Welcome to part 2 of my 3-part gut health series. If you haven’t yet read part 1, which details the 3 signs of a dysfunctional gut, click here and read that first. For part 2, we’re diving into what it’s like to actually be on the other side of digestive health woes when those signals are GONE!
I know that it can feel discouraging to identify signs of of poor digestion and feel like so much work is ahead of you, but after reading this blog, my hope is that you will have a completely new, refreshing, and positive outlook on your journey ahead. The key word here is “journey” because it’s an ever-evolving process that I myself am even still on. As soon as you can embrace it and change your outlook on your future ahead, you’ll be able to bring new appreciation and ease to the process. Let’s dig in!
Catch the live video training on this topic or read the recap below:
Let me serve as your example, as I’ve officially crossed the line from having ulcerative colitis to being free and clear of digestive dis-ease! Because of everyday tools and hacks I brought into my life, I was able to do that, and I’m sharing them below for you to learn, too.
So what do I do and what should you be doing first thing in the AM?
As soon as I wake up, I focus on something positive. I identify 3 things I am grateful for and excited about and found this had a profound impact on my mood and outlook on my health. Then, I jump out of bed and start my day by squeezing a fresh lemon into water, and add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. This drink (I call it my Lemon Water Elixir) stimulates my digestive fire and helps it get going for the day.
Fun fact: This drink alone helped resolve 10 years of acid reflux, and has helped dozens of my clients do the same.
Next, I pop a good probiotic (these are my favorite brands) to build up and sustain the beneficial bacteria in my digestive tract. This was another game-changer once I discovered probiotics and all of their incredible benefits (just make sure you’re taking a legit one)
I practice intermittent fasting most days of the week, so my breakfast is usually on the later side of the morning so that I can get a full 12-18 hours of fasting. Intermittent fasting is a great way to reset the digestive and immune systems as it allows food to fully clear out so the body can begin to repair itself. Once I am ready for my first meal of the day, I either have a green smoothie with an overflowing scoop of collagen powder, which is incredible healing and soothing to the digestive tract, or have leftover soup from the day before, such as a squash soup or jerusalem artichoke soup (which is an incredible prebiotic food). I never start my day with a coffee or any type of caffeine on an empty stomach.
I always leave time in the AM for me. I give myself time to acclimate and plan for my day ahead rather than stressing about everything I have to get done. Stress has an incredible impact on digestion, and to live well, we need to start our days off right. I either spend a few moments visualizing my day ahead, taking a walk around the block, or hanging out with my family (and by family, I mean my husband and cat, Riley!)
Throughout the morning and the rest of the day, I drink water to keep myself hydrated. Everyone asks me how much water they should be drinking, and the general rule of thumb is 72oz of water. I also make it a point to stop and take breaks to keep my brain fresh and energetic and do deep breathing exercises if stress ever tries to get the best of me during a busy day.
I used to find that as soon as I ate lunch, my energy would dip to its lowest point in the day and I had no clue why. Soon after I changed the way I ate (clean, organic foods) this problem quickly disappeared. That’s because I changed how I fueled myself to prepare for a successful afternoon rather than succumb to a nap or loss of productivity.
For lunch, I usually eat a paleo-esque meal, which means either a green salad with a protein of choice, soup, or a protein and veggie leftover from the day before. Simplicity is key. I like to batch prepare my meals on Sundays so that I don’t have to compromise on meal quality in the midst of a busy day!
In the afternoon if need an energy boost, I make my favorite mushroom tea blend that is loaded with nutrient-rich adaptogens and superfoods for the brain. I highly recommend Foursigmatic’s mushroom tea. Their blends are fantastic and effective.
If I need a snack, I heat up a cup of bone broth or have a low-calorie snack like celery (which is another great food for digestion) or cucumbers.
To keep things simple, I have a similar meal at dinner that I had at lunch. It’s usually either chicken made in the Instapot with a side of sweet potato, brown rice, fennel, or another favorite veggie of ours. Or, I stick with a simple salad with protein and a healthy fat like avocado. Having a balanced meal at dinner gives our bodies the vitamins and minerals it needs for a healthy sleep and to rejuvenate and repair cells overnight.
To wind down for the night, I make a raspberry tea, chamomile tea or a flax meal tea (for a boost of fiber) at the end of the day. If my digestion needs more support that day, I’ll do a castor oil pack (another critical gut health tool we cover in the Love Your Gut program) or soak in an epsom salt bath.
I aim to go to bed at 10pm, which is the optimal time to go to bed because it follows our body’s desired circadian rhythm and detoxification cycles, allowing us to more easily get to sleep and go through the biggest detoxification process of the day. For those of you who have lots of digestive stuff going on, this is really key.
It takes practice to change these patterns and go to bed earlier, but try bumping your bedtime up by 15-30 minutes each week and over time you will be able to get in bed by 10pm. Your body will thank you for sticking with this process, and you’ll see the benefits in terms of better sleep, better digestion, and more energy the next day.
Next up is part 3 in this blog series where I’ll be talking about the 5 mistakes you absolutely want to avoid in your health journey, so keep your eyes peeled for more gut-worthy information soon!
Kristin Thomas is a health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner specialized in helping women with hormone, digestion, and autoimmune health concerns. Having gone through these health challenges herself, she now helps clients find their own path to complete wellness through practical and natural diet and lifestyle changes.
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