I felt inspired to write this post to encourage myself to push forward on my gut healing journey. Working on gut health is not for the dabblers. It takes commitment and a strong belief that all the effort will be worth it! One of the things that helps me stay committed in all my health pursuits is doing lots of research. And that is what I want to share with you today!
The term “leaky-gut” is being thrown around a lot right now. It is a bit of buzz-word that has people filled with fear and overwhelm. “Everyone has leaky gut so why should I even bother!!” *throws up hands in the air*
What is Leaky Gut??
The term “Gut” refers to our entire digestive system. But leaky gut is another name for intestine impermeability. Our small intestine is only 1 cell-thick so when it is damaged, tiny little holes are created in its wall. This causes leakage of food particles and toxins into our blood stream. This in turn causes inflammation throughout the body because your body sees it as a foreign substance.
Chronic inflammation is the root cause of all degenerative diseases. If you are suffering from any type of digestive issue, you likely have leaky gut to some extent. Common symptoms include: bloating, constipation, IBS, IBD, allergies, acne, asthma, autoimmune conditions, eczema, fatigue, joint pain, etc.
How Do you get Leaky Gut?? Leaky gut is contributed by excessive use of NSAIDs, antibiotics, prescription medications, hormonal birth control, pesticides, chemicals, and chronic stress. Gluten is also a culprit of damaging the lining which is why it is highly suggested to remove gluten from the diet whether you have celiac or not. We are just at the beginning of really understanding the complexities of our gut, but one ancient concept remains true – All disease begins in the gut.
All disease begins in the gut – Hippocrates.
Why Does Leaky Gut Matter?
So why does healing leaky gut matter? Besides ending the above ailments that can happen from leaky gut. I believe that focusing on healing our gut should be everyone’s focus for preventative health. Our gut contains the majority of our immune system (70%), it affects our mood, and having a good working gut will help you fight disease.
I imagine if you here reading this – you like eat a healthy diet, workout regularly and do all the “healthy” things that they tell you to do. Then why do you still feel like crap? Why are you still feeling exhausted, sick with aches all over your body? Is this just a part of life???
I wondered the same thing. A few years ago, I thought I was doing everything right. My sneezing was out of control and I just didn’t know what to do. ☹ I didn’t understand how other people could live and walk around all day without sneezing after eating food or getting tired and sleepy. I felt miserable.
For me, that is one way my body shows inflammation. Other people have “silent” inflammation so they don’t notice for years until a big health problem pops up. Other people just live day by day feeling not as good as the can. Everyone is SO unique and different so your response can be completely different than mine. This is just a bit of my story.
Through an allergy blood test, I found out that I had an slight intolerance to eggs. It showed that my IGE levels were raised in my body. I cut eggs out of my diet and this SIMPLE change dramatically improved how I felt. I tried eggs again later and I felt like I had the flu instantly.
And it made PERFECT sense that I had leaky gut and this was a big reason for why I was feeling so miserable….
1. I ate eggs almost every day. They were my favorite breakfast for years.
2. I was on antibiotics daily for years. The gut damage was likely significant.
3. I regularly used other medications for acne, allergy meds, NSAIDS, Accutane, hormonal birth control, etc.
4. Acne and allergies are both signs of poor gut health. Both of which I regularly struggled with.
As you can see from my own life, leaky gut was causing an inflammatory response aka SNEEZING. I also was dealing with brain fog, exhaustion, and excessive thirst. Now when I eat something inflammatory, my body gets VERY thirsty. I immediately recognize that I ate something not so good for my body. I know how it feels to feel SO good that I cannot really tolerate feeling much of any crap.
Now, I could of decided that it was JUST sneezing. NBD right? So many people out there just tolerate feeling like crap day after day. Buying allergy meds to help them feel a bit better. It isn’t like life or death situation so its hard to search for a better way to live.
But I believe that daily sneezing can turn into something much worse. All that chronic inflammation in the body is what eventually brings disease over time. Every time I sneezed it was an autoimmune response of my body attacking the food in my body.
So yes, I believe all the “little” things matter, the sneezing, the bloating, the constipation, the acne, etc. All the annoyances are only the beginning of long-term inflammation that can turn into more serious disease.
Honestly, as I sit here I find myself lucky to have such a sensitive body that shows me through sneezing and acne. I know these are minor things to complain about, but are valid nuisances just the same.
Ok so now that you know more about leaky gut and my own story….let’s dig into what action steps you can take to heal your gut!
How to Heal Leaky Gut in 4 Steps:
- Remove the inflammatory foods. – You likely have heard of the Whole30 diet and this is the idea behind following this plan for 30 days. If you don’t want to do a Whole30 specifically, I suggest you remove gluten, corn, soy, alcohol, refined sugars, and dairy. I highly suggest reducing gluten-free grains completely as well and minimizing ALL processed foods. Whole 30, Paleo and real food recipes are the way to go.
I have pin boards loaded with tasty recipes. Heck I should make a round-up of my favorite real food recipes. Be on the look out for that! HERE IT IS – CLICK HERE FOR MY FAVORITES! For now here are my pin boards packed with resources.
**Also, Limit your use of antibiotics. Think about quitting the pill. Limit your use of Ibuprofen. Purchase cleaner products to use in your home. Try out essential oils to keep your house clean!
- You must reduce stress. — High stress living is a huge contributor to leaky gut. How are you sleeping? Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Take a magnesium supplement or a salt bath. Magnesium is the queen mineral of relaxation. I recommend everyone supplement daily. Do yoga. Try out Yoga with Adrienne videos on Youtube. Technology makes it super easy. You have no excuse to not take care of yourself. Lastly, deal with the problem that is causing you stress head-on. Become a problem-solving pro.
- Add in supplements to heal leaky gut. – Collagen and gelatin are amazing for healing the gut. I love Vital Proteins or Bulletproof Collagen. You can mix in your coffee and make your own lattes. That is an easy way to get it in, but it is tasteless so you can hide it in just about anything. I like to mix it in my soups! Bone broth is another way to get in more precious collagen, gelatin and other amino acids in! It is easy on digestion and helps to heal! #winwin
Other non-negotiable supplements include: a high-quality probiotic, digestive enyzmes, and L-glutamine.
- Eat real unprocessed whole foods. – Like I mentioned in step 1, you want to minimize your processed foods. Yes, even “healthy” processed foods. Keep it simple and create a plate with about 1 serving of high quality protein, ½ plate of cooked veggies and 2 servings of healthy fat. If you want to learn more about healthy gut healing fat – read my post here about Healthy Cooking Oils.
Here is a photo of one my recent simple gut healing meals! This took me minutes to whip up and little to no thinking! I roasted okra and leeks in a big batch. Then I just cut up some ham and piled on the veggies with 1/4 an avocado. (I would recommend more fat then this – 1/2 an avocado is 1 serving)
I hope you enjoyed this post on gut healing 101. Let it encourage you to take small steps towards a healthy and happy gut. 🙂
Leave a comment below and let me know what you learned! If you have any questions, I will happily answer them! And if you want to see my current 10 top ten paleo/whole 30 round-up post – click here to check it out!
Cheers to balanced and happy gut!