If you read yesterday’s post, you found out that I have been having some very frustrating digestive issues lately. This was difficult for me to admit, because I am striving to be a solid Paleo role model! However, a lesson learned is a lesson learned, and I decided to share it with all of you (learn from my mistakes, please!). Thank you for all the wonderful, encouraging comments! I love the support that the Paleo community offers!
So that you can fully understand what I’m talking about, check out my “Digestion Woes” post.
At the end of that post, I listed several ways that I plan to re-heal my gut (it is definitely feeling more than a little damaged!). Throughout yesterday, I kept thinking of more and more things I could do to encourage healing. Now believe me, I am no Chris Kresser, Robb Wolf, or Diane Sanfillippo. I do not claim to be an expert in the world of health. I don’t even claim to be an expert in the Paleo community. BUT… I have listened to all of Robb’s podcasts twice (he would say that I’m a glutton for punishment, but I heartily disagree!), I have listened to a ton of Chris Kresser’s show, I have heard all of the Balanced Bites podcasts, I’ve read Robb’s book twice, I’ve read several other Paleo-oriented health books, and I stay very up-to-date on the websites of all those mentioned above, and more! So I have probably graduated from the “Stalker of Paleo Experts” course.
That said, let me assure you that the “protocol” below comes from bits and pieces of retained gut-healing tips and strategies that I have learned from the experts!
So here it is… feel free to use what you like for your own health (gut-healing or otherwise!).
Jennie’s Personal Steps to Gut Health
(a three-week program… though most will remain in place even after three weeks)
100% Paleo Diet. This should go without saying, right? I agree, but I’m saying it anyway. Trace amounts of gluten can destroy every effort you make toward healing your gut. It is the chief of gut irritants. I’m sure that my involuntary gluten consumption last week contributed to the pain I’m experiencing this week. Aside from not eating gluten, it just makes sense to eat natural, whole, REAL foods. This means no sugar, no preservatives, no dairy (although I make exception for local, pastured goat cheese), no alcohol, etc.
No Nuts. This step may not go for everyone, but I can definitely tell that I have a sensitivity to nuts right now. As I stated in yesterday’s post, I really over-did it on the nuts over the last few weeks. When I did a test and left them off my menu for a day, my stomach pain decreased substantially. If you do not feel that it is necessary to cut out nuts completely, you should at least limit them to around one closed fistful each day (keep in mind that almond butter, almond meal, almond flour, etc., are all made from nuts!).
No Eggs. This step is definitely more of a personal one for me. I have noticed that when I have consumed eggs over the last few weeks, I have developed a stomach ache almost right away. I eat a lot of eggs, so I’m really hoping that I have not developed an egg allergy. Time will tell…
Three “Square Meals.” This is a big one for me. Lately, I have gotten into the habit of skipping breakfast, snacking for lunch, snacking during the afternoon, and then having a big dinner. This is unacceptable, and not the best way to consume plenty of nutrients. It’s time to get back on track… a good-size breakfast, a good-sized lunch, and a good-sized dinner will keep me feeling better, and more regulated, all day long.
LOTS of Vegetables. The reason for this is obvious: vegetables are packed with wonderful nutrients, and they are incredibly low in natural sugars.
Bone Broth. What else needs to be said, really? If you have been around the Paleo community long enough, you have heard this idea tossed around a lot. Aside from the fact that it is incredibly rich in minerals, bone broth is a great way to consume gelatin! Balanced Bites has the best article I have seen on bone broth. Check it out here. If you’d like to make some yourself, try my favorite recipe: Quick Pressure Cooker Bone Broth.
No Acidic or Spicy Foods. My stomach pains have felt like burning, so the thoughts of adding things like tomatoes, chocolate, hot peppers, coffee, or even raw sauerkraut really makes me cry inside!
Limited Fruit. This is a habit that I want to carry with me from now on. Fruit is such an easy go-to snack item, but in my life it tends to replace more important foods, if I’m not careful (and I haven’t been careful enough!). Therefore, when I do eat fruit, it must be surrounded by protein and fat (for example: diced mangos on my fajita salad, topped with guacamole).
More Beef than Chicken. I know and trust my beef source, Little Creek Ranch. When we run out of beef, I can definitely tell that I don’t feel quite as great as I usually feel. So during the next three weeks, we’ll be eating mostly beef… not so much chicken. And besides that, there are so many amazing health benefits of grass-fed beef! Check them out here.
Low-Stress Workouts. During this protocol, I want to put as little stress on my body as I can. In fact, I’m pretty sure that stress played a big part in the downward spiral that lead me to the place I am right now. I will still do regular workouts, but they will be more empowering than strenuous. For more of my thoughts on stress, click here.
SLEEP! This is important for every area of life… for more information, read this article! My goal for the next several weeks will be to go to bed EARLY, and get at least nine hours of sleep each night.
Chew Your Food. Have you ever stopped to think about how quickly you eat? I know people who seem to swallow their food whole. I chew, but I don’t really think much about it. Since all this stomach pain has been happening, I’ve thought a lot more about how much I chew. Did you know that chewing is the first step in digestion? Read this fascinating article to learn more. I heard Chris Kresser talking about this recently, and it really made me think (to listen, click here… in fact, just go ahead and listen to the whole thing right now. It is amazing).
Probiotics, Kombucha, and Fermented Foods. Good gut health requires that you have a healthy gut flora. Chris Kresser explains that much better than I ever could… check it out here.
Again, these are the steps that I am taking for my personal gut-healing. Not all of them will be right for you (although most probably are!).
Overall, I am really excited about getting better. Dealing with stomach aches on a regular basis has made me realize how much I take my health for granted. And, as I said in my last post, I am just glad to know that this is in my control!
Take a step toward gut health with me!