Recently a friend reached out to me and asked me about my thoughts on de-toxing and restoring gut health.
I had such a blast responding to her questions that I've decided to turn it into a blog post to share with you all!
Q: "I asked about gut health because I've been trying to cook more and eat better, learning more gluten free recipes (my nephew is allergic) and trying to eliminate foods I feel I have a negative response to e.g. some corn or milk products.
I'm ignoring the hype of fast weight loss gimmicks, but wanted to know if there was some benefit to "detoxing" to improved likelihood of success when changing your diet to more clean ingredients, because I've been reading more on the influence on cravings from gut flora. If so, I see you as a trusted source vs just picking any ol' "detox tea or kit" from the grocery store or internet.
I've read that juicing is good, but was told only for 1-3 days by my MD, though I have see the 30 day juice. I"m not sure I'd do it that long because I know the benefits of masticating your food and would rather eat my fiber from foods than ingest synthetic fiber. Just wanted to get your advice/opinion on that. "
What a fantastic question and one that I think we all can agree is interesting and relevant with what we are learning about the importance of gut health, the dangers of toxins and how these can relate to fat-loss!
You can read my answers below!
The AMAZING thing about the body is that it is very adept at de-toxing.
Personally the only approach for de-toxing that I trust as 100% effective is the strategy of supporting the liver.
No food, juice, supplement or enema could ever hope to work as well at removing toxins from the body as the liver!!
The Paleo Mom has a good post on the best ways to support the liver. You can read it here: https://www.thepaleomom.com/the-best-foods-and-nutrients-to-support-liver-detox/
I love this post because she talks about which foods are BEST to eat in order to get vitamins and minerals that support the liver….so less supplements and MORE whole foods!
Off the top of my head, I would say eggs, lots of leafy greens, and liver are the best foods to support the liver as it de-toxes.
Prioritizing whole un-processed foods will also help to lower the chemical burden on the body-which will be great for the gut, liver and everything else!
Eating local and or organic when possible is ideal.
Local foods tend to be high in nutrition and lots of time local farmers even if they aren’t “Certified Organic” grow their foods with the least chemical possible and will provide you with the freshest, therefore most nutrition food possible.
You can always ask a local farmer what their pesticide policy is to see how they respond. If they are very defensive and secretive, then that's your answer, but I have found that lots of farmers will talk to you about what they do and why they do it.
Tea’s can certainly help the detox process, if you went that route I would hit up a Chinese medicine expert near you and ask them what is best.
Typically it’s teas made from various fungi.
But lots of the teas you would buy in the store probably won’t be of much help for detoxing.
I’m not a huge fan of juicing because we get so much sugar and no fiber when we don’t also eat the flesh.
I think that people feel great when they do juice cleanses because it’s such a HUGE shift from the junk that they normally eat, but I’m not convinced that they are everything.
Juices have a place, and can be helpful when someone has difficult digesting fiber or other foods, but if you are able to eat regular fruits and veggies, I think that’s always a better and less expensive approach.
And then, to my FAVORITE part of the question....GUT HEALTH RESTORATION!
Regarding gut health improvement.
I recommend 5 major things:
1. Avoid food irritants-For me that’s gluten, dairy and nightshades, based on our earlier discussion, it sounds like corn, dairy and gluten bother you.
So if those foods bother you, then most likely it’s either that THEY are causing some irritation in the lining of your gut OR you have some pre-existing compromise to the lining that is allowing gluten, corn and dairy to leak through the gut into the blood stream which causes an immune response.
This can manifest in a NUMBER of different ways. Low-energy, mood, hormones, skin conditions, digestive discomfort, headaches, join pain….all of these symptoms can be indicators that something isn’t right.
2. Drink bone broth and or take it in the powder form-I LOVE making bone broth and it tastes so good, but some people don’t enjoy the work of it, and for them there are ready-made bone broths (Bare Bones) and bone broth powder (Ancient Nutrition) or collagen powder by Vital Proteins.
Shoot for drinking 8 ounces of broth or a powder equivalent daily.
Bone broth soothes the gut and helps to restore the mucosal lining that might be damaged by stress, food irritants, chemicals, antibiotic use or just eating a Standard American Diet (which contains lots of chemicals and antibiotics).
3. Restore the gut flora!! I do this with probiotic supplements and the ONLY ones that I recommend right now are Prescriptassist and a product by the Gut Institute, which appears to be back ordered right now. Take probiotics daily. You can also eat kimchi, real sauerkraut, or drink fresh kombucha, but whichever you choose I would be sure to eat each on a daily basis.
I find it easier to pop a pill daily.
Probiotics don’t actually colonize your gut, but stimulate motility of the microbes that live there! Then when combined with pre-biotins (fiber) and in the presence of fewer gut irritants, they can flourish!
4. Eat prebiotics!!
This is fiber in the the form of veggies that feeds and inspires the growth and colonization by the microbes!
Potato starch tends to harm microbes, so I tell folks to avoid potatoes 90% of the them when they are trying to restore gut health.
Cassava root, asparagus, onions and under-ripe bananas are all great sources of prebiotics that will help grow any deficient organisms.
5. Move and manage stress.
Walking and moving the body is great because the microbes LOVE it! Being outside increases the likelihood that you will breath in the environmental microbes that belong in your gut in the first place, and walking lowers cortisol (stress hormones!) . Stress is bad for us and bad for our guts so being intentional about how we manage it, daily walks is a SUPER effective way to do that, is important!
Plus walking aids digestion which is also important for a healthy gut.
And lastly, regarding fat-loss:
So many people ignore the importance of gut health and body health when setting out to lose some fat stores.
You, my friend, are starting out on the right foot!
Persistent Organic Pollutants absolutely play a role in fat loss and can slow the process, which is why all of my recommendations in the email will be helpful in your quest!
Additionally-lowering cortisol by walking will shift your body into fat-loss mode by lowering cortisol, which lowers insulin-the hormone primarily responsible fat-storing.
Healthy bodies and healthy guts mean improved satiety and hunger signals-which means that you will be better able to trust your body when it tells you to eat and when you’ve had enough!
A well-functioning gut also means improved nutrient absorption which also improves the process of fat-loss.
I actually gave a seminar on Fat-Loss recently.
You can watch the video at the link below!
Adding in some strength training, when you are ready to do so, will also help to create the correct hormonal environment for fat-loss AND restore or keep your muscle to increase your base metabolic rate (how many calories you burn at rest).
You can still catch my Fat-loss Webinar from last night, click this link