A healthy gut is linked to brain function and much more. I've struggled with gut issues since I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1998. Now I want to share with you the story of how I healed my gut.
At times my digestion has been good, at others not so much. Dealing with celiac disease has meant enduring a certain amount of IBS. And living with multiple sclerosis has meant that I've sometimes experienced sluggish gut motility which is very uncomfortable and can make me a bit cranky! Your digestive system may have suffered from insults like mine above, or perhaps a poor diet, stress, or the overuse of antibiotics. Here are simple steps you can take to heal your gut.
I was diagnosed with celiac disease in the 1990's. I followed a strict gluten-free diet for a couple of years and did not find much improvement in my digestive system. So I went on a grain-free diet, removing rice, quinoa, and other grain-like seeds, as well as potatoes, corn, and much more. My digestion improved after strictly following this diet for 6 weeks and I'm still on it. Following a grain-free diet is one of the cornerstones of my health plan and has been immensely helpful to me!
All of the recipes on my website are strictly grain-free. For the first few years, I followed the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. For more information on that you'll want to check out my SCD Recipes page.
I'm absolutely in love with Enteromend, a gut healing product that contains glutamine, aloe vera, and curcumin, among other therapeutic ingredients. When I wake up in the morning I drink a quart of hot water. After that I mix a scoop of Enteromend into 1-2 cups water and drink this mixture on an empty stomach. Along with this incredible supplement I also take two 1 gram capsules of bromelain, which you can find more on below.
A word of caution with glutamine. While it is an incredible amino acid that can tremendously impact gut health for the better, it can also turn into an excitotoxin if it is not properly assimilated and goes down the wrong pathway. For this reason, I started on one-quarter teaspoon of Enteromend and stayed on this dose for several weeks, slowly building up to a full scoop which is just over a teaspoon.
Bromelain is an enzyme used to reduce swelling and inflammation, derived from pineapple. Don't worry if you're on a Ketogenic Diet, because this supplement doesn't contain any sugar. Bromelain is extremely effective in healing tissues in the digestive system. Since bromelain prevents blood clots by acting as a blood thinner, it is important to speak to your doctor if you are going to add this supplement to your healing plan.
When my gut is sluggish and motility is slower than normal I take this magnesium supplement called H2Go. It consists of magnesium oxide which is not as absorbable as other forms of magnesium, but very effective in stimulating the bowels into moving! When needed I chew 2-6 tablets, which is around 400-1,200 mg. I drink 2 cups of water along with it so that the magnesium doesn't dehydrate me since it has an osmotic effect, pulling water out of the body and into the gut to be dispelled.
I have tried Natural Calm which contains around 300 mg of magnesium citrate in a 2 teaspoon serving and have not found it to be effective for me in supporting gut motility and reducing constipation. It might work for you though since everyone is different.
Fermented Foods such as Kevita, Ozuke's sauerkraut, Bubbie's pickles, and Nancy's fermented cottage cheese and yogurt are some of my top choices when it comes to healthy foods rich in probiotics. Not on the menu? Probiotic supplements which I can't digest and according to this article, may contain gluten, even when labeled gluten-free.
When all else fails, I take a break from eating and do a 1-2 day fast. This is an incredibly helpful pause that helps to reset my gut. If you do not want to cease eating entirely, you can do a bone broth fast. The collagen in bone broth rebuilds the lining of the gut.
I've also found that walking helps to heal my gut. The rhythmic action of moving my pelvis settles my stomach and digestive system. Even when I'm not feeling all that well, maybe even sluggish and tired, a simple 10-15 minute walk, looping around our block can be of great benefit. I generally feel much better after, than I did before.
What are your tips and tricks in keeping your gut healthy? Leave a comment and let me know!