How I Built My Healthy Gut
I have experienced a tremendous difference in my overall health since I learned how to build a healthy gut. I do this through a number of intentional changes in my diet. Yes, I did have to make some dietary changes, but I still eat pretty much what I want and have those yummy desserts occasionally…just not every day.
How do you know if you might have an unhealthy gut? Some of the Signs of an Unhealthy Gut might cause you to experience consistent indigestion, reflux, cravings for sweets and sugary items, unintentional weight changes, sleep loss and fatigue, skin issues, autoimmune disease, and food intolerance (gluten, milk, etc). According to WebMD, “Research suggests Your gut bacteria are tied to your probability of things like diabetes, obesity, depression and colon cancer.”
Speaking of digestion issues, years ago I had IBS (Irritable Bowel System) and it was often debilitating. My primary care doctor wanted to prescribe medication to treat it, but I did not want to go that route unless absolutely necessary, so he suggested more fiber with diet and some over the counter fiber supplements. I tried to do it through an increase in my natural fiber intake with more salads, fruit, etc, and although the symptoms would improve, I would still have episodes, especially during times of high stress. Then, I found the key to building a Healthy Gut which eradicated the symptoms and greatly increased my immunity system.
You may have heard a lot of the following ideas before, but it never hurts to repeat great information… Here are Tips that I follow (at least most of the time) that give me an improved immune system and a Healthy Gut:
- Tip #1 – Eat more vegetables, legumes, beans and fruits to increase the fiber and diversity in my meals.
No, a potato is not really the vegetable I am talking about. Potatoes are starchy and turn into sugar in your system, but they are full of fiber, so I eat them occasionally. I try to eat a salad at night with some protein to help with digestion, fiber intake and to prevent acid reflux at night. As I have aged, my diet definitely affects indigestion, especially at night, so I don’t eat large meals with fried foods for dinner. Some great high fiber foods that I love are artichokes, broccoli, chickpeas, pinto and white beans, lentils and whole grains.
Juicing is a great way to provide more prebiotic foods into your diet that feed the good bacteria in your gut, but not all vegetables and fruits go together, so it’s important to understand how to Juice properly for maximum benefit.
- Tip #2 – Add fermented foods to my diet daily to increase probiotics in my gut
I am a huge believer in Dairy Kefir and Kombucha for increasing the good bacteria and beneficial yeast in my Gut. I make my own for pennies on the dollar and flavor it myself, instead of buying it at the store. Store bought drinks often have a LOT of added sugar, whereas my homemade beverages are flavored with fruit for the antioxidants and some naturally sweet options. Also sauerkraut, kimchi and non-pasteurized fermented vegetables provide lots of probiotics for your diet, but my husband is not a fan of those, so he drinks Kombucha and eats Kefir yogurt and frozen desserts to improve his gut health.
- Tip #3 – Avoid processed food whenever possible
I remember a time when boxed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and sugary cereals were part of my diet, but not anymore. Processed foods have a much higher sugar and sodium content than most home cooked meals from scratch. It is often difficult to prepare thoughtful, healthy meals when your time is used up with work and kids activities. More than not, we are forced to take the family through the drive thru for their nightly meal. Fortunately now, many fast food restaurants are offering some healthy choices, but overall, most of the meals are packed with fat, sodium and sugar. Chick-Fil-A has a good alternative sandwich called a Cool Wrap with grilled chicken and veggies in a tortilla which I buy when we are forced to eat fast food.
These tips are what I do to improve my gut health, but there are lots of others. Some people advocate a completely plant based diet with no animal protein, while others feel that there is no problem with animal protein as long as the majority of your diet is filled with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Whatever way you decide to build a healthier gut, you will not regret doing so. A healthy gut improves your immune system, and may eliminate symptoms of underlying health issues.
I found that it was easier for me to make changes a little at a time…it takes 7 – 10 days for your taste buds to acclimate to new foods and flavors. Cutting sugar intake was the most difficult, but now I don’t have cravings for the sweet stuff and enjoy natural fruit flavor much more. As I said before, I still have those wonderful decadent desserts from time to time, but just not every day. A hamburger and French fries is also good occasionally, but I have to admit that it will cause some digestion issues which my healthy gut does not like.
If you want to learn more about getting a healthier gut, come to our Healthy Juicing Class this Saturday, September 22nd from10-1130 am. The class is much more than Juicing…it will give you the information you need to develop a baseline for your health and education on a achieving a healthy gut. For more information click the link below: