How Shamiz Overcame Ulcerative Colitis
We discuss how:
– In 2012 Shamiz started having digestive disorders while working in Japan
– He went to the hospital and was put on drugs and antibiotics for several weeks
– As the situation kept getting worse, dosages reached very high levels
– When it was suggested a colon surgery, Shamiz and his mother started researching about alternatives and found a book about healing colitis with a raw food diet
– In about six months he was able to recover and drop all medications and has been free ever since
– With a mix of diet and exercise he has recovered the weight he lost due to colitis
– Now he has started High Carb Health with his brother to help people with his condition and it has really taken off
Clint: Totally pumped today to have a very special guest, his name is Shamiz Katwala. And he is a vibrant health and nutrition teacher, and holistic health and natural healing counselor. And today we’re going to be talking about his own story of reversing ulcerative colitis, and how he now helps many many people with this condition and digestive disorders with his brother. The two of them have started high carb health and the business has really taken off. He offers personal coaching to folks and has transformed the lives of many people with this condition. So not only are we going to talk about his story and this condition and how it can be turned around, but also going to tap into his wisdom on weight stabilization. We’re going to talk about digestive tips in general. We’re going to talk about how to make fantastic foods using air fries and other technology that can make our life more enjoyable and the foods more delicious. And just cover the sorts of things that are relevant to not just ulcerative colitis but general health. And it’s applicable to anyone with any kind of autoimmune disease. So welcome Shamiz what a pleasure to have you on the show.
Shamiz: Thanks Clint. Well I mean it’s absolutely amazing what you do for one. And I just like to say you know congratulations to yourself and so many other people wouldn’t have been able to reverse this autoimmune condition of RA and I think it’s absolutely amazing what you guys do as well and you know we want the same goal to kind of help people with their diet and nutrition and and be pain free. And definitely it’s a pleasure to be here and to share my story because that’s all I’m about to share my story as much as I can online so that people can can get the message that you know you don’t have to succumb to medications. In some cases. And definitely be healthy and fit without having to use the bathroom. In my case yeah.
Clint: And you mentioned sharing your story a lot the first time I heard your story was on stage you and your brother gave a very powerful presentation and it’s the sort of presentation that I’ve given and the timeslot that I’ve got at many of these sort of health conferences and stuff over the years and I thought this would be interesting rather than me getting up and telling my we always get called the patient’s journey don’t we right? So get instead of it being my patient’s journey I got to introduce yourself. Your brother took the stage and one of your case studies that you’ve helped since recovering from this condition yourself and I watched it with fascination. I’m like this is this is insanely interesting. The lessons are interesting your sense of humor is great. So I thought why not get you on the show to talk about not just your story but all those other powerful insights that you have. Because after you got offstage, and you and I got chatting you helped me learn some things that I didn’t know. And if sometimes months go by before I learn something new. But you just told me some new stuff right off the bat and I’m like this guy is sensational. So let’s kick off first of all let’s hear your story. Let’s go through that it’s fascinating to people who are listening in the car or watching this it’s a fascinating story and I want you to make sure you also tie in a little background for us about what is ulcerative colitis so that we don’t skip over the fundamentals as well.
Shamiz: Well sure. Sure. So it all started I think in 2012 when I went over to Japan to teach English and I got a job there and it was actually amazing I love Japanese people I love Japanese culture so it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about what they do and also give back to the Japanese culture because I went there straight after the tsunami and I thought you know what an awesome opportunity to help them and tidy up and clean up because we actually did that as volunteers over there. But it’s still a loss. Yeah. I mean I I didn’t know anything about diet or lifestyle or anything like that so I was eating the same kind of thing over and over again like anyone else does. And it basically you know we don’t understand you know what we eat sometimes. I mean unless you really dive into the Internet or you do some research you go from what your parents have told you and what their parents have said et cetera. So diet was never really an issue for me until I started getting digestive issues and I was like well hang on a second you know what’s going on here. And I felt really tired in the evenings when I used to come home from work and that generally didn’t happen to me. So I kind of just went to my local GP and I said look this is what’s happening. So I was getting blood in my stool. And you know that was quite concerning because you really see that in your stool when you go to the bathroom. So GP said look we’ll just get it checked. So they said we’ll take it to hospital. So when we went to hospital they examined me and they said oh we’re going to do a colonoscopy. So they did a colonoscopy where they stick a camera up your bum which isn’t too pleasant. They diagnosed me with mild colitis which is an inflammation of the bowel and basically what it is it means that your bowel gets inflamed and then you struggle to digest foods very well and you struggle to absorb nutrients and things and I believe it’s a condition that is due to crocs and you kind of dive into that a little bit later but basically it’s a disease of malnutrition or malnourishment in same body found stem cell things. So anyway I was getting checked and they said okay we’ll keep you in hospital for about a week because they want to observe me because of (inaudible) and they weren’t the kind to see what was going on. As the weeks went by they’ll say put me on anti-inflammatory drugs which they always do for people with inflammation. And I think the drugs that your clients use or people with RA is quite similar to people with ulcerative colitis which is interesting. So (inaudible) you know asacol and anti-inflammatory drugs they put me on and also they put me on antibiotics because I thought I had an infection. And so as the weeks went by I didn’t really get any better and the food in the hospital…
Shamiz: Yeah weeks. That’s right yeah. So in that one week I got worse and so they said Okay maybe we’ll just stay in hospital because you know they were like oh you know you’re not well. And I said okay well I’m getting worse. You know what can you do. So obviously the dosage of the medication went up it went to steroids and prednisone and as it probably (inaudible)and things yes things just didn’t get better and the food that they were giving me in hospital was I think raw eggs and fresh miso soup and Congee which is the rice porridge the Japanese and a large porridge that they do. So the food wasn’t great and I actually got worse after eating that food. So my bowel movements initially were about three to four times a day which I thought that was excessive at the time with blood and after eating this food and after getting the drugs it went up seven to eight times a day and it wasn’t getting any better. I started to get really weak. So I found it really hard to walk to the bathroom and you know all this time I was copying my parents and you know I say I’m fine and the doctors got me and I’m sure I’ll be out of here in the next week and I’m just looking at the time calendar and stuff. Little did I know that I’d be spending the next four weeks in hospital. I just kept getting worse and worse and then.
Clint: They were back in New Zealand, right?
Shamiz: Yeah my parents were back in New Zealand I had to call them and say Look actually guys you need to come because I’m finding it very hard to kind of do my own thing yeah. So you know they came on the next flight over this was I think around the fourth week at that time I got a private room because I needed the bathroom right next to me, couldn’t you know walk to the bathroom was 20 meters away in the original room that I was in. So yeah everything started get worse in the city. Again dosages just went higher and higher . So I ended up with I think 80mg of prednisone.
Shamiz: Daily Yeah. So that was quite high and still wasn’t doing anything and the meds hadn’t worked and I just kept going and going. And there was a point where I was going to the bathroom at 40 times a day and that was pretty horrific I couldn’t walk basically talk you know my parents my mum had to clean me up. I was in nappies lying in bed so there were a lot of things going on. It was very traumatic and there was one point where the doctors then kind of said look the medication is not working we’re going to cut your bile up and part of my bile. So that was their last resort basically and you know my mums like Hang on a second you know from week one he’s been in your care and how’s it has gotten so much worse. You should be getting better. So why is all of a sudden you want to take his colon out you know. So luckily my mum said no to the surgery and they had some other medications that they were going to use. I think they were trailing it at that time it was techer limits which is an immunosuppressant. They gave me that. And funnily enough the immunosuppressant suppressed my immune system and from 40 times and they went to about 10 to 20 times a day and in between that so it did calm my body down but still it’s gone to the toilet with lots of blood. And so they they wanted to refeed me because there was a point where they stopped feeding me. And. I think that was you know I’d lost a lot of weight 30 kilos and I wasn’t eating anything and I kept it in my neck so I was getting about 12 to 16 hundred calories from there. So. Yeah all this time my mum was doing research, is there a cure, is there an alternative way to heal and she found a book called Self-healing Colitis and Chrons. This book is a really good book. If you know anyone out there please send them those book. You can buy it from Amazon . But she found that book and that was our hope.
Shamiz: That was the biggest hope boofhead in that five weeks were in hospital because nothing was working. And so we read that book. And we basically applied some of the principles in that book which was to start eating plant foods or whole Foods or bananas and steamed vegetables. So we started to do that. And so I found that my body responded really well and slowly my bowel movement started to reduce and my frequency got less and the blood stopped as well. And so we were shocked and we were amazed to realize it’s working. And I did for colonoscopy in the hospital to check because they were always checking my colon to see the inflammation levels and at the first week it was you know ulcerated nearly the whole thing was ulcerated there was an inflammation so once I started to eat this way obviously that inflammation started coming down the ulcers started to go away. And the reason we knew that is because they did a colonoscopy at the end of its sixth week or the 5th week starting about six weeks and they found that all (inaudible) had actually gone and the inflammation markers were very very low and they were testing my CRP and of course you guys would know this as well and so my CRP was really high you know in the middle of the I think 4th or 5th week. As I was going 40 times a day. So it was really high and so the only way that I could get discharged from hospital that number went back to normal and lucky enough the CRP levels went down obviously there was no inflammation and you know we’d been in hospital for such a long time that we just wanted to get out of it. And we told the doctor look you know this isn’t good, he’s lost a lot of weight. And so he discharged us from hospital because of it because my CRP levels were low and my blood test results were okay. And you know ulcerations is gone. And yeah it was it was an amazing journey ever since then so I got discharged. I flew back to New Zealand and I think that’s when my healing journey began because there were some ups and downs. Obviously you know as you do you make mistakes you eat foods that you shouldn’t. And you know it was a topsy turvy couple of six months after I got back to New Zealand. You know it was it was a great healing journey. I think I learnt a lot about myself. It did take a long time because you know you do have to work on your body and you know physically and mentally it can be very hard sometimes you need probably know that as well. So overall I think six to eight months where I could get my body back into shape. So that’s you know exercising as well and that whole six to eight months so I was back up and running after that and that was I think early 2013, mid 2013 and ever since then it’s been an amazing journey I haven’t been on any medication since that day just because I didn’t want to take it and I actually forgot to mention that I stopped taking the immunosuppressants in hospital which maybe I shouldn’t have done it but you know it gave me a lot of confidence because I knew the side effects from those medications and they weren’t necessarily something I wanted to take and I wouldn’t really advise doing that because it’s not safe. You have to consult your doctor. But I just had nothing to lose and I wanted to get out of it. So that was my mission for that. So yeah it’s been over six years now medication free and symptom free and it’s been absolutely amazing. So that’s that’s my journey I guess and up until now.
Clint: How unusual is it with ulcerative colitis to not be on medications and to be symptom free.
Shamiz: Very unusual.
Shamiz: A lot of people do get scared of medication or coming off their meds because obviously medication does help in a certain way. But we don’t believe we should be on medication for the rest of life. You know there should be an alternative to that or the true way of healing should be through diet. I mean you’ve got to digest this disease is definitely something you’re putting inside that’s not working. So yeah I think it is it is unusual not to be on medication but you know it’s amazing not to be on medication because you don’t get your side effects but you know I don’t like the side effects.
Clint: Most definitely and the medication as you mentioned earlier they’re similar for other autoimmune diseases.
Clint: So whilst they might not be the exact drug but being basically immunosuppressant medication right because we’re talking about the body attacking itself, your own body’s attacking the colon and causing the inflammation. So we’ve got just a different target for the auto immune attack. But I believe probably a very similar underlying cause with a broken digestive system. Eating the wrong foods, stress influences, bad microbiome, bad bacteria etc.
Shamiz: Yeah definitely.
Clint: So. All right so you’ve come back, you’ve worked on yourself for the next sort of five or six months after getting out of hospital. What did that involve? Obviously you had to put weight back on. Did it involve lots more research. Just give us a summary of what you did during those six months.
Shamiz: Definitely it was definitely a sabbatical as you call it to heal myself I mean you have to give your body time and if that means you have to take time off work then so be it. I mean I was fortunate to be with my folks and they supported me 110 percent. They ate what I was eating. So the journey.. there was a lot involved with weight gain. It’s a tricky one because obviously your body is so malnourished it is hard to rebound straight away because when you’re eating a whole foods plant based diet, low fat you’re not going to suddenly just gain that weight back and it does take time. And what we generally say to people is that you get your body to a state where it can function the best. And when that happens you can start to exercise, you can start to move your body and that can actually help with weight gain. Because when you start to develop muscles you’ll see that your body changes and you can actually put the weight back on with muscle gain as well. But you know food has a role to play as well. And when you do get into the higher calorie dense foods that is also another way to kind of get the weight back up. It’s not something that we generally use as a tool to kind of move forward. We just say look you know let your body do its work then the body will do its work it will get back to a healthy weight when it’s ready to do that. Some people take two months. Some people take four months just depends on how severely damage your body was for. So in terms of the foods I think we like to use smoothies a lot because again we’ve got blended foods we believe are easy to digest because it’s almost like it has been pre chewed. It doesn’t mean you smash this movie down and you drink it. You have to still chew it and make your saliva mix with it. So adding dates to your smoothies can give me more calories which should technically give you the weight gain a little bit.
Clint: Well let’s take a couple of things you touched briefly on the weight topic. Let’s flesh that out just a little bit more and then I want to rewind a little on the blended smoothie discussion so we get back to sort of your general approach that you take with or with folks. So with the weight stabilization you know you’d lost all the weight. I’ve also been through this experience I did a raw food diet for eight months and during that time I lost a ton of weight. I’m six foot two I got down to 63 kilograms so I was very extremely skinny and my normal weight between sort of 70 to 75 that’s where I’ve always been sort of ever since I’ve been an adult. So what I found is that it was absolutely a combination of food and exercise and people ask questions frequently about how can I gain weight but they have no part of their day require do they actually ask their muscles to do anything to demand growth. Because I seem to believe that the body’s only going to have as much physical mass as it needs to meet your daily needs. Because if it’s carrying anything extra then it’s either there for storage in fat which we don’t want or it’s muscle that needs nutrients and blood flow and consumes energy but it’s not being used so it doesn’t need that muscle and that abandons the muscle. So if we want more muscle we have to say to our body look I’m demanding you to grow these muscles. I demand these muscles to grow. Funnily enough I was going to the gym and I’ve never been a heavy lifter especially since my joints got so damaged. I have to lift quite modest weights because of the joint capacity load but I was able to gain several kilos I want to say three or four kilos in just like three or four weeks like I’m a very very fast muscle growth with my main diet being rice and and augmenting my calories with orange juice at each meal.
Clint: Let’s set aside the nutritional value of that but just loading lots of calories and not a lot of protein, just calories and easy to digest calories, I was able to gain rapid muscle growth which took me through of into that from like the mid-60s into the sort of nearly touched 70 kilo. So obviously I come in from a very low platform and so it’s totally doable. So I just wanted to throw that in there (inaudible).
Shamiz: I think a lot of people you know have the impression that protein is what grows muscles. Definitely it’s an important part for muscle growth and repair, but the harder you work your muscle the bigger it’s going to grow.
Shamiz: And the majority of people these days that are doing the bodybuilding etcetera or whatever, it’s another league but they are you know they’re using all sorts of animal proteins which actually retain water in their muscle and that’s what makes them look really big and puffy. So if that’s the look that you want then so be it, but if you want true muscle then you’ve got to work and work really hard for it. It’s not going to come easily, and when you do work hard it will come easily. So that’s probably what happened with yourself, and you got that weight gain initially because you worked on your body and that’s what counts. It’s not going to magically happen if you don’t work for it, and obviously with the calories and the food that you eat it’s also very important. Like you said it wasn’t the protein that you were eating to gain weight, it was carbohydrates probably. And that’s what was fueling your body, fueling your muscles to be able to do the work even more. So definitely I think weight gain is an issue also that we have in society because you think about everyone these days majority of people are overweight. And we need to look very lean, you look leaner than those people, and a healthy weight nowadays is not considered a healthy weight is it? because you look too skinny or whatever.
Shamiz: So there’s a shift in perception that needs to happen within society. But you know I mean (inaudible) image issue out there at the moment which I don’t know how well that’s going to go. But if you’re feeling good, and if you’re doing all the right things you know being looking underweight is not necessarily a bad thing. And you’ve got to realize that you’re healthy on the inside, it’s not about the outside. And you can do little things to gain the weight that you need to look as well as you should. But you have to work for it, it’s not going to come easily.
Clint: Yeah I love that, I’ve made similar observations in the past as well. The disparity these days between someone who is just slim, and the average person is greater than ever before. I mean let’s rewind the clock, I imagine that a few hundred years ago in say rural China where the gentleman out doing their rice fields work every day, I mean they’re thin right? They’re eating rice and vegetables every day, they’re working on their fields each day. If we stereotype a little and generalize a little but we get the picture right? So I mean even when we visited to Bali and so forth and we stay in areas outside of the tourist areas, I’ve had the opportunity to go and actually help in a rice field in a rice paddy with one of the locals down there. We’re talking like some slim people, yeah healthy slim. Bending over all day with their back bent no complaints. So I really appreciate that insight because man there’s some large people, and also the other aspect is that family members if they see you’re lost even one kilo they think the world has collapsed and oh no there must be something wrong with you. We falsely associate weight loss with disease you know.
Shamiz: Yeah definitely. I mean I’ve had that in my family as well because I also went down to a low weight, and many of our clients do lose a lot of weight because they’re getting rid of a lot of toxicity that’s in their body. And it’s not a good image but it’s not about the image it’s about the inside that counts. And if inside is healthy, then the outside will automatically be healthy as well. So you’ve just got to be patient, and understand that look the people around you are probably not as healthy as you. And you know it’s just focus on yourself, don’t worry about other people, and don’t worry about other people think of you. That’s one of the biggest things that I to say to a lot of people, and I had to say that to myself because I cared about what other people thought about me and the way I looked. But as soon as I got rid of that, I started enjoying my life and that’s what it’s about.
Clint: Yeah absolutely. Let’s talk about the clients that you help, and how you do it. Obviously you’ve got your, there’s probably a vast level of detail that goes into this when you’re working with one on one with people. And you make probably a very bespoke program for them based on their specific needs. But can you give us the general outline all the steps involved when someone comes to you. Tell us what it’s like, what is the average person who comes to you? What state are they in? What sort of drugs are they on? What are they hoping to achieve and how do you help them?
Shamiz: Sure. Definitely I think the more and more people that search online I think see some of my videos and they go to our website. Early on it was very interesting because we would get people that had done everything, and we were the last resort and we were still healing them. And that was very interesting because if they had done every little thing out there, and they came to us and they still got here. It’s like, what would have happened if they came to us first? Would they have it a lot faster? Who knows. But most people come to us when they’ve tried everything, whether it’s Paleo, whether it’s high carb or it’s low fat or whatever extreme diet they go on to try and find an answer. And we generally tell them look at all these things are not sustainable, if you look at a sustainable diet and you look at the science, and that’s essentially what we do.
Shamiz: When we first sign them up, we say this is the evidence, this is what you’re going to put yourself through, are you okay with it? Because in the end, we will help people help themselves. So it’s a big kind of giving them the power to heal their bodies, and the motivation that we give them the progression of what they eat has been monitored. So that’s generally how a program works, we’ll get them, and tell them, and educate them about why this food is going to help them, why it’s beneficial for their gut. And then as they go along, as they understand all these things, we will monitor them and make sure that they’re doing all the right things and tweak their diets here and there. If they start feeling better then we might introduce some other foods, but generally at the start it’s a very basic plan. Some people we need to transition them to a whole food plant based diet so, they may still be eating a little bit of meat here and there just to their bodies get used to the more fiber from the plant foods. Some people they need to go straight on to what’s called the healing diet, the vegan healing diet, and that involves juicing, involves some smoothies, steamed vegetables, very very basic simple foods.
Shamiz: And as they go along, they start to see that their body actually responds really well, their gut microbiome starts changing. We don’t generally use any kind of probiotics because we believe that the fiber from the plant foods have the prebiotic ability, and that changes your gut microbiome a lot better. You shouldn’t have to rely on probiotics to fix your gut, it should replace itself with the plant foods.
Clint: Yeah I love that that. That’s fascinating. A Couple of things ou mentioned in your presentation at the conference we met at about the use of spotty bananas, do you use that with clients? And if not can you just explain why I’ve brought this up and how it was helpful for you?
Shamiz: Yeah sure. So we believe that ripe fruit are beneficial for the gut because they’re very soft, and the soft fiber really soothes the intestinal walls when they can be root inflamed and tender and sensitive. So the reason why spotty bananas is because spotty bananas are ripe. When you see a banana it’s generally greenish yellow and you kind of that’s what you’ve been told to eat or that’s what you actually think tastes good. But when you start to eat the more ripe bananas you kind of change your taste buds and it kind of becomes a lot sweeter and you see the effect of the ripe banana with your digestion. And so we started to do this with ourselves, and we said oh hang on a second these bananas actually taste really good. They they’re not very rubbery, and they don’t have that starchy gluey taste to them where you know the bananas (inaudible) is already pre-digested. So the sugars in the banana had already been predigested. So what happens is, when it comes off the trees it’s nice and ripe, and that’s what we obviously want to eat we don’t want to eat unripe fruit. It goes for all kinds of fruit.
Shamiz: And so we use that to basically (inaudible) the gut, and we tell people to eat that so that they can (inaudible) the guts and allow the (inaudible) to pass through in a much smooth and like easy fashion.
Clint: Yeah, makes sense and you’re right, this is one of the things that we talked about offstage about you know and I’m like but I find it hard to eat the spotty bananas and you said wak them in the smoothie man.
Shamiz: Yeah and when you do blend them it’s a lot easier to eat. I mean when I eat a banana I will eat it’s not as ripe because it’s just easier to eat. It will stay in its place and it won’t get squashed. You never know when you’re eating it, maybe a few spots here and there when you’re smoothing it the more spots it’s easier to kind and blend and also when the banana is a bit more ripe, the sugar is actually there’s more nutrients in that banana because sugar is actually a nutrient from fruit and it’s actually a nutrient. And so there are more sugars the fruit has in it. We believe the bitters or digestion or nutrient absorption.
Clint: I’m loving this stuff about the specific foods, but I wanted to not overlook something you said right at the start about the disease you believe is through malnutrition. Now just to put a freeze frame on this with rheumatoid arthritis the general consensus and what my understanding of the science is that malnutrition also is present in most people with RA. So people with RA have been tested and I reference this in my book and my guide for rheumatologist, that most folks are malnourished. Now my thoughts around this is that because a lot of absorption of nutrients occurs in the mucosal lining of the colon which is where the bacteria exist. And if we’ve lost or shredded somehow or have depleted mucosal lining that would lead to malnutrition. So I’ve made the extra analytical step of thinking well maybe that’s physically because of a depleted mucosal lining as just one theory. Now do you feel that that’s accurate? Do you think that that’s possible or with ulcerative colitis, do you believe there’s a different probable underlying cause for this malnourishment?
Shamiz: Yeah it’s a good question. I think all diseases probably do stem from the gut, and I think you know we look past that a lot and we obviously just eat anything that we want. Unfortunately that causes us a whole heap of problems. And I think you are right in a way that you know the mucosal lining is very important, and I think from the science that’s been studied you know you can see that’s what we’re looking at, and they’re looking at the gut a lot more now. So the information that we kind of researched and done is from Dr David Klein who then research from Dr Herbert Shelton and he came up with this information in a long long time ago. And he found that it worked with his patients, and Dr. Klein then started implementing it to himself, I think 30 odd years ago. So he’s been helping clients do that for 30 odd years now. And so he believes that the colon gets ulcerated because of toxicity, and toxicity comes from animal products because what happens then is that the animal product starts fermenting and rotting in our gut. And when that rotting and putrefaction happens there’s a whole lot of toxicity that comes out, and there’s all sorts of gases, and toxic byproducts that these foods create in our gut. And that starts to leach into the intestinal walls and damages our walls. And so therefore the gut doesn’t work properly and so it keeps getting filled full of these foods that are toxic to our bodies, and that toxicity then starts entering our blood stream and that’s when it can go really really wrong.
Clint: Once that those bad bacteria and their proteins on those on the blinding of the bad bacteria start to trigger an immune response right? And the body starts to get that cross reactivity with the bowel.
Shamiz: Correct. And so yeah we then try to stop that from e(inaudible) cleanse the body so that all that toxic fecal matter can start to come out. And that’s why ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, a lot of people do get a lot of diarrhea when they get into a flair. And we like to call a healing crisis because the body is actually enacting a healing process to try and rid the body of any kind of toxic material. So just the way you kind of get food poisoning, your body reacts and it creates diarrhea to get rid of all the bacteria and something bad that you probably ate. So it’s a really good response, and we believe that that response should be allowed to happen so that the body can actually cleanse and clean and heal itself. So that’s why you know when you go on a juice cleanse or you know when you go on just fruit for example, you will notice that your digestion symptoms increase.
Clint: Is that right?
Shamiz: And then they start to get better.
Clint: Right, and did you witness this yourself as well as you started to transition?
Shamiz: Interesting and in my case, my case it started to get better,.
Shamiz: Yeah, and I don’t know why maybe it was my mental attitude just to get out of there, because the mind has a lot to do with it as well, it’s not just the food. But I think I didn’t eat for a while, for quite a long while, and soon as I start to nourish my body with these foods I think my body responded really well.
Clint: Maybe that fasting period actually did some good, and then you were ready for it.
Shamiz: I say is sometimes that I was fasting on drugs (inaudible) taking medication. So I wasn’t quite fasting but yes I was drinking a whole lot of water probably about three or four liters that day. And my body was cleansing and quite a lot.
Clint: I can see why people need to have personal support when they’re going through this healing process. When they shift across to the approach that you recommend, because if they were to quickly see some more bloodiness in the stool the first response would be well whatever I just state I definitely do not ever want to be eating again. And without the support and guidance and encouragement and reassurance, I mean it would be very hard to stay on those foods. So how long does that normally take before that passes that period of healing crisis?
Shamiz: Correct. It can be very scary for some people because you know a lot of people try and do it by themselves, and you know I try to tell people on YouTube you know just take it slow because obviously I have the channels well. And I talk about my experiences and other clients experiences, but it can be very scary and when you don’t know what’s going on with your body and if it’s doing the right thing or not it can be very hard to stick to it. And that’s why a lot of people don’t like to eat fruit when they get digestive disease. But it’s never the fruits fault, it’s always something inside of you that your body is actually trying to cleanse and clean out. So I think definitely the support is really important, and you know we as the as you said before we like to support them and kind of tell them Look this is what your body will go through when you start eating cleaner. And then that’s why we have the transition process in place to try and kind of counter that becoming worse before we get better. Sometimes it doesn’t necessarily work that well the transition phase so we kind of just have to go through it.
Shamiz: And how long does it take people? It depends on how severe they are cases. Some people may have what’s called pancolitis which means that the whole colon is damaged. Some people might just have proctitis, which is the rectum that’s inflamed. So it can vary from person to person. and the people that really succeed are the people that understand what their body is doing, and their mindset is like I know what’s going on, I can do this. So generally to average it up, I think around 3 to 4 months, people do go through a period of detox, a healing crisis. So sometimes it can be that long, sometimes it can be even longer. But generally yeah around 3 to 4 months before they start to see some progress and improvement.
Clint: Right, and so not to alarm people but you know to suggest that going through this process will at first make things like a lot worse. So we want to set the expectations that if someone has to follow your approach, they are going to experience potentially some results in their stool that at first what they’re after they might see continued bloodiness even though they thought that it might be instant resolved. But after a few months, that bloodiness will start to dissipate and that just an overall feeling of improved digestion, less toilet visits, and so on is likely.
Shamiz: Correct. And so I think the first thing that a lot of people do realize is that they have a lot more energy, coming from a diet that’s a very poor digestion, they first kind of feel like I feel a lot lighter. So that’s probably the first thing that you’re going to notice, a clear mind as well, and definitely you will feel better but your body may physically feel worse. It’s kind of like what’s going on here? And that’s where you know you need to have that reassurance.
Clint: Oh most definitely. All right. Let’s head towards the finish line here with some digestion tips. You mentioned fruit, do you have any tips around that? And then I also want you to talk about fats, and I hope that I have the majority of our audience who started watching this still with us because this next portion has been really really insightful around the digestion of fats and the grouping of fats with other foods. Can you talk through sugars, fats, and where they should be put in our meals?
Shamiz: For sure. I think in terms of fruit we would recommend always a fruit and an empty stomach, it’s just going to digest a whole lot better for you. For example watermelon obviously it’s you know it’s back in the summer but it’s still a lot of melons. And people like to have melons for dessert or melons just anytime of the day especially in the afternoon because it gets hot. But if you really want good digestion you want to make sure that you always eat fruit before anything. So just start your day off with the fruit, it’s as simple as that. And try to avoid fruits in the evenings or in the afternoon after anything, after dinner or after lunch. And that’s going to be your best ticket to getting healthier gut is just start off as fruit in the morning.
Clint: I and my daughter but particularly me have learned the very hard way about having watermelon in particular after a main meal specifically evening meals. And I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this, but obviously having had a long history of rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed in 2006. Obviously I’ve had digestive issues prior to that and working on them ever since. So I’ve got that susceptibility to having a pretty only average digestive system right? So and this happened a lot in the United States last year and I couldn’t work it out, but I was waking up with abdominal cramping and it was awful. And it would always be between about [2:00] and [3:00] in the morning so I’d have dinner at 6 to 7. [2:00] or [3:00] in the morning, Oh my God it would begin and I used to think is it because I was sleeping on my side, and my thigh was squashing my abdomen blocking progress of food all these things. And then I worked out it was because I was having fruit after my meal, and although that doesn’t sound like a big rhyme it was causing massive problems for me. And then my daughter just only a few months ago ate watermelon a lot of it after her meal, and that night she was complaining of tummy pains and stuff. So anyway I’m sure it relates.
Shamiz: Yeah, definitely it’s interesting because watermelon is basically just water, and it’s very easy to digest, it’s very very fast in digestion. And we believe it takes around 45 minutes to leave the stomach and get into a small intestine and that’s how fast it digests, because you’re pretty much just eating water. So when you eat something like that after a heavy meal or any kind of meal, you need to understand that the fiber from the fruit, and the sugars from this fruit, will get held up by the cooked food that you eat or any kind of meal that you eat that’s the bread, pasta, you know any anything, rice. And the reason why is because your body has different transient times when it digests different foods, and a fruit is a separate category it’s more natural state, it’s very easy to digest, and it doesn’t take very long to digest. And so what happens is the sugars they start to ferment because the cooked foods the breads, the pastas, the rice, they take maybe 10 hours plus to digest. So when you’re mixing the two together the fruit always gets held up, and so when the fruit gets held up it starts to ferment and it starts to create gas. And generally the underlying cause of cramping is gas and bloating or all sorts of pain and you know you get all that in your intestines and your stomach or in the abdominal area. So that’s one of the reasons why a lot of people do find that they get bloated after eating fruit because they eat it at the wrong times. So if you just simply always eat fruit or an empty stomach, always in the morning you’ll find that that issue kind of just goes away.
Clint: And fruit and fiber is fine if we put it in a green smoothie, we have fruit and leafy greens we’re all good.
Shamiz: Yeah, correct. So leafy greens are an exception. Things like cucumber, celery, lettuce, kale, silver beet, all these foods they actually aid fruit digestion. So you’re actually going to make it better for you if you do eat it with fruit. That’s a little bit more of a in-depth topic we can go about, but there are some kind of what’s called food combining principles that actually work. I mean there’s not really much science behind it but there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence around how people feel when they digest the food fruits.
Clint: Okay, fabulous. Now let’s talk about fat, and this was a game changer for me I love this one.
Shamiz: So fat and sugar don’t really mix very well, as I said before one is going to hold up the other. And fat takes quite awhile to break down in our system, and it doesn’t like being mixed with sugar. So you really want to keep them apart as much as you can, you don’t want to put chia seeds because these are actually quite high and fat. You can get your omega’s in different ways, you don’t need to have them with fruit. I mean there’s a lot of people out there that you know they do mix a lot of nuts and seeds (inaudible) for example, and when I see that I’m like oh you’re going to cause your body a lot of distress. And some people don’t understand that something we don’t know why we’re getting all these digestion issues, and sometimes I can just look at Instagram pictures for example, well that’s probably why you’re getting digestive issues. And so if you do take out the nuts and the seeds, and you eat them separately, you may find a huge difference in your digestion. You may not get bloated, and just keeping the fat separate for the sugar is probably a really good idea as well.
Clint: In terms of practically doing that, would that mean that for example if we were able to in our graduation of foods be able to tolerate nuts and seeds which lot of people with digestive issues find out a little bit down the track. But when they’re able to do that you would recommend that we separate those so that at breakfast if we’re having a smoothie or fruit or if we’re further advanced maybe some oatmeal or something. Then later on maybe mid-morning have some seeds as a snack like trail mix kind of vibe. I mean that would look a little bit more palatable to the stomach wouldn’t it?
Shamiz: Correct, definitely. Your body’s going to thank you for it but not mixing them for one. I would actually recommend maybe some nuts and seeds in the evening, because for us when we look at the digestive system we think that the fats are the hardest to break down and that you know they take longer to digest. So when you’re eating them towards the evening, you don’t have to do anything in the evening, you’re just relax and then you obviously go to sleep. Whereas if you try to eat some nuts in the daytime you may feel a little bit more sluggish. So an easy way is to do it yourself and see if you eat the nuts and seeds later on in the evening before your dinner or with dinner, you may find that your mood and your energy levels are a lot better throughout the day for example. So that’s just it’s just my personal experience from my end, and you know you can give it a go and see how it goes. You might find that it will help you as well.
Clint: So specifically you would not recommend putting chia or flax into a smoothie with fruit.
Shamiz: Correct. You can put it all on your potatoes or any other kind of food that you eat but stay away from the fruits. It’s just not a good combination to mix those two together.
Clint: It used to send me to the bathroom relentlessly. So I used to have flax in my smoothies because I was just going through website, Google top listing number one as to you know anti-inflammatory effects of ground flax seed in my smoothies. And I must add that there are some advocates of this very strong advocates of this amongst some of our plant-based colleagues who have large followings. But I personally found tremendous relief once I took flaxseed out of my smoothies. And when I say tremendous not just going to the bathroom like almost violently after those kinds of smoothies. But in my pain and it was one of the great breakthroughs for me was removing flax from my smoothies and taking oils off my salads, which were two of the greatest breakthroughs for my progress with rheumatoid arthritis.
Clint: And so I think you know speaking now with me for my clients, personally I think there’s two things going on. One is the lesson I’ve learnt from you, it’s the order in which the body tries to digest the fats and the sugars. And I think that when you’ve got a auto immune disease you inherently have weak digestion and therefore we don’t want to be making that mistake but I did not know that. The other is that when we have an autoimmune disease it takes for many of us certainly personally speaking and many of my clients, a long time to break down any fats healthy or not just high fat feeds just take a little more effort going back to what you said a moment ago. They’re the hardest type of nutrient to break down, and when you’ve got a weak digestion that’s the one that stirs the inflammation up in so many folks. And so I keep it very low fat for a period of time, and then people test fatty foods or things like nuts or seeds into their diet at a later date but not to begin with it’s just too much. Would you agree?
Shamiz: Correct, absolutely agree with that. And that’s what we recommend as well. Try and give your body a rest and a break to digest the optimal food digestion initially especially when you’ve got very sore. And then see how you go into reintroducing the fats so you don’t have to necessarily introduce them. You can get your fats from other foods especially in nuts and seeds, because they are you know a little bit more harsh. I would recommend maybe some avocado for someone that’s coming out of the post healing phase you know for example that’s going to be a lot softer than crushing the nuts. Because when we went nuts and seeds, we don’t generally crush them up as well as we’d like in our (inaudible). So there will be pointy edges and things like that, so that will kind of irritate you a lot more if your gut is still kind of in that limbo zone of being post healing. So try the avocados first not the nuts and seeds.
Clint: Do you have a strong feeling or opinion about the importance of the Omega 3 and omega 6 ratio? Or like my experience, have you just sort of seen that the body just tends to heal and understand the fats inherently without having to specifically target omega 3, which of course requires flax seeds, chia seeds all the time trying to get that right. Very interested in your thoughts on that.
Shamiz: I completely agree with you in terms of the body will sort itself out. And you know for example, potatoes they have short chain fatty acids as well. As our friend Andrew Taylor knows that he was getting all his omega’s his ratio was completely fine by just sitting potatoes. So the addition of these foods you can use them but just know that you know if you are eating a variety, you are getting your ratio and you are getting both. And that’s the main thing really is not worrying about one nutrient specifically and just understanding that yes if you do eat a variety, and if you eat enough food your body will deal with everything that it needs. And you have to go through that healing process first, and this is what we do say to a lot of people is that here your body first before you think about absorption or digestion or assimilation or nutrients. You have to be able to heal first, and then allow your body to absorb specific things. You can’t have an inflamed gut and be like, I need this for my body, and I need that for my (inaudible). So I’m going to start eating say raw, greens for example which is just going to ultimately irritate your body more and you’re going to go, why is this not working. So heal your body first with the soft foods, let it absorb after.
Clint: Yeah, love it. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are listening that would like to reach out to you and find out more. I know that we could chat for a long time but I want to respect your time. You’ve got high carb health as your platform, we help people. I’ve been to your website, very slick looking website, very nice, Congratulations on that. Can people go there? Can they book one on one consultations with you even if they don’t have ulcerative colitis, if they just want some more guidance around food combining and digestion?
Shamiz: Oh no doubt. I do a free 30-minute consult for anyone that wants to come talk about digestive health. They can go to our website, just fill out the health survey that we have. And that’ll put you onto our newsletter as well if you want and you can’t unsubscribe as many times as you want out whenever you want. But if you fill out the health survey then I can kind of get a background health history of what’s been going on a little summary of that, and then I’ll know what you can do and talk to you about how you can improve. But you can go to our website, and you’ll see the (inaudible). You can also go on to YouTube channel, we have a lot of information on that. Lot of interviews with other doctors, and what they have to say about whole food plant based. And a lot of my experiences and what I eat in a day and there’s a lot of videos like that out there.
Shamiz: So Instagram is always another one where you can follow me on. I use that a lot to kind of tell you what day to day living is like for me, what I eat, what I do, and how I do it. And there are some recipes as well on our YouTube channel and website which you can check out all whole food plant based and low in fat, which is always going to benefit. Just sharing my stuff on social media, and if you’d like to follow me feel free. It’s just (inaudible).
Clint: Yeah. I love your Instagram. That’s where I’ve spent a bit time scrolling through your recipes. One thing that’s caught my attention that you do that has been you know actually cause conversations between my wife and I. Is your use of those delicious looking air fried potatoes, and I mean like I love potatoes. And the way that you have those prepared and put those on Instagram, and I’ve watched a YouTube videos on how you actually use the air fryer to make those. Please everyone go check out high carb potatoes, they are off the charts. No oil of course, no oil and there are these wonderful Indian style plates with the big metal plates with all the food laid out, I mean it looks just like spectacular. So I’ve been talking to Melissa about getting this air fryer, and she’s like fine you can go and get the air fryer.
Shamiz: One of the air fryers that I would recommend would be the Philips, not sponsored here, but it’s just a really good fryer and it’s a big one too. So you can fit quite a lot of stuff and you have a family. Yeah. I think it’s like a little mini oven with a fan in it so it really just recirculates the heat really well, and honestly you can get a golden crispy fries without using oil and it’s absolutely delicious. I actually have a recipe on my Instagram so you can go see some of the stories on there. There’s potatoes three ways, you can boil them, you can mash them, and then you bake them, that’s four ways. And then you can air fry them so they get nice and crispy. So there’s a whole range of ways of making potatoes, and who doesn’t love potatoes?
Clint: Yeah absolutely. All right well we’ve whet the appetite there for folks, and they should go to and check out that that Instagram page and the YouTube videos and so forth.
Clint: Look I really want to thank you for your time. We just hit the 60-minute mark, so you’ve been very generous with sharing with us and I can’t wait to see you at another conference or something then and help in any way I can. So thanks for coming on. Thanks for doing what you’re doing. You’re doing a fantastic work.
Shamiz: Likewise Clint. Thank you so much for having me, and keep doing what you’re doing as well, it’s amazing