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Posted by: jamie | on September 19, 2015
I talk about preparing and eating healthy food a lot, so I guess it’s only natural that the subject of gut health would somehow come up in conversation. It is finally getting some much deserved “buzz” in the media as many experts talk about the incredibly important link between what happens in your gut and the overall state of your physical, mental and emotional health. I always knew it was responsible for the obvious things – digestion, weight gain/loss, etc. but do you know that serotonin, that ever so important balancer of our moods is primarily found in the gut? What about the immune system? Did you know that it is also primarily found in the gut? So many reasons to have a healthy, balanced gut, and there are so many things that go badly when it’s not. (Yes, I’m personally familiar with many of those!)
It is my opinion, and my personal experience, that healing your gut is the foundational step that needs to happen in order to heal anything else that might be going on. Think of your car as a great example. Say you’ve been putting in the wrong type of fuel and all of a sudden, the motor starts making a weird noise, or the fuel injection is freaking out and the car just doesn’t accelerate the way it is supposed to. Maybe the car just stops working entirely, so you bring it into the shop. Now they can fix all they want to under the hood, they can even totally replace your engine, and your fuel injection system. It’s still not going to work right – you’re putting in the wrong fuel!
Same thing is true with our bodies. They run on the fuel we choose, every meal, everyday. Everything we eat and drink is a specific choice towards or away from a happy gut, and a healthier you. To add to that mix, things like stress management, how much sleep you get, etc. all have an additional impact.
So, if it’s time to see if your gut might be causing/adding to some of the health issues you are having, I have a few suggestions on which way to head down your road to recovery. Obviously, there is not just one way down this path, but I can share some of the things I’ve learned along my journey in hopes they may help you with yours.
HELPFUL STEPS TO TAKE TOWARD HEALING YOUR GUT
However you get your information, get as much as you can. Books, internet, T.V. specials, YouTube videos….. we live in the information age, so we certainly can’t complain about lack of knowledge. The trick, of course, is discernment. Check your sources. You’ll learn which voices to listen to amongst the crowds of people talking about health and wellness. Be a healthy skeptic as you get to know who they are and if what they are saying makes sense to you. You might be surprised at where your answers come from. (Check down below for some of my favorite resources.)
2. GET HELP
Just as we have lots of sources of information available to us, we also have a lot of different types of health care providers available. Finding someone that specializes in or is at least knowledgeable about gut health is imperative. In my opinion, that is typically not your primary MD or other allopathic doctor. There are certainly exceptions, but even my doctor friends have told me that they get next to no training in nutrition (still!) and really can’t help until something goes wrong. Instead, you might look for a functional doctor, integrative doctor, wellness doctor or practitioner, or a Naturopath and see if they can give you the assistance you need.
3. GET TESTED
Although you can certainly start healing your gut without them, you might consider having your practitioner order some tests to find out if there is anything going on in your gut that you should know about. Some tests aren’t all that fun, I will tell you, but knowledge is power! See if you can pinpoint or at least get an idea as to which part of your gut might be giving you a problem. For example, your tummy might be digesting food just fine, but your issues begin in the small intestine. You might even have food allergies or sensitivities. It’s important to know what’s up and what needs some attention.
Best case scenario is that it’s all working just fine, it’s just out of balance. Most people have guts that are full of “bad” bacteria and are sorely lacking in the “good” bacteria. That comes from our food/drink choices, toxins in our environment, stressful lifestyles, heavy metal toxicity, and the big one – the heavy use of antibiotics not just being prescribed but added to our food sources. Every time we ingest antibiotics, we are killing off bacteria, so the “good” bacteria is lost along with the “bad”. We all know about the diarrhea that often comes with a round of antibiotics, but there are many other side effects as well. I have been told that just one round of antibiotics can do a pretty good job at destroying your gut bacteria. Considering I was on antibiotics constantly during my childhood, is it any wonder I have had to learn about healing my gut?!
4. GET COOKING
There are so many easy ways to make your gut happier and your body healthier, and most of those start in the kitchen. In my experience, it’s usually easier to start adding more of the foods that feed the good bacteria (more veggies, high fiber, lots of greens, fermented foods) so it makes it much easier to stay away from the foods that are less healthy, and feed the bad bacteria (sugars, grains). The resources below include lots of great information about how to implement a gut-healthy eating plan
5. GET PRO – ACTIVE
Because of my health challenges over the years, including weight issues, food allergies, etc., I have spent years of fine tuning when it comes to what I eat. But it wasn’t until I really paid a lot of attention to gut-healing foods that I really noticed a huge difference. The big category of foods that helped the most was fermented foods, a natural source of probiotics that help to make your gut balance healthy. I had taken probiotic supplements for years but I found that, for me, adding probiotics via food was much more efficient.
A couple of my favorite go-to fermented foods are:
- Plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt – So Delicious makes the only one I know about (dairy free) but I really like making my own at home (it’s yummy!). It has become a great treat with a bit of chopped fruit or wild blueberries. (Don’t make the mistake of eating yogurt with all that sugar in it – it actually can make the problem worse by feeding bad bacteria, regardless of what all those commercials say!)
- Raw sauerkraut -I have just a few bites at dinner each night. It is a huge help in getting all that good bacteria into your gut! It is simple to make at home either with just cabbage or mix a few veggies together. There are many ways to do it, but here’s a link to how I got started. There are also some great sauerkraut products ready made and found in your local health food/whole food stores. Look for them in the refrigerated section and make sure the label includes like “Fresh”, “Probiotic”, “Raw” or “Fermented”. Here are a few that I like – Farmhouse Culture is organic and comes in several flavors, while Trader Joe’s brand is not organic but significantly less expensive:
- Celery Juice – One of the newest additions to my food regimen is perhaps the most unexpected, at least it was to me. I heard Anthony William speak about the benefits of celery juice, of all things, and I had to try it. I am a big advocate of green smoothies, but I rarely had my juicer out since I totally overdid making fresh fruit juices a bunch of years ago. Fresh fruit juice is so yummy, but way too much sugar for me, so I am now re-learning how to make super healthy veggie juices. Celery juice is beneficial for many systems in the body, but it’s super great for bringing helpful HCL (digestive acid) to the whole digestive system.
6. GET RESOURCES:
As I mentioned before, there are a lot of experts putting out information on gut health. These are a few of my favorites:
SKINNY GUT DIET by Brenda Watson – she has been the go-to woman for digestive health for years, has many books out, and a number of PBS specials. I think she is informative, easy to understand, and a great resource. Even if you don’t follow the specific diet outlined in this book, I think it’s the best overall resource for all things relating to gut bacteria.
WHEAT BELLY BOOKS by Dr. William Davis – great resource for what happens when we eat grains and how you can regain your health when you change the type of diet you are eating. He also has a good PBS special on occasionally so check your local listings!
YOUR PERSONAL PALEO CODE by Chris Kresser – although geared more towards a Paleo lifestyle (again, you can ignore the diet plan and recipes) but he has a good explanation about gut health.
MEDICAL MEDIUM – SECRETS BEHIND CHRONIC AND MYSTERY ILLNESS AND HOW TO FINALLY HEAL by Anthony William – This book doesn’t come out until November, but he is doing a radio show on Hay House Radio that is really informative. He might be a little “out there” for some people, but I find his nutritional information to be really helpful. His Facebook and Twitter posts about healthy foods are great!
BODY ECOLOGY DIET by Donna Gates – Pretty much the gold standard when it comes to fermentation and a serious commitment to gut health. It might be a bit overwhelming for a beginner, but full of great information as you want to learn more.
All these authors have great resources on websites, Facebook, Twitter, their PBS specials, newsletters in addition to their books. These are just a handful of my favorites, but there are so many others. I would love to know your favorites so feel free to share!
There is so much to this topic! I hope this gets you motivated to start healing your gut today. The most important lesson I have learned is to be your own health care advocate! It’s your gut, your health, your life, so be sure to get the help that you need to have the healthiest life possible!
Posted by: jamie | on September 11, 2013
Do you have to fill out one of these when you go see your doc? How many items do you check? This list belongs to a wonderful woman named Joan who happens to be the mom of one of my good friends. Although I think having only one item to check would be good anytime, the fact that Joan is 80 years old is pretty impressive!
Joan watches what she eats, is very active keeping up with her children and grandchildren and can often be found with her big gloves on going through recycled metal with her daughter who is a metal artist. Now, really, isn’t that they way we all want to be when we are 80?
It’s never too late to create a healthier life!
Posted by: jamie | on November 25, 2012
Click here for a great article by Dr. Mark Hyman on how to raise a child who knows how to eat in a healthy way – really great information!
Posted by: jamie | on June 14, 2012
For those of you with Smartphones and ipads, I urge you to take a look at the new cell phone and ipad cases made by Pong Research. You know I am constantly looking for anything to help give me protection from EMF and Radio Frequency. I never find anything that works, and often find products that are supposed to work but actually make things worse. I did some homework about these cases from Pong Research, and felt confident enough to try one for my iphone. It works! At least I think so. Although I try to use my phone as little as possible, I can now hold it in my hand and make a call if I have to. Yes, I’m one of those who can feel all that energy and I couldn’t hold my phone before without being very uncomfortable, not to mention scared of what it was doing to me.
As you can see, on the right of this webpage is an advertisement for Pong Research. That means I feel strongly enough about the product to become an affiliate so that I can tell everyone I know to try these cases. In my opinion, we all need as much protection as we can get from all of our electronic devices, so do your research and see if it might be something you want to try. I would be thrilled if you would click on the advertisement on this page (look over to the right sidebar) because I do get paid a bit of a commission for getting you to their site (which helps support this website!), and I would be even more thrilled if we all started paying more attention to how all these electronic devices are affecting our health. For me, this kind of protection is worth a try. Actually, I’m hoping they come up with a full body suit I can wear, but I think I have to wait awhile on that one!
Click on over to Pong Research, read up and see what you think. Let me know if you purchase one and love it as much as I love mine!
Posted by: jamie | on June 14, 2012
Want to know how much our eating habits have changed? Read this disturbing article, How Eating At Home Can Save Your Life, by Dr. Mark Hyman about how eating has become a very different scenario in modern, everyday life than it was in years past. And we wonder why there are so many health issues, mostly relating to food?
Posted by: jamie | on May 19, 2012
The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman is one of the best books I’ve seen on what is now referred to as the “Diabesity” epidemic. He’s included really easy to understand information as to how this impacts almost all of us, and it is all about solutions! He includes meal planning, recipes, nutrition information, supplement information….. everything you need to get your health back on track. He also has a jammed packed website in support of the book, so he’s giving you all the tools you need. Oh yes, on top of that, he has a PBS special that’s been on lately, so keep an eye out for it.
Blood sugar is the core issue for pretty much all of us. You don’t have to be a diabetic to be suffering the consequences of poorly maintained blood sugar. This book is a great place to start making positive changes, and creating a healthier new life. Check it out!
Posted by: jamie | on April 27, 2012
Yep, really. Ever wonder where childhood obesity is on the government’s priority list? Read this to find out how they decided to consider pizza a vegetable.
Posted by: jamie | on April 2, 2012
Have you ever wondered why you just don’t seem to think very clearly? Are you unable to focus, or process information quickly? It could be a type of brain fog that has been connected to eating gluten. Here is a quick article that speaks to that from Natural News: Eliminating gluten from the diet can relieve brain fog (mental confusion). Additionally, this article refers back to a paper written by Dr. Jeremy Kaslow. (The Celiac Disease of Mental Illness). It is more in-depth, but a great resource on this subject. It is definitely worth a look for anyone interested in keeping their brains working optimally, and a great explanation as to why this type of brain fog may be occurring.
Posted by: jamie | on March 9, 2012
This article was recommended by Dr. Christiane Northrup which, in my opinion, says a lot. It is important information as to how medical journals and corporations work together to create reality, including the use of bloggers. As I always say, knowledge is power. Click here to read the article.