Ep. 42: Gut Health 101 (Part 3 of 3)

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    Ep. 42: Gut Health 101 (Part 3 of 3)

    On today’s part 3 episode of the gut health miniseries, we’re talking about how to heal your gut by removing, repairing, and reinoculating.

    1. Updates from Cassy [0:37]
    2. Healing the gut part one: Remove [1:56]
    3. Healing the gut part two: Repair [7:57]
    4. Healing the gut part three: Reinoculate [14:03]

    1. Updates from Cassy [0:37]

    Cassy Joy: And we’re back with episode 3 of the how to heal your gut miniseries. Thank you guys for joining me again. I hope you can hear me ok; I am recording this episode actually from the United Club in LAX airport {laughs} before I go any further into the content of today’s episode, I really just want to issue a quick heartfelt thank you for being so patient these fast few weeks. I know most of you probably follow along in some capacity, but if you’re new here or listening at some point in the future, I’ll get you up to speed quickly.

    The short story is, I just got married. I got married on October 24, 2015. I’ve been a little more relaxed with my schedule these past few weeks while we implemented some last minute planning activities, then especially while we were all together for the big celebration, we tried to relax a little bit. So it was a lovely affair, of which I will actually recap in the next podcast episode, so you’ll hear all about it. And I’m really humbled by all of your sweet notes and patience while we take a little longer than usual in publishing these shows and blog posts. So thank you so much.

    My husband, now husband and I are actually headed to New Zealand for our honeymoon, so I’ll be there for the next couple of weeks. So if you’re listening to this show when it comes out on Monday, that’s where we’re at! And if I’m able to steal away a couple of minutes I’ll be able to get up the wedding show, as well. If not it might be another bi-weekly show for the next couple of weeks, and I’ll get it up when we get back.

    2. Healing the gut part one: Remove [1:56]

    Ok, onto the fun topic of gut health. So to recap in episode 1 we covered gut health 101 and why it matters so much. In episode 2 we covered gut flora and the intestinal barrier disruptors. So we talked about what is the gut and all of its parts, why is it important, how a sick gut has an impact on our overall health, and how it got sick in the first place.

    So let’s go ahead and close out this complex topic with a quick digestible, pun intended, list of ways you can actually heal your gut. So as we’ve done with previous two episodes in this series, I want to open with a quote from Hippocrates that will help set the tone for today’s discussion. The note is “Let food be thyroid medicine.” That’s probably one of his more famous quotes, and it really sets the tone for the content of what I want to talk about today. So I’ve broken up how to heal your gut into really 3 main parts. We’re going to talk about; and this language I’m sure you’ve seen elsewhere in the industry, but I really like it and I think it’s easy to understand, wrap our minds around, because this can be such a complex, overwhelming topic, and because it takes so long to heal, it can feel like it’s just a never-ending rabbit hole of options and avenues we can take to get there. So we’re breaking it up into 3 phases. So the first phase is remove, second phase is to repair, and the third phase is to reinoculate.

    Ok, so remove. We’re talking about removing the roadblocks. This includes moving out all of the toxins that we discussed in the earlier shows, and you can get a full recap of what those are by listening to those episodes, number 40 and 41. But here’s the short list. So I encourage you to avoid; if you aren’t already following a paleo plan that’s a really great place to start. But to summarize, avoid all grains and grain products, so those are all the cereal grains; avoid highly processed oils, so we’re talking about canola oil, vegetable oil, those other really highly processed seed oils, avoid sugars, especially refined sugars, and avoid soy as much as possible. You can also throw into here legumes, artificial ingredients, dyes, so on and so forth.

    I also encourage you to avoid, moving away from the food category, or at least be conscious to your exposure to antibiotics, which has a big impact on our gut health, which we covered extensively in the first couple of episodes. Chronic stress has a huge impact, exhaustion, over exercising, dehydration, and exposure to household toxins.

    So aside from a paleo plan, which if you’re not familiar with, I encourage you to check out my website, FedandFit.com, you can learn more about it there. You can also, I’m sure, bump into anyone at a Crossfit gym, they will tell you a little bit about it. But it’s everywhere now, and there are some really great resources out there. So start Googling; I encourage you to really submerge; jump in. But here are some food recommendations that can further tweak your going forward food plan.

    So one option is low FODMAP. We can discuss in depth in a future episode all about what FODPMAPs are, but to quickly summarize, know that they’re sugars and sugar alcohols, and foods that contain FODMAPs; cabbage, for example, is one of them. They can be pretty difficult to digest, and folks who are trying to heal from a damaged gut tend to find success if they’re avoiding those foods. But it’s important to note, too, that when FODMAP foods are fermented, like cabbage is fermented into sauerkraut and kimchi, they’re actually easier to digest than their raw counterparts, so that’s just something to make note of.

    Another finely tuned food plan within the paleo frame of work is one called GAPS, which is a pretty comprehensive anti-inflammatory diet that’s really great for folks dealing with SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, inflammatory bowel disease, and dysbiosis.

    And then, I’m throwing one in here, KIS, which stands for keep it simple. So within in the paleo food plan, that is a really great place to start. Of course, avoiding all the cereal grains, avoiding those refined oils, all those things that we talked about in the very beginning, but if you don’t want to dive into the details of low-FODMAPs and GAPS diet, you can just think of it this way. Try to limit the complex insoluble vegetables. And this is going to sound counterintuitive to some of the things that you’ve probably heard, and some things that I’ve said and encouraged, but depending on the state of your gut health, it might be advantageous to avoid some leafy greens, that includes spinach and kale, some of those more difficult to digest vegetables, nightshades, including eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, and other cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower.

    I encourage you to lean on well cooked veggies for a time; those are easier to digest, and you can still enjoy a lot of those minerals and vitamins. And I encourage you to choose one to two of those well cooked veggies for a meal. So try not to overdo it. Fill the rest of your plate with healthy proteins, especially organ meats if you can get there, and really healthy fats. And keep this up for the 3-6 months it may take for you to repair your gut. And then you can start enjoying more raw vegetables, more diverse vegetables without pain.

    3. Healing the gut part two: Repair [7:57]

    So moving on to the second part, we’re going to talk about repairing our gut. So, of course, my OCDness, I’m breaking this up also into 3 pillars. So we’re going to talk about repairing your stomach acid levels, your enzyme levels, and then just the stomach barrier itself, so the gut barrier.

    So, stomach acid. I think it’s important to naturally increase stomach acid so that you can break down the foods that you’re eating, and this goes for protein, fats, and carbohydrates. So that when the stomach acid and all of the necessary enzymes are doing their job, it’s able to break down those complex macronutrients into their smaller building blocks, because sometimes if those larger than supposed to be molecules make their way past the stomach, they can spoil in the gut, causing heartburn, gas, and bloating, and then eventually could find their way into the blood stream via a leaky gut. And that of course will contribute to added inflammation and possible allergic or autoimmune response from the body.

    So if you’re suspicious of low stomach acid, it’s a good idea, as always, to consult your physician and get tested for H. pylori; it’s actually more common than you might think, and then really, really work to consciously manage your stress levels. That has a huge impact on stomach acid, and try to avoid antacids. And then next, if you’re looking for a more herbal route; again, I encourage you to consult with your physician and/or nutritionist for one on one support, but bitter herbs are really helpful. Those can include peppermint, ginger, and fennel. You can even look to HCl, taking HCl for a short period of time with pepsin and other enzymes. So those are all great options.

    Next, moving onto enzymes; great transition. So you can rebalance your own enzyme production, but remember that healthy enzymes are supported by healthy stomach acid. So it almost makes me want to issue a do not pass go flashcard here. Make sure you focus your intention on stomach acid before you start thinking about enzymes. While the two work hand in hand, stomach acid is the chicken and enzymes are the egg.

    So, for healing digestive enzymes, number one as with all things, I encourage you to work to manage your stress and turn your meal planning attention to consuming; try to think about consuming a wide array of micronutrients. You can accomplish this by making sure your plate is always colorful and varied, paying mind to well cooked vegetables, and no more than 2 at each meal. So a way to accomplish this and keeping things simple is, every time you go to the grocery store, try to buy a different vegetables that’s going to be easy to digest. Just try to keep that up; constantly varying you food is really going to be helpful.

    Focus your diet on one that is centered around complex carbohydrates, instead of refined ones. So here I’m including potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash, instead of simple carbs such as cereal grains and refined sugars. For added support, enzyme support, you can turn to substances such as on, the herbal side, ox bile, ginger, bromelain, but again I suggest you work with a physician and/or your nutritionist here.

    Ok, repairing, lastly, your stomach barrier. So everything we’ve discussed so far ultimately contributes to helping to heal the stomach barrier. But, I want to zero in on just one practice for a moment, because I’m sure you’ve heard about it and this is a good spot to introduce it. Homemade bone broth is incredibly nourishing and healing for the gut. That’s kind of the old wives’ tale, when your mother or your grandmother always said that chicken soup was going to help make you feel better if you’re sick; it’s really the truth. There are some wonderful things present that are really going to help nourish, and maybe one day I’ll do a whole show on bone broth and why it’s so great for our bodies.

    If you’re making it at home, which I encourage you to do, that’s where you’re going to get the most nutrients. You know you’ve got a good batch when after it cools it gels in the refrigerator. I’ve had the best luck with gelling broth when I’ve actually used chicken feet, which sounds a little weird, but it actually makes amazing broth, and you can ask your butcher or local chicken farmer. I’ve also had a lot of luck with really big beef neck bones, and that’s another thing you can just ask your butcher about. I’ve encouraged some of my clients; I’ve had luck, not everybody has, but just going to Whole Foods and talking to the butcher there and asking if they have any extra grass-fed beef neck bones or other bones, and they just give them to me.

    So here’s a quick recipe for you folks if you’re wondering how the heck do you make bone broth at home, it’s really, really easy. It’s a good thing to just incorporate into your weekly routine. Using a pressure cooker is my new favorite way, because it goes so quickly, and that way your whole house doesn’t smell like bone broth for a whole day, but you can also use a slow cooker. So I’ll start off with about 2 to 5 pounds, which is a lot but you can use them over and over again, of bones, feet, or other animal parts, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, that acid really helps extract some of the nutrients. One bay leaf, one onion roughly chopped, two carrots, and four cloves of garlic. And then you cover that whole mixture with water, and of course per the directions of your pressure cooker or slow cooker, you cook until the bones start to crumble or give with a little pinch. That’s when you know they’re done.

    You strain out all that stuff, and store it. You can enjoy a cup right away, or you can keep it in the refrigerator and spoon yourself a cup, heat it up in the saucepan on the stove, and it’s a great thing to enjoy every morning with or before your coffee. Just kind of incorporate that every day, it’s a really great mineral boost.

    4. Healing the gut part three: Reinoculate [14:03]

    Ok, lastly, moving on. Number three, reinoculate. So, how do we reintroduce that gut flora, which we talked about was so important earlier on in this series? Fermented foods are a great way to reintroduce new strands, and of course further help bolster and diversify that gut flora. So fermented foods can include kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and yogurt if you tolerate dairy. Note that it’s best to include these foods when raw, not microwaved or cooked to high temperatures so that the microorganisms remain alive and useful.

    I once was working with somebody who said that she loved her sauerkraut hot, and so she’d microwave it every morning with her breakfast, and I was like, well, if you’re eating it just for taste, that’s great, but if you’re wanting the microorganism benefit, you might not want to microwave it.

    So that’s it! Today we covered remove, repair, and reinoculate. Again, I encourage you to listen to episodes one and two if you are still interested in learning more about gut flora. We’re going to take a slight deviation after this miniseries and talk about some other fun things, the wedding of course, and then also I’m going to talk about some Fed and Fit travel tips, as we have this big long trip coming ahead, so I’ll have some good insight for you. I encourage you, if you want more information about gut health, honestly my go-to resource is Dr. Chris Kresser. And I’ve mentioned him here before, but he’s one of my personally trusted resources for most topics when it comes to medicine and nutrition. Really well balanced functional medicine that you can really trust.

    In closing of this series, which is one that I was really excited to do, and I hope you guys have found it useful, there really are endless resources, books, websites, and supplements, and other digestion supportive food products that you can lean on for help, but I want to leave you with this thought. Our bodies are incredibly, almost awe inspiring, resilient. As someone who has personally healed a sick gut, which of course had caused and created a sick me, and also as somebody who is now witness to many of my clients heal themselves, the most inspiring part of the whole process is when you realize that your body is doing the real work to get better. After you remove the roadblocks, your body will heal itself, and it can take some time, 6 months, but it is designed to heal no matter your age or condition. So just keep that in mind.

    And because Hippocrates has been the mascot of this gut health miniseries, it’s only fair that I turn to him to drive the point home. He quoted that natural forces within us are the true healers of disease. So at the end of the day, I want you to remember to do your best, to remove those roadblocks that are within your awareness and power, make strides towards repairing your gut, and then let your body take over. Don’t stress, have faith, and remember that your body is here to take care of you.

    Thank you guys for joining me again. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, and I will do my best to be back next week, but if I’m not, you know it’s because I am honeymooning, and we did not find a coffee shop with internet. {laughs} Thanks again, I will talk to you soon.


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    1. Lauren says:

      What is your favorite bone broth option if not making homemade?

      5.0 rating