A happy gut makes for a happy body, brain, and spirit. The gut is often referred to as our second-brain, and ever since targeting the health of my gut I’ve noticed a huge (I’m talking HUGE) improvement in things I previously felt I had no control over. Little did I know, my gut was crying out for help.
I had spent over a year on antibiotics (!!!!!!!) prescribed by a dermatologist, and many separate stints on antibiotics before that without ever supplementing with probiotics. Up until a little over two years ago I was eating a diet rich in gut-trashing processed foods like grains, gluten, chemicals up the whazoo, additives I couldn’t pronounce and refined sugar. What these habits did was destroy the good bacteria in my gut that was there to keep my body feelin’ fine, and slowly loosened the tight bonds of the gut lining so particles of undigested food entered into my blood stream and sent my immune system into a major tailspin.
I decided to take my gut health seriously one year ago, and ever since MAJOR revelations in my health have followed. This is what happened when I healed my gut:
I stopped getting sick so much.
For a very long time I was the queen of getting sick. Every quarter of the school year I’d come down hard with a terrible cold, laryngitis, bronchitis, the stomach flu, strep throat, anything and everything would have me out of commission. This was serious infection at least 4-5 times a year. Since an estimated 70-80% of our immune system lives in our gut, once I started babying it, I rarely get sick. This is a huge huge deal to me, guys. I never thought I would stop getting sick so frequently. I’ve gone this entire year getting sick only once, and whenever I feel a cold creeping up, my body tackles it and it never develops–this is incredible to me. I even go to school in a very intense and intimate drama program where everyone is constantly in contact and sickness spreads to everyone like a plague twice a year, and I never once caught either round of that cold. My gut is nailing it.
My stomach stopped hurting all the time.
I thought everyone got stomach aches all the time. Uh, nope. Not normal to have a stomachache 3-4 times a week. Since healing my gut my frequent stomachaches just kinda disappeared. My digestion has greatly improved, too. I also didn’t know it wasn’t normal to not poop every day. You need to be pooping every day. Glad we cleared that up.
My mental health has flourished.
This one gets me a tad emotional, because my mental health journey has been trying and while I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned from it (read more about it in My OCD + Anxiety Story: Healing with Health), to be almost completely free from anxiety is a truly overwhelming feeling. All I can say is that it feels like magic. I have never been this anxiety-free in my entire life, and I chock it up to healthy eating, exercise, therapy, and mostly, gut health. I’m not even kidding, it’s unbelievable what’s changed since a year ago. There is an enormous amount of evidence linking the gut to mental health (second brain, remember?) which you can read about here and here or many trusted sources around the internet. I will also emphasize that mental health is very personal and unique, and while I highly recommend experimenting with healing your gut as a potential contributor to any mental health issues, it may not be what’s right for you and I encourage trusting your gut (hardy har har) and the guidance of a professional about what you need for your mental health whether it be therapy, medication, etc.
It is absolutely amazing what healing my gut did for me. I really never knew what an influence it could have, and never expected to be sitting here writing this with a thriving immune system, an anxiety-free mind, and a happy tummy. I still work on my gut health consistently, because I have some necessary elements of my life that work against the health of my gut (like taking NSAIDS for my weather-ruled migraines that would knock me out for days on end if I didn’t take them), but it seems the hardest part is done and over with. You do what you can, you sacrifice what you can, and you make choices that best serve your overall quality of life; which, really, is my whole philosophy.
One last thing: you may be wondering how I went about healing my gut…well, you’re in luck! I have a post coming up very soon about 5 easy ways to heal your gut. Bam. Better buckle in cause this gut train ain’t stoppin’ anytime soon.