Do you struggle with weight management, chronic health issues and ongoing tummy troubles? When it comes to health, we are so preoccupied with carbs, calories and macros. What if I told you none of this matters if your gut ain’t happy?
Signs your gut is in need of some lovin’:
~Gas & Bloating
~Autoimmune issues such as Hashimoto’s (it seems EVERYONE has an autoimmune disease these days!)
~FREQUENT antibiotic use
Do some or all of these apply to you? Then, you may want to keep readin’!
As we move into cold and flu season, a healthy gut becomes even more important because more than 70% of our immune system lives in our guts! Doesn’t it make more sense to just take care of your gut to prevent disease and illness, rather than wait to get sick and insist your doc give you a prescription for antibiotics, that really doesn’t do much good anyway? A wise old dude named Benjamin Franklin said it best, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
I could write a blog post longer than War and Peace about gut health, but I want to share with you a few tricks you can start today to improve your gut health. You probably won’t hear any of this from your family MD, as our doctors are taught nearly nothing about preventing disease and nutrition. It’s time we empower ourselves and take control of our health!
- Decrease processed foods – Essentially, anything in a package should be avoided, especially if you can’t pronounce any of the ingredients. Processed foods can contain additives, sweeteners and other “gut busting” ingredients. If your great granny wouldn’t recognize what you are eating, neither will your gut. Focus on fresh fruits and veggies, leafy greens and healthy fats such as avocado.
- Elimination diet – For 2-3 weeks eliminate all common inflammatory foods such as gluten, nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, sugar, alcohol, and corn. (Yes, I know…this may be a BIG step for you, but don’t you want to feel better and avoid spending Christmas in bed?!) Slowly add each one back in and see how your body reacts. There are various elimination diet programs out there, so do some research on your own to determine which is best for you. Shoot me an email if you need some direction.
- Probiotics – If this is your first time taking probiotics you may experience some “die-off” symptoms. (Ewwwww!) If this is the case, start with the elimination diet first and slowly work in the probiotics. Be sure to pick up a quality probiotic and rotate your probiotics to include a range of probiotic cultures.
- Fermented Foods – The sauerkrauts of today are much tastier than you would think. I pickup some great ones at my local farmers market, Whole Foods and Sprouts. Just a couple spoonfuls before a meal can go a long way for your gut health. Kefir, miso and kimchi are also good choices.
- Prebiotics – While probiotics are good bacteria for the gut, their helpful cousin, prebiotics, help the probiotics to grow and thrive. Some common sources of prebiotics are: artichokes, dandelion greens, garlic, onions, asparagus, jicama and bananas. I bet you have some of these in your fridge right now! It would be easy to incorporate one or more of these with each meal.
As always, 7-8 hours a night of sleep, stress management, and plenty of clean water consumption are key to any health program. You can spend all the money in the world on quality supplements and organic food, but if you are stressed out wacko (I have a PhD in this department) and skimping on sleep, you are wasting your money.
If you want to learn more about gut health, I encourage you to do more research on your own…especially if you suffer from an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s, Arthritis and Lupus. MindBodyGreen and Body Ecology are two of many great resources. If you think you need some serious triage on your gut, enlist the help of a Functional Medicine Doc. I did and it changed my life.
As always, please let me know if you need some direction. I am happy to help!
Note: Thank you Sir-Mix-A-Lot for inspiring the title of this blog as well as many hours of booty shakin’ tunes for my high school years.