Updated: Feb 29, 2020
Taking your gut health seriously.
For my entire life, I have struggled with gastro intestinal issues. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even fully aware that what I was experiencing was not normal. For as long as I can remember, I thought the constant pain in my gut was just what everyone went through after eating a meal. Little did I know that my GI issues were also causing a host of other symptoms that were affecting my quality of life substantially.
It wasnt until I cleaned up my diet that I experienced how AMAZING I could actually feel! It completely opened my eyes. Years later, and I am still working on healing my gut. Something I have discovered during my own healing journey, as well as my role in helping others heal as a Health Coach, is that I am far from alone in my digestive troubles.
If you know me well, it is extremely likely that I have asked you about your digestion (I can’t help it!). It blows my mind how many people respond by telling me that they battle their gut daily just like I have! So what is the main issue here? Its that people think that this is normal, and it’s not! We were not designed to feel this way, and if given the opportunity, the body can heal itself.
There are so many different reasons why we are beginning to see more and more people all the time with poor gut health. Different factors such as the deteriorating quality of our food and soil, the abundance of packaged foods and processed sugar, and the chemicals we surround ourselves with daily (or put on daily) all have the ability to weaken the micro biome and feed disease in our gut. While I could go on about that all day long, the first step is to decide whether or not you think you are in need of a gut health over haul.
You are constantly feeling “bloated”.
This is something that I would complain of all the time, but to my defence, so did most of my friends around me! (Disclaimer: I still struggle with bloating, I have a lot of damage to my gut from previous years, and while I have come a long way in healing, it doesn’t happen over night, and I still go through periods of discomfort) It seems stop be a very common thing for people to be constantly bloated, but it actually isn’t normal. Sure, if you have just eaten a large meal, your stomach wont feel the same as when it was empty. However, experiencing constant bloat, especially a type that tends to get worse throughout the day, is a sign that your digestion is not functioning optimally, and needs some attention.
You deal with constant stomach aches.
I know that this seems like a no brainer, but I am including it because I used to be in CONSTANT gut pain, but I didn’t even realize that I was until I experienced what it as like to NOT have a stomach ache! That was when I really started to realize that what I had experienced with my stomach for as long as I could remember was not normal, and was really affecting how I was living my life. If you find you experience any kind of pain or discomfort after meals, or even just out of the blue, this is a huge indicator you need to check in with your gut health, and more specifically look into the types of foods you are eating and if you may be sensitive to some of them.
You are having inconsistent bowel movements.
If you are not having AT LEAST one healthy bowel movement at day, you need to address your gut health. In fact, I would personally argue that if you are not having 2-3 healthy bowel movements a day, there is healing that can be done in the gut. Your body can not maintain proper health if it is not eliminating and detoxifying properly.
Frequency is not the only thing that matters, stool form is also an easy way to determine if your gut is functioning properly. By looking at the Bristol Stool Chart (link below), you can determine whether your stool is in the healthy range (either a 3 or a 4). If you are consistently having bowel movements that are either one way or the other on the chart, this is a huge sign of dysfunction in the gut.
You have struggled with depression and/ or anxiety.
Im sure everyone reading this has heard the saying “go with your gut”, or “I have a gut feeling”. Well as it turns out, these sayings aren’t just a metaphor, our gut actually acts as our second brain! There is so much amazing science out currently linking mood disorders to the gut, but simply put, about 90 percent of our serotonin ( our “feel good” hormone) is produced in our digestive tract. Therefore, it is pretty clear to see that if our digestive tract is unhealthy or inflamed in any way, our mood will directly be affected. In fact, one of the main symptoms of the inflammatory auto immune disease known as Celiac is depression and anxiety! This is something I experienced severely during the year before I was officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Once I was able to eliminate gluten and promote healing in my gut, these symptoms almost immediately went away. If you have ever struggled with these types of feelings, I strongly recommend you to address how your gut is functioning and what you are feeding it.
You struggle with acne.
Believe it or not, acne, in particular cystic acne, can be a huge sign that your not properly digesting your food, creating food allergies. If you have ever experienced acne around your mouth, chin, and/ or your jaw, this is your body trying to tell you that your intestines, colon, and/ or your liver need some help. When our main detoxing organs like our intestines, colon, and liver become congested or over worked, often times this will come out in our skin. Our skin is also a detoxing organ, but in this case it is being used as a last resort, trying to take some of the burden off of your colon and your liver to detoxify your body when they are being over worked. Many people will find that after cutting down on highly inflammatory foods such as dairy and sugar, their skin begins to improve. A healthy gut protocol ultimately leads to healthy, glowing skin!
You can’t lose weight.
When your intestines, colon, and liver are over worked and congested, losing weight becomes nearly impossible, no matter how much you are exercising or eating healthy. Your body cannot eliminate excess fat if it is not eliminating toxins properly. Many people, in an effort to lose unwanted weight, lean on diet foods, artificial sweeteners, stimulants like pre workout supplements and coffee, and too much processed protein. These types of foods in excess weaken the liver, and promote imbalance in our intestinal gut flora. Ultimately, losing weight becomes even HARDER, even though many people think they are doing the right thing!
An unhealthy gut can also have a direct affect on your hormone health, and when your hormones are not properly balanced, it becomes impossible to lose any excess weight. If you take the time to work on optimal gut AND hormone health, your weight will regulate on its own! You can’t just focus on the outside, you must also pay attention to how things are functioning on the inside!
You can’t keep weight on (unhealthy weight loss).
When you are drastically losing weight and can’t keep healthy weight on no matter how hard you try, this can often point toward more serious intestinal damage/ disease such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, and Irritable Bowel Disease. Many of these disorders are also accompanied by symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, and blood in the stool. These types of conditions make it impossible for you to absorb any of the nutrients from the food you are eating, ultimately leading to dangerous and unhealthy weight loss. If you suspect that you could be suffering with one of the above, it is important that you visit your family doctor and ask them for a scope, in order to determine or diagnose any of these serious conditions.
You cannot have optimal health when the gut is unhealthy or distressed. Take care of your second brain, it does so much more for you than you could ever know! In the future, I am going to be releasing a Simple Gut Health Guide. If you found yourself relating to any of the symptoms above and want to know more about the Gut Health Guide, send me a message/ email and I would be happy to sign you up!