I’m on a journey to guide women in understanding that their symptoms aren’t in their head, and more importantly, they aren’t their fault.
5 pillars of gut health
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If I had a loonie for every time a potential client said this to me.. well, I wouldn’t be a millionaire, but I’d definitely be able to pay my rent every month! 😉
This is one of the oldest arguments in the book. And with complete honesty, I have to remind you that this is in fact a product of living with a victim mindset.
Before you get upset with me, hear me out for a second.
I lived in that headspace for 12 freaking years.
That’s 4,380 days, spent feeling sorry for myself, trying ALL the things, but not truly doing any of the things that would actual move the needle or repair my microbiome. It wasn’t my fault, I just didn’t know what direction to walk in.
I spent every morning in pain, every evening with bloating, and every urgent trip to the bathroom within this bubble of “why can’t I get better? I’ve literally tried it ALL!”.
But that’s never actually true, friends. And I need you to wrap your mind around this one for a second in reference to the law of polarity, which states:
Everything in the universe/world has an opposite AND it exists at the same time.
If you had truly—with 100% commitment—tried it ALL, then you would be healthy right now.
This can feel both frustrating and hopeful at the same time.
Frustrating, because you’ve probably spent thousands of dollars trying to repair your gut seeing all kinds of specialists, trying all kinds of supplements, medications and elimination diets.
Hopeful, because that means that YOU CAN GET HEALTHY AGAIN.
You can, I promise you that. Your body wants to heal—in fact, that’s its sole purpose.
And so, before I share with you 5 more things you need to try BEFORE throwing in the towel, I need you to promise me one thing:
That you’ll ditch the “I’ve tried it all” victim mindset. Its only purpose is keeping you stuck. And that’s not what we want.
Here are a few things that people miss the mark on when trying to heal their gut:
1. You haven’t established a rhythm in your bowel movements: This is one of the first things I do with my clients. We work on clearing out any backup (yes, most people are WAY more backed up than they think, which causes the bloating, the gas, and the fatigue—even if they have loose BM’s sometimes) and getting things moving regularly, EVEN IF the form of their stool isn’t perfect yet. I use a combination of herbs, supplements, and dietary/lifestyle interventions to do this.
Eventually, once the rhythm has been established, we can work on diversifying their diet to strengthen the microbiome and bring back bacteria populations that have been lost. Keeping in mind, your diet/lifestyle need to be in a rhythm in order to get your bowels in one too! Your GI tract and your heart are no different—they both operate best with rhythm.
2. You haven’t addressed your imbalance from a microbiome level: I get it—practitioner crafted supplements, testing kits, and fancy protocols where you eliminate more than 5 foods at a time can be attractive because they hold promise (“If you follow this [X] (insert SIBO, autoimmune, parasite, candida, or dysbiosis) protocol with [Y] supplements and eliminate [Z] foods, you’ll be better in 21 days!) and are well intended by practitioners. However, they’re missing the mark on one very important thing—they’re not repairing the gut at a microbiome (bacteria) level. They’re attempting to kill off some foreign pathogen through moderate to extreme food restriction, bombarding your gut with synthetic nutrients, and a deepening fear of specific foods.
Remember, the goal of healing the gut is diversity and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria species. This will crowd out any opportunistic pathogens. Of course, there is a time and a place for certain anti-microbial interventions, but the methods that they’re paired with (i.e. food restriction) are completely off. Eliminating foods to eliminate symptoms is the biggest gut health bandaid solution in the book. We need to get back to basics.
3. You haven’t addressed stress: Trust me, I get it better than most: dealing with a gut health imbalance, especially those that are chronic, is damn stressful. It can be isolating, fear-provoking, and sometimes even depressing. However, I find that most potential clients I speak with are not addressing the role that stress plays in their healing journey.
You can be eating all the healthy plant foods in the world—heck, you can be working with me and following my strategies/protocols—but if you’re not taking care of your body in terms of rest and stress mitigation, your gut will never heal. I spend 50% of my sessions with clients working on the gut brain connection via mindset, sub conscious programming, stress management and addressing anxiety. Stress physically changes the profile of your microbiome for the worse. And it will continue to overrule the foods you eat until you do something about it.
4. You’re resisting diversifying your diet: This is where the gold is buried. This is where the lightbulb goes off for most of my clients. The reason this one is so dang hard for people is because A) as human beings, we’re habitual and would happily eat the same 15-20 foods over and over again without complaint and B) many of us have worked with practitioners whom, even though were well intentioned, provoked a deep sense of fear within us toward specific foods or food groups. Gluten, FODMAPs, high starch foods, high fructose fruits, lectins, phytic acid, oxalates. You name it, I’ve talked to a dozen or more potential clients who fear it. It seems that most of the health world wants to point fingers at specific plant foods for the entirety of the world’s gut health imbalances.
But the truth is, it’s not a singular plant food that’s causing your imbalance (unless you’re celiac or have an allergy), it’s a whole slew of events from your past that led to dysbiosis—an imbalance of bacteria in your gut microbiome. And the best way out of that rut happens to be in increasing the diversity of the plant foods you’re eating on a daily, weekly and monthly basis which will naturally help you ramp up your intake of dietary fibre. And frighteningly, for some people, that means letting go of their fear of certain foods. This is a hard one, that so many people hang on to, because there’s a deep seated anxiety there that needs to be addressed through mindset work.
5. You’re resisting letting go of the habits that no-longer serve you and your gut: Sleeping less than 8 hours a night? Eating in front of your phone? Skipping meals? Indulging in dairy products daily? Drinking less than 2L of water daily? Avoiding moving your body? Partaking in strenuous exercise when you’re feeling stressed? Defaulting to eating high sugar and high fat foods regularly? Drink multiple cups of coffee daily just to stay awake?
These are just a few examples that come to mind when I think of clients I’ve worked with in the past who recognized and then actively worked toward breaking the habits that no longer served them. There’s a lot of simplicity behind the work that I do with my clients. Truly, it is much simpler than people think. But the catch is, that work involves having them shed habits that are deeply engrained in their subconscious but are throwing their gut out of balance.
Unfortunately, breaking these habits and introducing new ones isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it starts with a deep awareness of what those habits even are, and quite truthfully, it often takes working with a professional who can recognize those which you might deem “normal”, but are actually standing in the way of your path to health.
I hope this helps in some way, because like I said, I’ve been there and stood in that “I’ve tried it all” position. It’s a tough place to be, but I promise you, you truly have not tried it all. In fact, most of my clients say that to me prior to us working together. And it’s in that work that they realize that that wasn’t the case after all.
With love and gut health,