Ashley Williams is ushering in a new generation of wellness beyond green smoothies and juice. After her own early diagnosis with chronic illness she navigated her way to recovery through holistic treatment and diet. Ashley attributes her healing in part to tracking (“that’s how you see what is causing the problems and what is working”) and is a Chronic Wellness warrior at heart.
Yep. It’s a thing that happens without much thought on our part, but it’s critical to our health. Poor digestion can not only contribute to discomfort, bloating and gas, but when your digestion is off your body quite simply can’t do all it’s other jobs well. Poor gut health prevents your body from absorbing important nutrients that need to be circulated through your bloodstream.
When we don’t properly digest, it can lead to a buildup of food left in your intestines. These “left overs” will be attacked by bacteria in the gut and create toxic chemicals and gas. Over time these toxins will be a feeding ground for even more fungi, virus and bacteria that can lead to more serious health problems, especially those associated with the immune system. Poor gut health has been linked with a number of serious conditions including IBS, Candida, Allergies, Depression, Obesity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism and various chronic pain conditions.
Depending on how long you’ve been eating a diet filled with processed foods, heavy animal products, wheat and sugar (likely your entire life), healing your tummy can take time.
Just because it can be a slow process, doesn’t mean it’s difficult. Here are a few simple tips I recommend to my clients:
Take a probiotic supplement.
Because we live in such a sterile, bacteria phobic society – we often don’t receive the healthy, necessary bacteria that our gut needs to do it’s job. An easy way to add that bacteria is in taking a probiotic supplement. You’re likely familiar with Acidophilus (available in most pharmacies). A few other high quality brands I recommend are Primal Defense and Complete Probiotics. Start with one capsule per day and work up to the recommended dose.
Eat fermented foods.
Naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut have been used to aid digestion even as far back as Roman times. In Indian and Japanese cultures fermented foods and and probiotic drinks are still frequently consumed. Some probiotic foods: miso, raw sauerkraut (in the refrigerated section!), kimchi, tempeh, raw honey and if you consume dairy – raw (unpasteurized) milk and yogurt. Probiotic drinks include kombucha and kefir which you can easily make at home.
You’ll want a balance of both insoluble and soluble fiber. Depending on your specific health condition – you may want to increase one or the other. Fiber is found in plant based foods, not animal foods. Beans and legumes are a great sources of fiber. As are leafy green veggies and fruits like apples, pears, raspberries and prunes.
Try working a few of these foods, drinks and a supplement into your daily routine. Start slowly and add in more or increase the amounts over the course of a few days or a week. With time, they’ll become staples in your home.
Do you have favorite way to take care of your tummy? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.