Why do intelligent people eat foods that cause bloating, fatigue, flatulence, pain, and the rest? Why is it difficult to pull away from these villainous foods full of toxins that are so bad for gut health? Your body, and brain, respond to the toxins with inflammation – don’t live with it. We’ve all heard the expression ‘I’ve had a gut’s full’ – a place most of us get to before we change. I hope you’ve had a gut’s full, and are starting up, or on, your ‘mountain range of change’ – a journey to good gut health.
Let’s go then! Prepare for your climb with breakfast. Grab your drink bottle and fill it with a lovely brew of Morning Fresh tea. This blend has components known to neutralise the harmful effects of free radicals, responsible for many diseases, help with bloating, heartburn, flatulence, nausea and it also aids digestive functions. I created it because I’ve always seen breakfast as a meal just for me.
Bottle filled. Now choose to eat for taste and energy. I have Chia pudding (mmmm, pudding for breakfast) because it ticks all the health boxes. We have two recipes on the website, one chia chocolate and one chia berries. Why chia? Because it’s a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body. By adding a serving of chia seeds a day, you can help boost your metabolism and burn belly fat as well. Yes, you have to soak the seeds but no cooking is required, so the planning isn’t daunting. Of course, you can whizz yourself our healthy smoothie.
Now, if chia isn’t for you then how about a breakfast scramble of egg and grated vegetables cooked in a dash of coconut oil? You can flavour it with black garlic and seaweed salt. Or, avocado is a great choice, wonderful fat, and right now they are such a good price!
You may find in your transition all kinds of reactions that are going to test your resolve to change. Our modern gut is overwhelmed by toxins and a detox can mimic all of the symptoms we are trying to stop. Please persevere and get tested so you aren’t shooting blind. Remember, it’s a long climb up the mountainside of toxic food elimination. Food choices that are high in sugar, refined carbs, unhealthy fats and processed foods can contribute to inflammation throughout the body, including our brain, with symptoms like impaired memory and learning. In conquering the difficulty of change, we improve our precious health, you are worth it!
Off we set with our list of things to eliminate, or drastically reduce. Alcohol in large quantities can cause massive damage to the liver, kidneys and brain. Don’t kid yourself that two large glasses of red wine every night is good for you. A glass a night is a 100ml glass, not those glasses that take half a bottle of wine!
Next, the sugar demon. Our body reacts to it strongly because it spikes insulin and triggers the release of inflammatory cytokines. Particularly in the form of fructose and sucrose as it forms advanced glycation end products when it binds to proteins and oxidizes lipids which form cell and mitochondrial membranes.
Awfully, some seafood contains mercury which is neurotoxic and does shocking permanent damage to young developing brains. However, we must be smart because of course fish is good for you if you eat the right kind. Deep-sea fish like orange roughy or shark have high levels of mercury because of their long lives or predatory nature. For healthy fish or seafood, think smaller and shorter lives: salmon, flounder, shrimp, oysters, clams, scallops and crab etc.
Some of the biggest toxic culprits are herbicides, gluten grains, and genetically modified foods. These promote intestinal permeability, changes in our intestinal flora that facilitate the growth of pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungus which keep our immune systems in a state of alarm – aka inflammation.
Now let’s talk stress! This catch-all term, broadly defined, represents the ultimate link between hormones and inflammation, because stress, whether it’s psychological or physiologic, triggers the release of cortisol. Cortisol helps to mobilize blood sugar so that you can run effectively and efficiently, crucial in the past when the beasts chased us. It also acts as a systemic immune suppressant, lowering levels of secretory IgA, an important bodyguard of the gut mucosa. These inflammatory cytokines travel throughout the body causing oxidating stress to the fragile machinery of the tissues and mitochondria.
The best and only thing you can do for your body and brain is to follow a diet of healthy, fresh, whole foods. The beautiful thing is that Mother Nature provided so many choices – pure fresh vegetables and fruit, organic grass-fed beef and lamb and fresh fish and fermented foods for your gut health. Here you can read about the benefits of fermented nutrition.
So the trick is, how do we eliminate these foods from our lives? Planning. You don’t climb a mountain without organisation and equipment. Use a journal or the to-do list on your phone. You aren’t likely to do it alone either. Reach out to get yourself going with 1-1 coaching. I’ve lived a full life, including many mistakes, so I can understand how difficult it is to change.
Finally, ‘Just do it’ as Nike says, forged, I believe, from the old saying, ‘A stitch in time saves nine.’ Make your gut health a priority now!