacted with a few family members and friends, your body did not have much opportunity to increase its immunity through exposure to other environments’ and individuals’ terrains.
As I mentioned, just think of how children explore their environment and strengthen their immunity through touching and licking all types of objects. This happens because of the body’s own intelligence, which guides young children to explore their world without fear to become better assimilated to it and withstand its many chemical and energetic pressures.
Many medical sources will tell you that diarrhea is caused by viruses norovirus, rotavirus, and hepatitis A, and bacteria E.coli, salmonella, and listeria, but I believe that in a very healthy body with strong immunity, a pathogen cannot survive for long or cause debilitating symptoms. It is truly a mutual relationship between the pathogen and its favorable environment (acidic terrain) where it can proliferate and cause damage over time.
We do have power over pathogens – and it is not found in vaccines and other medical interventions. Instead, our responsibility lies in keeping our bodily pH terrain predominantly alkaline by consuming an alkaline diet, which will ensure that our bodies are inhospitable to pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, candida, and others.
Digestive System and Gut Problems
Diarrhea can also occur as a result of a sensitive and inflamed gut. If you do suffer from bloating, digestive sensitivity, gas, and frequent intestinal discomforts, your gut may be overly spastic due to genetic predisposition and lifestyle.
Individuals with more sensitive nervous systems are also known to have more delicate guts, since the nervous system governs the messaging and signaling between cells. Gut issues signal that the messaging between the gut cells has been weakened, most likely through a genetic predisposition triggered by chronic inflammation and a stressful lifestyle.
Chronic diarrhea is most commonly caused by gut dysregulation disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), as well as various food intolerances and sensitivities.
When your gut cannot digest and assimilate food and nutrients properly, it probably has a lot to do with your lifestyle, diet, and emotional/mental regulation. A more sensitive gut is also generally more likely to be influenced negatively by lactose, gluten/lectins, and complex protein consumption.
Leaky gut is usually caused by inflammatory agents in foods that attack the lining of the gut and create permeability over time. If you are predisposed to gastric issues and have digestive sensitivities, the best course of action is to eliminate lectin-rich foods, dairy, and meat. In addition, it would be important to build up the gut biome with good bacteria and strengthen the gut lining with alkaline foods and herbs.
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety, especially over time, can irritate the gut through frequent contraction and overstimulation. There is a correlation between anxiety disorders and gut problems like irritable bowel syndrome, and it has been reported that 44% of IBS sufferers also have anxiety.
Stress hormones like cortisol can also affect gut flora balance and impact the integrity of the gut lining. Stress affects hormone levels, and since hormones are utilized for digestion, a lack of hormonal balance can promote bloating, indigestion, and abdominal pain.
Further, gut imbalance reduces the number of good bacteria in the gut, leaving room for opportunistic bad bacteria to take over. And then a Catch-22 happens – an imbalanced gut flora can cause the gut to produce fewer “feel good” hormones like serotonin that can cause anxiety and depression. That is why it is important to heal gut issues if you suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression.
Other Causes of Diarrhea
Next to the most common causes discussed, there are other less-known causes of diarrhea that should be explored if the main causes don’t seem fitting:
Food intolerances: Some individuals may experience diarrhea as a result of food intolerances, such as caffeine, alcohol, or artificial sweeteners. It can also be caused as a result of lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance.
Medications: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), or antibiotics, can cause diarrhea as a side effect.
Pancreatic disorders: Disorders of the pancreas, such as chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, can cause diarrhea as a result of malabsorption of nutrients.
Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, leading to an overactive metabolism and diarrhea.
Malabsorption syndromes: Malabsorption syndromes, like celiac disease, can cause diarrhea as a result of the body’s inability to properly absorb nutrients.
Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menstruation or pregnancy, can contribute to diarrhea.
Gallbladder disease: Gallbladder disease, such as gallstones or inflammation of the gallbladder, can cause diarrhea as a symptom.
How to Cure Bowel Problems Naturally
Maintaining gut health is a holistic effort that involves mental, emotional, and physical modifications. It calls for the reduction of stress, anxiety, and an investment in a more Zen approach to life. If your default emotional setting is to get anxious, try to incorporate behavioral modification therapy modalities into the areas of life that instigate them.
You can also relieve stress by connecting with yourself during daily meditation, breathing deeply and purposefully whenever you feel stress coming on, and even taking naps when you feel out of control.
All of these conscious efforts will calm the nervous system and help the body not stay in a fight or flight mode, which is a state of unsafe survival that will create physiological body stress over time that will lead to chronic inflammation.
Alongside mind and emotions, a healthy, gut-friendly diet is extremely important in improving the function of the bowels. An alkaline diet not only lowers gut inflammation, but it likewise feeds and strengthens good bacteria in the gut, which help with digestion and assimilation, hormone production, mood stability, and mental health regulation.
Here are some essential ways you can heal your gastrointestinal problems naturally. Try them out for a month and see how you feel. You’ll probably see great results and feel so much better, so stick with the diet to strengthen your gut and reduce diarrhea occurrence.
The more you provide your body with the elements it needs to heal and strengthen, the better your organs and tissues will operate. So even if you wanted to revert to some of your old dietary patterns after this elimination and detoxification protocol, your gut will be stronger and more readily able to handle the foods that caused you so much trouble beforehand.
But, I’d like to encourage you not to do so, because the path to bringing down the function of the body is paved with habits that are frequented often. Once you think you can get away with something and start to overdo it, you will feel the burn (literally) in due time.
If you do have favorite foods that you can’t currently tolerate and want to be able to eat them once in a while once you get better, my advice is to treat them like an occasional treat – something you would eat during the holidays or on a special occasion. That way, you will less likely to be able to revert to foods and habits that are causing gut inflammation in the first place.
Adapt a Lectin-Free Diet
Lectins are the anti-nutrients and poisons found in many plants and grains that protect the plant from being eaten by predators – whether animals or humans. They are the plant’s self-protective mechanism that is coated on its skin, in its seed, and even in its flesh.
In small insects, ingesting lectins can cause death; in small animals, they can cause sickness and paralysis; and in humans, lectins slowly irritate the gut lining over time, causing leaky gut, chronic inflammation (including arthritis), and several gastrointestinal problems.
And although many plants produce lectins, not all are detrimental to human and animal health. Depending on the plant, a small dose of this “plant poison” can help the body become more resilient and healthier over time. For instance, lectins can have antimicrobial effects and can improve immune response and regulation.
But as a general rule of thumb, there are a few foods that should be eliminated from your diet that are rich in gut-irritating lectins and which could be causing the weakening of your gut function over time. Try to remove each food group one by one, and watch how your body responds. Perhaps you are more sensitive to certain foods than others, and monitoring your body’s response will help you understand which foods you should avoid for good.
Foods to avoid for better gut health:
– whole grains, including wheat, cereals, barley, oats, and rice
– soy, corn, and legumes
– black-eyed beans (cowpeas), red kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils
– nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and paprika
– dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
Remove Meat, Dairy, and Complex Proteins From Your Diet
Meat is detrimental to gut health for a few reasons. In general, it is very hard to digest by the colon and the kidneys, it creates a lot of uric acid waste (which is acidic and inflammatory to the body), and it ferments in the intestines for a long period (and becomes a breeding ground for parasites, bad bacteria, and fungus).
Likewise, milk and dairy products are mucus-forming and cause frequent inflammatory responses in the form of sinus pressure, headaches, colds, and flu. Dairy also causes inflammation in the gut, while lactose and other calf growth proteins are processed as foreign substances by the human body, and most of us have a very hard time digesting them.
The gut will suffer as a result of long-term dairy intake and will cause chronic inflammation of cells and tissues. The lymphatic system – or the body’s sewage system – will stagnate in the gut, making it harder for the gut to detoxify, clean, and heal. In fact, dairy is incredibly acidifying to the body and contributes to skin issues, tumor growth, and multiple health issues.
The fact that complex proteins are unhealthy is a bit harder for most people to wrap their fingers around. Should protein be healthy for us? Essential amino acids – or the building chains of proteins – are the fundamental elements the body needs to keep healthy. They are found plentifully in fruits and vegetables. Because of their simple chemistry, they are quickly digested by the colon and kidneys and assimilated by the body efficiently.
On the other hand, complex proteins – found in both animal and plant-based foods – are made up of many chain structures composed of amino acids, making them hard to break down. The digestive process includes many chemical reactions, making the effects of protein breakdown and assimilation always acidic on the body. Therefore, it is not the proteins themselves that we need, but rather the amino acids that comprise them!
This analogy is akin to meat consumption: we don’t require nutritional compounds found in meat, but rather those in the plants that the animal consumed. If this is so, then why not go to the primary source on the food chain for the purest nutrition that aligns with your body’s needs?
For long-term health and vitality, my advice is to stay away from too much protein, given its propensity to require long and energy-robbing digestive processes and heavy strain on the elimination organs.
The gut works hard when it has to digest complex meals and chemistry, therefore simple meals that digest quickly are optimal for those suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort or disease. Animal-based proteins as well as proteins found in nuts, nut and seed butters, as well as beans and lentils, are highly complex and for those that are prone to inflammation and digestive qualms, it is best to minimize complex protein consumption as much as possible.
Fast and Eat More Fruit
Fasting is a wonderful way to reboot the system by giving it a break from the digestion and energy loss that comes with it. In fact, 70% of our daily energy goes to digestion and elimination. The more we eat, the more we digest and eliminate, which affects how our body utilizes energy for other essential processes and self-repair, including stem cell regeneration.
Fasting redirects the essential energy that is usually used for digestion to self-healing and regeneration. It gives our elimination organs a break from assimilating and eliminating new chemistry constantly and as a result, strengthens their function.
Further, since there is more energy in the body, mental clarity and sharpness peak during fasts, and long-term fasting contributes to lowering the incidence of neurodegeneration and cognitive disorders.
Consuming high-energy foods that digest easily and quickly is the key to the healthiest diet you can find! Essentially, you want more energy entering your body than is lost in digestion, nutrient assimilation, metabolic waste generation, and detoxification of the acidic byproducts that are found in the foods consumed. Most food doesn’t meet this criterion and is energy-robbing.
The only foods in nature that do are organic fruits and vegetables. They not only have the most nutrition compatible with human anatomical and physiological needs, but they also provide the body with vital energy that dictates the process of aging, decay, and longevity.
In a nutshell, our bodies are chemical break-down factories that convert chemistry into energy, and fueling these biological batteries with fruits and vegetables is providing them with the most quality fuel available!
Why Raw Foods May Cause Gut Discomfort
If you have switched to eating a more raw-based diet for health and gut issues, you may have noticed that it caused more discomfort than you’d hoped for. This is simply because raw foods are full of fiber, and fiber cleans the colon, feeds the good bacteria living in the gut, and helps maintain bowel health.
However, if you already suffer from bowel weakness, your gut is probably too sensitive to handle the astringent (cleansing) nature of raw foods. That is why I truly recommend juicing as a way to eliminate cellulose fibers and help the gut to better assimilate plant nutrition that will help it heal and regenerate. After some time, your bowels will be less sensitive to digesting raw greens and other veggies.
Juicing simply eliminates the complex digestive process that exhausts the body and robs it of its precious energy, making it the ideal healing approach for bringing in the nutrition and energy the body needs to heal.
How to Cure Diarrhea Naturally: 6 at-Home Diarrhea Remedies
No matter the cause of your diarrhea, commitment to proper alkaline nutrition will restore the balance of your body and your gut and will help you get better in no time. The key is to hydrate the body, rest, and fast until you feel better. Discard half of the suggested BRAT diet foods that conventional health experts propose. Wheat and grains (like rice) contain lectins, especially if they are conventional, whole grain, and not sprouted.
They will cause more gut discomfort and further inflammation of the bowels. But, do go for the bananas and applesauce; both promote healthy bowel movement and electrolyte production (hydration)!
Here are my top home diarrhea remedies that will help you recover with a stronger gut, especially if you aren’t able to rest or refrain from eating. I recommended them to my relative, and thankfully, he is feeling much better. And, I wish the same for you!
- Hydrate with cold-pressed juices, warm herbal teas, and coconut water to bring in more electrolytes into the body
- Consume a diet that is free from gluten, lectins, meat, dairy, grains, and processed sugar
- Skip all stimulants like chili peppers, coffee, soda, alcohol, and garlic
- Incorporate cooling herbs like ginger, turmeric, chamomile, Triphala/turmeric/cumin/fennel (Ayurvedic herbs), slippery elm bark, milk thistle, psyllium husks, and marshmallow root (all in moderation); I recommend consuming fennel seeds and ginger tea about 30 minutes before eating
- Drink pure spring water (which contains natural minerals) mixed with a tiny pinch of Himalayan pink salts and fresh lemon juice
- Fast or eat very lightly/simply to give the bowels a break from digestion and help them recover
If you suffer from frequent bouts of diarrhea, it is most likely that your bowels are sensitive, genetically weak, or inflamed due to emotions (anxiety and stress), diet, and lifestyle. This simply means that you should prioritize healing your gut as a way to minimize bowel pain, discomfort, and disease long-term. Likewise, a healthy gut helps in lowering chronic inflammation, eliminating skin problems, brain health, and mental health, among many other benefits.
Overall, diarrhea is caused by profound changes in the body’s internal and our external environments that weaken our immune resistance and make our bodies more susceptible to opportunistic pathogens.
By rebalancing the body through rest, proper nutrition, and fasting, you can stop diarrhea and cool down body inflammation in no time. This will not only help heal your diarrhea, but using these at-home diarrhea remedies long-term can help you rebuild your bowel health over time.
And if you’re interested to learn more about body detoxification and how to start your body detox journey, check out my simple body detoxification guide that will provide you with practical pointers and tangible results.