Guest blog by Lauryn Lax
Constipation. Bloating. Flatulence. Diarrhea. Trouble sleeping. Indigestion.
In other words: Digestive distress.
At some point or another, you probably have experienced digestive distress.
Perhaps you even experience it on a regular basis, but are unaware that you actually are.
You are easily constipated after a meal, your bowel or bathroom habits are irregular, it’s all watery…
Blame it on a Saturday night pizza splurge, fast food on your road trip, a trip to Amy’s ice cream with the kids, not taking the time ‘to go’, not enough fiber (or too much fiber), overkill on whey protein, lack of water, poor sleep, travel and more—it happens.
As ‘gross’ or not pleasant as gut health is to discuss—it’s real…it can effect your overall health…and it is something you DON’T have to deal with on a daily basis.
While being constipated, bloated, either really hungry or really gull, or having an upset stomach after you eat, are part of life one time or another, there are many things you can do to get your body, stomach and bowels functioning like a well-oiled machine.
Here are a few key tips to repairing your gut to run as it should! I challenge you to experiment with them for at least 1-week, if not the next 3-weeks, and just see if they make a difference:
REPAIRING THE GUT 101:
Follow a Paleo Diet.: Eat REAL foods. If you are trying to encourage diverse, healthy gut microflora, avoiding all foods that potentially irritate the gut is critical. For the next few weeks, do not allow yourself cheats. You may also want to avoid nightshades (eggplants, artichokes, tomatoes), nuts, egg whites, and alcohol (these are the same foods that are restricted on the AIP- Auto Immune Protocol). It’s also very helpful to keep your carbohydrate content on the moderate side since too many sugars can cause inflammation and encourages growth of bad yeast and bacteria (but too few can cause increased cortisol, hinder thyroid function, and if you’re eating too little fiber, you may not be able to support growth of probiotic bacteria). Eating plenty of vegetables (starchy vegetables in moderation) and some fruit can have a very beneficial corrective influence on gut bacteria.
Incorporate Omega-3’s (and keep em high): This helps reduce overall inflammation and heal the gut and is one of the most important . There are several ways of doing this: you can make sure that all of the meat in your diet is exclusively from grass-fed animals (beef, bison or lamb); you can eat plenty of wild-caught seafood; and/or you can supplement with a good quality fish oil (eating fresh seafood is far superior than fish oil due to the fragility of polyunsaturated fats once isolated).
Eat Coconut Fat and Grass-Fed Butter: Antimicrobial short- and medium-chain saturated fats help to reduce overgrowth of bad yeast, fungus and bacteria in the small intestine. They can also help tighten the junctions between the cells that line the small intestine (reducing leaky gut). The best sources of these special saturated fats are coconut oil, palm oil and butter from grass-fed dairy cattle.
Say “Kombucha”- Kombucha is a DELICIOUS fermented tea rich in probiotics and good yeast, which also helps increase stomach acid levels. This is your greatest source of probiotics for replenishing your gut flora. It is relatively easy to find at grocery stores around Austin (from HEB to Central Market and Whole Foods).
Take a Probiotic (while you’re at it): Also good for gut flora—a straight up probiotic should be part of your supplement routine. The liquid version is the best! Liquids are absorbed quicker!I take 1 TBSP of inner-eco coconut-water probiotic in the morning and evening (found in vitamin section at Central Market or Whole Foods).
Get Lots of Sleep: Getting 8-9 hours of quality sleep every night gives your body time to heal and also is essential for regulating many hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol. Make sure that sleep is high up on your priority list.
Avoid Overtraining: Stress wreaks havoc on your body—and when your body is stressed, your gut is not happy (intestinal upsets, nausea more frequently, digestive troubles). Make sure you incorporate non-intense days and rest days in your weeks as well.
Reduce Exposure to Environmental Toxins: There are several steps you can take to reduce the toxins you are exposed to on a daily basis. A few ideas include avoiding second-hand cigarette smoke exposure (or quitting smoking if you are a smoker), choosing organic foods instead of conventional, replacing conventional cleaning products with homemade or “green” products, using glass food storage containers instead of plastic, buying BPA-free canned products, and using natural beauty and skin care products.
Manage Stress: The brain and gut are interrelated, as crazy as it sounds. The more balanced and relaxed you are emotionally and mentally, the better your body will function, physically. Check out this article on the brain-gut connection!
Healthy gut flora here you come!