This year, instead of encouraging you to make New Year’s resolutions that are difficult to keep, I want to teach you how to make some simple lifestyle changes to improve your foundations for health!
Step One: Optimize your gut health
If you ignore optimizing your gut health, no matter what steps you take next to improve your health, you'll never get the results you desire.
What’s SO important about the gut?
- The bacteria in our gut can dictate whether we are fat or thin. In lab studies where researchers injected obese mice with the gut flora of thin mice, the obese mice became thin. When thin mice were injected with the gut flora of obese mice, the thin mice became fat.
- Bad bugs can take over our microbiome, causing bacterial, parasitic, yeast or fungal overgrowths. This causes intestinal membrane permeability, or leaky gut. Now our guts are inflamed. Once the gut is leaky, many substances can get through the mucosal barrier causing the body to go into attack mode. This causes a heightened immune response and the development of autoimmune and other diseases.
- 70-80% of serotonin—the feel good hormone—is located in your gut. If gut health is not optimized, you are at greater risk for depression and mood-related disorders.
- 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. Your immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect your body. Intact immune systems help us fight pathogens, bacterial, viral, chemical and fungal invaders. Compromised immune systems make the body vulnerable to diseases like autoimmune disorders, inflammatory illnesses and cancers.
What are some signs that our gut health has been compromised?
Weight gain, gas, belly bloat, constipation or runny stools, foul breath, and slow transit time are some of the symptoms of poor gut health. Other symptoms can include cravings, brain fog, fatigue, a white coated tongue and more.
So, what can we do to improve our gut health?
- Eat real, whole foods, preferably local and organic.
- Avoid sugar, which cancer cells thrive on. Avoid artificial sweeteners, and NEVER drink soda, diet or regular. This is one of the largest areas of weight gain and sugar addiction.
- Include healthy fats. As much as 30% of your daily intake can be from clean fats like avocado, raw nuts, coconut oil, fatty fish like salmon, and organic, grass-fed meats.
- Eat the colors of the rainbow. Colors confer phytonutrients which are substances that help prevent against free radicals that cause diseases like cancer.
- Limit fruits to 2-3 servings per day. Opt for non-GMO apples and berries, which are lower in sugar.
- Say goodbye to simple carbohydrates, like pastas, breads and baked goods. All contain gluten, a protein which causes food sensitivities, gut issues and weight gain.
- Replace dairy from cows with dairy alternatives like nut milks. These don’t trigger inflammation and excessive mucous production in the body.
- Add prebiotic foods to your diet. Prebiotics are the fiber rich foods that probiotics feed on to nourish and grow. These include endive, dandelion greens, garlic, jicama, kefir, leeks, legumes, onions, radicchio and yogurt.
- Eat probiotic foods. These include like fermented vegetables, kefir, kimchi, miso, natto, kombucha, pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, tempeh and plain yogurt.
- Supplement with a good quality probiotic at least once per day. 5-25 billion colony forming units (CFU’s) per day are recommended, either in the form of food or supplement.
Now you have simple steps you can take to help your good bugs flourish! Throughout this coming year, I’ll be sharing simple steps to build wellness in my monthly newsletters. I hope you’ll enjoy delicious and healing recipes I’ll share (see my delicious Bone Broth recipe below). And please do contact me if you need a helping hand.
To your health & happiness in 2017!
Healing Bone Broth Recipe (in crock pot)
Bone broth is one of the easiest ways to calm an inflamed or leaky gut. It’s active ingredient, collagen, is full of beneficial proteins and minerals. In addition to collagen, you can make bone broth even more medicinal, by adding healthy vegetables and herbs. Bone broth is usually made from beef bones, but you can substitute chicken or turkey as well.
- 4 pounds beef bones with marrow
- 4 carrots, cleaned and chopped, peel on.
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 medium onions or 4 shallots, chopped, peel on
- 4 garlic cloves-smash and peel on
- 1 tsp organic, Himalayan sea salt
- 2 tsp black peppercorn grind
- 2 bay leaves,
- parsley sprigs
- 1/4C apple cider vinegar (preferably Braggs) The acid will help leech the marrow from the bones
- 12 C cold water
Place ingredients in crock pot. Add water. Cook on low setting for 12 hours.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Discard solids and strain remainder in a colander. Cool to room temp and put in fridge. Use within one week or freeze up to 3 months.
You can also use this as a base for your soups.