Right at this moment in time, I’m in the “loving and healing my gut” mindset.
Basically, I’ve been following the AIP diet since the beginning of May this year, and even though I’ve definitely felt the positive benefits of it, I have also been dealing with a few set-backs due to gut inflammation. Why and how this is happening, I may never know, but I’m on a mission.
- To accept and fully embrace where I am at this very moment in time.
- To love my body. Symptoms and all.
- To nourish and heal my gut as best I can, while learning from the journey.
So what is leaky gut?
I’m amazed at the amount of research that is coming out showing that many people’s food allergies and sensitivities, fatigue and sleep issues, autoimmune conditions, as well as skin issues, digestive problems and slow metabolism are actually symptoms of leaky gut. Can you believe it?!
Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability is exactly that. A gut that leaks. It is (in very basic “Leigh” terms), when the lining of your digestive tract, which works as a barrier, becomes damaged allowing proteins, undigested food particles and toxins that normally can’t pass through, to escape into the blood stream – a place they shouldn’t be, causing inflammation and leading to immune reactions.
If you leave this damage unrepaired, it can not only cause malabsorption issues - where your body is unable to absorb the vital minerals and nutrients it needs - it can also lead to more severe health issue, like IBS, eczema and psoriasis, chronic fatigue and da da daaaa….autoimmune diseases.
So what causes leaky gut?
There seems to be four main causes of leaky gut, which include:
A poor diet | A diet filled with inflammatory causing foods, with the most common culprits being refined sugars, gluten, grains (specifically un-sprouted), GMO’s and conventional dairy. This can be different for everybody.
Chronic stress | Can over time weaken your immune system, leaving your body unable to fight off bad bacteria or viruses.
Toxin overload | Today, we are surrounded by chemicals and toxins, however some of the worst offenders include the overabundant use of antibiotics as well as pesticides and preservatives in the foods we eat.
Bacterial imbalance (dysbiosis) | An imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in your gut. The overuse of prescription antibiotic drugs, lingering gut infections and the lack of probiotic rich foods all contribute to this imbalance.
so How can I Heal a Leaky Gut?
The good news is that it CAN be healed, and the 4 steps I've been following, thanks to Dr Axe's website are:
- REMOVE foods that damage the gut – for me personally, this has included gluten, grains, soy, corn, sugar and dairy. I also do not consume any processed GMO foods*. Remember, this list can be different for everybody, however you have to break the cycle and stop adding to the inflammation before you can begin to heal it.
- REPLACE with gut healing foods – again for me, this includes an abundance of pesticide free organic produce, grass-fed meats and bone broth filled with glycine, gelatin and collagen that help heal damaged cell walls.
- REPAIR with specific supplements – this for me takes the form of apple cider vinegar and digestive enzymes prior to eating - helping my digestion. Along with aloe vera juice and magnesium baths at the end of the day to help detoxify and repair.
- REBALANCE with probiotics – this can be from both food and supplements and I believe it to be one of the most important and the most helpful, in my case. However, the probiotic I use is from my holistic practitioner and not from over the counter.
*Note – I removed these foods personally from my diet after extensive research, trial and error with my own body and with the support of my holistic practitioner.
One of my favourite food products that I've added into my diet is coconut. If tolerated, coconut products are especially good for your gut as the Medium Chain Fatty Acids in coconut are much easier to digest than other fats - a wonderful and healing addition to your wellness lifestyle.