Last month we discussed the worrying effects that certain food types can have on our gut and the immune system housed there. We examined the basics of what can go wrong and why it goes wrong. In this month’s piece I would like to offer some possible solutions so that you can make positive steps into getting a balance restored to your gut, having an improved immune system and generally limit potential exposure to future serious side effects.
In Dr. Jillian Sarno Teta’s book Natural Solutions for Digestive Health she breaks the process of a gut restoration program into five steps. These steps are explained in detail in her book, but as a basic outline they following the following steps. Please note that all these steps are to be completed in conjunction with each other and within a four week period.
- Remove irritating foods. This includes eliminating gluten, dairy products, soy, night-shade vegetables such as white potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, beans, legumes, sugar and other sweeteners. Dr. Teta provides a comprehensive list of “powerfoods” to incorporate into your diet.
- Take probiotics. The recommended dose varies, but aim for somewhere between 50 – 100 billon colony forming units or CFU’s. These probiotics should feature both lactobacillus and bifido bacteria strains.
- Boost the body’s digestive ability. This can be achieved by supplementing with a plant enzyme formula (found in capsules). Leading strength and conditioning coaches also recommend supplementing with HCL (Hydrochloride) to be taken with meals to see if you would benefit from stomach acid.
- Repair the gut lining. For this step you would be required to take a gut-restoring complex made up of nutrients. There are many great options available today for gastrointestinal repair. Look for a product that contains all or most of the compounds you need. The best formulas available will contain a combination of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and herbs. There are many nutrients that can be taken but you should include L-Glutamine, Glutamine and Zinc Carnosine. These, as well as the above probiotics and supplements, can be purchased from many supplement or health food stores.
- The final step in the five phases is lifestyle change. The key three areas here are establishing a bathroom routine, utilizing stress-reduction techniques and establishing a great sleep routine.
One of the instant and easiest areas to address is by improving the quality of an individual’s sleep. The best plan is one that maintains a regular sleep-wake cycle. This means you should go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day. Aim to be in bed before 11p.m. each night. Most current research supports that going to bed before this time promotes the best hormonal environment for sleep, regeneration and even fat-burning. You need to create a sleeping environment that promotes deep restful slumber. This means you must turn of all electronic equipment at least 30 minutes before bed. Better yet, remove them and have none in the room. The light from these devices stimulates the brain and assists in releasing compounds that keep you awake. Yes…you can wait to check your Snapchat in the morning. Finally, try to create a bedtime routine. This may involve a shower, reading or mediating.
Another excellent source of information on targeting gut health is Doug Kaufmann’s book The Fungus Link which touches on the Phase One Diet. This book is designed to teach you how to eliminate certain organisms from your body, such as fungus. Parasitic yeasts and fungi can infect human tissue, which in turn cause miserable symptoms. Once on board, these organisms can only survive with their favorite food source, which is sugar. Kaufmann’s diet seeks to starve and rid the body of these parasitic organisms while eliminating foods that are commonly contaminated with fungal poisons known as Mycotoxins.
If you’re reading this and thinking that it’s all a bit much to cope with, then keep it simple. Begin with adding the right Zinc to your diet, along with Vitamin A, D and Glutamine. Supplement your food with a probiotic and work on decreasing stress and improving your sleep. For those with serious health concerns, elimination diets and the Phase One diet have helped and healed many thousands of people.
If you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, then it’s only in your hands to fix it.