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Operation C-Hope 

“Soldiers Get Tummy Aches Too” 

I’ve received quite a few phone calls over the last several months from American Soldiers returning from deployment complaining of constipation and digestive problems. This led me to research what these guys/gals were eating while protecting our Nation.  Soldiers eat meals called MREs, (Meals Ready-to-Eat).  They have approximately 1300 calories per meal with 55% of the energy from Carbohydrates, 35% from fat and 15% from protein.  Immediately I knew why I was getting the phone calls.  They contain limited fiber and moisture.  Soldiers don’t necessarily have a choice of meals, but for the most part, they serve an important purpose just as the American Soldier does. One common complaint of MREs is that they seem to cause a high degree of constipation. Developers of MREs have tried to offset this by adding extra fiber to the bread or cracker portion of the meal. Still many who eat MREs have given them quite colorful alternative definitions like “Meals Refusing to Exit”, or “Mr. E” (mystery). If you have ever consumed an MRE, you’re probably shaking your head and agreeing with those silly names. But all joking aside, these meals are FDA approved and were created by the US Military to aid soldiers who may not have access to food preparation facilities. It’s food that keeps them alive and well while they complete their missions on our behalf.  So what happens when they all come home and have unlimited options of food consumption, and night after night binge on home cooked meals that they have been dreaming about for months? They eat way too much, way too fast and wind up at the drug store looking for the Pepto.

So here’s what I think.  When a soldier returns home, after months of consuming MREs, they should prep the digestive tract for what’s coming. It starts with a good digestive plan to re-introduce their system to the foods they were eating before they deployed.

Lets call it OPERATION: “C-HOPE”.

C is for Cleanse: Cleansing the colon of old impacted fecal matter is definitely the first step. The colon is the bodies sewer system and should be purged periodically.Purchase a Colon Cleanse Kit from your local vitamin store or seek advice from your friendly neighborhood Colon Hydrotherapist on how you can rid your colon of backup the natural way.

H is for High Fiber:  Fiber in the colon is like easy-off in the oven. Lets get scrubbing. A quality flax based fiber can improve digestion function and gently usher toxins out of the body.

O is for Omega 3 Oils: Omega oils are essential to supporting optimum digestive health. They nourish the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys. 

P is for Probiotics: Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that live in your digestive tract. There should be 80% good and 20% bad bacteria in your colon, but if thebad increases, your health can suffer. Probiotics help maintain healthy colon cells, promotes regularity, and aids with your immune system.

E is for enzymes: Enzymes are the key to breaking down the foods we eat into the nutrients that feed our bodies. I picture a digestive enzyme as a little yellow pac-man waiting to chomp the food your teeth missed and disburse the nutrients into the bloodstream where they are used as energy. So give your digestive tract a break and offer an enzyme. Then eat mama’s Lasagna.

After hearing stories from all my military clients lately, it gives me a small glimpse of what they go through when they are miles from home protecting me while I sleep sound in my bed. The least I can do is give a little advice to them on how to keep the tummy aches from taking them out when they return.