The gut is a very hot topic in the health and wellness world. In my previous post on gut health found here, I talked about the miraculous connection between your gut and your instincts.
Did you know that some experts call our gut our second brain? It has an incredible intelligence that we don’t always pay attention to and it works around the clock for us, day in, day out. It’s truly a remarkable system that we often overlook in our life as a place to find answers and create healing and true life-long transformation.
So why do we all-too-often ignore this miraculous part of our bodies?
Well sometimes we simply don’t know what we don’t know, and it can be difficult to know where to start along the healing journey. But I always say that our body is talking to us and we should be listening. I’ve developed a list of the most common symptoms from my clients that together, we listened to and found out it all started in the gut.
Here are 10 signs you might have some trouble brewing in your gut:
- Food sensitivities
- Thyroid conditions
- Joint pain
- Skin issues
- Digestive problems
- Weight changes
- Food cravings
You probably never imagined that your gut might be the reason for headaches or those hives on your arm. Well, I can vouch for the fact that I’ve seen countless clients heal and feel better just by improving their gut!
There’s a story from Cherokee folklore about a Cherokee elder who is teaching his grandson about life. It goes like this…
“A fight is going on inside me,” he says to the boy. “It’s a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, and ego. The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, and compassion. The same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thinks for a minute and then asks, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee replies, “The one you feed.”
I love that story because what we eat can make or break everything! When it comes to the bacteria in your gut, every time you eat, you’re feeding somebody. Unfortunately, the modern industrialized diet is all too often feeding the bad guys and, just as important, starving the good.
To put it simply, “bad” bacteria tend to feed on sugar and unhealthy fats (yes, I’m talking about you, junk food!). And the single most important nutrient that good bacteria need to thrive inside you is fiber. When they have plenty of fiber, they can do their job — and your digestion, mental function, and even your mood reap the benefits.
It’s clear that fiber is critical to gut health. But less than 5% of Americans get the recommended 25 to 30 grams per day. It’s estimated that our Paleolithic ancestors got an average of up to 100 grams per day. But as Americans today, we get on average, even less — just 15. Most of us are literally are starving the good bacteria that would, if we only gave them the chance, be digesting our food and making the brain-boosting chemicals we need to thrive.
We know that junk food, lack of fiber, antibiotics, and toxic exposure can compromise the bacteria upon which your digestion and brain health depend.
Is there anything you can do about it?
Yes! So I’ve created a list of possible foods that make the gut unhappy and then a bigger list for you on how to keep your gut happy. It’s a guideline to help you quickly identify the top food categories that you need to be aware of that are either compromising your healthy microbiome or enhancing it.
The first step is to remove the irritants!
We’re all unique in the types of foods that irritate our gut and we all have unique food intolerances. However, there are some common foods that many people find they cannot tolerate. Perhaps some of these items don’t have an immediate negative impact, but they may disguise themselves in how they show up in our lives and affect us.
Common irritants that cause gut issues for many people:
- Wheat and gluten
- Refined sugar
- Conventional* meat
- Conventional* dairy
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Conventional* eggs
* Conventional = store-bought and not organic
The second step is to replace your food choices with healing foods. Once we remove the irritants, we then need to replace them with foods that are more nourishing and healing to the gut.
Here is a list of my favorites:
Fermented and Probiotic Foods:
- Fermented vegetables
- Coconut kefir
- Organic yogurt
- Pickles (lacto-fermented)
- Collard greens and Swiss chard
- Cooked kale
- Made from organic and grass-fed animal bones
- Coconut oil
- Coconut kefir
- Raw coconut meat
- Brussels sprouts
- Cabbage (preferably cooked)
- Organic cheeses
- Grass-fed organic butter
*Note: If you have access to raw or unpasteurized dairy, this can be helpful as it still has living ‘gut-friendly’ bacteria.
I know this list probably has some foods on it that you may have never heard of such as Kefir. So if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms I listed and would like to speak more about how you can start healing your gut and need the support to do so, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a ‘Discovery Session’ so that I can review your personal history and guide you to what’s next.
Stay tuned for more information on other ways to replenish that good bacteria in Part 3 of this gut health series.