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What the Gut

In accordance with all of you having a very “Merry” and “Dairy” December on the consumption front (like I am), I thought I would offer you some promise and solace on those indulgent guilties. I can’t really help you on the coloric intake, but maybe just help you feel better  about how to feel even better with a healthy body.  The most important take away from this should be that no matter if you are having “digestive” issues or not, most everyone needs to be doing more for gut support. Young or old! Everybody, now!

Your gut is your first line of defense for immune function (among MANY other vital pieces including mood stability/depression)—and what could be more critical than to protect immune function this time of year?  

I’m going to hand this to you the way I best receive info—in kind of a blurty “highlights” version of the topic.  

A healthy gut has TOO many benefits to list, though in the thick of flu season and consumption season, I want to focus on what you can easily change in your daily routine, and how that helps with immune function. Also, how to achieve a healthy gut and what to avoid in order to maintain it. I’m not one to preach and I’m certainly no expert, so chime in with any additions (or questions!).

Your gut flora in relation to immune function basically goes like this…..

Your body is protected from pathogens (viruses and yuck bacteria leading to disease) by a layer of cells lining the gut. Your gut flora (good bacteria) compete with pathogens for space in your lining. (If pathogens take over, you get sick.) The good bacteria works with the cells to light up your immune system. So in short, the best way to keep the good flora kicking, healthy bod rocking and immune system blazing is to not let the pathogens have a place to land. You can do this by stocking up the lining with good flora and cleansing out whatever pathogens (or yeast or parasites) are existing. It’s easier than you think! And yes, we all have the potential for these critters in our bods.

To start, you can add these vitamins and such to your routine to kick any parasites (and pathogens) that might be up in your space….believe me, it’s a smart thing for you to do if you eat any type of food :)

natural cleansing:

Quick (OTC) cleanse- Here’s a trusty list of reviewed products. I’ve used some. Things start happening in about three days. Impressive!

Cinnamon- teaspoon in a glass of water a day?

Apple Cider Vinegar- I put this on everything, every chance I get. You can build up a taste for it :)

Vitamin C- good helper for cleansing and  – as always – building immunity.

You don’t have to wait to cleanse to get started on building up the good flora either. Get that going pronto! Probiotic supplements are key. Though if you aren’t good at taking pills, there are other ways to build up probiotic levels…..things like:

Kefir (I’ve seen this as a smoothie-like drink; easier to down)

Sour Kraut and/or Kimchi (anything fermented really- Kombucha, etc.)

When your gut is off, it has a difficult time absorbing vitamins:

B, B12 ( can cause fatigue, memory fog)

Magnesium (can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, depression, sleep issues)

K (can cause easy bruising (and bleeding)  )

D (can cause depression, hair loss, fatigue, and easy to become ill)

So you can eat foods with these vitamins which are also good for flora (artichokes, bananas, green beans, fish, carrots, polenta, broccoli, kale, blueberries, miso) …(or take the supplement).

If you are going to start adding one thing to your routine…I suggest a probiotic. Get this gut on track and let the good flora do its job to its fullest potential. A healthy gut absorbs the goods out of healthy foods you eat and eliminates the toxins. The body is a smart and hard-working machine, but with so many new critters (natural and synthetic) to fight, it can use the extra help of at least a probiotic.

As a side note, a troubled gut has been linked to behavioral issues in adults and children, depression and mood instability, etc…..Your brain and gut are super connected. You know how you get butterflies when you have something exciting (or intimidating) on the brain? It’s connected. You know how some folks get upset tummies when their minds are stressed? Again, connected. If you can just let your gut be healthy, you may find that you handle your stress and reactions in a more “organized” manner. Kids especially.

Also for those of you with other ailments (allergies, asthma, obesity, skin issues, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome— almost anything!) Do some light reading on gut health associated with your pick of ailment. Maybe you’ll find a remedy though digestive health.  What a relief to find something that works the natural away before getting on some life altering med, in my humble (non-expert) opinion. There are mounds of info out there… just give it a shot. What do you have to lose?

I wouldn’t be so “Soap Boxy” if I wasn’t a believer and living the truth first hand. One example (besides having more energy and patience-ish with my kiddos)…My husband has been “taken Dooooown to China Town” with the flu this week. He sits at home shaking in his cold sweats as I type this. (I’m a good wife leaving him at home for my own safety ;). But for reals, I should have gotten this beastly flu. I felt it coming on— hot flashes, chills, sweats, neck stiffening, but I powered through—(I did run to get a flu shot (resentfully) and some Tamiflu), but really I believe that it has to do with the changes I have made this year to my digestive health (sometimes gut isn’t my favorite word ;). My cousin (MO!) got me roped into this as it is linked to so many physical functions. My three kiddos are on probiotics now and somehow we have all dodged this bad boy flu. For now at least. Fingers crossed so hard as we prep to hit the trail for holiday family fun.

In cloooosing…..As I said—if you’re having any “holiday consumption” guilties, at least you can feel good about diving into a little “rinse and repair” as I’ll call it, when you can. It doesn’t have to be done like one of those intimidating three day fasts of just lemon and cayenne water (those are good too though :). Just add some probiotics (kids powder forms that you can sneak in drinks and soups and puddings, etc..– I’ve recently discovered through gal pal AW!)– and get those feremented goodies in gradually. Best bet is to start avoiding all refined sugars.  It’s worth it. Your happy brain and bod will thank you. 

“Happy Christmas!” as my 3 year old tells folks ;) 

Happy Christmas. Happy (belated) Hanukkah and Happy New Year to all.

–PS- over the next few months, will be hosted on a new platform for more interactive readership……so get ready to share! I’m counting on you ;) xox

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