How many times have you heard the phrase “listen to your gut”? I surely did a lot, and I always thought it was “just a saying” for listening to your inner voice.
But the truth is, there is a much more practical meaning to listening to your gut! The larger intestine is a living eco-system (yes, it is alive!); it hosts billions of bacteria and they all have a job!
However, not all bacteria are friendly; some are quite naughty and they tend to cause us some issues such as: feeling bloated, gassy, sluggish and irregular in our bowel movement. But even more than that, the balance between good and bad bacteria has a wider effect on our overall health, both physical and mental. Are you listening now?
According to Dr. Frank Lipman M.D., 70% of our immune system is in our gut. Other experts, such as Donna Gates and Kathie M. Swift peg that number even higher, at over 80%. Another functional practitioner, Dr. Daniel Amen M.D., who is a trained psychiatrist and specialized in brain health, is convinced of the connection between gut health and mental health. Could Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and Autism be preventable after all?
I am a true believer in the connection between gut and health. After all, I struggled with IBS for years and I didn’t even know I was the one causing it by eating the wrong food. I wasn’t in control of my body during those episodes and I was unable to really absorb the nutrients needed for my body to do its job, hence a lot of headaches, and a weakened immune system.
I know a lot of my clients struggle with IBS. To whatever degree they may be affected, it is a terrible ailment to deal with and so, I will share some tips for you to keep your guts in check, support the good bacteria and get rid of the parasites that feed on the good food while irritating your Villi (the little tentacle on the wall of your gut that are responsible for absorbing nutrients).
1. Spring Clean your diet: Toss the junk and say hello to wholesome foods! This is some of the most straightforward advice I can give, but it is quite surprising how many people would rather take a pill than bin the sugar and processed foods. Sugar, chemicals and simple starchy carbs feed the wrong bacteria! Have you ever had a doughnut and felt bloated and heavy? This is one of the reasons. There are no nutrients in there; so you are not feeding friendly bacteria and the bad guys take over.
2. Add fermented food into your life: fermented food like sauerkraut or kefir, are amazing! When food is fermenting, it is creating good bacteria into the food. When you eat it, therefore, you have the good bacteria lodging into your gut and helping out with digestion and feeling lean and mean. (Yes a healthy gut promotes weight loss)
3. Do an elimination diet and check if gluten and dairy may be causing some issues: most people are sensitive to either or both compounds because if the way is processed now. Chemicals, hormones and GMOs don’t make our food what it used to be, so our sensitive bodies can react to that. The issue is that it has become normal to feel uneasy in our body and to have “health issues, pop a pill and sort it out! “, but it doesn’t work that way at all. The gut needs nurturing and gluten and dairy can mess things up a little. After 7 days off those foods, the moment you will introduce them, you will be able to see if you feel any different, if your tummy is blotated and gassy and that will tell you if it is time to stop.
4. One spoon of apple cider vinegar a day, keeps the bad bacteria away! Indeed! Starting your morning with a spoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in a tall glass of water makes a lot of difference. Even ACV has friendly bacteria in there and the extra benefit is that it is also an alkalinizer, so you are really doing a huge favor to your body overall.
5. Use Bentonite and Zeolite once a month for a week. Aside from bacteria, we need to also think of parasites lodging in our guts, and heavy metals floating around our body. Not to gross you out, but we do have warms in our guts, especially if our diet contains raw animal products like meat and fish. By using those two clays, you are getting rid of the worms; zeolite is also awesome for heavy metals detoxification, which of course is necessary as heavy metals affect our system by decreasing its efficiency.
6. Fiber, Fiber, Fiber!!!! Soluble and Insoluble fiber is a must for our guts! Fiber really scrapes the intestinal wall and flushes out the waste, allowing the good bacteria to breathe and do their job.
7. Have a lot of water: Water is a must, especially as the insoluble fiber can easily create congestion into the gut and the only way to flush it down it by drinking a good amount of water.
8. Reboot your gut with colonic. I am not a fan of flushing down the gut on a regular basis, as this is an environment that needs to stay oily and slimy to work, but, if you suffer from any ailment that makes you feel unwell and unable to eliminate properly, then a reboot is essential and that comes with colonic! Doing a course of colonic can reset your gut and you can then start from scratch.
9. Toss the expensive supplements and add in probiotics! I honestly swear by this. I use them regularly and they helped so much with any bloating of my mid section I ever had. Even with good nutrition, in my opinion food is generally sterilized to a point where even good bacteria dies with the bad stuff so a little push helps and for me, and probiotics are IT! You can get many brands out there now; one of my favorite is Solgar, as they use good quality products and even dark glass jars, which keeps their products to the best standards.
10. Last but not least, have massages, do sport and relax! Lifestyle is one of the key components to a healthy gut! Have you ever gotten so stressed that you started having cramps and an incontrollable bowel movement? Stress contracts our digestive system and over-contraction creates severe issues. It sends a message that the gut is working hard, even if you have no food to get rid of and that can seriously damage our villi and the good bacteria. Moreover, the chemical reactions in our body, which regulates hormones, can affect our colon too. So take ME time especially when you know you need to relax.
It is key to remember that our body is connected fully and one action affects all parts of it. This is where functional medicine excels and where we can really achieve complete health by looking at our system as a 360 degrees living organism with 2 central computers: the brain and the guts. As humans we tend to not pay attention to things we cannot see, but those are the things that will eventually impacts us the most so, guys, listen to your gut!