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Gut Health 101: Nutrition Tips

Our gut health is impacted by every part of our daily lives, including diet, sleep, exercise, toxins, and more. However, the foods we eat are arguably the most influential factor.

Every aspect of life affects our gut health, just as the gut affects every other aspect of our health. It’s a two-way street. The health of our gut impacts everything from our skin to our immune system to our digestion.  While it’s essential to recognize the importance of a healthy gut, be wary of quick fixes, trendy products, and fad diets. As you know, the wellness world is full of these promising magic pills, that at best don’t deliver, and at worst, can be dangerous to your overall health.

At the end of the day, the best way to optimize your gut health is to get back to the basics. And let me tell you, the basics are very effective!

gut health 101: nutrition tips

Signs of an Impaired Gut

Is your gut health in tip top shape or could it use some help?  Let’s take inventory!  Here are some tell-tale signs of gut dysfunction:

  • Low energy
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Sugar cravings
  • Diabetes
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin issues
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Issues
  • Brain Fog
  • Low immunity
  • Joint Pain

If you frequently experience any of the above symptoms, chances are your gut health could use a little (or a big) boost. So, how can you best support your gut? Nutrition is the best place to start! Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Elimination

  • Eliminate all gluten, processed grains, conventional dairy, refined sugars, packages foods, pesticides, and GMOs.
  • Eliminate all vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, grapesseed).
  • Be an ingredient pyscho (like me!) and avoid all gums, fillers, preservatives. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t eat an ingredient alone, skip it!

Step 2: Dive a Little Deeper

  • Reduce/eliminate all raw veggies, beans, and un-sprouted grains.
  • Watch your fiber . You might be consuming too much or too little.
  • Chill out on the nuts and seeds. These foods can cause inflammation, as they’re hard to digest, even when sprouted.
  • Chill out, in general. Meditate, take walks, spend time with people you love, get sufficient sleep, and exercise, but not too much.
  • If you’re still experiencing symptoms, try eliminating foods high in lectins, oxalates, FODMAPs and/or other anti-nutrients.

Step 3: Supplement

  • Take a probiotic – I love this one from Seed, which unlike most probiotics on the market, actually survives the acid in your stomach and makes it’s way into your gut intact.  My clients (and myself) have seen dramatic shifts from using this probiotic.
  • Drink bone broth!  Bone broth is rich in gelatin and healing to the digestive tract.

Some of these tips might feel extreme to you, but if your symptoms are truly that bad, these suggestions are hardly extreme. If you’re looking for additional support in making these changes, I would love to help. I offer a 90-day private coaching program to help you improve your digestion and effortlessly lose fat. This program can help you feel like yourself again!

gut health 101: nutrition tips

Here’s what one client had to say about her results:

“Holy crap has my perspective on food completely shifted. I initially went in my 3-month coaching program very impatient and wanting Amanda to tell me what to exactly eat, but this journey has been much more rewarding than that.

With biweekly talks, we were able to go very in depth about various defeating thoughts I have with food and even other aspects of my life that directly correlate to my emotional eating/disordered eating patterns. I no longer dread “healthy foods” or see it as an “all or nothing approach.” In fact, I am able to identify what foods make me feel worse in terms of energy, mood, digestion and what foods are better for me and that is something that is much more sustainable than solely focusing on numbers as I intended to do in the beginning. I also struggle with PMDD/irregular and painful periods, and I feel much more regulated and equipped to deal with my PMS. Also, it helped knowing that I was held accountable by her and having regular check-ins helped a ton, especially when you do face an inevitable challenge or setback.

I really think if you are wanting to make a real, lasting impactful change on your relationship with food, and are prepared to be vulnerable, you should seek out Amanda. I am sure we can all seek out well meaning advice from health professionals, but Amanda is someone who allowed me to be vulnerable and truly felt she understood my struggles and could sympathize with them. If this sounds kind of like therapy, it’s because it was in some respects and was definitely more than giving you a meal plan and telling you to “suck it up.” I am so excited about the new perspective and tools I have and am only beginning to see the real lasting changes I have made.”

Are you ready to get started? Read more about my services, here!

The Truth About Heart Disease

Based on the book “Put Your Heart in Your Mouth,” by dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

 

Is everything we think we know about heart health wrong? It just might be. For starters, the belief that saturated fat causes heart disease is wrong, based on recent research and publications. Unfortunately, the correlation between saturated fat and heart disease has been ingrained in our brains for so many years that it seems almost impossible to convince people otherwise. Yet, I’m going to try. 

The Truth About Heart Health

 

Is Saturated Fat to Blame?

Case and point: let’s talk about the “diet-heart hypothesis” proposed by Ancel Keys in 1953. This hypothesis led us to believe that low fat and low cholesterol diets were the answer to preventing heart disease. Keys’ infamous diagram showed the correlation between fat consumption and mortality from heart disease. While he studied 22 countries, only 6 of these countries were included in the diagram. Ironically, these 6 countries were the only ones that “proved” his theory. Interestingly, the same correlation doesn’t exist when the remaining countries are added. 

So, if this correlation is false, why are doctors still telling you to avoid fat and cholesterol? Shouldn’t they know better? Disappointingly, the research and information doctors receive is from the same source as the general public: drug companies. At the end of the day, the health industry is a game of politics and drug companies will do whatever it takes to make a dollar (or millions).

Despite the influence of drug companies on the health industry, the evidence is very clear: saturated fat does not cause heart disease. I won’t bore you with the science, but here are a couple of notable studies: 

  • Since WWII, the Japanese have been eating more and more animal fat, yet fewer and fewer of them die from heart attacks. Actually, mortality from most diseases decreased in Japan as they ate more animal fat. 
  • In the USA between 1930 and 1960, mortality from heart disease increased 10 times, while the consumption of animal fat decreased. 
  • Dozens of studies conducted in different countries show that people with heart disease eat the same amount of fat and cholesterol as people without any heart disease. The studies do show, however, that eating vegetable oils and margarine is strongly associated with heart disease. 
  • Many studies show that in old age, cholesterol is protective. 

 

The Health Benefits of Cholesterol 

Did you know that cholesterol found in foods has virtually no effect on our blood cholesterol levels? It may be shocking, but it’s the truth. In fact, humans cannot live without cholesterol. Cholesterol is vital to our cell membranes by making the walls of the cell firm and helping to communicate with other cells. Cholesterol protects us from infections, memory loss, and many diseases, like multiple sclerosis and other nervous system diseases. We need cholesterol to produce hormones, regulate our metabolism, energy production, mineral assimilation, and muscle, bone and brain formation. It is an important part of bile production, necessary for absorbing fat soluble vitamins, including Vitamin D, which most of us are deficient in. Recent research also shows eating full-cream dairy products can cure infertility in women. 

Low levels of blood cholesterol has been repeatedly recorded in criminals who have committed murder and other violent crimes, people prone to suicide, people with aggressive social behavior and those with low self-control. Clearly, cholesterol is not only essential for our physical health, but also our mental health.  

Arguably, the most important function of cholesterol is it’s healing properties. Cholesterol is sent to any area of damage or inflammation to begin repair. Healing involves the birth, growth, and functioning of the immune system and other cells that are made out of cholesterol and fats. So, when a blood test finds high cholesterol, we must look at what is causing damage to the body. While atherosclerosis is purely an inflammatory condition, cholesterol is often blamed as the cause- simply because it is found at the site of the crime. 

Causes of Inflammation in the Body

If cholesterol is a response to inflammation in the body, what is the root cause of inflammation?

 

  • Man-made chemicals, like personal care products, cleaning chemicals, detergents, prescriptions, over the counter drugs. 
  • Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke 
  • Industrial pollution 
  • Pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers 
  • Tap water containing chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, and other contaminants 
  • Processed foods 
  • Various infectious microbes 
  • Gut dysbiosis 
  • Nutritional deficiencies 
  • Lack of sun exposure 
  • Sedentary lifestyle and habits
  • Excessive stress 
  • Free radicals 
  • Electromagnetic Pollution 
  • Radiation 

 

In a healthy body, after any injury or increased inflammation, cholesterol is sent to the scene to help the body repair itself. However, in the case of atherosclerosis, inflammation never stops. Why is this? 

Metabolic Syndrome. 

Metabolic Syndrome is defined as a cluster of health conditions that occur together, like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. This increasingly common disease is due to our overconsumption of processed carbohydrates and high levels of glucose/insulin. As a result, inflammation increases and leads to atherosclerosis. Truthfully, heart disease was basically nonexistent before the invention of processed foods. 

How to Prevent Heart Disease

Given the increasing presence of heart disease in today’s society, what steps can we take to prevent this dangerous condition?

 

  • Stop eating processed foods, including breakfast cereals, wheat, processed sugar and salt, trans fats (vegetable oils), and soy. 
  • Eat fresh nature-made foods, traditionally-prepared: 
    • Fatty meats (avoid lean meats) and high-cholesterol and pro-healing foods, like: 
      • Animal brains 
      • Organ meats 
      • Caviar 
      • Cod Liver Oil 
      • Fresh egg yolk 
      • Butter 
      • Cold-water fish and shellfish 
      • Lard 
      • Meat and bone-stock 
    • Fish & shellfish 
    • Fresh fruit 
    • Raw, organic dairy 
    • Unprocessed nuts/seeds 
    • Soaked/sprouted beans/lentils 
    • Natural fats 
    • Fermented/sprouted, whole, unprocessed grains 
    • Unprocessed honey and dried fruit 
    • Fermented foods 
    • Freshly-pressed fruit and vegetable juices 
  • Stop polluting our bodies with man-made chemicals, like house-cleaning products, cosmetics, herbicides, pollutants, and more. 

Fundamentally, our bodies are miraculous creations that heal and repair themselves, as long as we allow them to do so. When our bodies become ill from polluting ourselves with chemicals, processed foods, and unnatural lifestyle habits, it becomes inflamed. Consequently, it calls for help with signals of pain, stiffness, and unpleasant digestive symptoms. Instead of supporting our bodies with what it needs to heal, we turn to prescription drugs to stop the pain, which only silences the body’s cry for help. 

What would happen if we started treating the root cause of inflammation, instead of simply masking symptoms? I’m willing to bet heart disease and inflammation would actually start to decrease, and as a result, our society, as a whole, would gain a better quality of life. 

If you’re looking for help to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health, I would love to chat with you. Book a free discovery call, here!