Do The Beet Test:
How to Tell if You Have Low Stomach Acid & Weak Digestion
by Heather Gardner
I’m sure you’ve been there. The moment when, in fright and fear, sure that you have some ghastly ailment; you reach for the phone in panic to dial the doc and announce that you have……pink pee!! Until, with a sigh of relief, you remember that you drank a virtuous vegetable juice or had eaten a salad containing beetroot.
That was me last week. At a festival for the weekend, I propped up the juice bar all morning, engrossed in a great raw nutrition book. I was slurping away on their joyous juices and several slipped down the hatch with blood building beetroot satisfaction. A few hours later the above “pink tinged pee” panic set in. Luckily I knew what it meant and took the opportunity to assess the health of my guts and decide to do a digestion detox. I knew it was time to make a crock of kimchi, stop going bananas with fruit, pile on the probiotics and dig out the digestive enzymes.
The Beetroot Test for Low Stomach Acid
This discolouration of the urine, to red or pink, after eating beets is called beeturia. It’s caused by the betalain pigments in the beets, breaking down and being excreted. The stomach acid and the flora of the gut play an important role in breaking down the pigments in food, so if they are low or compromised you may experience beeturia. Often people eat or drink beetroots on purpose in order to test their digestive health.
When you are low in stomach acid, your body is not able to metabolize and assimilate beetroot pigments properly. Chances are the same thing is happening for a lot of other foods you are eating. Being able to digest and absorb the vitamins and minerals in your food is very important for your health. If we can’t absorb our B12, we get tired. A lack of zinc will affect our immune system and thousands of the body’s processes. The partial digestion of proteins can cause havoc in the system, as they get absorbed in large portions into the bloodstream. Other factors involved may include an imbalance of the gut flora, the liver, and iron or B12 deficiencies.
Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid:
Gain weight easily
- Suffer from reflux,
indigestion or gas
- Have skin issues
- Prone to asthma
- Feeling tired / lethargic
Investigating the Solutions
- Use a good probiotic supplement and digestive enzyme; these are readily available at health stores.
- Eat raw foods to up your enzyme intake.
- Add warming spices to your diet, such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cumin, coriander, chili & fennel seed to help kick start the digestive fire.
- A small cup of miso soup will aid the digestion before meals. Try to look for soya-free unpasteurized miso. Mix a teaspoon into warm, not boiled water with a pinch of ginger, and drink a small cup before meals.
- A tablespoon of lemon juice or cyder vinegar in warm water, 15 mins before a meal will help raise the stomach PH for better digestion.
- Make sure you are getting enough water. Drink it between meals and not with food. Drink your water warm or at room temp and with a squeeze of lemon.
- Include soaked linseeds in your morning routine, just soak a teaspoon in a small cup of water overnight and drink in the morning. This will soothe and rehydrate your digestive system.
- Remove for a time, cooling, dampening foods such as excess fruits, bananas, frozen or refrigerated food. You can warm your food up slightly first and serve on a warm plate.
- Learn how to ferment your own vegetables, as these aid the digestion and repopulate the gut with beneficial probiotics. Other gut health happiness fermentations to try include kefir and kombuca.
- A tablespoon of coconut oil daily helps to kill bad bacteria and candida in the gut. It’s not fattening, so don’t let that put you off, in fact it has the opposite effect.
Use raw, local, unprocessed honey, this helps to repopulate the gut with good bacteria and deter the bad guys, don’t use if you have sugar balance or candida issues.
- Have green smoothies and juices everyday as well as nettle tea, and seaweed in your meals. The nutrition in these will absorb easily and nourish the body with what it needs.
If you see red urine and you haven’t had any beetroot or red/purple coloured foods, you need to see your GP.
About Heather Gardner
Heather is a Raw Food and Kundalini Yoga Teacher. A lifelong 3rd generation vegetarian she began learning about herbs and wild foods at a young age from her herbalist mother while growing up on a remote mountainside in Ireland. Due to numerous health challenges at a young age, she began delving into the world of foraging, potion making, herbs, nutrition, and raw & living foods as a teenager searching for solutions. At 20 while studying Natural Nutrition she began learning and experimenting with the Raw Lifestyle, and at 27 she began to move onto a raw diet and has transitioned to a balanced high raw diet over time. She is qualified in many healing modalities and has over 10 years experience as a Natural Remedies, Health & Beauty manager and Brand manager within the UK Natural Products industry, working to help people to achieve better health naturally. Now she lives in the west of Ireland, devising raw recipes, making beauty potions, foraging, writing, teaching and running her business www.consciousearthcompany.com as well as running after her feisty little toddler! Connect with Heather on Facebook here.