It’s all the rage, right now…everywhere you look, people are talking about gut health and the “gut-brain” connection, the microbiome, etc.

1st, what does this even mean? How do you know if your gut is compromised and how can you heal it if it is?

Well, to put it very simply, we have trillions of bacteria in our gut that help or harm, depending on whether they are good bacteria or bad!

Our goal is to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria and discourage the growth of the unhealthy ones… simple, right?


How do you even know if you HAVE an issue?

All sorts of systems in our body are affected by gut health. Most notably, of course are digestive disorders: gas, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, overweight, etc.  But there are many others that are also affected including mental health! It’s not surprising when we learn that 90% of our serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) receptors are in our gut.

Many health professionals are now realizing that anxiety and depression can be caused or exacerbated by poor gut health.

Diet, stress, environmental toxins, past anti-biotic use, and poor sleep habits can all impact the health of our gut or microbiome: home to all of those bacteria or microbes.

What can we do to create a healthier microbiome? The easiest things to address are the things in our control: better sleep habits, de-stressor habits like mindfulness and meditation and changing our diet.

Many people believe that introducing beneficial bacteria: probiotics, into their gut will help but unless there is the food these good bacteria need to survive: prebiotics, these good bacteria won’t last and multiply.

For this reason, many experts believe that we must first limit our exposure to foods that encourage “bad microbes”. These foods include highly processed food, most animal products and sugary foods.

Second, we can add prebiotic foods: foods that the good bacteria need to thrive, largely consisting of insoluble fiber, which is found in all fruits and vegetables including seeds and nuts, kidney beans, soy beans and oats. 

Third, once we are creating a healthy environment for these good bacteria, we can think about adding foods with healthy bacteria in them: probiotics. These can include things like sauerkraut, kimchee, any pickled veggies, water kefir, plant-based yogurts, tempeh, miso, even garlic!

In his book, “The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat”, King’s College of London professor of genetic epidemiology suggests that the real answer to gut health resides in the diversity of plants that we eat. He points to cultures that are still eating their ancestral, very diverse diets made up of over 30 different plants per week in which obesity and other gut related diseases are virtually non-existent.

He suggests that no matter what diet we ascribe to; vegan, vegetarian, paleo, etc.…if we just made sure to have at least 30 different plants/week, we would have a much healthier microbiome. Currently, the traditional western diet includes 5 different plants. Yikes!

I’m going to start tracking how many different plants I get in my diet each week; so far, I’m up to 15 and it’s only Wednesday! Jake and I have been bolstering our intake of plants for 25 years with a plant concentrate that’s simple to use and super affordable. The company that produces it even has a family program that gives eligible kids their product for free. We get nutrition from more than 40 different plants every single day. You can get more information here!


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