Leaky Gut Diet | You Are What You Eat.
Have you ever noticed that when you take charge of your health, it can change everything? Skin begins to glow. Those last 10 pounds ‘magically’ melt off. And, energy levels increase. Or, maybe you’re in the other category where you feel lethargic, depressed, and you can’t quite loose that extra belly fat? Either way, if you feel great or if you feel terrible the foods you eat are affecting your health. When you consistently make healthy food choices you’ll feel amazing. But, if you’ve succumbed to years of fueling your body with a processed, high-fat, or sugary diet, then that can take a toll on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
What Is A Leaky Gut?
Sometimes we need a reboot. When you’re experiencing low energy levels, weight gain, or clogged pores that could be a sign that your gut isn’t functioning properly. You might also experience digestive problems. All of this could mean that you have leaky gut
syndrome, a condition where toxins ‘leak’ through the intestinal wall. This triggers inflammation and health problems (like cystic acne or depression). If you’re wondering what causes this, just know that if your diet contains high amounts of sugar, fat, and alcohol that could be the culprit. So, what can you do? Take charge of your health and rebalance your gut, mind, and entire body by going on a leaky gut cleanse.
What’s The Difference Between A Cleanse & A Diet?
America is in a food crisis and it’s expanding the waistline. Over the last 20 years the average body mass index (BMI) has increased. Between 2009-2010, 78 million adults were considered obese
in the U.S. In 2014, 70% of Americans were considered obese. Thanks to sedentary
lifestyles, the abundance of processed food and larger portion sizes these numbers aren’t going down. They’re increasing. So are the numbers of people dieting each year. America spends more than $20 billion on weight loss pills, diets, shakes, and surgeries annually. Ironically, as the diet industry blossoms, so does the number of overweight adults. If the latest fad diet isn’t making us healthier what exactly is the answer?
More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates said, “All disease begins with the gut.” Today science proves that he might be right. An unhealthy gut is known to cause obesity, mood disorders and even some types of cancer. When you go on a leaky gut cleanse, you’re not focused on simply limiting calories. You’re focused on helping your intestines, colon, and gut get rid of waste and toxins to work more efficiently. By helping your body rid itself of toxins, you’re also safeguarding your body against disease. During the cleanse you’ll eliminate inflammatory foods while replacing them with gut friendly fiber and probiotics. These foods will also give your gut a nice dose of healthy bacteria that your body needs. With a properly functioning gut, loosing weight isn’t a loosing battle. A healthy gut will mean that your body will drop to its ideal weight naturally.
What You’ll Need
Before you jump on-board, just know that you have to cleanse the right way. It’s more than just going on a liquid diet for two weeks. Think of it more as a conscious eating program that will give your body the nutrition it needs to sustain energy levels while cleaning out your system. This way, you’ll help your body eliminate the bad stuff that’s been accumulating all these years while still maintaining your energy levels to get you through the day. So, no, you won’t have to subsist on a warm maple syrup and cayenne pepper drink for two weeks. You’ll enjoy fresh foods that help clean out your gut.
Since you will be eating a balanced healthy diet on this cleanse, you’ll have to stock up on fresh whole foods beforehand. A typical shopping list might look like…
- Vegetables: Arugula, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and Swiss chard.
- Fruit: Apples, berries, lemon and limes (or seasonal organic fruit).
- Seeds: Chia, flax, pumpkin and sesame.
- Healthy Fats: Avocado, cold pressed oils like coconut, avocado, and olive and raw or lightly roasted and unsalted nuts.
- Meats: Wild-caught fish, lean cuts of chicken, beef, lamb, and turkey.
- Beverages: Green and other herbal teas, bone broth, coconut milk, nut milk and kombucha.
You’ll also want to buy foods that add good bacteria to the gut and stimulate digestion. Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, or kimchi are all traditional foods that have been introducing good bacteria to our guts for thousands of years. If you want to add a little spice in your life, try cooking with turmeric and fresh ginger. These two herbs are prized for their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to aid digestion. Additionally, you might want to look to adding a probiotic supplement to your diet. Look for one that contains live cultures and bacteria that will help to heal your gut.
Foods To Avoid
You’ll also have to put aside those unhealthy foods during the cleanse. Alcohol, dairy, gluten, sugar, processed foods, eggs, and soy can cause distress and inflammation in the gut. You’ll have to say goodbye to these foods while on your cleanse.
- Wheat-based & Gluten products: Bread, barley, bulgar, cereals, muffins, oats, rye, seitan, products made from wheat flour, pasta, pizza, etc.
- Processed meats: Cold cuts, deli meats, bacon, hot dogs, burgers, etc.
- Dairy: Butter, cheese, ice cream and milk based products.
- Refined oils: Canola, sunflower, soybean, and safflower oils
- Snacks & Processed Foods: Pretzels, candy, sugary cereals, potato chips, muesli, cakes, chocolate, etc.
- Beverages: Alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, and sugary drinks.
During the cleanse you’ll want to avoid these foods to allow your gut proper time to heal, cleanse, and rebuild itself. After the cleanse you can slowly begin to introduce these foods back into your diet. Although, be careful to include them in small quantities. You still don’t want to disrupt your gut health with too many inflammatory or unhealthy foods.
Now it’s time to starve the bad bacteria by eliminating inflammatory foods from your diet. As mentioned before some of these foods include dairy, gluten, corn, dried fruit, deli meats, heavy starches (potatoes), eggs, sugary foods and alcohol. Eliminating these foods might sound restrictive, but when you think of all the things that you can eat, you might feel excited about the colorful meals you’ll enjoy on this diet. You can enjoy lean meats like fish and lamb and a host of vegetables that include artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, and kale. This is also a great time to load up on berries, apples, and nuts like almonds and walnuts. A typical day’s worth of meals could include…
- Drinks: ½ Gallon of water, green tea, kombucha
- Breakfast: Quinoa porridge with fresh berries and a non-dairy probiotic yogurt
- Snack: A handful of raw nuts
- Lunch: Mixed seasonable vegetable salad with a salad dressing with apple cider vinegar
- Dinner: Wild-caught salmon and seasonal baked vegetables with fermented vegetables served on the side.
- Dessert: Fresh berries with a probiotic yogurt supplement.
How To Maintain A Healthy Gut:
You’ve eliminated. You’ve cleansed. You’ve introduced healthy bacteria back into your gut through probiotic supplements. Now, what? After two weeks of eating anti-inflammatory whole foods you’ve jumpstarted your gut health with a good cleanse and fiber-rich foods. And, if you added fermented foods or a probiotic supplement you introduced good bacteria back to your gut as well. Yet, while diet is important to gut health, it’s also important to maintain your overall health to keep your gut in peak operating condition.
Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods
As mentioned before you’ll want to avoid items like chocolate, chips, or wine while you’re on the leaky gut cleanse. Although, once cleansed you can reintroduce those foods into your diet in small quantities. A glass of wine here. A few chips there. As long as you maintain a healthy full of nutrient rich whole foods, your gut should okay. Just be sure to avoid having these foods making up the bulk of your diet.
Get Enough Sleep
Maintaining a healthy gut is also about maintaining a healthy lifestyle
. Part of that lifestyle includes ensuring that you get enough rest. It’s recommended that the average adult should sleep for 7 hours each night. Try to set up a routine and go to bed at the same time every night. Studies have shown that irregular sleeping habits could alter gut flora and cause inflammation in the gut.
Going for a long walk or doing yoga does more than increasing muscle tone or melting excess fat. A study at the University College Cork in Ireland found that regular exercise
alters gut micro-organisms. The study also found that athletes had more gut diversity than non-athletes.
Hit The Reset Button
All in all, a leaky gut cleanse can be one of the ways you can use diet to jump-start your health. It’s a reset button that can help you adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle. And, if you cleanse the right way and maintain a strong gut you’ll reap the benefits. You might experience higher energy levels, clearer skin, and hopefully better health overall.