Creating Balance in your Gut, Part 1: A Clean and Nourishing Diet
Updated: May 29, 2020
Our gut and the bacteria that live there are so important for our overall health. The good bacteria create a barrier between you and the outside world, help digest your food and absorb important nutrients, and produce some of the key vitamins your body needs.
Sometimes, because of diet and lifestyle, our gut can get out of balance. We can experience things like discomfort after eating, bloating, low energy, weight changes, and skin rashes. So what can we do to get back into balance? There are three main areas you can focus on to get back on track:
a clean nourishing diet
a balanced lifestyle
restoring the good gut bacteria
In this three part series I’ll be going over these areas in detail and giving you actionable steps for each.
A Clean Nourishing Diet
We eat three or more times a day, that's over a thousand meals a year! What we put in our mouth has the power to either make us sick or keep us well. When we fuel our body with whole foods we are consuming all the essential building blocks for healthy cell function. Think about this, every 7 or so years our body replaces all its cells (not at one time of course!) so what you eat helps in the creation of these cells. The better the food the better the health of the cells (and you!). Here's three things you can start today:
Cut out Processed Foods — Try to eat as close to the whole food as possible. To do that think of your food as how it originally came from nature. For example: Think potatoes instead of fries. It's OK to have minimally processed foods like pasta or (coconut) yogurt, just make sure to take a look at the ingredient list. You want to have very few ingredients AND you want to recognize them. If you don’t recognize those ingredients, chances are your body won't either.
Eat a Variety of Fresh Greens and Veggies — Fresh greens and veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are key to a healthy body. Veggies (and fruit) feed the good bacteria in the gut, but most people don’t get enough veggies in their diet. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies and gut imbalance.
Drink Plenty of Water — You have probably heard this before, but I want to make sure you know...our bodies are made up of about 60% water. Water is key to our bodies operating well. When it comes to our gut, water helps with digestion and proper absorption of nutrients. How much water you should drink depends on you. Start your day off with a glass of water (since you haven’t had anything to drink while you were sleeping) and try to hydrate consistently throughout the day. You can also include certain foods that have high water content like watermelon and cucumbers to help you out. Make sure to increase your water when exercising or when it's hot outside.
Challenge for the Week: Focus on whole foods and limit foods with an ingredient list more than 5 items long. Pay attention to how you feel right after eating, and then again a few hours after your meal. Take note of your digestion and energy level.
Check back in for Part Two!