On Your Way to a Healthy Gut!

Sometimes starting at the beginning of any protocol or gut healing journey can be overwhelming. You know something’s up in your body, but playing Sherlock on a daily basis can make your head spin. Gluten-Free this, Egg-Free that, and what the heck are FODMAPs?….It can be hard to know where to start.

Many factors can play a role in gut health. Inflammatory foods, stress, and medications can all affect your digestion and should be considered when starting to rebalance the digestive tract, but luckily, a few key important stages can get you on your way to rebalancing and healing your gut!

4 Stages of Gut Healing

Stage 1: “Remove” 

This stage of your gut healing should always be done first. The removal of food sensitivities that may be disrupting your microbiome and digestion will happen here, but this may also start to address potential pathogenic agents such as candida or bacterial overgrowths. This is the stage where you may choose to do some testing like an IgG test or GI Map.

Stage 2: “Replace” 

Stage 2 of the gut-healing process can often be done in conjunction with stage 1. Here, digestive aids are introduced like bitter foods and herbs, natural enzymes, and digestive acidifiers such as natural source vinegars like Apple Cider Vinegar. Continuing to eliminate inflammatory foods from the diet is equally important for the gut to continue to repair.

Stage 3 - “Reinocculate”

In stage 3 pre and probiotics will be added to start nurturing the gut’s bacteria to get it back to a healthy level. The introduction of whole foods will be important to start rebuilding the foundation of a healthy gut. It’s important to be in tune with your body’s pace. Sometimes the desire to reintroduce probiotics can be premature and lead to potential setbacks. If you are still experiencing digestive imbalances such as bloating after meals, constipation or diarrhea, your body may not be ready for stage 3. 

Stage 4 - “Repair"

Stage 4 is where a lot of the big healing takes place! Provided that symptoms have been decreasing a little bit through each stage, repairing the mucosal lining of the digestive tract is the last (but not least!) step. Introducing important nutrients like Essential Fatty Acids, antioxidants, and bioflavonoids will be helpful for rebuilding the cellular structure of your gut, but the amino acids l-Glutamine will go a long way here. It increases growth & absorption but additionally the main fuel source for the cell lining the intestinal tract. Stage 4, continues with a primarily whole foods diet, but with the introduction of a sustainable and long term diet as a lifestyle adjustment. Mediterranean and brassica family foods will be incorporated here.  Pre and probiotics will continue to help restructure the microbiome for long term benefits. 

Staying on Track and Keeping Accountable
It can be hard to stay committed to a protocol especially if it requires a lot of adjustments to the lifestyle you had become accustomed to. But there are a few tips to help you stay on track.

• Keep a Food Journal
• Plan your meals

• Keep to a schedule
• Enlist a friend to join you!
• Ask your practitioner/coach lots of questions to

  ensure you understand the process!

• Celebrate milestones!

Additional HELPFUL TIPS:

1. Chewing Your Food - chewing your food 30-40 times will ensure a larger surface area on your food and natural enzymes will be able to break it down easier in the digestive tract.

2. Mindful Eating Practices - slower eating and breathing during meals will help keep your body in a "rest + digest" state, which will aid in digestive processes.3. Peppermint + Ginger - Peppermint and ginger are your new best friends! Ginger has proven anti-inflammatory benefits as well as soothing an upset stomach. Peppermint is an antispasmodic herb that can help soothe and cool intestinal bloating and other IBS symptoms. 

It’s important to note, that for some people, gut-healing may not be linear and can be rather “free-spirited”. But remembering that it didn’t take overnight to get to this place, so likewise, it may not be more of a journey to healing.