One of the things I have been trying to learn more about over the past few months is how to maintain a healthy gut. It is amazing how so much of our heath is dependent on the environment in our belly. When we don't feel well or our skin breaks out or our hormones are off we always look right at the symptom and rarely at the source. Over the past few years I have been trying more and more to understand underlying issues and my solution almost always comes with a change in my diet. Over the past 3 years I have gone from eating anything to a total vegan to a vegetarian to pescatarian to something in between. I hate labels so I never would have called myself any of those because I was much more concerned with being health minded then sticking to rules. I would take something out of my diet and see how it went and then add something in until I found what works for me.
When I was vegan I felt great, my skin cleared up and I had lots of other benefits. After a few months though my hormones started acting up and I knew something needed to change. I realized I wasn't getting enough protein (especially in the morning) and therefore my body couldn't stabilize my blood sugar, my hormones and lots of other things. So I got chickens and fed them amazing food and now I have delicious eggs for breakfast. I feel great and because I wasn't concerned about sticking to a diet I was free to make the alterations my body needed. Beyond that I rarely eat dairy or meat but because I live on the coast (wither very few veggie friendly restaurants) I started eating more seafood when I moved here. So there is a peak into my diet for those who were curious. The important thing is finding what works for you and my best recommendation is to do a detox and then add ingredients back in. A detox gives you a chance to see how certain foods actually make you feel when you eat them. For example, after I did this detox I know without a doubt my body (and my husbands) hates dairy. It made it easy then to take steps toward working that out of my everyday diet.
So now about a healthy gut. I have to admit there is so many opinions and so much information out there about this that I am simply going to share my thoughts and encourage you to find what works best for you. I started exploring this because occasionally I would feel like my body just wasn't digesting properly. I would eat a great meal but have cramps afterward or not have an appetite at all. I finally realized this is due to the environment in my stomach. So why should I worry about my gut? Well in the 90's we discovered that diseases like cancer, heart disease, depression, diabetes, asthma and the list goes on, are linked inflammation. Then we found all these ways to reduce inflammation not realizing that inflammation in the body is actually due to gut disease. That means all those diseases can be linked to the health of our stomach. Who would have thought? When you dive into this topic it is absolutely fascinating. You realize that bacteria, cancer, most diseases grow in the conditions of a unhealthy gut. Even things like lack of energy, acne or bad breath is linked to your gut! The most amazing thing though is that having a healthy gut actually fights those diseases.
So I know this is very long post but I wanted to give you context to my next series of posts. Over the next few weeks I am going to share a few tactics to help us all create a healthy gut! I have lots of recipes I have been working on that if we each did a few it could really help us all have a healthier, happier life. Stay tuned for more on this but in the meantime I wanted to share a few of my favorite books and cookbooks on this topic in case you want to do some research on your own.
Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger, Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr, The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder