Why a Healthy Gut?

Why a Healthy Gut?
  • Jan 22, 2014

I’ve tried to explain to people why I eat Paleo and drink Kombucha and feed my kids Kefir and why I’ve made brownies out of sweet potatoes for the last two years.

I was having major sinus infections and the last one really threw me over – I had so much fluid in my ear, I actually couldn’t hear for like 3 weeks. I honestly thought I was deaf and it gave me anxiety.

I started putting the pieces together -from weather changes, to my diet and realized I had a plugged nose most of my life! I didn’t put it together that food could affect sinus issues. I mean, I ate healthy. I stayed away from sweets because they are always my downfall. But I ate plenty of whole grains. I mean. Come on. All day long. From whole grain tortilla chips, to whole grain breads and pasta. I mean, I WAS HEALTHY. Lots of fiber. The browner the bread or the pasta or rice, the better off I was. (haha!)

I hadn’t really considered gluten or grain an issue until I read the article below and talked to my friend Linsey. She shared with me that her friend put their daughter on a gluten free diet to help with sinus infections. So once again my little Linsey was totally behind me on this. She encouraged me to go 30 days on Paleo. (And going Paleo was just the easiest way to follow a gluten/grain free diet with still eating lots of nutrients.)

So the article that pushed me into Paleo and taught me to eat to support my immune system is below. Basically, what I learned is that the food I was eating was causing inflammation in my gut. When there is inflammation in the gut, every other part of your system is hindered because when the gut is leaky or inflamed, nothing else works right – everything is working to try to get the gut healthy. The result of  the body working so hard to make the gut healthy hinders the immune system and is the root of many health problems. (These are my own words).

The Healthy Home Economist – Pollen is not the problem

Not everyone else was that supportive. This is my funny timeline of how the events went down:

  • First 3 months: prove to my family that we won’t starve on Paleo (while figuring out the good fat bad fat deal. that was hard for me).
  • Next 3 months: persuade my mom to eat this way rather than her family way of eating (She’s Italian. We really like to eat.)
  • Rest of my life: reap the benefits of non grain eating, yet deal with the harsh reality that people LOVE their way of eating and will actually take offense when you do something different.

Here are some funny comments I’ve heard along the way:

  • “Take away my bread? Isn’t Jesus BREAD?” (FOR REALS)
  • “Do you just eat bacon all day?”
  • “It’s just so much fat. Gross.”
  • “You shouldn’t eat coconut oil if you’re eating red meat.”
  • “Your kids will miss out on the whole grains that are so important for growing.”

So I just carried on. Adding spoonfuls of coconut oil to my tea. More fat and less grain. It was awesome.  I made most meals from scratch and conned my kids into eating pudding made from avocados/kefir/local honey/coco powder. They totally fell for it.

I kept studying up on the gut and flora and why it’s important. The biggest help out there was Mark’s Daily Apple blog. He’s been addressing this stuff for years and promotes this kind of lifestyle. It was easy to understand when reading his stuff. It was only hard to understand because it is so different than EVERYTHING we’ve been taught about the food guide pyramid. No one talks about a healthy gut (at least 2 years ago, no one was!)

Here’s an article that really helps explain gut flora and how it helps my immune system:

Marks Daily Apple – Gut Flora and your Healthy Immune System

I like this article because along with all the crazy in-depth info, it gives easy guidelines to maintain a healthy gut. Two of them, which I faithfully abide by, are eliminating grain/gluten and the other is eliminating vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are hard to digest and cause problems in your gut. Pretty much any packaged food is made with vegetable oil. (Something to think about there!)

So there it is. A healthy gut. Who would’ve thought that getting your digestion under control actually helps keep your immune system strong?

We are a society that lives and eats based on how we feel and what’s comfortable for us. So to go against the grain (haha) has been a challenge. But again, so worth it. I literally eat for my health every day. And I’m pretty sure I have a really healthy gut now :)

Lastly on this super long post, I’ll give all the positive side affects to having and maintaining a healthy gut through true clean eating.

  • less bloating
  • less acne
  • better sleep
  • husband who is a type 1 diabetic is off all medication
  • mom (who ended up following Paleo) eliminated markers for lupus on blood tests
  • less PMS
  • less sore after hard workouts
  • no more dizziness during workouts

And probably the last positive side affect is:

Life is just better when you don’t have a stomach ache or a plugged nose all the time!!! Hahaha!!

Here is my friend Marie and I at a local CrossFit Competition back in September. (Steven is behind us). We are all “Paleo CrossFit athletes!” Marie is awesome because she can make any recipe Paleo and I always ask her what she’s making for dinner. Then I copy her. We have healthy guts. :)

Yucaipa CrossFit Amy