We discuss in this interview:
- How Shukul and Shamiz are helping people all around the world with gut-related issues through their business High Carb Health
- Shamiz’s experience with colitis, and how he was able to recover from a very bad condition with banana smoothies
- How finding the right diet allowed him to stop the inflammation and greatly improve his condition, to the point that ten years later he is off medications and has just completed a marathon
- Taking all lifestyle factors into account
- The mechanics of gut inflammation and the role of animal proteins
- Soluble and insoluble fibers
- Banana’s composition and how it allows the gut to heal
- Up to 20 bananas for athletic performance!
- The many ways we have available to eat bananas, and when it’s best to have them
- Banana milk
- Medjool dates
This week’s podcast welcomed Shukul and Shamiz from High Carb Health. High Carb Health is dedicated to empowering individuals with practical guidance on achieving optimal health and reversing ailments through scientifically-proven, nutrition-based healing techniques.
In the past, Shamiz recounted his inspiring journey of overcoming ulcerative colitis and his subsequent recovery during his appearance on our podcast. We were lucky to have him back on the podcast, this time alongside Shukul, talking with us about bananas!
Now why would we go into so much effort to talk about bananas? The upcoming discussion will shed light on the numerous benefits that bananas offer. Additionally, the story of Shamiz’s health restoration journey will highlight how bananas played a crucial role in his recovery.
Introducing High Carb Health
Shukul and Shamiz have been helping people in their journey to better health for over eight years. They are based in multiple locations, including New Zealand, Melbourne, and Thailand, and they also work with people worldwide through Skype and other platforms. Their speciality is digestive health, primarily assisting with healing Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.
Shamiz’s Journey with Ulcerative Colitis
Shamiz, living in Japan in 2012 and working as an English teacher, suffered from a mild inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Despite being under the direct care of medical professionals for six weeks, Shamiz lost approximately 30 kilos. His condition did not improve with the prescribed anti-inflammatory (prednisolone and similar) and immunosuppressant drugs. The main symptoms of his condition included severe diarrhoea and the presence of blood and mucus in his stools, indicating an urgent need for his body to cleanse itself.
Shamiz was diagnosed with a mild form of colitis. However, despite being prescribed drugs and a diet that was considered to be healthy for colitis patients in Japan (including miso soup, raw egg, fish, and rice), Shamiz’s symptoms continued to worsen, resulting in him making frequent trips to the bathroom – up to 40 times a day. As a result, Shamiz’s condition continued deteriorating, and he felt hopeless and frustrated with his ongoing health struggles.
Seeking Relief From Shamiz’s Symptoms
Shamiz’s health condition had deteriorated to the point where he was wearing nappies and couldn’t even move due to his extreme weakness. Despite seeking medical help, he wasn’t getting better and was ultimately told that surgery may be the only solution. Desperate for relief from the excruciating pain, Shamiz’s mother took it upon herself to search for alternative treatments online while they were in Japan. She stumbled upon a book by Dr David Klein titled ‘Self-Healing Colitis and Crohn’s Disease,’ which would change their lives forever.
Can Smoothies Help Manage Ulcerative Colitis?
With the help of the book’s advice, Shamiz began incorporating smoothies made with bananas and other soothing ingredients into his diet to promote healing and alleviate inflammation in his gut. For dinner, he adopted a healing diet consisting of bananas, fruit smoothies, juices, and steamed vegetables. After following the diet for a week, his inflammation started to subside, and his condition began to reverse. He stopped taking the medication prescribed by the hospital due to undesirable side effects and eventually underwent a fourth colonoscopy, which showed that his inflammation had decreased significantly.
Six months later, he was mentally and physically healthier, and he completed a marathon. Ten years later, he no longer takes any medication, which he thought he would be on lifelong, and has even completed a marathon. He has signed up for a 70.3 half Ironman in Cairns and is excited about the upcoming challenge. The healing power of plants has allowed him to achieve athletic performance and maintain good health without relying on medication.
Understanding Gut Inflammation
Shamiz and Shukul discussed the leading causes of gut inflammation with us.
An unhealthy and toxic diet and an unhealthy lifestyle often cause inflammation in the gut. However, it’s not just poor diet that causes gut inflammation; other factors like lack of sleep, inadequate hydration, exercise routine, and poor mental health also play a significant role.
The vagus nerve connects the brain to the gut, and stress can disrupt its function, leading to poor digestion. Undigested food can accumulate in the bowel, leading to putrefaction, significantly contributing to gut inflammation. Therefore, taking control of one’s health requires addressing multiple factors, including diet, exercise, sleep, hydration, and mental health.
When food rots and purifies in the bowel, certain toxins are released into the gut wall, leading to low-grade inflammation caused by endotoxins. As a result, these toxins can enter the bloodstream and activate the immune system, releasing pro-inflammatory cytokines and damaging the gut barrier. This allows unwanted substances to pass through and trigger an inflammatory response, in a process commonly referred to as ‘leaky gut’.
Addressing Gut Inflammation
To address this problem, we must stop consuming the main culprits of putrefaction in our diet, namely animal products and high-fat foods, particularly dairy. The body can heal its gut lining and prevent further inflammation by doing so. It’s important to note that diet is just one factor in the healing process, and other factors, such as mindset and environmental factors, must also be considered. As we start to consume foods that are easier to digest and provide proper nutrients, the gut lining can recover, reducing inflammation and calming down. While healing time varies from person to person, some may see results in days or weeks, while others may take months or even years.
This process is similar to that seen in RA patients, with 60% of our immune system hidden beneath that single cellular layer of protective epithelium. Shukul and Shamiz discuss the importance of being cautious with certain fibres for people with IBD and arthritis due to their inflamed gut lining.
Discover the Bowel-Soothing Benefits of Bananas
Shukul and Shamiz remind us that bananas are an excellent food for soothing the bowel due to their soft texture and high soluble fibre content, which includes compounds like pectin and guar. These compounds give the fruit a jelly-like texture that helps to soothe inflamed guts. Since people with IBD have super inflamed gut linings and can’t handle certain fibres, bananas are a great food to help them heal. Additionally, bananas are easy to digest and don’t irritate the gut lining.
According to Shukul, bananas are the ideal fruit for humans. This is because they share a significant amount of DNA with us (around 60%) and are easy to digest, especially when cooking food is impossible. Bananas also have a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 2 to 1, which benefits human health.
There are many different varieties of bananas, too, as well as plantains. These fruits are all high in resistant starch, which benefits gut health.
Shamiz believes that bananas played a crucial role in settling his bowels when he was experiencing a lot of diarrhoea. He notes that bananas can be binding due to the fibres present in them.
Natural Remedy for Stool Binding
The colon’s primary function is to remove water from food to create bowel movements, and fibre stays behind to create a bulkier bowel movement. However, for those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, their bowels may not function properly, resulting in frequent diarrhoea. This is because the body may be trying to heal and cleanse itself when there is inflammation.
Although some people may experience worsening symptoms initially, bananas can eventually start binding the stool and promoting healthy digestion. Shamiz suggests having around three or four bananas in a smoothie and gradually increasing the amount to make fruit a meal instead of a snack. Shamiz claims that he and Shukul were eating up to 20 bananas daily and using them to boost athletic performance.
Source of Calories and Nutrition
According to Shukul, Australia has more fruit variety than New Zealand, where they first started their journey. He explains that bananas are a good source of calories and nutrition, making them a perfect food for people trying to heal from diseases and those who lose weight during their journey. In addition, he highlights that bananas are rich in essential nutrients, such as B vitamins, amino acids, potassium, magnesium, and other electrolytes, which make them ideal for people with digestive concerns, especially those with diarrhoea. He suggests that incorporating bananas into a daily diet can provide many health benefits.
Some individuals even claim that a bite of a banana contains more electrolytes than a whole bottle of sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade. Bananas are an exceptional food that can serve as a nutritious base for various recipes. For example, frozen bananas can be mixed with other ingredients to make banana ice cream or cake as one’s health improves.
Yellow Bananas or Green Bananas?
The spottiness of bananas is often overlooked, but it is significant. As bananas ripen, they develop more spots and become easier to digest because the sugars start to pre-digest. As a result, Shamiz and Shukul recommend ripe bananas, especially for those with digestive conditions. It is also noteworthy that ripe bananas have more anti-cancer properties the more spots they have.
Shamiz and Shukul recommend eating bananas at different ripening stages if you have no underlying digestive problems. This is because each stage offers its unique benefits. For example, as bananas ripen, they become easier to digest, providing more nutrition and anti-cancer properties. On the other hand, less ripe bananas contain more resistant starch, which can benefit gut health and the gut microbiome.
They suggest that individuals concerned about the sugar content in fruit should not worry about it because fruit contains a lot of fibre, preventing a spike in blood sugar levels. Additionally, insulin resistance is not caused by sugar but rather by a high-fat diet. The natural package of fruit makes it an excellent choice for those who want to maintain a healthy diet without worrying about high blood sugar issues.
The gut microbiome depends not solely on resistant starch but also on different types of carbohydrates and fibre to feed the various bacteria. Bananas are a rich source of dietary fibre, essential for the gut microbiome. However, reducing inflammation and keeping things simple and consistent before building up the gut microbiome is necessary to heal the gut. For individuals with IBD, the primary goal should be to decrease bowel movement frequency, which can often be as high as 10 to 15 times per day in individuals with colitis or Crohn’s.
How to Increase Your Banana Intake and Reap the Health Benefits
Shukul believes that having fruit in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, is the best way to go as it digests the fastest among all fruits. According to him, the digestive tract tends to focus on digesting fruits, and it’s better not to mix it with complicated foods. Instead, Shamiz suggests making fruit a meal by subbing oats with a smoothie bowl. For people with gut disorders, keeping it simple is the key. Dates are also an excellent addition for getting a calorie boost. Shamiz and Shukul love making smoothies with bananas, dates, blueberries, and maybe some raw greens. With summer approaching in Australia, he is excited about the abundance of fresh fruits in the shops.
Blend Your Way to Better Health
You can start incorporating smoothies into your diet to gradually increase your intake of fruits. A straightforward way to do this is by using bananas as a base. You can begin with three or four bananas in a blender and add half a cup of blueberries and some water or coconut water. This will create a banana milkshake-like consistency. Next, add some vanilla essence, maple syrup, or even dates.
Adding soy or almond milk is unnecessary, as water is sufficient to create the desired texture. Shamiz and Shukul try to steer clear of processed milk, such as nut milk, as it contains a lot of preservatives. Including whole fruits in a smoothie provides more fibre and whole-food nutrition than plant milk, a processed form of the original plant.
Using this method, you can quickly increase your fruit consumption without adding unnecessary complexity to your routine. If you want to explore creative and visually appealing ideas related to healthy eating, you can check out the High Carb Health Instagram account. Shamiz and Shukul have shared numerous ideas on there and continue to do so regularly. Browsing their content, you may find inspiration for your meals and healthy eating habits.
Timing is Key
When consuming smoothies, consider the timing in which you would consume the individual components. For example, if four bananas are used in a smoothie, you should consider how long it would take to consume them individually. It is essential to drink the smoothie slowly to avoid issues such as bloating or sugar crashes. Chewing the smoothie and letting saliva mix with it aids in the digestive process. If you are concerned about drinking the smoothie too fast, try eating it with a spoon or as if it were soup.
The surface area of the food is an essential factor in the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. Chewing food breaks it down into smaller pieces, creating more surface area for the small intestine to absorb the nutrients. If food is not chewed thoroughly and remains in large chunks, it is less likely that the body will absorb all available nutrients.
Blending food also affects the calorie content of the food. Therefore, it is easier to consume more calories when mixing, benefiting individuals who need to gain weight. Blending bananas, for example, allows for easier consumption than eating them whole. Additionally, blending provides for mixing different ingredients, making it a tasty and enjoyable way to consume various nutrients.
Smoothie Power: Adding Medjool Dates for a Filling and Energizing Boost
Medjool dates can be a great addition to the smoothie, providing a nice calorie boost without adding too much volume to the drink. If a bowl of oats contains around 800-900 calories, a smoothie made with five or six bananas or dates and half a cup of blueberries can be a filling replacement that can sustain one until lunchtime. However, it may take some time to get used to the volume and calories in the smoothie compared to a bowl of oats.
Balancing Bile Acid Levels
Shukul and Shamiz remain passionate about not incorporating flax and chia into their smoothies due to the combination of high-fat ingredients with sugars. The combination of fat and sugar in a meal can be challenging to digest, as the two components require different digestive juices and processes in the stomach. This combination can negatively affect insulin sensitivity, with higher fat levels leading to more resistance and difficulty for sugar to enter the bloodstream. In addition, Shukul believes this mixture can create digestive issues like bloating and bowel movement problems. While some people may tolerate this mixture well, from a theoretical perspective, it is not an ideal combination for digestion.
Consuming too much fat can cause strain on the gallbladder, which may lead to excessive bile release into the small intestine. The excess bile may then leak into the large intestine and feed harmful bacteria, such as Bilophila wadsworthia. This bacterium produces hydrogen sulfide gases, damaging the gut lining and emitting a foul odour resembling rotten eggs. Therefore, it is best to mix chia seeds with starch, consume them on their own or include them in a salad. Consistency in dietary compliance is critical, especially for those with a disease condition.
It is important to note that if you notice greenish stool, it could indicate bile production due to excessive fat intake. This happens when too much bile is released into the small intestine and ends in the colon, resulting in green stool. However, if you regularly consume green vegetables, green stool is common and should not cause concern. It is essential to be mindful of your diet and monitor any changes in your stool to ensure your digestive system functions correctly.
High Carb Health Approach to Meals
Shukul and Shamiz consume a lot of fruit as their primary sustenance throughout the day. In the evenings, their meals consist of more starch-based solutions, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, grains such as rice, and big salads. The main focus of their diet is to incorporate a lot of fruit throughout the day as it aids in better digestion and provides a more energetic feeling. They suggest replacing oats with a fruit smoothie in the morning can significantly affect digestion, making the stomach feel lighter and providing satiation. They claim this approach offers more energy throughout the day than heavier meals.
In pursuit of his training goals, Shamiz tends to incorporate more leafy greens into his diet by adding them to his smoothies. Additionally, he includes some sort of green vegetable in every dinner meal, whether raw or cooked, recognising the excellent nutritional value of greens. Bananas are also a perfect choice for fueling and recovery during training.
What About Banana Sensitivity?
According to Shamiz and Shukul, sensitivity to bananas is rare, and most people wouldn’t have a problem with it. However, during the healing process, the body may go through a withdrawal or a healing crisis, which could create symptoms that seem to worsen. When a person eats more fruit, it requires less effort to digest, freeing up more energy for the body to heal. However, during the healing process, symptoms may become more prominent, leading some to blame the plant-based diet for discomfort.
Shukul emphasises that it’s not the fruit’s fault but rather the body’s natural healing process, which can create symptoms as it tries to remove toxins and improve overall health. He recommends focusing on the root cause of the problem rather than solely on symptoms and recognising the role of previous health issues in creating symptoms when eating certain plant-based foods.
Shukul states that, as a species, humans have the same organs and physiological makeup. However, variations in dietary patterns and lifestyle are what create individual differences. While some variation exists, he emphasises that there is a species-specific diet, which is primarily based on plant foods.
Starting Your Healing Journey: Tips for a Gradual and Sustainable Approach
When embarking on a healing journey, it’s crucial to approach it like learning to drive a fast car. First, you must understand your body’s limits and how much healing it can handle. It’s best to start with a transition phase and ease your way into the healing process. Don’t abruptly stop medications without support or try extreme diets like fasting or juice-only diets without purpose. Instead, start with changing one thing, such as having fruit for breakfast and gradually incorporating more plant-based foods into your meals. Tweak your approach based on your symptoms, medical history, and goals.
Shamiz and Shukul rely solely on whole plant-based foods for their nutrition and do not take any supplements except B12. They have been following a plant-exclusive diet for over ten years, and Shamiz believes that the proof of its efficacy lies in their ability to pursue their athletic goals without issues. While they recognise that some people may have concerns about nutrient deficiencies, they believe that a whole food plant-based diet provides all the necessary nutrients and that supplements are unnecessary.
In conclusion, the humble banana is a tasty fruit and a convenient, nutrition-dense, healing food. Its numerous benefits include being an excellent source of dietary fibre, potassium, and vitamin C and B6, which can help with digestion, heart health, and immunity. Moreover, bananas are great for training fuel and recovery due to their high carbohydrate content. While some individuals may be sensitive to bananas, it is rare, and the benefits outweigh any potential risks.
If you are struggling with persistent inflammatory bowel conditions, reach out for support from Shukul and Shamiz at High Carb Health. They have a proven track record of helping people heal and manage their conditions through a plant-based diet and holistic lifestyle approach. Don’t hesitate to contact them at www.highcarbhealth.com or on Instagram at High Carb Health to learn more and start your healing journey today. To get in touch with the team, the most effective method is to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
Don’t forget to check out Rheumatoid Solutions to learn more about the power of plant-based healing and take the first step toward reclaiming your health!