Gut health has been fascinating me for a few years now. Sounds entirely boring, right? Ugh, I know. I thought so too but over the course of eight years, I kept meeting people that just seemed healthier and happier than me. I wanted to know what they had that I didn’t.
Sure, I was athletic and bubbly. I was also often slightly buzzed and putting on a party face, because I thought it’s who I am. That’s another blog entry for another time, but as I met these people and started paying attention to what they were doing, researching things on my own and taking a few pointers it became clear. Our everyday environment is just plain toxic.
Worst offenders are all the things you can’t pronounce in an ingredient list.
All of them. In cleaners, beauty products and especially in our food. So many man-made things are being dumped into God-made bellies. Sorry folks, I tried to deny it for a long time too. I went along with the notions that food is food, even if it comes from a box and if anything gets out of whack we can just take a pill for it.
It’s what we think. It’s all we’ve thought for decades now. You’re sick, you go to a doctor. Right?
One thing my new crunchy friends had in common was rarely seeing doctors. They ate well, they moved, some meditated, they took time to themselves, they invested in organic foods and read labels. In other words, they nurtured the temple. Doctors were fine for acute illnesses, broken bones and big stuff but the everyday health and natural remedies seemed to keep them in top top shape.
Let me make one clarification – I think modern western medicine is fantastic, but we’re being taught to lean on it first instead of using it only when necessary. Keeping our bodies cleaner and more toxin free, leads to less medicine, which can be toxic too. It’s a vicious cycle.
The good news is starting some gut-healthy habits can be done in small steps, simply by consuming cleaner things and using less toxic products. Little changes add up.
WARNING: Adding and sticking to some gut healthy habits may result in side effects such as clearer skin, fewer bathroom issues, improved mental health and immune function.
What I’ve become convinced of, is every aspect of true health stems from the gut. Healing the gut is linked to overall good health in so many ways. (see side effects above)
When you enjoy learning about something, more things come across your path, right. Early this year, I ran across a podcast episode by my friend Dr. Dukic talking about how gut health can impact mental health. There are countless articles linking the brain to the gut, or second brain. Type ‘gut second brain’ into any search engine and you’ll have plenty reading material.
What intrigued me most about the podcast was the use of the term ‘psychobiotics’ and the suggestion that pharmaceutical companies may already be studying impacts of a pharmaceutical option. I contend that too many drugs have already wrecked out guts, the cure is definitely NOT in another pill. So, hear me when I say – they will absolutely hijack the natural gut improvements by sashaying in with their wonder drug of the week.
“We suggest the definition of psychobiotics be expanded beyond probiotics and prebiotics to include other means of influencing the microbiome” is a direct quote from an article published through NIH. The statement makes me immediately mistrustful of what they are creating. The funding pharmaceutical companies provide to organizations such as the NIH are mind-boggling, of course they’d want to go ahead and suggest that we be open to other means (aka, pharma).
Gut health cannot be found in more medications. The biome in our bellies is fragile. Fewer toxins, natural probiotics and nutrient dense foods are the only pathways to healing it.
So, what are some of the best gut healthy habits to take on?
First, give up artificial sweeteners. The yellow packs, pink packs and blue packs and all the products they are in – like low calorie creamers, diet sodas and so much more – are all terrible for the gut and the first brain as well. Just a few months after giving those up, I was able to stop taking Ritalin and manage my ADHD effectively. I became an even more staunch believer.
Next, take a good probiotic. They are not all the same. Natural, herbal remedy companies make the best versions. Do some research on the ones you consider. Bronson was the brand name recommended to me.
This next change can be a little harder to make, depending on your taste buds. Incorporate some fermented foods into your diet. Kefir, yogurt, kim-chee and sauerkraut are just a few to begin experimenting with.
Finally, if your budget allows, find a holistic nutritionist and have them help you construct a diet that incorporates foods you love into dishes that are more gut healthy.
There are plenty resources available on how to be better to your gut. This article spells out all the ways the biome can affect your overall health. From feeling bloated and gaseous to mental disorders, imbalances in your gut have the potential to misalign a number of things in your body.
Before your gut gets out further out of whack and pharma companies hijack treatment options, make some changes on your own. Like I said, medicine is great – until it’s the only weapon you reach for. Friends, this world with all of its toxicity has waged war on our health. You can fight back by doing the thing you need to do a few times a day anyway – eating. It just needs to be the right foods.