Welcome to this 3-part blog series, based off of my recent 3-day gut healing workshop on Facebook (watch it below). Developing a healthy gut is a process that takes time, just as “disease” in the body also took time! My hope is that through this 3-part blog series, you feel more empowered, informed, and prepared to truly and finally put your gut health first. By the end of this 3-part series, you will have a better understanding of what is really going on inside that beautiful belly of yours and how you can get crazy good, squeaky clean digestion – no matter how you feel right now!
You with me? Let’s get started! Read on or watch the video below:
First off, there are some peak signs that indicate that your body may have gut dysfunction going on. Sometimes it’s a whisper, and sometimes it’s an oh-so-desperate plea for your support.
They may look like this…any of these sound familiar?
1. You’re tired. Just not sometimes, but practically all the time
When was the last time you jumped out of bed bursting with energy and kept that skip in your step all day long? Fatigue can stem from a number of things and it’s important to consider all aspects. However, poor digestion is often a common and huge culprit.
If your digestion is compromised, you may be unable to break down all the good stuff in your kale salad, your green smoothie, and your superfood saute. Your cells can become starved of the energy they need to do things like build and repair muscle, keep your brain firing on all cylinders, clear out toxins, and help shape your memory. That’s why we often feel like we have ‘brain fog’ or become really forgetful!
Furthermore, perhaps your body is fighting an infection – whether it be a parasite, bacteria, or yeast infection. This can be exhausting to the body, as it’s constantly on alert trying to fend off the invader. This puts all your body’s resources into fight or flight mode. Over time, this can cause a big dip in your cortisol levels, which you need in order to feel energetic during the day.
Another important consideration that contributes to fatigue are food sensitivities. Similar to an infection, food sensitivities create a high alert response in your immune system. Particularly when you’re sensitive to foods that you often eat (even the healthiest of foods like kale, coconut or beef!). If you’re eating them regularly, the body is in constant fight mode because it views these foods as invaders.
This happens because of a phenomenon called leaky gut. When the digestive tract becomes compromised, bigger food particles slip through the gut barrier and into the bloodstream. Once these food particles are in the blood stream, the immune system comes into contact with them, doesn’t recognize them, and launches an attack in attempt to remove the supposed intruders. This is very exhausting for the body, especially over time.
The first time I ran a food sensitivity test, I found out that I had leaky gut just by how many foods that came back in my results that I also happened to be eating every day (for me, it was blueberries, cucumbers, coconut and chicken).
It’s common to be diagnosed with a broad categorization like ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ when we feel so fatigued but often have no idea WHY. Well, I’m here to address the WHY because you deserve to know. When we UNDERSTAND what’s going on with our bodies and what external and internal factors at play, we can make a plan to feel better.
IMMEDIATE ACTION STEP:
Start a food journal. Use an app like MyFitnessPal or old fashioned pen and paper journal. This will help you begin to link what foods actually don’t make you feel so great. In my Love Your Gut group program, I actually give everyone a Food, Mood and Poop journal so you can not only track what you’re eating, but also how you FEEL and what’s going on with your poop. It’s an incredible tool and people have so many breakthroughs by using it.
2. Your stools have changed — a lot
Let’s consider this delightfully personal topic for a minute, shall we?
Our poop tells us SO much about our digestive health! Perhaps the consistency of your stools has changed over time. Perhaps it used to be formed, but now it’s either loose and unformed, or broken up and small pebbles. Or, perhaps you used to go every day, and now you’re lucky if it’s once or twice a week. Or, maybe you fluctuate between constipation and diarrhea.
I get it, trust me!
If the consistency, frequency or urgency of your stool has changed, and you’re having that bathroom fear – you know… you can’t go anywhere without knowing where the bathrooms are, that’s a big sign from your body that something needs attention. There is no set number of times we should go per day or per week because everyone’s metabolisms are different. However, if you’ve noticed a change in your BMs, that’s a sure hint from your body.
A big contributor to irregular bowels is inflammation. When the body is inflamed whether from a poor diet, harsh medications, food sensitivities or an infection, your stools will likely change. If the inflammation is bad enough, we tend to skew towards diarrhea because the system is too inflamed to form a stool and do all the work required to make a regular BM. Hence, identifying and addressing food sensitivities and dysbiosis is incredibly important!
Another factor may be that you are dehydrated.
Do your best to drink 72 oz/water per day, or ½ your body weight in ounces.
3. You tried switching to a cleaner diet, and maybe got better for a bit, then things either plateaued or symptoms came back
Eating a diet free of things like gluten, dairy, soy (very high in GMO), and refined sugar can relieve your body of a huge burden. But often that’s not the only issue going on with your GI tract.
When I first began my health journey, I switched to a paleo diet and felt great for months. My bloating went away, acid reflux calmed down, and my energy increased. However, after a few months, my old symptoms started to slowly resurface. After proper testing, I learned that I had a parasite, a yeast infection AND a bad bacteria (h.pylori)! Only after I removed this from my body, did I finally feel the burden fully lifted from my body.
Diet serves as the foundation of good health, but it doesn’t stop there, especially if your condition has been chronic. Whether it’s leaky gut due to eating gluten and sugar for years, or due to taking medications like antacids and birth control (which can wipe out populations of good bacteria and make it easier for bad bacteria to take root), there’s often something else at play.
Besides diet, evaluate the following:
- Check in on stress
- Test for food sensitivities (we do this in the Love Your Gut program – join us!)
- Get your stool checked (we do this in the Love Your Gut program – join us!)
- Look into your family history to see if anyone else suffered from something similar
It’s certainly possible to recover from your gut issues, I am a testament to that. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 8 years ago and as of last year, I’ve been completely cleared of the disease. It defied all the traditional advice the doctors had told me and it’s turned out to be a great gift given this is the work I get to do today to help others!
For more information, you can further learn about these signs and symptoms in my Digestive Health Quiz which covers these 3 signs here in this blog, plus much more. You will receive a score at the end as well as tips to address them. https://thrivebyfood.com/digestive-quiz