Gut healing is the closest thing to magic I’ve experienced in real life. Today I’ll be chatting about how I went about tackling gut healing, and hopefully you’ll come away with a few new (super simple) things to try–because magic. If you haven’t read my last post about how life-changing gut healing was for me/why you should heal YOUR gut, check it out here: What Happened When I Healed My Gut.
1. Take a Probiotic. Every day. For a long time.
The gut needs probiotics (good bacteria) in order to thrive. When we take antibiotics (or do other harmful things to our gut), the good bacteria (along with the bad bacteria) dies off and shiz goes down. Taking a probiotic supplement daily was the first step I took to recover my trashed gut, and the first thing that made a huge difference. Also, from my experience, this is something to stick with for awhile and is most certainly not an overnight cure. This is my favorite brand (and I love the extra strength version as it was helpful for me in the beginning), but I’ve also heard great things about this brand. They say to switch up your probiotic every so often so you get exposed to different strains of good bacteria (to repopulate a wider variety of good stuff), so I tend to buy a different brand every time.
2. Avoid foods that irritate the gut lining.
When treated well, the gut is our best pal and can handle irritants now and again–but when it’s in a state of chronic upset, regularly eating gut-disturbing foods like grains, refined-sugar, dairy and legumes (along with any foods you personally may be intolerant to) can prevent healing and worsen the problem. Especially during a healing period, severely cutting back or eliminating these problem foods is very important so your gut isn’t being bombarded by more issues while you’re trying to heal it. If you must consume grains or legumes, make sure they’re sprouted and avoid gluten (which is a very common irritant for people)! This in itself can make a huge difference. If your gut is in an even worse position, eliminating other potential irritants like cruciferous vegetables and the like for a period of time could be something worth looking into–check out the link at the bottom of this post to read more about those sorts of irritants.
3. Hop on the Kombucha Train (& other fermented fun)
This is bar-none my favorite gut health-booster. I love kombucha. Kombucha heals me. Kombucha dances on my taste buds. Kombucha makes my gut happy. Once my boyfriend made a joke to me while I was asleep that I wasn’t allowed to have anymore kombucha, and my sleep-self hit him. This is serious business. Kombucha is fermented tea that is packed full of probiotics, which as I mentioned above, help populate the gut with the good guys. It also is by far the tastiest, easiest consumable way (in my opinion) to get some probiotics and you can find some in almost any major grocery store nowadays–no excuses there! Look for brands with a low sugar content–just a couple grams per bottle–so you know no extra sugar was added after the fermentation process (which is when sugar mixed with the tea is consumed by the growing bacteria). Personally GT’s Kombucha is my favorite, and you cannot beat the ingredients. You can also brew some at home, which is what I’m doing now–y’all know I need my own personal stash. If kombucha’s not your thing, other fermented foods like raw sauerkraut and kimchi are great choices. Make sure you find them in the refrigerated section so you know they’re properly fermented and full of live bacteria, and not just copycat versions on shelves.
4. Stuff your face with prebiotic foods, too.
It’s pretty clear by now that probiotics are the name of the game, but prebiotics are just as critical. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut (populated by probiotics) so they stick around. You can find prebiotics in foods like garlic, onions, pure maple syrup, bananas and asparagus among others–and honestly if there’s a good reason to consume maple syrup I am taking it. Thank you and good night.
5. Chill out.
Ah yes, the hardest one of them all. Stress and the gut do not a happy pair make. Lowering stress levels is a very personal project, but being intentional about decreasing stress was the key for me. Scheduling in relaxation time (and that’s real relaxation I’m talking about–no work in sight–for at least an hour every day), making the word ‘no’ a priority at times of peak stress, and actually placing my “playtime” above work were all super effective steps in conquering stress. I also found that my work flourished when free-time was a higher priority, which ain’t half bad.
Getting your gut health on track can be both revolutionary and really simple; start by testing out some of these things and see how it goes. I layered them in one at a time and slowly began to see crazy improvement in things I never even realized were issues–sometimes your “normal” is actually way lamer and more painful than you know; feeling vibrant and amazing can be a new normal. You and your gut are well worth it. Also, if you’re looking for a more in-depth/hardcore approach to gut healing (if the basics don’t cut it for you), check out this article.
Handy dandy disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor a gut health expert. This is all anecdotal evidence supported by a whole lotta research, but no certification. These things worked for me, but they may not work for you–if you have a more seriously unhealthy gut, seeking guidance from a functional medicine practitioner is encouraged.