There’s a lot of focus on gut health these days. But what does it all mean?
What exactly is, “gut health”
Your digestive system is comprised of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract and is a series of connected organisms along a thirty-foot pathway responsible for chewing food, digesting and absorbing nutrients, and expelling waste.
Our digestive system works closely with our immune system to protect the body from pathogens and invaders.
But so what?!
How does that affect me?
Well, digestive problems are becoming increasingly more prevalent. Similarly, mental health issues are also on the rise. How can the neurons embedded in our gut influence healthy emotions when inflammation, blockages, candida and other unhealthy bacteria are overpopulating our healthy bacteria?
Put simply.. they can’t!!!
So here’s a few things I’ve learned that I wish I knew A LONG time ago:
“Gluten is a highly digestion-resistant grain, therefore it can travel to the small intestine in whole particles, causing inflammation, pain, bloating, poor memory and concentration, and in some cases diarrhoea or constipation” - from my amazing Naturopath, Erin Reid. So whether you are gluten intolerant or not, it is a good idea to cut back on the gluten consumption (or cut it completely).
Just because you’re not diagnosed to be “intolerant” to a particular food group, doesn’t mean its is ok to eat. I have eaten carbs for my entire life (and I’m not a coeliac) and didn’t realise that because this eventually turns into sugar in our body, that this was contributing to my candida symptoms (which in my opinion, came from the unhealthy gut flora of my Mama - which she had no clue about!).
Your gut microbiome is NOT just about food. Yes, a wholefood plant-based diet is great for a healthy gut. Yes, eating fruits and vegetable high in fiber (such as rasberries and broccoli) promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
But what about our toxic load?
In this study, it was found that “Environmental chemicals can also interfere with the composition of the GI microbiota, which may lead to detrimental consequences for the host”. The host being US!
Essential oils are a really fantastic way to reduce your exposure to heavy metals and chemicals. If you are not yet using essential oils, then you should be! Subscribe below to see just how many things you are missing out on by not having them in your home!!!
You can also check out my Blog Post here, which is all about cleansing and non-toxing your home.
Yep, that’s awesome, Jazze. But what do I do?! How can I improve my gut health?
Here are my quick tips for promoting healthy gut bacteria:
See a naturopath. There is no way that you can tell what is going on inside your gut unless you do a stool test. Yes - a poo test! You can do it yourself at home and once it’s done, it’s done!
Bone broth (or veggie broth). SO incredibly beneficial for your gut and you can find the recipe here.
Eat whole grains. Whole grains contain lots of fiber and non-digestible carbs, such as beta-glucan. Some examples of whole grains are buckwheat, quinoa, spelt (so you can opt for this instead of white flour), wholegrain and whole-wheat pastas. This is a great recipe book if you are looking to make the switch to a more wholefoods, plant-based diet.
Eat a VARIETY of vegetables. Yep, I know you’ve got your faves. But try and eat lots of colours, and implement leafy grains into as many meals as possible (we love Tuscan Kale, massaged with olive oil and sea salt. So yum!).
Reduce sweeteners in your diet. Even “healthier” options such as pure honey, rice malt syrup, or coconut sugar, are all still sugars. Try your best to cut these out as much as you can.
Make simple switches. Prebiotic coconut yoghurt with NO sweetener instead of traditional yoghurt. You get the benefit of the prebiotics and you can easily sweeten it with essential oils such as Green Mandarin or Tangerine (and get the added health benefits of Limonene too). Choose stevia or rice malt syrup (or none at all) instead of brown/white/raw sugar. Drink Kefir or Kombucha instead of soft drink.
Order your fruit and vegetables online and when they arrive, wash them and cut up your veggies there and then. You are so much more likely to eat a healthy meal if all you need to do is throw it in a pan with some ghee and cook it up!
But what about Parasites…
Even the word sounds icky!!!
A parasite is essentially a living organism that gets food at the expense of us! Aka we eat something, but we don’t digest it properly or get the full benefits (such as vitamins and minerals) because the parasite eats it instead!
How can you get a parasite?
consumption of contaminated water
consumption of contaminated soil
contact with contaminated feces
Most of the time, it is due to drinking contaminated drinking water or eating food that hasn’t been washed or was washed in contaminated water.
We now drink filtered water and always always always wash our fruit and vegetables with a dash of white vinegar (or a teaspoon of baking soda) and 3 drops of Lemon or Tangerine essential oil. Essential oils are high in limonene, which has the ability to break down pesticides and dirt still hanging around on our produce.
I have the most common form of parasite, called Blastocystis.
You can read about it here.
Aside from recurring thrush symptoms, I had no clue that I had a parasite. Approximately 70% of people will have an intestinal parasite and not know about it!
What am I doing about it?
Essential oils have a unique ability to recognise what is supposed to be present in an organism and what should be eliminated. Parasites can be especially threatening due to their mobile nature (they move from tissue to tissue) and ability to reproduce so quickly. That’s the beauty of essential oils. You can use something different every day to make sure it isn’t getting “used” to it.
5 drops each of Thyme, On Guard, Clove, Lemongrass, Purify and Zendocrine. These oils encourage an unfriendly environment for parasites and encourage elimination.
When I roll it around my belly button morning and night, I actually picture in my mind that it is eating the parasite alive. I only started doing it about 3 weeks ago and immediately noticed a difference in my stool (sorry for the TMI!).
I shake the bottle, and drop 8 drops into an empty veggie capsule. I then add 2 drops of a different oil that has anti-parasitic properties such as Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano, Thyme.
I alternate between herbs (created by Erin, my naturopath), a probiotic (Bio Medica SB) prescribed by Erin and gut powder (I have this one).
This isn’t to scare you. It’s just to share a little bit about my journey to improved gut health. I didn’t consider myself to have bad gut health, until I had excellent gut health (despite having a parasite!).
I encourage you to reach out to Erin (she does Skype calls if you are not in Melbourne) because she focuses on what is going on at the root, and doesn’t just prescribe you herbs. She will give you a food plan and tell you EXACTLY what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
You can book here.
As indicated above, when parasites have embedded themselves deep within your intestinal tract and in your organs, you need to be able to reach these invaders with substances that both kill these parasites and expel them from the body.
Cue… essential oils!
If you are not yet using them, holla at me! I’d love to help :)
You can find me here…