The adage, you are what you eat, is a familiar one. Michael Pollan further states : “you are what you ate, ate.” How your produce is raised or your cow is grazed, ultimately becomes a part of your cellular fabric. Personally, I prefer the term “you are what you absorb.” There is a correlation between what you choose to eat, how your body absorbs it and how efficiently it uses it. Some of us have experienced the ravages of malabsorption or food rejection via ugly dashes to the bathroom, accompanied by “what did I eat..?” Fortunately for us, our body handily detects “invaders, ” puts up the big stop sign and simultaneously pulls the reject trigger.
But an increasing number of people are finding that their bodies are struggling with food. They present with a wide variety of symptoms ranging from headaches, strange aches and pains, bloating, constant fatigue, muscle weakness etc. Through testing, we discover that components in food trigger a series of reactions that can damage the lining of the gut (our inner skin). This may result in leaky gut syndrome, a condition where the integrity of the gut is damaged (holes are blown in the fortress walls). With a compromised gut wall, we absorb components of our food that ordinarily would not be absorbed. It is these componentsthat trigger the complex immune responses resulting in these seemingly esoteric symptoms that often hard to pinpoint. While this analogy is simplistic, it does highlight the critical role our gut plays in our health.
Nourish the Soil of Your Body
Mark Liponis, MD, Director of Medicine at Canyon Ranch, Berkshires summarizes the gut in this way: “Healthy plants need healthy soil. The gut is the soil of your body, so nurture and feed it.” Here’s how:
1.Keep bad guys out and good guys in
Builda healthy gut ecology (Environment) by seeding it with health-supportive microbes. Find them in living foods or ones that contain the words live cultures or probiotics. Foods containing live cultures include quality yogurts, cultured butters & creams and naturally aged cheeses. The best probiotic foods are the ones you make yourself. These include dairy, but also naturally fermented sauerkraut and root vegetables, kefir, kvass and other probiotic tonics and condiments to name a few.
2.Feed the Good Guys
Once you have seeded the gut with beneficial microbes, you’ve got to nourish them. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates occurring in specific foods and are selectively fermented by beneficial gut bacteria. Prebiotics occur naturally in the allium family (leeks, onion, garlic) as well as chicory, artichokes, oats, wheat, bananas and soybeans. Prebiotics are also added to some foods and are available as dietary supplements.Look for the terms inulin, FOS or GOS.
3.Flush the Works Every Day
Garbage cans don’t smell nice if the trash stays in them. Same with your gut. Decaying food creates a toxic and damaging environment. So eat fiber rich foods and drink plenty of water tomove that trash out every day.