Our GUT is a very sacred area of our body. It is where we absorb nutrients in the body, where we create life, where we collect information to assimilate and breakdown, its an intelligent source of information - our GUT FEELINGS/INSTINCTS.
When we take care of our gut, we are tending to the roots of many functions of the body and mind. Your gut is affiliated with your overall well being. If your gut is out of whack…so is the rest of your body. It is the core or root of your being. If you want more efficient digestion, more clarity and focus and better immunity, you need to start focusing on your digestive health.
Growing up my digestive system was weak. I got sick a lot as a child and always had issues with constipation and acid reflux. I was uncomfortable pretty much all the time but then I just got used to it. I was a carb eater. I ate lots of (NY) bagels and all the white flour and sugar laden foods. I was hurting my body constantly and I didn’t connect at all with my food and mood and sensation of my body. It finally took one day of PAIN that I couldn’t escape for me to do something about it. I had gone to a few doctor’s but didn’t FEEL that what they were prescribing was “fixing” the underlining issue. So, I decided to do some research on my own and experiment with some natural remedies.I realized I was not drinking enough water, not eating enough fresh veggies (clearly) and really had to kick my sugar and white flour habit pronto. With lots of discipline and determination to get to the bottom of my uncomfortableness - I went on the journey to healing my gut. With this new found awareness I had an understanding that it was all my choice to do what was best for my body. I was so disconnected from my body and didn’t want to feel any of it. Once I brought that connection back it was empowering. I was able to find peace with myself through healthy food. At that point I began other healing journeys as well and was intrigued about the body and mind.
Digestive problems are all the talk about today. You hear many people mentioning gut issues, constipation, diarrhea, celiac disease, irritable bowl syndrome and many others, immune issues, acid reflux etc. and its all associated with your GUT. The modern day diet is loaded with toxins causing inflammation and nutrient deficient foods - not provide us with the proper nutrients that support our gut like probiotics, prebiotics (live enzymes).
The gut houses trillions of microbial species that break down food into small nutrients that absorb into the bloodstream. It helps to detoxify the body and aid in your immunity. We have the good bacteria and “bad” bacteria and although just like everything in life we have these polarities in our bodies. The ratio should be more “good” to “bad” (about 85:15) * (dr.jockers.com) When this ration is out of whack it leads to digestive issues, inflammation + diseases. Finding balance is essential to feel great and strong and energetic. All the healthy bacteria need to cover your gut wall in order to help keep the balance of 85:15 and to make sure the “bad” bacteria is flushed out. It also will aid in balancing your hormones, absorbing the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Our immune system is about 65% in our gut - an integral component of our gut also know as the “gut-associated lymphoid tissue”, GALT. It contains immune structures and filled with immune cells which are responsible for recognizing and neutralizing harmful bacteria.
Food + drink is not the only culprit of our gut and digestive issues. STRESS (what we think) also plays a role in the health of our gut. This was the disconnect I was having with my body + mind. My food was affecting my body and then my mood was up + down like a roller coaster all the time. I didn’t realize my mood was a result of all the toxic food and then stress I was putting on my body and mind as well. So our lifestyles (daily choices are in full connection to our food, mood and mindset) plays an important role in our well being. You also are such a powerhouse we basically have 2 brains! The central nervous system which controls most of the voluntary and involuntary tasks within your body. Your second brain your GUT. This gut brain is knows as your enteric nervous system. It houses about 100 neurons within your intestinal wall. These beauties transmit important information throughout your body. This system initiates and sustains digestion, gives status updates to the brain - this is where stress, anxiety can be transmitted messages. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, sleep and more. This is actually made in the gut, so if you are having feelings of anxiety and depression or somewhere in between this is where it stems from.
So, what can you do to keep your gut healthy? Here are tips for maintaining a healthy gut.
- I recommend taking a daily probiotic supplement to help boost the good bacteria. Typically our bodies like to change it up…Probitocs should be on rotation as your body needs a change every 2-3 months or so. The top brand that has tested clean for most of their products are "Designs for Health", especially probiotics.
- Eat probiotic + prebiotic whole foods. Foods that are naturally fermented help inoculate the gut with healthy microbial species. Homemade sauerkraut, kimchi or miso or locally bought. Kombucha is also good as a probiotic drink (i recommend not during a cleanse but included in a daily lifestyle regimen) as well as coconut water kefir and coconut milk kefir. L-glutamine enhances cellular glutathione which are both needed to repair the intestinal wall and put out the inflammation fire in the body. You can use a brown rice and pea protein with added L-glutamine to get this superfood. Turmeric, garlic, onion, rosemary and oregano are great powerful herbs to improve immune coordination. Dandelion greens, artichokes are great prebiotic foods to add to your diet.
- Anti-inflammatory foods are helpful for the gut as well. Including - avocados, olive oil, berries and phytonutrient rich veggies. (After cleansing - healthy organic meats and wild caught fish as well as organic eggs if you can tolerate them - utilizing apple cider vinegar and /or fresh lemon on the meats can help the body digest the heavy proteins).
- Carminatives are herbs that stimulate the digestive system. These contain lots of volatile oils that are effective at expelling gas and pains in the stomach and intestines. They also tone the mucous linings and increase the peristaltic action of the esophagus and stomach which moves the food and waste through your body. Cinnamon, ginger, anise, fennel, cloves, pepperoni, thyme and licorice to name a few are often combined with aloe. Aloe is a cathartic herb that increases intestinal transit time and is used to alleviate constipation.
- Bone Broth is a great way to help with digestive issues. It has a whole slew of health benefits. (Wait till after the cleanse with FORM to begin to introduce this into your routine) It can be made with any bones from fish, chicken, lamb, beef, turkey and venison. The bones provide a powerful array of nutrients that are released when slowly simmered in water for a few hours. These nutrients include bone marrow which helps provide raw materials for healthy blood cells and immune (gut) development. It provides nutrients like collagen, gelatin, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, glycosamino glycans, proline glycine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. These all aid in the development of healthy joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, skin as well as our hair. Connective tissue function and healing “leaky” gut and suppress inflammatory activity. It can help calm an overactive immune system which supplying the body with materials to rebuild stronger and healthier cells.
- Stay hydrated! Your gut needs clean water to operate essentially. reverse osmosis and filtered water are great. Making sure that all the toxins are eliminated are essential for your gut health. Add some lemon and lime to your water for extra vitamins and minerals. When you are dehydrated, these issues can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut and lead to bloating, gas and constipation which in turn lead to inflammation in the body. Drinking half your body weight in oz is a good start.
- Move your butt! Exercise is essential for the body and gut. It keeps things moving and aligned. Our bodies are made to move…aids in carrying out stress and emotions for good gut health. Breathe in Breathe out…consciously….getting back to the basics…breathing is healing on the body. It provides nourishing oxygen to our muscles and connective tissues and has a wonderful affect on the nervous system. Practice and see for yourself. When you experience chronic stress, your sympathetic nervous system goes into fight or flight mode, causing your digestion and blood flow in the gut to slow down, the muscles that push along waste and bacteria to freeze up and the secretions for digestion to decrease.
- Sleep much? Sleep and rest is a time for our bodies to, well…rest. Replenish, restore and reenergize us. The digestive system expends lots of energy for digesting foods. If you eat too often you are constantly using energy in the body. Its draining.
If you need any guidance on how to get your gut back on track, please contact me to set up a consultation. I have a wonderful program that incorporates food + mood to conquer all areas of a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy guts and happy minds,