Healing the gut with natural foods

Healing the gut with natural foods

Gut talk is kind of trendy these days with all that’s being discovered and shared about the immune system, the gut microbiome, probiotics, etc, but I don’t normally try “trends” just because it’s the hip thing to do. Last week, though — all week — I had an upset stomach. I was worried, because with the help of my chiropractor/acupuncturist/nutritionist I already pinpointed a fructose intolerance, and this wasn’t it. Ice cream did a number on me a few weeks ago, but usually I can tolerate a bit of cheese every day — in a salad or on a sandwich, pretty standard.

So when I couldn’t take it any more, I wrote her an email Saturday morning and because she is SO amazing, she immediately wrote back to me with the foods I *should* be eating to help heal whatever was going on inside. And it worked wonders! Within hours I was feeling better, so I wanted to share in case you’re ever in need of some Food Medicine. I did not research the “why” behind any of these foods, although I already had most of them on hand — I just did as I was told, and now I am back to normal. Here’s what I ate:

  • Baby carrots. Raw, crunchy and delicious. It is so true that when you start eating more healthy foods, you crave them more, too. I finished a bag yesterday and am dying to run out for more.
  • Raw almonds. These are filling, which is good when your options are limited.
  • Lots of coconutI oil pull with coconut oil every morning; I got some delicious dairy-free/soy-free (I’m allergic to soy) coconut spread for my Ezequiel toast; I put coconut aminos on my brown rice (see next) and I made overnight oats with coconut milk (see below).
  • Brown rice. I boiled off a big pot and just finished it today. Definitely filling and comforting.
  • Double probiotics. Keep them in the fridge! I didn’t know this at first, but I’m pretty sure they’re still working. When I’m not feeling great, I take two a day instead of one. And I vary the brand I buy so that my gut does not get used to any one particular set of strains. (I did not know to do this until a friend who is a nurse educated me!)
  • Gluten-free overnight oats with coconut milk — the all-natural canned kind, not a Tetra Pak with questionable ingredients.
  • Green tea. Yes, since Saturday I have been drinking tea only, no coffee. And surprise surprise, I have been sleeping better too 🙂
  • LOTS of water. I love my new water pitcher for infused water (strawberries are delicious, as are cucumbers). It encourages me to drink more water, because otherwise I tend to not drink that much until I’m catching up at the end of each day.
  • Sauerkraut! I have known for a long time that fermented foods are good for the gut, but I had been too scared to try them. What I have now, Bubbies brand, is super tangy and delicious. I probably eat about a quarter cup with lunch and dinner. (I think kimchi is another good fermented food, but many brands contain soy, and I wouldn’t mess with anything too spicy when dealing with an upset stomach either.)

There are some other things I want to try making — homemade kombucha and water kefir, for example — but they require extra purchases and would have to be shipped. With a little advanced planning, though, you can also keep those on hand, so I want to get my first scoby this month! (Even Williams-Sonoma sells them now!)

As much as I may like to think that I’m invincible, I am always reminded of my limits somehow. From now on, I know I have to severely limit dairy. I mean a couple bites, at most! And I’m suddenly much more aware of processed foods that contain corn, which my kids tend to gravitate toward, but that’s another long-time food allergy of mine. You can’t mess around with this stuff — I just heard someone on the radio this morning say he eats chocolate peanut-butter ice cream even though he’s lactose intolerant, and I wanted to scream, Stop! Some day it will catch up with you and you will be miserable!! But just like food can make you feel terrible, it can also heal you from the inside out. Next time you are tempted to pop some antacids and call it a day, go to the grocery store for some of these beauties. You will feel better in no time 🙂

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Filed under: Healthy living, What to eat

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