Ep. 40: Gut Health 101 (Part 1 of 3)

Fed & Fit
Fed & Fit

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    The Fed+Fit Podcast | Nurturing a Healthy Mindset for a Healthy Lifestyle

    We're back with our 40th episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

    Find us HERE on iTunes and be sure to “subscribe.”

    Episode 40 Topics:

    • Updates from Cassy [1:27]
    • A history lesson on Hippocrates [4:01]
    • The two components of our gut [10:40]
    • What does an unhealthy gut mean? [13:56]
    • What does a healthy gut mean? [17:30]

    I would LOVE some feedback, so feel free to leave a review in iTunes, comment below, or even give us a shout on social media!

    Ep. 40: Gut Health 101 (Part 1 of 3)

    On today’s episode, we’re talking gut health 101 with a launch of a brand new 3-part miniseries, all about gut health.

    1. Updates from Cassy [1:27]
    2. A history lesson on Hippocrates [4:01]
    3. The two components of our gut [10:40]
    4. What does an unhealthy gut mean? [13:56]
    5. What does a healthy gut mean? [17;30]

    Cassy Joy: Hello all of you wonderful, wonderful people! Thank you for joining me on the Fed and Fit podcast. I’m excited to have you here, and even more excited to bring you some really cool content. I have put together another miniseries for you guys. This one is only 3 episodes long, so that means it will span 3 weeks for the show, and it’s all about gut health and digestion.

    So it’s a pretty broad topic and that’s why I wanted to spread it out, take our time, let’s really tease apart some of the more important issues, and see what kind of fun pieces of information that we can pull out that’s relevant that we can apply in our lives that maybe we can share with people who are important to us. So for today’s episode, episode one of the gut health miniseries, we’re going to talk about why it matters so darn much. So we’re just going to lay the foundation today.

    1. Updates from Cassy [1:27]

    Before we get to the content of the show, I quickly want to just do a little bit of housekeeping. So as you know, I’m back, but in the future you will be hearing more of just me with the occasional guest host added in for extra fun and outside perspective. So I’ve got some pretty cool people in the lineup for you guys.

    Charissa, who has been my co-host for the last; goodness, 30-something episodes, and I are dividing and conquering while we fine tune our passions and keep developing content for our individual audiences. So, while she is always working on craft, I will absolutely keep you guys posted on her latest projects. And remember if you want to follow Charissa more closely in what she’s up to, you can find her on Instagram at the handle No Cook Paleo. So she’s got some great stuff, some great projects, and like I said I will announce those here when we get there, and some of the things we’ve talked about is pretty cool stuff. So anyways, we are dividing and conquering and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

    For those of you who follow my life on Instagram, I’m at Fed and Fit, you know probably that I’m getting married on October 24th, so when this episode airs it will be 2 weeks away and it’s pretty exciting. I’m going to be out of touch for a little while, naturally, but my team has this series scheduled and they’re prepared to answer some more of your pressing questions while I’m gone. So feel free to keep asking questions, keep touching base, and if I’m not able to respond right away, I will get to you. And if not, my team can definitely help you out.

    Ok, so like I said, this is a 3-part miniseries all about gut health and digestion. And the reason I’m doing these series is really in an effort to build an informative, and hopefully entertaining, reference library for you and other future listeners. So I’m going to keep building content of this sort, where I take some of the world’s nutrition and health brain busters; some of those more puzzling issues out there that are kind of confusing because there’s a lot of information out there and people tell us different things.

    I’m going to take those; I’m going to compile a whole bunch of my own research and my own practices in my nutrition business, and then I’m going to bring it all back and present it in kind of a no-stress, let’s get to the point perspective. So if you guys like this, please keep offering feedback so that I can fine-tune and keep giving you what it is that you want.

    2. A history lesson on Hippocrates [4:01]

    Ok, so let’s get into today’s show. Before we jump into gut health 101 and why it matters, I think it would be really fun to kick it off with a quick history lesson about Hippocrates. So if you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’m a bit of a quote junkie. I have them written all over the place; they’re on post-it notes; they are scribbled on, I’m staring at this white board in front of me. I have another one that’s pasted to my computer monitor. I write them in cards to dear friends, I use them to start off every newsletter that goes out, the Fed and Fit newsletter, and I send them regularly to the Fed and Fit Project participants, and when placed carefully, I’m of the believe that a quote can set the stage, tone, and direction better than the most well written introductions.

    So, with that being said, when I was researching quotes for this series, because it’s probably one of my favorite things to do. It’s actually the first thing I do; when I am starting on a new project and a new writing avenue, I will always research a quote first that I think really helps. Not only I think is it a benefit to the reader, but honestly {laughs} it’s a huge benefit to me because it helps me figure out my thoughts and the direction of where I want to take a conversation. A written conversation, albeit.

    So when I was researching quotes for this series, Hippocrates was really the obvious choice. And I’ve got 3 or 4 pieces of his insightful words chosen for this series, and I think it’s only fair that we know who this man was, or at least a little bit about who he was, so that we know why his words can offer us meaning and inspiration.

    So Hippocrates was a physician in ancient Greece, roughly 2000 years ago. And what’s most impressive is that he essentially invented the field of medicine. So before his professional pursuits as a physician, and as we know him the father of medicine, human health and the study thereof and the treatment was essentially left to the fields of rituals, which are essentially rituals that are performed for the sake of the gods, whatever will please the gods and people place their health in the gods hands, and the only way they intervened was in the way of these rituals. And then also the basic study of philosophy. IN a lot of ways, it was kind of, “it’s all in your head” kind of work.

    So, what Hippocrates did was he was able to identify; and I know it’s a lot more complex if there’s any Greek history listeners. I studied Latin extensively in school, so this is why I get extra geeky about this stuff, because I think it’s so interesting. But what Hippocrates was able to do was he essentially identified a blind spot in I guess human health study. And it was essentially the science of the human body, and he created an industry around that concept, and that’s again why he’s called the father of western medicine. So he started to build a body of followers, fellow scholars and students via the Hippocratic school of medicine, and that collective group went on to publish the Hippocratic corpus, which is essentially a huge group of documents that is, in a lot of ways, ground zero for medical research. It’s kind of where it all started, medical research started.

    In that chunk of documents was the Hippocratic oath, which some of you have probably heard of. But it’s essentially the original inspiration and seed for modern medical ethics. A lot of this is evolved, of course, over time, but for something, fur us to be able to go back 2000 years and identify where the first pebble was thrown in in a pool of thought is pretty interesting.

    So his revolutionary thought at the time noted that disease was not necessarily a sentence or a punishment inflicted by the gods, but rather a product of diet and lifestyle. That was revolutionary thought, and it’s so cool to me. It’s so neat. And I think where the big pieces of his practice, some of them. For example, one of his practices was humorism, and humorism is essentially, nobody practices this anymore, but essentially a practice where you would determine the health of a person by the balance of their four fluids to include two biles, blood, and phlegm.

    And of course, this isn’t used today, and a lot of people use that to discredit his practices. But what I think is so interesting and places a lot of weight on his words is that his perspective and daring insights to create a new field is just so interesting, how much he has shaped today. And at least his coworkers and his colleagues and his students; it’s just such an interesting thing. And I think it dares all of us to branch out and try to identify if we see a blind spot. You know, try to create a field and study what interests us.

    So the focus of today’s episode, of course gut health 101 and why it matters so much, and I think the quote that summarizes this perfectly by Hippocrates is that “All disease begins in the gut.” He said that 2000 years ago, and it’s so interesting. He didn’t have the technology that we have today to really know and understand that. And truly, we didn’t start; we being modern medical professionals and the industry at large. We didn’t start to, I guess, wrap our minds around the concept of gut health and the influence that has over disease until this 21st century. Mainstream research and funding initiatives didn’t really get on board until relatively recently, so it’s pretty darn interesting.

    3. The two components of our gut [10:40]

    Ok! So, now that that episode of history is out of the way, let’s go ahead and jump into the content. So gut health 101 and why it matters so darn much! Our gut, for the sake of this brief conversation we’re going to have today, is made up of two relevant components; relevant to today’s conversation. Number one; the gut flora, and number two, the gut barrier. So we’re going to divide this up, talk about both of them, talk about what does an unhealthy gut mean by way of the flora and the barrier, and then we’re also going to talk about what is a healthy gut. What are signs that you do have a healthy gut. And then we’re just going to briefly introduce the other two episodes that we’ve got in this series. So now you know what's coming.

    First of all; let’s talk about the gut flora. Did you know that; and when I say did you know, I always hear Bill Nye the Science Guy. Did you know that our gut has over 100 trillion bacteria living in it? That is a lot of bacteria. 100 trillion. I feel like there needs to be one of those over dramaticized echoes; 100 trillion! Oh my goodness, that’s amazing! Human beings, to our gut flora, is a mutual symbiotic relationship, in case your 7th grade science self was wondering which vocab word to plug in there.

    These bacteria work for us, and we provide them with a home. And while there is still a lot that we don’t understand about this expansive and extremely complex relationship, we do understand that this veritable army of bacteria warriors help to ensure normal digestion, they help to regulate metabolism, which is not a simple concept but they do play a roll, and ultimately they provide more than 75% of our immune system. That is pretty dang amazing.

    The gut barrier; the second component we’re going to talk about today; to set the stage for the gut barrier, let’s thing briefly, let’s talk about the inside of your gut; from when you eat something, inside your stomach, inside all of your intestines; inside part of it is essentially the outside world. Right? Your gut lining acts as kind of like the bouncer to your body. It will allow the good nutrients to pass in through tiny little regulated openings, and it will keep the bad things out. So those not allowed into the actual body cavity will pass all the way through, being ultimately expelled. So the gut barrier is essentially like our last line of microscopic defense against the dangerous outside world.

    4. What does an unhealthy gut mean? [13:56]

    So what does an unhealthy gut mean? What does it mean in terms of the gut flora? So an unbalanced or bad gut flora means that essentially you do not have the warriors you’re meant to have that are supposed to help with your digestion of food, help to maintain your metabolism, and help to fight off infection. So you’re missing those warriors. You might get sick more easily; have maybe a hard time losing weight, and experience an unhealthy digestion or transit time. So either too quick or too slow.

    A too permeable gut barrier; right, because the gut barrier is supposed to allow nutrients through, that’s how we absorb nutrients, and how we stay healthy and how we get energy. But when it’s too permeable, it allows too much through, it’s also known as a leaky gut. So your gut barrier is essentially leaking things into your body cavity that it’s not supposed to. So this means that your gut is damaged, and when these foreign substances, these substances that are not supposed to make their way into the body cavity, when they make their way through, they trigger an immune response by the body.

    So as we know; I know you guys know this, but it’s good to say. Inflammation is a response to immune activity. So when we come down with a cold; let’s say we come down with the common cold. We know that our lymph nodes, some people will feel their lymph nodes while they’re swollen. That’s an inflammation due to an immune response. And your body cavity, or all over your body, is exactly the same. We will become inflamed when our immune system is kicked in.

    And prolonged living with a leaky gut and an imbalanced gut flora can result in what is essentially a downward spiral of health by way of systemic inflammation. And this prolonged chronic inflammation can cause many different, I guess conditions, one of them being fatigue, another depression could be a result of chronic inflammation. Skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, and then autoimmune diseases.

    We’ll talk about this in another episode a little bit more in depth, because I know it’s a curiosity point for a lot of you guys. But Celiac, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, IBS, Hashimoto’s, and rheumatoid arthritis, those are all autoimmune diseases that essentially can manifest due to chronic inflammation, due to an unhealthy gut.

    Other things that can manifest due to an unhealthy gut include other forms of mental illness, heart failure, and even autism. So it’s pretty interesting, and it makes Hippocrates words ring just a little bit more true, and a little closer to home. “All disease begins in the gut.”

    Now, there’s ways we can tease that apart and maybe argue some of the finer points, but it’s a really good concept to wrap your mind around. If you’re finding it difficult to make healthy food choices, but you’re highly motivated to maybe right size your blood sugar or to get off that heart medication. It’s a good thing to remember that gut health equals overall health.

    5. What does a healthy gut mean? [17;30]

    So, what does a healthy gut mean, what does that look like, and how will a healthy gut manifest in you and in your life? You will probably have healthy skin; healthier skin once you have great gut health. You will have level energy; no more of those peaks and valleys and chronic fatigue. Level moods; mood swings start to kind of even out. You’ll have a regulated metabolism and/or weight. Your will weight will become easier to manage or you’ll find it easier to lose weight that you need to lose. Healthy fasting blood sugar, healthy digestion.

    Though note; I think it’s important to note that healthy digestion is not necessarily a sign that your gut is in good health. You can be regular and have a bad flora or leaky gut at the same time. So remember that chronic information manifests in many different ways, and it’s often sneaky. So just because you may think that you’ve got good digestion doesn’t necessarily mean that you do not have a leaky gut and that inflammation isn’t having an impact on other areas of your health. So just kind of keep that in mind.

    What I’m trying to say is; there’s a really good chance that if you have a problem in your overall health profile, there’s a really, really good chance that it’s somehow linked back to gut health. So a healthy gut really just means overall good health. It’s a really good elevated 50,000 foot view of it, and I think it’s a good one to share with people who are important to you.

    So leaky gut and bad or imbalanced gut floras are definitely signatures of an unhealthy gut, and will be the cornerstone of our discussion for the next 2 episodes. And in next weeks’ episode, we’ll focus more in on the disruptors of gut health. So really, what are those disruptors and what are things that we can do to work around them?

    And in the third and final episode of the series, I will cover how you can heal your gut and get back on the road from the inside out to really good health.

    So short and sweet you guys. That’s it for today. Thank you so much for joining; I encourage you to jump on to FedandFit.com where we will have the complete show transcribed for your reading pleasure. And then leave a comment if you have questions or if you simply want to expand on the topic. I’m happy to jump in on the comment section and have some really good, healthy discussion with you guys.

    And also, just so you know, every single show of the podcast. This is episode 40; every show is transcribed on FedandFit.com. So if you maybe don’t have time to sit down and listen to them all, or you prefer to read them, I’ve got that available for you. So that’s a really good resource. Or if there’s something that you like that you heard, and you want to copy and paste and send it to a friend, you can definitely do that. This is out there, it’s a totally free resource, and I am here to share it.

    Last piece of housekeeping before I let you guys go; because this is a free resource, the only thing I ask from you is that you leave me a review. The more people that leave reviews in iTunes for the show, the more people will see it. So go ahead and leave a review, and I read every single one of them, they mean the world to me, so please don’t think they’re falling on deaf ears.

    Thank you so much for listening; thank you for your support. I’m excited to jump into the other two parts of this series with you guys, and we will be back again next week.


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    1. Lisa S. says:

      Hi Cassy! I just have to say that I love your podcasts and websites! Your awesomesauce to me! I have been inspired by the Paleo community to change my health 360 degress. Your fresh outlook and wonderful kind words of your wisdom are inspiring to my health changes. I look forward to purchasing your book (s) since I am new to the community I have to check out the books out there-well I dont’ have time to read much so I listen on audio lol. Looking forward to trying out your recipes and viewing food photos on social media.
      Food is medicine for REAL! I have been researching so much on nutritional real food and…..well, maybe one day I will go back to school to learn more about nutrition. You have inspired me to go for it! Why not go back and do WHAT I LOVE! Learn and teach others about nutrition! YAY 🙂
      Thank you for inspiring me,
      Lisa S.
      -New England MA

      1. Cassy says:

        AWESOME, Lisa!! You’ve got this!! 🙂