Our overall health depends greatly on the health of our gut. Many of us know this to some extent.... but don't realize just how much it matters. Did you know that even our brain health is connected to our gut health? Did you know our immune system starts in our gut? Healing our digestive tract can ensure we live a healthier LIFE. I'm going to help you learn how to have a healthier gut...and therefore, live a healthier LIFE.
I've designed this Healthy Gut Healthy Life CHALLENGE to:
- Help you understand how the state of our gut impacts our health in so many ways.
- Show you what signs to look for to know if your gut may not be healthy as it should be.
- Show you how to heal your gut, and keep it healthy once you do.
The first thing I want to point out is the word DISEASE. Most of us know that it means the absence of health. Let's look at the actual word more closely for a moment. When we break it down, the word is actually saying DIS - EASE, which means lack of ease or harmony within the body. When we start to think of the word in this way, we stop having this image that disease swoops down and attacks us... and start thinking of it as something we can prevent. We simply must keep our body at ease....in harmony....to keep it healthy. I want you to take back some power and control over your health. Healing your gut is the single most important thing you can do for your health.
How our gut impacts our entire body:
- IMMUNE SYSTEM: weakened immune system, frequent colds and viruses, food sensitivities, autoimmune disease.
- BRAIN: Mood swings, anxiety, depression
- DIGESTION: Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, IBS, IBD, acid reflux
- SKIN: Acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea
- THYROID: Weight fluctuation, Hashimotos, Hypothyroidism, Graves
- OTHER: Insomnia, migraines, fatigue, low energy, yeast overgrowth
Our digestive system starts in the mouth and ends in the colon/anus and has many systems in between. Most people aren't aware of the "Gut-Brain" connection and the direct impact a healthy gut can have on our brain health!
Health Issues that may be a sign of an unhealthy gut:
- Autoimmune Illnesses
- Fatigue/low energy
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Acid Reflux
- Mental health issues (mood swings, anxiety, depression)
- Poor immunity, constantly "under the weather"
- Skin issues
- Trouble maintaining a healthy weight
Let's talk about immunity for a moment. No, I'm not talking about the show "Survivor" kind of immunity....I'm talking about our immune system. I'll try to explain this as simply as possible. 75% of our immune system is found in our gastrointestinal tract. This is because we have a delicate micro-biome that plays a BIG part in our digestive process. When it becomes unbalanced, it can weaken our immune system. Friendly bacteria protect the walls of our intestines and it's imperative that those bacteria stay balanced. When we become unbalanced and have digestive upset, all of a sudden those walls break down and become permeable. Toxins can then leak out into the body. (Leaky Gut Syndrome) When this happens our immune system kicks in to clean up the mess...and it starts becoming busy doing this all the time. Our immune system is really good and efficient at cleaning up acute problems. Like a cut or wound...it recognizes it...cleans it up and it heals. Done. But when we develop an unbalanced, unhealthy gut, our immune system is constantly at work. This is what's known as chronic systemic inflammation or low-grade inflammation. This is BAD NEWS for your health. This is what causes so many lifestyle diseases that can be prevented and healed by healing our gut!
Common Lifestyle Diseases that can be caused by and unhealthy gut and chronic systemic inflammation:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sinus infections
- Joint pain
- Lyme Disease
- Thyroid disfunction
- Chronic Fatigue
- Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- ...and more
Think for a moment about all the medications that people take today for the above conditions. It's pretty overwhelming. We all know people in our life with one or more of the above conditions, right? Maybe it's even us. What if I told you that you could possibly completely eliminate a lifestyle disease by healing your gut? Would it be worth it to try? What if it could help get a loved one off of medication that was causing additional side effects? Why don't the doctors educate us more about this? Because there isn't a whole lot of money in health honestly. There's a whole lot of money in sickness and meds. That's all I'm going to say about that because that's a whole other issue... There are some great doctors out there, don't get me wrong, who teach nutrition, etc as a part of healing. Doctors are even recommending probiotics now more than ever.
My dad recently started taking a daily probiotic. I'd been trying to get him to take one for some time now, but it wasn't until his doctor recommended it after he was prescribed antibiotics, that he finally listened. He called me one day to tell me how amazing he felt since taking them. He said he'd lost his bloated belly he'd had for years. He said he'd taken off some extra weight. He said he was having regular, daily bowel movements. He said he just felt "overall" better! I explained to him why....that his gut was getting healthy again...it was becoming balanced again. I encouraged him to continue to take them daily. I'm thrilled that he's getting a healthy gut...healthy LIFE. My mom is now taking a daily probiotic right along with him;)
What's the killer of friendly bacteria, or probiotics in your body?
- Prescription antibiotics
- GMO foods
- Emotional Stress
Here's your Healthy Gut CHALLENGE: (two options for you)
CHALLENGE #1: Is this you? ---> You don't have any signs of an unhealthy gut listed above, or lifestyle diseases that you know of, you're in overall good health, you maintain a healthy weight.
If this is you, prevention is key. This will maintain a healthy gut. Good for you for feeling great! By taking action now, you can prevent an unhealthy gut and chronic inflammation, which can lead to lifestyle diseases down the line. Your challenge for the next 30 days is to:
- Eat healthy, whole foods. Only eat out at restaurants when necessary and choose healthier options. (I'm trusting you here. You're adults. If you cheat and eat junk food every day...the only person you're cheating is YOU.)
- No fast food restaurants.
- Keep processed foods, sugar, GMO foods, grains, and emotional stress to a minimum.
- Eliminate ALL artificial sugars. (stevia, monk fruit, and honey are allowed.)
- Drink 64 oz of water per day.
- Take this daily probiotic to ensure gut health balance for the next 30 days. (take it each morning on an empty stomach.)
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day (this does not need to be rigorous, even just a walk. I like to walk/hike one day, and do some body weight training the next, yoga the next...whatever you choose so you don't get bored!) Short on time? That's okay...to eliminate excuses here's my quick 7 minute workout and you don't need any equipment!
Start as soon as you receive your probiotics. Do all of this for 30 days and evaluate how you feel. it's helpful to keep a journal. Chances are, you're going to feel better, even though you thought you felt pretty good to start with!
CHALLENGE #2: Is this you? ---> Are any of the following true? You have any of the signs of an unhealthy gut mentioned above. You have one or more of the lifestyle diseases mentioned above. You have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
If this is you, it's time to heal your gut. Use the same guidelines as above in Challenge #1 including the daily probiotic. In addition to the things listed for Challenge #1, we are adding an elimination diet for you guys, so you'll be following a stricter guideline than Challenge #1 does. We are going to eliminate foods for 30 days that are known to cause inflammation in the body. These are things like grains, dairy, beans, alcohol, and sugar. I know it sounds scary, but elimination diets can truly let you identify what types of inflammatory foods can be wreaking havoc on your gut. My favorite elimination program is the Whole30. You can learn about the Whole30 online, or I have a convenient Whole30 Guide that makes it really convenient for you...and I've added all of my expertise, advice, and favorite recipes, since I lead hundreds of people through this Program. I've gathered all of the information that is most important for you to know to ensure your success. I even go over what to do after the 30 days. The purpose of an elimination diet is not to lose weight, even though you probably will. It's purpose is the learn how certain foods affect your body. Everyone's different, so after the 30 days, you can reintroduce the foods you've eliminated, slowly...one by one, to see how you feel. By doing this, you can design a lifestyle that's tailored to you. To help you save, I have a coupon code to SAVE on my Whole30 Guide! Enter the coupon code HealthyGutHealthyLife to save 75% off the price!
If you fall into the Challenge #1 category, but would like to do Challenge #2, feel free! It's completely safe for anyone to complete and will help you acquire new, healthy habits.
ARE YOU READY TO HEAL YOUR GUT? Here we go! Healthy Gut...Healthy LIFE!
Note: I recommend a specific probiotic for this challenge that I know works as it should...many probiotics don't. It's non GMO, soy free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, kosher, has 25 Billion CFUs guaranteed, has a patented 4-strain blend, it's formulated especially for gut health, and is made in the USA. Foods alone today, lack the amount of healthy bacteria we need to keep a balanced healthy gut. I believe one of the healthiest supplements you can take, along with a premium Omega-3 Fish Oil which is excellent for eliminating inflammation, is a high quality probiotic.