Gut health is all the rage in the holistic community and for a good reason. Over 70% of our immune system resides in our gut (or scientifically known as our microbiome). Many of us with an autoimmune condition (including myself) have whats called “leaky gut syndrome” or intestinal permeability. This means that food particles, bacteria, and toxic waste seep through our intestines and into our bloodstream creating a host of unwanted symptoms. The gut affects more than just our digestion. It also is a reflection of our skin, our emotions, and our hormones.
I felt compelled to write this post because when I started my healing journey, I wasted a lot of time and money on things that didn’t help. Looking back, it was a learning experience and it taught me more ways I needed to advocate for myself.
Here are my personal steps to heal the gut:
1. Manage Stress
I have this as the first step because none of the other steps below matter if your nervous system is still going bonkers. The brain is in direct communication with the gut which will continue to cause intestinal damage if you are in a constant state of stress. I speak from personal experience when I tell you the amount of damage stress can do to your gut. A few ways I manage stress is by doing meditation, yin yoga, and breath work exercises.
2. Eliminate Inflammatory Foods
These vary from person to person, but the main ones are: gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and hydrogenated oils (vegetable, canola oil, safflower oil, etc.) (In many cases fruit, grains, nightshades, and eggs can cause inflammation as well.) Food is very bio-individual and varies from person to person so it’s best to listen to what works best for your body. If you would like assistance with this as well as managing your stress, schedule a free coaching session with me here.
3. Test, Don’t Guess!
This is where I went wrong in the beginning of my health journey. I kept putting off doing a stool test because insurance does not cover comprehensive ones from a functional medicine doctor and they are costly. I was basically taking a bunch of supplements and had no idea what I was even treating. BIG MISTAKE. Once I invested in a functional medicine stool test, low and behold, I discovered I had a parasite, yeast, and bacteria. The lesson: test, don’t guess. It’s worth the investment. I recommend requesting GI Map from a functional medicine doctor to get a FULL picture of what’s going on.
4. Kill & Bind
Once you can pinpoint what is going on in your gut, its important to kill whatever parasite, yeast, or bacteria you may have. There are many killing herbs out there and it’s best to rotate which ones you use so you do not become immune to them. My personal favorites that have helped me a great deal are:
Please do not take all of these at the same time! I have used them in isolation throughout my gut healing journey. Due to the fact that these contain powerful killing herbs, you may experience herxheimer reactions. This means, you may experience a range of uncomfortable “die off” symptoms (click link to read more about it). This leads me to the bind phase. Binding agents are to be used in conjunction with the killing herbs to alleviate the uncomfortable die off symptoms. My three favorite binders that I use are:
Keep in mind that these are binders and they will bind to everything! For this reason, its important to take them an hour or two apart from food, medication, or supplements.
Before you get to this phase, you will need to do step number 3 (Test, don’t guess) again to ensure that you have effectively killed off any yeast, bacteria, or parasites. I personally am still working to get to this phase and find myself going straight back to the kill and bind step because my body just isn’t quiet ready yet. However, I have been able to implement some repairing modalities. In this phase you want to put in the good bacteria back into your gut (probiotics) and repair the lining of the intestinal tract. Here are some of my favorite products for that:
Although I listed five steps to gut healing, it’s really not as simple as it may seem. Many times we may find ourselves back to step one re-evaluating our stress levels. Or re-testing over and over because things are still lingering. But that’s perfectly okay and all a part of the process. I also don’t talk about the time frame for healing the gut either because it will vary from person to person depending on the severity of the infection or damage done. Since investing in a functional stool test, and going in systematic order, my health has definitely altered for the better. My gut didn’t end up this way over night, and I acknowledge that it won’t heal over night either. It takes time, patience and a lot of exploration to find what works best. I hope you find what works best for you.
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Thank you and happy Healing!
***These steps are taken from my own personal experience and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with a functional medicine doctor to determine what is right for you.