Hay House Radio Episode Recap
- Episode Name: “Gut Healing Diet Do’s and Don’ts”
- Live Broadcast: March 10th, 2018 at 12:00 pm Pacific Time
Episode Summary Re-cap
SIBO, candida, leaky gut, parasites, food allergies…SIBO, candida, leaky gut, parasites, food allergies…what’s the difference and what can you do about it? Do certain genes, like MTHFR make it harder to heal your gut?
Join Heather to learn what to emphasize and what to avoid when it comes to gut health.
Gut Health Diet Do’s
#1. – Keep a Food Diary
You live in your body and since your body communicates to you in symptoms, the more you listen and learn their language, the easier it will be to know what works for you. Experts can tell you what works for masses of people, but you are unique. How your DNA expresses, and therefore, what you need for gut health, is different from everyone else’s. To learn how to keep a food diary and build your nutrition intuition, read chapter 2 of Loving Yourself to Great Health.
#2. – If You’ve Been Diagnosed with SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), Try a Low Thiol Diet
SIBO seems to be the new candida these days, with many people being diagnosed. Oftentimes, people are prescribed Xifaxan or another antibiotic that is meant to work only in the small intestine and kill the bacterial overgrowth. I have rarely seen this antibiotic work for any length of time and repeated rounds of this expensive pill has often backfired and made things worse. In my work in nutrition for epigenetics (gene expressions creating gut symptoms and food allergies), I have found that people who have unrelenting candida and SIBO, or strange food allergies, are reacting to certain properties in food – and often in healthy foods – called thiols and oxalates.
Thiols are a property in healthy foods, such as:
- Cruciferous vegetables (bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, etc.)
- Dairy products
- Sesame seeds and tahini
- Tofu and bean curd
Learn more about thiols and another property in foods, oxalates, and how they can create symptoms that appear like SIBO and candida in this video:
If thiols or oxalates are bothering you, you likely need to balance your minerals (see #3, below) and try a low thiol diet as discussed in the video above. This can correct the root cause of the problem and eventually, as symptoms subside, you can begin adding these foods back into your diet.
#3. – Consider Mineral Balancing vs. Bug Killing
In 13 years of nutrition and epigenetics practice, I’ve found that going after bugs rarely works. You may have short-term benefits and a rebound effect. Most often, the root cause for why you have food allergies or would have to follow a low FODMAP, low oxalate, low thiol or low histamine diet is because your minerals are imbalanced. Magnesium deficiency, copper dysregulation, and zinc deficiency are major problems when it comes to digestion.
If you have imbalances in key minerals, along with imbalanced ratios with their sister minerals (e.g., calcium to magnesium ratio, copper to zinc ratio, sodium to potassium ratio, etc.), the end result is digestive issues, fatigue, low tolerance for stress, thyroid problems, and a propensity toward an imbalanced gut microbiome. To learn more, read: The Mitochondria Fix: Balancing Minerals.
#4. – Cleanse Gently, Starting with Whole Foods
Eating a whole food diet and ditching the foods in the Gut Health Diet Don’t’s section, below, is a great place to start when it comes to healing your gut. Choose green leafy vegetables, avoid refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, choose whole gluten-free grains (like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and wild rice), and eat organic as much as possible (or at least GMO free). If you make more homemade meals from whole foods, you will automatically remove a huge load of toxins from your body, which will encourage your gut microbiome to heal.
To learn more about healing and detoxing gently with whole foods, sign up for my free one-hour detoxification podcast.
#5. – Incorporate New Habits Slowly
We humans are wired to resist change, so going cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone. On top of this, we have busy lives and trying to do everything at once only creates more stress and overwhelm (which makes your body burn through important gut-health nutrients like B vitamins and minerals). Try starting one meal at a time, or one new food at a time. Take a cooking class and learn 2 or 3 new recipes to make over the weekend and pack your meals for the coming week. If you’re taking supplements for the first time, incorporate them one at a time, instead of trying everything at once.
Your body and mind start to change as you put different nutrients into your body. Going slowly allows your body and mind to adjust, without setting off a challenging die off (toxins leaving the body and creating symptoms) or overwhelm.
#6. – Use the Low and Slow Supplement Method
If you are adding gut-healing supplements, add one-at-a-time and start at a low dose. This is important because you are learning the language of these nutrients in your body. If you start low and add each one slowly, you get to feel how they affect you, which helps you develop nutrition intuition. Your health changes over time due to life circumstances, stress levels, trauma, loss, aging and hormonal events. If you learn how your body responds to nutrients, you can feel into what you need based on where you are when a health change occurs.
Here are some of my favorite gut-healing supplements:
- Full-Spectrum Minerals – this is a wide base of all the minerals and trace minerals in liquid form, which makes them excellent to add to water. My favorites are Anderson’s Sea MD and if you have chronic fatigue or are an athlete, try 40,000 volts. Start with ½ teaspoon per day in water and increase up to 2-3 teaspoons per day, based on how you feel.
- Green Powder Drink – This is a great way to start your day with alkalizing nutrition and hydration. Try 1 scoop, maybe building to 2 scoops per day in water.
- Magnesium L-threonate – Great for feeling calm, energized, and able to sleep well.
- Vitamin B12 Sublinguals – methylcobolamin B12 (start at 500 mcg and work up to 3,000 to 5,000 mcg based on how you feel) and Adenosylcobolamin B12 (start at ½ sublingual lozenge and work up to 1 full lozenge).
- Vitamin B6 as P5P – P5P can be a gentler place to start as a form of vitamin B6. Thorne Research has a nice low-dose P5P supplement.
- Folate (Methyl Folate) – Make sure your B complex doesn’t have folic acid in it because it’s synthetic and 70% of people can’t break down folic acid. Instead, use methyl folate. Make sure to start under 1 mg (e.g., 800 mg or cut this capsule in half by removing the powder and either mixing it in water or getting empty vegetarian capsules).
- Medicinal Mushrooms – medicinal mushrooms, like turkey tail, cordyceps, chaga, shitake, Lion’s Mane, and reishi, enhance your immune system so that it can keep candida and other gut imbalances at bay.
- Liver Support – when your liver is functioning well, it helps to filter out toxins that can build up in your digestive system and cells. Some of my favorite liver support supplements are milk thistle, dandelion, holy basil, and glutathione.
- Phosphytidyl Choline – Look for a soy free version of phosphytidyl choline. This healthy fat supplement supports your digestive system, including your gut and gallbladder, and improves brain health.
#7. – Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced
When your blood sugar surges or drops, your body and brain goes into an emergency state. This disequilibrium can lead to stress, feeling weak and shaky, trouble sleeping, cravings for processed foods and sugar, depression, anxiety, lack of willpower and poor decision-making. Low blood sugar often sets the stage for gut-harming activities like drinking alcohol, eating too much food or sugar, and reaching for convenience foods. Here is a gut-healing blood sugar balancer recipe.
#8. – Consume Broths and Soups: Bone Broth & Veggie Broth, Blended Soups
Broths are the ideal food to sooth and support leaky gut or malabsorption because your body doesn’t have to work to digest them. Blended soups are wonderful for relieving your digestive system by blending up (basically pre-chewing) all of the ingredients.
Bone broth is a superstar for healing leaky gut, boosting immunity, and reducing inflammation because the collagen in bone broth lays a protective lining over the small intestine to heal and seal the gut. It also aids your small intestine in absorbing more nutrients from the foods you eat, while protecting your body from pathogens.
Here are some recipes for you:
#9. – Consume Gut-Healing Superstars
Some of my favorite go-to’s for gut health are foods, rather than supplements.
- Herbs and Spices – cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, fennel, ginger, fenugreek, oregano, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, lemongrass, and turmeric are great digestive aids. Use these herbs and spices liberally in your home cooked meals or make teas to aid your digestion. Read Loving Yourself to Great Health for more ideas on how to use herbs and spices for digestive health.
- Foods – Organ meats are full of vitamins and minerals needed for good digestion (magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, Vitamin C, all the B vitamins). Burdock root aids digestion, balances blood sugar, and helps regulate stress. Fresh fennel helps to eliminate gas and bloating. Healthy fats (raw organic grassfed butter, grassfed ghee, duck fat, chicken schmaltz, egg yolks, coconut oil, beef tallow, extra virgin olive oil, etc.) help you absorb important minerals and fat-soluable vitamins (A, D, E, and K2) which aid digestion. Fermented foods aid digestion, clean up your microbiome, and support your body in obtaining necessary nutrients (some people will need more time before you can tolerate fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha.)
#10. – Consider Digestive Support
If you don’t have enough stomach acid (which is more common than having too much stomach acid, even with GERD), your stomach can’t break down foods and prepare it for the small intestine and the rest of your digestive tract. This is where a lot of trouble starts, when it comes to digestive health.
Here are some of my favorite digestive tract supports. See which one might work best for you:
- Food Combining – Food combining is a way of eating certain foods together that digest at the same rate, so that your digestive tract can do its job with less stress. Learn more by reading Food Combining: How Does It Work?
- Digestive Enzymes – Taking a spectrum of digestive enzymes with meals supports your digestive tract in doing its job. This is especially helpful if you have malabsorption, many food allergies, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, or slow digestion.
- Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) – This is stomach acid. If you’re not sure if you have enough or too much stomach acid, try this at-home stomach acid test. Supplement options are listed in the article.
- Herbal Bitters – Wonderful for stimulating your natural digestive juices. Consider Swedish Bitters or Citrus Bitters with each meal.
- Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar – Lemon juice and raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the mother) in water help support your digestion and can be a great alternative to taking HCL or herbal digestive bitters. Use the juice of ½ lemon or 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 8 oz. of water 20 minutes before your meal.
- Ox Bile – If your gallbladder has been removed or if you’re having trouble digesting fats, you may benefit from Ox Bile with every meal. Start low at 125 mg and if you need more, work up to a 500 mg capsule with each meal.
- Probiotics – Probiotics are healthy bacteria that support your digestion and overall health. These don’t work for everyone and I rarely recommend them early in a gut-healing protocol because some people are so sensitive to them. After a few months, when you’re feeling better and have been eating a mostly whole foods diet, try a good wide-spectrum probiotic and see how you feel. If you don’t do well on a wide-spectrum probiotic, you may do better with a D-lactate free probiotic blend. Learn more about whether probiotics are for you by reading: Should I Take Probiotics?
#11. – Take Time for Self-Care
Good digestion requires your body to slow down. If you are tired and wired or in adrenaline mode (on the run or busy all the time), your body is in sympathetic nervous system mode. Healing and digesting requires your body to feel safe in parasympathetic nervous system mode, referred to as rest and digest mode. Self-care matters because it allows you to take time out of a busy day and relax. It reminds you that you matter and slowing down matters. Here’s how to learn more about my 5-step process for making self-care your new success paradigm.
#12. – Reduce Stress
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that 80 – 90% of doctor’s office visits stem from stress-induced illness. Stress literally stops your digestion, so that your blood and important functions can gear up to help you run away from danger. It also stops your brain from getting the blood flow it needs for good moods and good decision-making. Meditation, and self-care (see #11) are great ways to reduce stress.
Gut Health Diet Don’t’s
#1. – Don’t Panic!
Many people get really stressed out when they get a health diagnosis and don’t know where to turn. See #12 in Gut Healing Diet Do’s to learn why stress is a problem for digestive health. Remind yourself that you are safe and that these symptoms are showing up to support you in coming back home to what your body really needs for health and longevity. Trust your body to respond to self-care and a better diet.
#2. – Refined and Fake Sugars
Of the 85,451 unique commercially available foods that were available for purchase between 2005 and 2009, 75 percent of them contained added sweeteners. Sugar has many names and many forms, and Americans consume too much of it: 156 pounds of sugar per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That is 16 pounds over the 140 pounds of sugar that experts consider a “pharmacologic dose,” which causes obesity and disease.
Sugars to avoid: white sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, high fructose corn syrup, mannitol, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, and artificial sweeteners: Saccharin (Sugar Twin, Sweet’N Low), Acesulfame-K (Sunett, Sweet One, DiabetiSweet), Aspartame (AminoSweet, NutraSweet, Equal), Neotame (NutraSweet’s new and “improved” artificial sweetener), and Sucralose (Splenda, Nevella, SucraPlus).
Sugars to consider in moderation (choose what works for you): stevia, fruit, dates, raw honey, black strap molasses, and organic maple syrup. You might be able to tolerate small doses of coconut sugar if your gut health has improved.
#3. – Consume Gut-Unfriendly Foods
Studies show that there some of these foods are the biggest allergens in our diets today. Most of my clients are amazed that if they stop eating them, symptoms like arthritis, gas, bloating, depression, anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, eczema, hair falling out go away.
Some examples of gut-unfriendly foods are:
- Gluten and flour foods – gluten puts tears in the small intestine (think leaky gut) and create an immune response that the body often can’t keep up with. If you have gut or immune issues, this can be a disaster. Flour foods are hard to digest and can act like glue in the digestive tract. People with MTHFR gene variance expressing in symptoms should not eat any processed flour.
- Grains – some people need to remove all grains (even gluten-free grains) from their diet if the small intestine is leaky and there has been a SIBO or autoimmune diagnosis.
- Corn – most corn is GMO (see #5), which contributes to mineral deficiency, gut microbiome imbalance, and other health issues.
- Bad Fats – trans fats and refined fats, like vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil and margarine. Most processed foods and fast foods have these fats.
- Dairy – some people can tolerate grassfed, raw organic dairy or milk kefir. Others are fine with raw organic goat milk. Most people, however, are consuming dairy from factory farmed cows (not eating their native diet and eating GMO foods) that has been pasteurized (heated up so high that the important nutrients are destroyed and it’s now a Franken-food). The pasteurized factory farmed milk has proteins like casein, which end up being hard to digest for many people with gut issues.
- Excitotoxins – These foods create an excitation response in the body that kills nerve cells and contributes to food allergies and mood imbalances. Read food labels and look for ingredients like: MSG, soy, tofu, natural flavoring, spices, vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, glutamic acid, enzymes, protein fortified, and yeast extract, and aspartame.
#4. – Eat on the Go
Your body needs to be in parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode in order for your digestive system to work. If you are eating on the go, your body is under stress (see #12 in Gut Healing Do’s) and can’t get into parasympathetic nervous system mode.
#5. – Genetically Modified Foods (GMO’s)
GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically altered with DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria, or viruses. In particular, GMO foods have been altered with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds so that they can be sprayed with the carcinogenic herbicide, glyphosate. Studies have shown that Roundup Ready seeds send a signal to the plant so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to create antioxidants we need for overall health and longevity. On top of this, glyphosate contributes to mineral deficiency in the body and disruption of gut health. Look for non-GMO, wildcrafted, and organic foods, herbs, spices, and supplements.
#6. – Factory Farmed Foods
Factory farms are not the farms of our ancestors. They farms with badly treated animals packed into tiny spaces with no ability to live their lives naturally. They eat foods not appropriate for their digestive tracts (e.g., GMO grains), which leads to sick animals needing antibiotic medicines. They get hormones to fatten the up. It’s inhumane and also, awful for your digestive tract because these animals are no longer healthy. We can stop factory farms by voting with our dollars and seeking out only organic and grassfed/pasture fed animal products from farms who treat their animals properly. We can approach meat eating with more compassion – as our indigenous ancestors did – by eating the whole animal, eating less muscle meats (ribeye, filet mignon, chicken breast and those meats marketed as “the best”), and recognizing that the “cheap cuts” are the most nutritious. We can make bone broth with the bones and jiggly parts of the animal we’ve been taught to discard (cartilage, joints, fatty parts, skin, tendons). If we demand less meat and approach plants and animals with a zero waste mindset, we can move into a more humane approach to honor the life that gives us life.
#7. – Processed Food
Most processed foods are full of chemical, preservatives, flour, bad fats, and sugars that lead to poor gut health and imbalanced gut microbiomes. Processed flour has folic acid (see below), which many people can’t break down, leading to chronic gut, brain, and health issues. These foods are devoid of life and spirit and it shows in symptoms associated with a high processed food diet. Any food you can grab off the shelf or at a fast food restaurant is processed. Make sure to read labels and learn what the ingredients mean before purchasing foods in cans, boxes, and at restaurants or prepared food counters.
#8. – The Wrong Version of B Vitamins
B vitamins are key for good digestive health and good brain health.
- The wrong type of folate is folic acid (it’s synthetic folate) and it’s in processed flours and many multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. If you have one or more MTHFR gene variances and leaky gut or digestive and brain issues, your body can’t process folic acid and it makes these symptoms worse. Look for methyl folate, 5-mthf or Quatrefolic instead because they are the active forms of folate. See Folate in #6 of the Gut Healing Diet Do’s, above.
- The wrong type of vitamin B12 is cyanocobolamin – Instead, look for methylcobalamin (methyl B12) and adenoslycobolamin (adeno B12) (See #6 in Gut Healing Diet Do’s for links containing supplements I recommend). Hydroxycobolamin is recommended by some experts and while I think it’s okay, I’d focus more on adenosylcobolamin instead for people with methylation challenges who’ve been told to avoid methylcobolamin.
- Vitamin B6 is great for many people, but not so great for some people with very tricky digestive issues. Usually, these are people who’ve been told they have the CBS gene variation as a root cause to sympotms that feel like SIBO or candida. In other words, you have trouble with your transsulfuration pathway (involves cysteine and homocysteine conversions) and foods high in thiols. Use the P5P version of B6 instead if this describes you (see #6 in Gut-Healing Diet Do’s, above for a link to a supplement I recommend).
#9. – Harsh Detoxes
Candida cleanses, gallbladder cleanses involving drinking oils, eating a difficult diet for weeks, juice fasting, chelation, or taking loads of detox supplements can be very hard on your body. Many times, these approaches are used for people who want to take a break from a poor diet, do a quick cleanse, and get back to the poor diet again. Your body responds better by making gentle changes and allowing a healthy diet to clean toxins out. In some cases, your body isn’t even ready for a harsh detox because your detox pathways aren’t open and therefore, the toxins are stuck in your body, creating major symptoms and making things worse. To learn how to detox gently, listen to my free gentle detoxification podcast.
#10. – Dietary Dogma
Holding rigidly to dietary dogma (Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Frutarian, Bretharian, Raw, Macrobiotic, Primal, etc.) can wreak havoc on your health because you have stopped listening to your body. Most of us have some kind of nutrition intuition. You know how I know this? Because your taste buds link to your right brain, sending signals to your intutitive brain…not your decision-making left brain. Our bodies were designed to taste something and know whether it worked for us so that we could feed our UNIQUE DNA. No one else knows what you need to eat but you. You can receive guidance and try things, but if you don’t listen to your body, you give your power to someone or something outside yourself and never develop nutrition intuition.
Once you do develop nutrition intuition, your body will often lead you to the foods that can help heal your symptoms and your gut. And guess what? It’s often the foods your ancestors were eating way back before your great-grandparents. How cool is that?
#11. – Ignore Your Intuition (Not everything is detox, not every expert will be right)
See number #10. This bears repeating!
#12. – Shortcut Your Sleep
Sleep can be disrupted for a variety of reasons from insomnia, to overwork, to sleep apnea. Regulating your sleep can be a great place to focus your self-care routine. If you’re having trouble, consider doing a foot bath or full bath with magnesium flakes. Magnesium flakes are stellar at calming your body down and giving it what it needs to sleep.
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