I would be arrogant and ignorant to think I had all the answers when it comes to health. To be honest what I think is best for our health as human beings in any moment is constantly changing due to the wealth of information available to us and our vast difference in needs. The challenge is deciding what is right for your health when sifting through the ever changing and conflicting data that is available. Not only through our trusted health professional, but also the highly accessible and dense sea of the world wide web.

I talk briefly about deciding how to take on all the new ideas you are bombarded with every day here, but today I would like to offer you my opinion on what I believe is right for my health today (it may change tomorrow ;p).

I have been told I suffer from an autoimmune condition ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine), undifferentiated spondylitis, fibromyalgia, IBS, asthma, hayfever, dermatitis, bipolar, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and the list could probably go on if I was to be analysed in further detail. I have been told most of these conditions are genetic and for the most part incurable. I hope you listen to me when I say, if you experience any of these symptoms you can cure these conditions in nearly every case. So what I am going to share, what I believe is right for my health, is likely to be valuable for most the population since a lot of the population experience similar symptoms. (PS it cannot be genetics alone as all of these conditions have increased significantly in the past century. If you paid attention in biology, genes don’t evolve that quickly. What has changed in the past decade is our environment. There may be a genetic predisposition, but our environment is the trigger in the disease gun.)

Hippocrates wisely once said ‘All disease begins in the gut’. So if you are suffering from any health condition it would pay to reflect on the health of your gut. Since most of us are suffering from some form of disease or disorder, it would be smart to start at the very beginning and look at the importance of gut health.

To put it simply, your gut is populated by trillions of micro-organisms both good and pathogenic. Provided you have a sufficient balance of good bacteria, they can keep the pathogenic bacteria in check. Pathogenic bacteria has its role in the body, its when it gets out of control that symptoms of disease rear their head.

Our current environment is full of highly refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed food that feed the bad bacteria in our gut and antibiotics that kill good bacteria in the gut. Not to mention our chronic exposure to toxins and stress that irritate our gut. You can see how an imbalance can happen.

A baby has a sterile gut in the womb and gains all its gut bacteria from its mother through the birth canal. So if mother has a less than satisfactory bacteria balance this is passed on to her child. This is further distorted by antibiotics, medications, the pill, diet, toxins, the lack of breastfeeding, etc etc. This is also why disorders can be assumed to be genetic, these conditions run in the family because gut imbalance runs in the family and deteriorates with each generation.

The problem with this imbalance is

  1. The good bacteria bind to toxins and neutralise them, so if there is not enough, toxicity is high. On top of that, pathogenic bacteria release further toxins.
  2. If these beneficial bacteria are out of balance, it leaves the gut vulnerable to invasion from pathogenic bacteria, toxic substances, parasites and anything that comes along, including viruses from vaccines. All of which can damage the digestive system.
  3. ‘Beneficial bacteria living on the gut epithelium digest the food that comes along, converting it into nourishing substances for the gut lining’. So along with the damage to the gut wall from the invasion of the bad stuff, the lack of good bacteria inhibits gut cell repair.

The result – a damaged gut that leaks undigested food and high amounts of toxins into the blood. The blood then shifts it around the body, storing in fatty tissue such as the brain, enter mood and behavioural disorders.

So what to do? I share in more detail in our other content, however here is a rough outline to guide you in shifting your lifestyle to improve your gut health.

  1. Build good gut bacteria:

    You can do this by consuming probiotic foods, aka fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir, and also taking a therapeutic strength probiotic.

  2. Starve bad bacteria:

    For best results eliminate, if not, at least reduce to a bare minimum grains, sugary, starchy and processed foods. Grains you say? If you have an ineffective gut your body can’t digest grains. Therefore they only feed bacteria and give off toxic bi-products.

  3. Repair the gut wall:

    Consume bone broths, bone marrow and gelatinous tissues to rebuild the gut lining. As someone who has followed a vegan diet this has been a massive challenge, however due to the severity of my health, an absolute necessity.

  4. Replace nutrients:

    With gut damage and bacteria imbalance comes significant nutrient deficiencies. Consume vegetable juices daily and consider supplementation of cod liver oil. With gut damage, fibre is unable to be digested so juices remove this barrier and inject pure nutrients into your body for detoxification.

  5. Detox:

    You body needs to rid toxins stored in tissues and rebuild. Rid toxins through detox baths of apple cider vinegar, bi-carb soda or Epsom salts. Dry brush and do light exercise daily.

  6. Rest:

    Get plenty of sleepGive your digestive system a rest. Fasting can be one way to achieve this by fasting for a couple of days and only consuming vegetable juices so nutrients aren’t lost or doing a water fast with some salt electrolytes. Repairing happens between 4am and 10am so if you don’t feel like breakfast in the morning allow your body to continue fasting and repairing. Start with over cooked meat and veges aka boiled, so your gut doesn’t have to do much work then gradually move to stews, to roast and grill and then eventually raw. If you get bloated or constipated your gut is not ready to move to the lesser cooked option.

This is really just touching the surface. For an amazing resource on the science behind mental disorders, autoimmune conditions and more and the link to gut health you must read Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome’. She is clear and concise in communicating the science for those that want the nitty gritty, but also includes the easy to understand history, a programme to heal your gut and supporting recipes.

How do you look after your gut health? Which of these ideas do you think you could add to your lifestyle?