I am always amazed when someone maintains they eat “healthy” but all the while are experiencing so many symptoms and diseases associated with an unhealthy gut. If their healthy gut diet plan was a reality, my hat would be off to them. But sadly, this is not the case most of the time. Research has proven that a healthy gut diet should contain at least the following:
- Bone broth – Bone broth (made from scratch) which provides important amino acids and minerals
- Raw cultured dairy – Probiotic rich foods like kefir, amasai and yogurt
- Fermented foods such as coconut kefir, kvass, sauerkraut or kimch
- Steamed vegetables – Non-starchy vegetables that are cooked or steamed
- Healthy fats – Consuming healthy fats in moderation like egg yolks, salmon, avocados, ghee and coconut oil
- Fruit – 1-2 servings of fruit daily, e.g. steam apples and pears to make homemade apple sauce or fruit sauce
And foods to avoid when trying to establish and maintain a healthy gut consist of:
- Gluten – Gluten is the sticky protein found in most grain products including wheat and is difficult to digest unless it’s been brought through a sourdough or sprouting process
- Cows Dairy – The protein in cows dairy can trigger a similar reaction as gluten and therefore should be avoided
- Sugar – Feeds yeast and bad bacteria that can damage the intestinal wall. If you are going to use a sweetener, raw local honey is your best option but even that shoud be cosumed in moderation at 1 tbsp. dailyUnsprouted Grains – Grains and soy when unsprouted and unfermented can irritate the intestines
- GMO – Genetically modified organisms contain herbicides and pesticides that damage the gut lining
Can anyone honestly say they stick to such a “healthy” diet daily? To do so is possible, but highly improbable! Combine this impracticality with the lies we are fed about “healthy” foods, and it’s no wonder we remain in the dark about the importance of gut health! Do any of these lies sound familiar?
- Veggie sticks as vegetables? Parents think getting kids to eat these delicious treats is a miracle because finally the kids are eating vegetables. The veggie sticks claim to be made with spinach, sweet potato, and 100% all natural. A tiny sprinkle of vegetable powder infused into a crunchy snack is not the same as eating a serving of vegetables!
- Whole-grain vs. gluten-free bread? Gluten-free foods were created for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But this phrase has become a marketing buzzword that people now equate with “healthy.” Most gluten-free foods contain more fat and salt and less fiber, protein and vitamins than their gluten-containing counterparts. For example, a dense, whole-grain sprouted bread made from fiber-rich, wholesome ingredients is a much healthier choice than a gluten-free bread made from fiber-free cornstarch, tapioca and rice flour.
- Hamburgers vs. veggie burgers? We’ve all been fooled by this one! You would think plant-based diets are healthy so a veggie burger would be a better choice than a regular hamburger, right? Not always. Hamburgers can be as simple as beef and salt. A veggie burger often has 20 or more ingredients, including non-nutritive cornstarch and thickeners. While beef burgers are naturally high in protein, most veggie burgers contain wheat gluten, a cheap protein substitute. While some veggie burgers may be made of good quality protein from beans, lentils and soy, they are usually so highly processed that the healthy benefits become negligible.
- Loose trail mix vs. trail mix bars? There is nothing wrong with having raisins and peanuts for a healthy snack. But food manufacturers try to make this “more convenient” by creating a bar. To get a bar, however, something must be added to hold it together. Enter sugar. The manufacturers may use honey or maple syrup or agave; but adding two to three teaspoons of sugar to what began as a “natural” snack is not a good idea. And to further insult our intelligence, the manufacturers encase the bar in packaging emblazoned with words such as “natural”, “real food” and “nothing artificial.” Unfortunately, most people fall for this false advertising.
- Popcorn vs. “Smartfood”? Whenever you see any food that is labeled as “smart,” alarm bells should be going off in your head. Read the ingredient label rather than letting the manufacturer try to convince you the food is “smart.” For example: a three cup serving of regular popcorn has 126 calories, no sodium and just two ingredients. Three cups of Smartfood (white cheddar) popcorn has more ingredients, 290 calories and 525 mg. of sodium. If you are really smart, you’d buy kernels and pop your own at home!
- Fried vs. baked potato chips? In the ’90s when food marketers were trying to convince us baked snacks were better for us than deep-fried ones because of the lower fat content, we fell for it. Now we know that some fat in our diets is not a truly bad thing, but the marketing touting that fat is bad continues. In reality in most cases, both types of chips have about the same number of calories. The baked chips often have more sodium to make up for the lack of flavor when the fat is removed. Also, the baked version is higher in starchy carbs, which studies show are worse for us than a bit of vegetable oil. Although fried potato chips are definitely not a health food, when you have a craving for chips go for a small portion of the real deal!
The conclusion I wish to emphasize is this: we should all strive daily to eat as many healthy foods as possible and limit/eliminate the processed/junk foods. But when the need for convenience or cost considerations or time constrictions, etc., prevent us from making the better food choices, we need to make sure healthy food supplements are working inside our bodies to create and maintain balance in our digestive systems.
Your comments on this subject are definitely welcomed!