Gut health is important and sometimes, dare we say, oftentimes overlooked. We asked around and kept hearing that people were unsure how to address an achy gut aside from going to the doctor or asking the pharmacist for an over the counter solution and we felt the same way. Then we met Mia of The Wellth. A holistic nutrition student, she’s hungry (pun intended) for knowledge about how to treat the body good from the inside out. We asked her how we could start to examine our own gut health, here’s what she had to say:
In a perfect world we eat ALL of the food (whole & refined) that we crave, without any negative side effects (you know, bloating, fatigue, & constipation). Our body being a natural powerhouse would be able to breakdown food efficiently & make it’s energy & nutrients available to our cells. We would go about our day feeling energized AF (killing it in back to back workout classes), walking around with radiant skin (#blessed), & our mood would be balanced (bye bye PMS-like irritability). Sounds pretty phenomenal, doesn’t it?
Let’s bring it back to reality...We’ve all heard the term microbiome (well, I have at least)! It’s our internal ecosystem composed of bacteria that helps maintain homeostasis within our digestive system. In functional medicine, it is believed that the various systems of the body are interconnected, meaning that the digestive system does not operate in silos. Instead, the integrity of the gut is susceptible to becoming compromised by hormonal imbalances, stress (personal, financial, family, career), exposure to environmental toxins, & antibiotic use, to name a few.
"...it is possible for everyone to optimize their gut health..."
So what happens when your digestive system is not functioning optimally? Allergies often develop! Inflammatory foods (gluten, wheat, peanuts, eggs, corn, soy, sugar) are often times the culprit of poor gut health. These problematic foods can cause harm to the gut lining, allowing undigested food particles to pass into the blood stream, causing an inflamed intestinal barrier, thus triggering a variety of immune system reactions (fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, abdominal pain, poor memory, skin irritation, etc.). You’re probably wondering how does one repair the gut & improve digestion? Don’t worry, it is possible for everyone to optimize their gut health – it does take some commitment and diligence, but remember, you get one body to love up and treat well, so why not do it?
- Eliminate all food sensitivities (complete a 3-month elimination diet, followed by a slow reintroduction of allergen foods, waiting a minimum of 48 hours between consuming allergen foods to monitor any symptoms and identify possible reactions).
- Repair the intestinal lining by consuming a diet rich in nutrient dense foods that are whole and unrefined & contain a variety of vitamins, mineral, & phytonutrients.
- Reculture the gut with healthy bacteria that help to reduce harmful pathogenic bacteria (probiotics helps to inhibit pathogens & can help breakdown toxins, aiding in the detoxification of substances included in food, drug & the environment).
- Rebalance your lifestyle! Manage stress through self-care practices, getting sweaty, journaling and/or meditating). Stress can paralyze digestion, so make time to do the things that bring you happiness.
Foods to avoid:
- Refined sugar & carbohydrates (bread, pastries, cookies)
- Conventionally raised meat, fish, & eggs (due to toxicity from antibiotics and inorganic feed) – choose organic instead.
- Peanuts (high in mold)
- Pasteurized dairy
- Trans fats (high in omega-6 fatty acids & inflammation causing)
Gut Healing Food
- Supplement with probiotics
- Supplement with digestive enzymes
- Coconut oil (rich in omega-3)
- Raw cultured dairy (kefir & yogurt)
- Bone broth
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut & kombucha (I like Farmhouse Culture kraut, dill pickle is oddly delicious and local Wild Tea and True Buch kombucha)
- Garlic (for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, & antifungal properties)
- Wild caught fish, grass-fed & pasture raised meat, organic & cage-free eggs
- Ancient grains (buckwheat, quinoa & amaranth)
You can find Mia on Instagram at @the_wellth.