Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I am a human being who lives with another human being and we have both learned a lot about gut health recovery over the past few years. I am simply sharing some of the things we have learned from personal experience.
We have had some gut health issues in our home over the past few years. If poor gut health, leaky gut or any kind of digestive disorders affect you or someone you love, the first thing I want to acknowledge is how common gut problems are in the world. There are a lot of things that can cause gut problems like aging (often happens for those over the age of 45), poor food quality (thanks GMO manufacturers and Glyphosate companies), use of OTC and prescription drugs (you may have needed them before but if you don’t any longer, why not stop or at least stop as many as you comfortably can?) and stress (who isn’t somewhat stressed these days?).
People with gut pain need quick, safe solutions they can test out to improve gut resilience swiftly. But that’s not typically what is offered. In my opinion, most of the mainstream offerings to relieve gut pain do not help at all and may even make things worse. I suggest you try healing your gut yourself by conducting personal experiments using food and supplements and see if you can improve your situation. However, from everything I have seen up close and personal, gut pain is no laughing matter. The pain is real. Don’t ignore it. Don’t let it linger. Take baby steps towards relief sooner rather than later.
Remember the definition of insanity, which is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Nothing changed for the better at our house until we started doing things differently and then kept doing and adding new things that worked for us. You may have to try a lot of new things to discover solutions to your digestive discomfort. I am here to tell you: it’s totally worth it.
We’ve tried a bunch of things at our home and I am going to share some of the best gut health solutions we’ve found.
- Order ION — Intelligence Of Nature Gut Support and take it as recommended. You can find this amazing microbe product either on the website of Dr. Zach Bush or on My Amazon Link. If you use my Amazon link I get a cut and, of course, there is no pressure whatsoever — only support my blog if you wish. I encourage you to use whatever sources offer you the most savings (this stuff is not cheap, but it’s so helpful). Our experience with this product is that it delivers exactly what it says it will deliver: a more resilient digestive system that can tolerate more varieties of foods even if they were not tolerated in the past. We did not go straight to ION. We tried other things first and I will tell you about them shortly. But if I could do it all over again, I would order ION as soon as I possibly could and I would take it as directed. If it helps you the way it’s helped us, then you’re welcome in advance.
- Elimination Of Pain-triggering Foods. I know it’s hard to stop when foods you are used to eating trigger intolerable pain. But, hear me out. You may only have to give them up in the short run. I can’t promise because I can’t promise anything. But I can encourage you to experiment starting today. Say you ordered ION and you are waiting for it to arrive. In the meantime, cease eating the foods and drinks that cause you pain or reflux or gas or whatever symptoms you are dealing with. Just put those foods and drinks to the side in your home, for now, and stick to whatever you can digest comfortably.
- What If There Are Almost No Foods You Can Tolerate? Okay, listen up. If you are in a situation where your digestive system has become so inflamed that you can hardly eat anything, acknowledge that you are in an emergency situation. Your gut is sending you messages and you have to listen. In the short run, every food that causes pain must be eliminated from your diet. Some suggestions of foods to eliminate right off the bat are: all processed foods, fried foods, hard-to-digest meats and deli products, dairy products, starchy vegetables like potatoes, vegetables from the nightshade family, breads including gluten-free breads and pastas and rice, sweets as well as all kinds of condiments including pepper- or chili-based spices. Here are some foods that may not be as hard to digest that can keep you going until you start taking ION regularly: sweet potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, quality bone broth, bananas, organic grass-fed no sugar yogurt like Nancy’s, plain white rice cakes with no-skin almond butter or no-skin macadamia butter, eggs, salmon, plain white chicken or turkey. Cooking in imported virgin olive oil is recommended. The key is to baby your stomach by eating small amounts of plain foods and keep your diet very simple. Try salting your food with pink Himalayan salt. You may need to eat lightly for a week or more in order to stabilize your system. If you need help finding foods you can eat in the short run, I recommend reviewing this Yes/No List from Dr. Gundry as part of his Lectin-free Diet. Hopefully you won’t have to go on the Lectin-free Diet full time or for very long, but it sure can help you eliminate potentially pain-causing foods in the short run. Again, I hope you will have a long happy future eating all the foods you love. But in the short run, don’t eat what you want; eat what your gut needs to recover and heal now.
- Take The Daily Recommended Amount Of These Supplements Once You Can. Once your digestive system is calm enough to tolerate supplements, here are the ones I recommend. You are welcome to buy them with my Amazon link or track them down yourself.
- Magnesium Glycinate: You may have heard that most of us are deficient in Magnesium however some types of Magnesium have challenging side-effects. I recommend the fully chelated Magnesium Glycinate at the recommended daily amount split into two or three doses throughout the day. We take half after breakfast and half before bed with the added benefit that it assists with a good night’s sleep. Magnesium is good for healing your gut and helps calm your nerves. So even if you don’t have gut issues, you can try this product to help you get more consistent sleep. [My Amazon Link or visit the Solaray site]
- Vitamineral Green: If you have been suffering from digestive issues for a while, you may be deficient in some vitamins and minerals. Taking 4 – 8 Vitamineral Green tablets a day is a good way to make sure you have all your green foods covered. Once you are again eating adequate green foods, you can decrease this supplement or eliminate it. As with all my recommendations, you are the expert on how you feel. Conduct your own experiments. [My Amazon Link or visit the HealthForce Superfoods site]
- Vitamin D: We’ve just passed the Fall Equinox here in the Northern part of the US and you know what that means for many people — the winter blues. Try to get out in the sun as much as you can in the darker months. Take a little walk while you’re at it or do some outdoor chores. Breathe fresh air and move your body. Let the sun hit your skin as much as you can without catching a chill. If you still feel kind of low, try taking a daily Vitamin D supplement for a couple weeks and see if you notice an improvement in mood. And don’t stop grabbing sunshine whenever you can. Most people have depleted Vitamin D reserves over the darker months. Get yours up and keep it up, as best you can. [My Amazon Link or visit the Thorne site]
- Sprinkle A Pinch Of Pink or Gray Salt Into Your Drinking Water. You won’t get iodine from this salt but your body will stay better hydrated and hydration is healing. Keep a BPA-free water bottle with you all day with your barely salted high-quality water. Avoid water in plastic bottles. Avoid municipal water if you can. Well water is typically better than municipal water, so bring your water from home if you have a well. Either way, leave your glass of barely salted drinking water open on the kitchen counter in a glass or water bottle when you go to bed and then chug some first thing when you wake up. Sip on this water throughout the day, don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Also use it to take your supplements. I like using salts in a grinder like this one [My Amazon Link] but you can find them in most grocery stores.
- General Lifestyle Tips: Here are some more ways to help heal your gut that you may not realize you’ve gotten away from:
- Switch To Organic Vegetables, Pasture-raised Eggs And Grass-fed Meats Gradually. I understand that it’s too expensive for most people to upgrade the quality of foods overnight. I suggest you commit to upgrading your food quality over the course of a year. Here’s how it works: you buy no more processed foods and invest that money into better quality whole foods. In the meantime, know the Dirty Dozen and start buying those foods in organic form immediately.
- Get Outside And Breathe. Sometimes when you’ve been feeling unwell, you spend too much time indoors. But the fresh air and sunshine are outside. Keep your outdoor shoes and jacket by the door and get out there as much as you can each day. If you won’t do it on your own, make plans to meet friends.
- Move Your Body. What’s your favorite exercise? Mine is walking. Your choice does not have to be extreme or exotic. It can be as basic as lacing up your shoes and heading out the door. Consider adopting a dog if you need motivation for taking walks outdoors. Dogs make great companions.
- Touch Nature. Why not start gardening? If you have never done it, maybe begin with a container of herbs. Even a four-foot by four-foot square can grow a beautiful patch of flowers. Don’t try to garden perfectly. Get down with your hands and knees in the dirt and let nature encourage next steps. In America, we tend to make gardening complex and intimidating. I’m talking about putting down some newspapers or cardboard, covering it in a few inches of planting compost, scattering some seeds and watering them in. Gardening can be this simple. No need for herbicides or pesticides. No-dig gardening doesn’t require them.
- Take Short Trips To Beautiful Places Near And Far. We prefer short day trips to long overnight trips. Planned vacations can be somewhat exhausting but short day trips can spark fresh energy and improved perspective within 24 hours. Don’t judge your budget or compare yourself with your neighbors, just get out there and have an adventure.
- Address Unhealed Trauma. Most people have some amount of trauma. Americans have a tendency to either dismiss trauma or expect people to hurry up and get over it. Neither of these attitudes are healthy or helpful. Underneath your trauma is your authentic self. You may have to dig deep to feel and heal and process your trauma but it’s worth it. The more trauma you have, the more time you should grant yourself to heal it. Other people’s opinions about whether or not you have or do not have trauma are irrelevant. You are the only one living in your body. I believe that simply living in the modern world is traumatizing. 2020 was traumatizing. 9-11 was traumatizing. Naming and claiming the traumatic moments in your life is as important as naming and claiming the blissful moments of your life. We have all had both as well as the spectrum in between.
- Let Healing Be A Process. Your inability to digest well could have been caused by any number of triggers. Sadly, we live in a world that favors corporate greed over the abundance of healthy food that is our birthright. It’s okay to acknowledge how much out there is unhelpful in order to better locate what is helpful. I am going to list some resources below if you’d like to dive deeper into what they have to offer on your own. I may come back later and update this post. I wish you the best of luck in your gut-healing experiments. Don’t give up! I am holding the vision of total recovery for you and your loved ones and a return to the deep enjoyment of delicious healthy food.
The Lectin-free Diet by Dr. Steven Gundry, Shopping List