Your microbiome wasn’t built in a day - it took an entire lifetime. Getting back to a state of bliss is a gradual process.
Why our gut bacteria is out of balance
- Antibiotic overuse in humans
- Overtreating what we eat. Antibiotic overuse in meat and dairy.
- Overtreating our whole foods. The sugary, starchy Western diet compared to the fiber-rich legumes and veggies of Africans.
- Forgetting to eat fiber. Need 25-35 grams a day.
- Blocking acid. Long term use of PPIs can be a major factor in dysbiosis and bloating.
- Medications - birth control pills, steroids, chemotherapy
Dr. Robynne Chutkan described in an easy-to-read book how to quickly get our guts back in shape with her 10-day plan.
Common GI Issues
The intestinal lining is like a fishing net made of fine mesh with very small holes. Leaky gut is when those holes get bigger letting things through that shouldn’t. This can lead to common gut issues like constipation and diverticulosis.
MYTH: You can have a bowel movement daily and still be constipated. The longer you hold stool in, the more water is extracted from it and the harder it gets. She stresses the importance of looking at your stool which can give you important clues as to what is going on inside your gut. For example - Diverticulosis? Check for small, pebbly stool. Cancer? Look for toothpaste, thin stool. Foul smell? Consider parasite or bacterial overgrowth.
This is not normal or simply a product of getting older. It happens from a diet too high in animal products and too low in fiber.
Mechanism of Action: High pressure develops in the wall of colon when it has to contract vigorously to push out small hard stool leading to small bulges or potholes. You may also get thickening of the sigmoid colon located in lower left quadrant of your abdomen.
While you can't reverse diverticulosis, changing your diet can stop further progression.
A short note on Paleo
People on Paleo diets likely feel better because they have eliminated processed carbs & refined sugars - not because they are including meat.
There is actually not a big difference in animal products regarding cholesterol, i.e. fat. (based on 4 oz. serving)
- Lean ground beef 78 mg
- Beef sirloin 89 mg
- White meat skinless chicken 85 mg
- Pork chop 85 mg
- Salmon 63 mg
It is more important to think "plants vs. animals, not chicken vs. hamburger".
We should consume less than 300 mg a day of cholesterol.
Fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, yams, potatoes, rice, and grains have zero cholesterol!
THE X FACTOR
Women and Bloating
Women's anatomy is different. We have colons that are up to 5 inches longer than men. Also we have a more rounded, deeper pelvis where the colon can settle along with reproductive organs which can lead to looping, crowding, constipation, and bloating. Other causes of bloating include a less defined abdominal wall and hormonal imbalances. Your sweet tooth could also be a major cause in bloating through micronutrient deficiencies, inflammation, bacterial imbalance, and yeast overgrowth.
Why we bloat during our period
- Increase in intestinal gas production.
- Increase in salt and water retention but the kidneys.
- Decrease in bile production = low fat breakdown.
During menopause, you may need to make compensatory changes to your diet and exercise routine as your hormone levels naturally lower.
In other words, it's not entirely our fault. Often a day or two of green liquids and broth can help reset your body.
This is a more common issue among women than currently diagnosed. High levels of estrogen affect where the body distributes fat. This usually causes more fat deposition in the abdominal area. In addition, we are often exposed to xenoestrogens (plastics, birth control pills) which can increase are estrogen levels.
Obesity releases a hormone called androstenedione which gets converted to estrogen by fat cells. On of that stress depletes progesterone levels (due to increased cortisol levels) worsening estrogen dominance. Depressing right? She does have a solution for us. Keep reading.
Thyroid disease is on the rise for women over age 30
Why is this happening?
- Stress. Activates our immune system.
- Toxins. Environmental chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors.
- Nutritional deficiencies. From suboptimal diets, iodine deficiency, low selenium in soil, fluorinated water, and eating too many processed soy products.
Thyroid problems can be hard to detect given that lab values can be normal range but still not good for YOUR body.
Beauty and the Bloat
This was my favorite chapter because we all want to look good right?! If you are suffering from bad skin, thinning hair, and/or a bloated belly - look no further than the gut. Your skin is like the outer aspect of your intestines - everything you eat eventually shows up on it.
- Eat lots of dark green veggies.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and flavonoids.
- Eat foods rich in Vitamin A, carotenoids, and healthy fats.
- Cut down on sugar.
- Don't add salt.
- Avoid gluten.
- Be a teetotaler. Avoid alcohol.
- Limit dairy.
- Don't put anything on your skin with more than five ingredients or ones you can't pronounce.
- Use edible products. Your skin is a porous membrane. It absorbs what you put on it, which ends up inside of you.
The last few chapters of the book consist of the detailed 10-day Gutbliss plan with recipes. If you want to do the plan, you will have to buy the book!