So, I can’t let the whole month of April go by without talking about this topic. April is gut health awareness month and it’s too important a topic to not talk about!
Here’s the thing, guys…our microbiome is SUCH an important system in our body. Aside from the obvious and significantly important role of digesting food and absorbing nutrients, the microbiome plays a KEY role in healthy skin, mental health, energy, autoimmune conditions and SO much more. In case your wondering if a health challenge your facing is related to gut health…here’s a clue: IT PROBABLY IS. 🤷🏻♀️
Gut health has always been an important thing for me. I was the kid that struggled with anxiety and simultaneously had many school absences due to unexplainable stomach aches. Back then, we didn’t know the connection but it’s pretty clear to me now.
As an adult, I’ve continued to live with periods of anxiety and digestive discomfort. I’ve learned ALOT along the way, changed my lifestyle in some meaningful ways and helped many clients find the resources they need to upgrade their health via the gut. Cause again- it’s connected to EVERYTHING!
Anyway, I thought I’d bring some attention to this month by sharing a few things that have worked for me. Nothing in this world is solved with a cookie cutter approach and I am not your doctor and am in NO way giving medical advice. But, what worked for me might work for you and it’s certainly worth you doing the research to find out ways to optimize your gut health:
- Don’t go it alone. For so many reasons, you should get support in this or any health journey. For one thing, there’s some comfort in knowing that so many others have been in your shoes and have healed. Because you can too. Also- getting the help of a trained professional will save you time and frustration and ensure you are getting adequate nutrition in the meantime. When I had to do a low FODMAP diet for some time, I needed both the ideas of my functional nutritionist to find foods that I could eat/make, and her guidance when reintroducing foods back into my life. She also reminded me that low FODMAP is not a healthy long term solution for many of us, and gave me the perfect amount of reassurance to try some foods again. SO, the lesson here- talk to your doctors, of course, but also seek a functional nutritionist who can really customize a plan for you.
- Think outside the box. Some of my biggest successes in optimizing my heakth have come from my therapist, meditation trainings, acupuncturist and pelvic floor therapist. I highly respect the number of trained physicians and specialists I have worked with over the years, but I will say, I have felt my best when working with the “alternative” practitioners. They really shouldn’t be alternative at all- they should be included in all insurances and more physicians should be referring out to them, IMO.
- Stress less, sleep more. WAY easier said than done, I know. But the connection between poor sleep/high stress and gut imbalance is pretty strong. When my stress levels are high of sleep quality is low, my body is not happy. It all adds up after a while. My favorite ways to manage this: daily meditation (twice a day if I can), daily exercise or long walks outside, scheduling time with family and friends, daily gratitude journaling and getting enough sunlight and fresh air. I also take some really great, natural supplements to help with sleep when I need them (my fave sleep support jellies can be found here: https://jtreadwell.greencompassglobal.com/share/241595
- Eat clean. I mean, this should be a goal of ours all the time, right?! But, if you’re experiencing gut discomfort, bloating, skin irritation, depression/anxiety- it’s even more important. Many of my clients have had success testing for food allergies and cleaning up their nutrition. But again- you may want to work with a functional nutritionist to develop a customized plan. You may need more fiber, less fiber, a different kind of fiber, cooked veggies, low nightshades, etc…But, the basics of good nutrition- whole food, avoiding highly processed foods and added sugars, etc…are always a good idea.
- Drink less- I know, I know…I didn’t wanna hear this either. But, the truth is, alcohol is inflammatory to the body and it’s worth reducing your intake. I find my sweet spot is 1-2 drinks per week. When I’m feeling like a glass of wine, a seltzer with lime, my fave adaptogenic drink or a warm cup of bone broth does satisfy me quite well. Here is my new favorite gut supporting drink: https://jessicatreadwell1.isagenix.com/en-us/shop/targeted-health/bea-biotics?pid=a91b86fbfd3b4f75b487b269623c11bd
- Supplement well. I know most of us have had to rely on over the counter or prescription meds at some point. In my experience, though (and this is NOT medical advice), it’s worth questioning what you’re prescribed. Every time I’ve been prescribed antibiotics for myself or my kids, I’ve asked the doctors if they are ABSOLUTELY needed. The answer has, surprisingly, always been “no”. I’m just so careful with antibiotics, as use of them in my younger years led to some pretty detrimental consequences. I’m also really adamant about trying to avoid antacids, PPIs, etc. again- NOT medical advice…I just encourage people to REALLY do their research before putting anything in their bodies. That being said, some well researched supplements have made a world of difference for me and I’m grateful, again, for the guidance of my functional nutritionist. My daily lineup is adaptogens, prebiotics, polyphenols, cbd and magnesium. That’s what works for me. Find yourself a good practitioner who is open minded about the power of clean supplements (unfortunately, my GI doctor was not and it took my own work to find what I needed- but I’m SO glad I did the work!!)
Lots of info here, I know. But, my goal is to shorten your journey to optimal health- whether its to improve immunity, energy, skin, gut health, etc… There are solutions out there and you will find them when you seek the right practitioners, find the root causes of your symptoms and remain open minded about all of the treatment options out there.
To your health!