If you have followed the guidelines in the first couple of blog posts, you are WELL on your way to a happier, healthier life. If you aren’t quite where you want to be, let me give you a few pointers.
– BE CONSISTENT –
The main issue that I see most patients struggle with is consistency. They will do great for a month, maybe two, only to let those old habits slowly creep back in. The problem is that you probably aren’t some really healthy person that just has a treat every now and then. You are probably someone who has been developing inflammation, insulin resistance, and food addictions over the course of your entire life. Therefore, you have to be consistent for a long time before your body can fully heal.
– GET CHECKED FOR FOOD SENSITIVITIES –
Food sensitivities are a curious beast. Not everyone has them or has the same ones. One person may have a gluten sensitivity while the next has an issue with nightshades. The main issue with these is that a little goes a long way. From my experience, foods have to be avoided 100% for several weeks to months before you can think about reintroducing them, if ever at all. If not avoided completely they can cause irritation to the gut, an imbalance in gut flora, heartburn, bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation, autoimmune type reactions, lack of energy, depression, brain fog, etc. I use applied kinesiology and/or laboratory testing on all of my patients to test for foods they might be reacting to.
If you don’t have access to a provider that can check you for food sensitivities, a good place to start is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). It eliminates the foods that most people have issues with. Another program that I use with my patients is a diet low in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols). I know, it’s a mouth full (pun intended!). Basically FODMAPs are parts of foods that we don’t absorb well and instead go on to feed the bad bacteria in our gut, leading to over-fermentation and an imbalance of our gut flora. For a more in depth look at FODMAPs, head over to Drgangemi.com.
– BALANCE YOUR GUT FLORA –
Once your have eliminated your food sensitivities, you have a better shot at balancing your gut flora. With a crappy diet, lack of sleep, and too much stress you increase your chances of developing an overgrowth of fungus, bad bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These things can wreak havoc on your digestive tract, immune system, and brain. To fix this, it isn’t as simple as taking a probiotic. I use several potent herbs, supplements, and oils that, from my experience, do a fantastic job of helping to balance your gut flora.
– INCREASE YOUR STOMACH ACID –
Most patients who come to me have been on an acid blocker at some point in their lives, if not currently. The problem is that most people who have “heart burn” or “GERD” are really suffering from stomach acid that is TOO LOW. The real reason you experience heart burn is because of dysfunction of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter which allows the stomach acid to contact your esophagus. This decrease in stomach acid is usually a result of an imbalance in gut flora. When stomach acid levels are too low you start having trouble digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and killing harmful bugs – further disrupting the gut microbiota.
Honestly, once I have a patient fix their diet, decrease their stress levels, and balance their gut flora, the stomach acid fixes itself. On occasion, the patient needs to supplement with zinc or betaine HCL to bring acid levels back to normal and Vitamin A to help heal the gut lining. For a more in depth look at GERD and stomach acid, head over to Chriskresser.com.
By removing these roadblocks you will be able to better absorb the nutrients that your new diet is providing.