Gut Health 101

For the most part, I use this space to write about the relationship between our organs and our emotions.

But lately, I’ve received a lot of inquiries about intestinal health.

So today, I’m going to deviate from my usual topic a bit and share my best, basic advice to help you manage your gut and its related diseases.

In fact, I’m going to share with you what I typically offer my one-on-one coaching clients. Below are my Top 10 Tips for a Healthy, Happy Gut:

1. Don’t drink while you eat. Stop drinking liquids either one half-hour before you eat, or at least one hour after your meal. The fluids in beverages dilute your digestive juices.

2. Try to either combine protein with vegetables or carbohydrates with vegetables. Avoid eating protein and carbohydrates together in the same meal.

4. Try to always cook from scratch. I know, I know. It’s tempting to give in to all those shiny offers that claim they “taste like your grandma used to make.” Don’t fall for it. Usually, the flavors are the result of additives that you want to stay away from.

5. No sugar. No caffeine. No alcohol. ‘Nuff said?

6. Look for seasonal fruit and vegetables. And locally grown is even better.

7. Avoid wheat or products that contain wheat. You can substitute with spelt, or Kamut, or go gluten free if you have to.

8. Reduce the amount of animal-derived protein as much as possible.

9. No pasta. No bread. No cake. I know. No fair!

10. Integrate lentils, chickpeas, and beans into your diet. If you bloat easily after you eat legumes, try eating a small amount at first. Slowly add more as your gut bacteria get used to them.

Bonus tip: I always recommend freshly squeezed juice or green smoothies. But stay away from them if your gut is acutely inflamed or if you just had chemo. Fresh juice can be too much for your system.

If my Top 10 gut tips sound like something out of a bad dream, hear me out.

You usually don’t have to adhere to them forever. I usually recommend my clients try them for 6 to 8 weeks with a one-day break between each week.

The break day shows you how far you have come, helps to integrate the changes and keeps you motivated.

A diet built primarily on vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates (no, I don’t believe carbs are all evil) and protein will alleviate your symptoms with time.

One word about protein: We need a lot less protein in our diets than the meat industry would have us believe!!!

And substituting a big chunk of tofu every day for meat is NOT something I recommend.

I believe if you incorporate these suggestions into your diet, you will begin to feel better. However, be aware that there is no single diet on earth that works for everyone.

You need to be experiment to find the combinations and food swaps that work best for your body.

Lastly, a word about probiotics: They can be very helpful if you use them in conjunction with your dietary changes.

However, using probiotics alone is a waste of money. Here in Germany, we can buy probiotics in a pharmacy. If you decide to use them, be sure they are adequately stored and kept cool.

In my opinion, yogurt or other probiotic-fortified foods are a scam. You’d have to eat tons of it for the probiotics to be effective.

And that’s it. Yes, my tips for gut health are simple, but not easy.

But, before you get discouraged, I recommend you incorporate one or two tips at a time to see if you notice positive results.

Do you have questions about your gut problems? Have you found solutions that have worked for your body that you’d like to share?

Please share your questions or comments in the comment section…

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