We all know that gut health matters, but do you know just how much? Many of my clients assume that because they don’t have typical digestive issues, that their gut must be ‘in good shape.’ But did you know that the gut and autoimmune go hand-in-hand, and you may not exhibit any digestive issues at all?
Hippocrates said it best: ‘all disease begins in the gut.’ Think about this for a moment. Each day we put pounds of food in our mouth, and just trust that our digestive tracts will do what they’re supposed to do. While yes, this is a subconscious activity, it has also become mindless. Many don’t just ignore the food they’re putting in their mouths, but also how well they chew, how much water they’re consuming with the meal, and how fast they’re eating.
Because the digestive system has a major hand in our immune system, metabolism, neurotransmitters, and assimilation of nutrients, it makes sense that perhaps this shouldn’t be such a mindless activity. When we ignore the digestive process and just trust that everything is functioning correctly, if issues arise and are left untreated, that’s when we develop symptoms and disease.
What can we do?
Whether you have digestive issues or not, taking care of your gut is crucial, especially with an autoimmune disease. There are things you can and should be doing right now to take care of your gut:
Perfect your eating hygiene. Chew until food is applesauce texture. Minimize beverages with meals, and when you are drinking, make sure the drink isn’t ice cold. Take breaths between bites and eat in a relaxed manner.
Manage your stress levels with prayer, meditation, or deep breathing exercises daily. You could also seek someone out like my friend Dr. Tanya English, who uses a combination of blues music and subconscious mind work to allow you to let go of limiting beliefs and old traumas that impact the gut (seek her out HERE).
Incorporate fermented foods into your diet. Homemade is always best, but there are several great companies out there making sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha. Just a few ounces a day will feed that good bacteria.
Minimize inflammatory items such as alcohol, highly processed/refined foods, sugar, and caffeine.
Evaluate your thoughts and emotions daily. If you’re constantly in a negative state of mind, or haven’t worked through some emotions, that impacts the gut as well.
The next level…
I also typically run my clients through what’s called the “5R” gut healing protocol. Often I’ll run a comprehensive stool test first to see how things look, and then we move into this. For many, the steps outlined above will promote some healing, but usually won’t be enough to help with things like infections, bacterial overgrowth, etc. So, we take it to the next level with the 5R protocol:
First we remove any inflammatory items. That includes food, infections, negative thoughts.
Next we replace those inflammatory foods with nutrient-dense ones along with any potential enzymes that may be missing.
The third R stands for reinoculate, and that’s where probiotics and fermented foods come in.
Then we repair with specific foods to replenish nutrients and help heal the intestinal lining.
And finally, we rebalance and recognize that many of these things are permanent lifestyle changes. Sleep, stress management, and new belief systems are firmly addressed.