Gut healing is a recent but really exciting area of exploration when it comes to weight loss. There was a show on telly recently where they compared two identical twins, one who was slim and always had been, one who was obese and had been for all of her adult life. They tested each twins’ poo to see what their gut bacteria looked like and they were very different. They then took poo from the thin one and transferred it into the fat one and very quickly, the fat one started losing weight with minimal change to her diet!
Our digestive system needs a good balance of thousands, perhaps millions of different types of bacteria to break down food. It can be knocked out of whack for various reasons; illness, a bad diet, anti-biotics, severe stress or even shock from a car accident.
There is more and more evidence coming out that shows a direct link between an unhealthy gut and auto-immune conditions like fibromyalgia, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Our gut lining develops what is known as “leaky” gut. Usually, behind the lining are loads of tiny little cells that pack together tightly to stop harmful food particles getting into our blood stream. When something foreign comes in, the cells pack around it tightly causing inflammation but getting rid of the particle. With leaky gut, these little cells are spread further apart so that harmful bugs leak through into our bloodstream causing inflammation throughout the body.
A company that I trained with had data on their system for over 200 000 people who did their diet. They noticed that some people didn’t lose weight as easily as others. When they did research, they noticed that many of these people had similar conditions. They now recommend that people start their program by introducing gut healing foods and have seen a big improvement in the success rate.
So how do you heal your gut?
I’m sure you have heard of pre-biotics and pro-biotics as suddenly the adverts are everywhere. Whilst you can buy pre-biotic and pro-biotic tablets and powders, I see no sense in taking tablets when you can heal your gut far better with food. Here are the best ones to use;
- Natural yoghurt. This must be a Bio or Live culture and you should eat a few tablespoons every day.
- Milk Kefir. This is similar to yoghurt, you buy a kit with some live granules then start growing your own culture by adding milk to the grains every day. You might spot flavoured kefir milk in supermarkets but I wouldn’t waste my money as they add sugar and pasteurise the product to make it last. Unfortunately it kills the bacteria which defeats the purpose!
- Water Kefir. This is fabulous and my favourite way to gut heal. Again you buy a starter kit and culture then you feed the culture sugar, water and flavouring such as berries, lemon, ginger and you leave it to ferment. It goes fizzy and tastes delicious! It’s a great way to ensure your kids are healthy. There is some confusion about whether you should drink it if you are doing a very low carb or keto diet because there is no way of measuring how much sugar is left in the mixture after fermenting. That said, I’ve had clients lose weight consistently and well drinking water kefir all the way through.
- Sauerkraut. All the Scandinavian cultures eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut on a daily basis. It’s best that you make your own – there are loads of videos on You Tube explaining how – and then make sure you eat a little every single day. You can buy it in the shops but be aware that often they add sugar which defeats the object and they pasteurise the contents to make it last. That process kills off the bacteria which is the part you need! First prize is make your own – second prize is buy some. You will benefit a little from the bought. You can ferment any vegetables and there are people out there who have fantastic creative combinations which taste delicious.
- Goats Milk Kefir. In the UK there is a company which delivers 4 x 1 litre bottles of goats milk kefir to your doorstep. It’s a brilliant product and I highly recommend it for those who are too busy to make their own product. http://www.chucklinggoat.co.uk
- There are a few others like kombucha which is a tea which I haven’t tried but which does a great job.
If you weigh anything over 15 stone (95kgs), or if you are struggling with auto-immune conditions, Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, exhaustion and pain, I highly recommend you introduce gut healing into your diet every day for the rest of your life.