Are You Sabotaging Your Gut Health?
3 Common Mistakes That Keep Your Gut In A Rut
These days a lot of us are eating with the intention of having a healthy gut, and for good reason. We either want to remedy some funky digestion drama or we know that gut health is at the core of our overall wellness. Whatever your reason, it’s easy to get confused by all of the information out there. Shiny new products claiming that this will heal your leaky gut and that will make you poop like a princess! Wherever you’re at in your wellness journey, I’d like to shed some light on 3 simple mistakes that may be preventing you from achieving superior gut health AND what to do instead.
Eating yogurt as your daily dose of probiotics is an easy one to get sucked into. Popular commercial ads promise improved immune systems and better digestion. Unfortunately, many of these popular brands add way too many sweeteners – even the plant-based ones. Sugar can cause a bacterial imbalance by feeding the unpleasant gas-producing microbes in your small intestine. It’s also important to know that most yogurts only contain a few strains of bacteria and have low colony forming units (CFUs).
Try this: Opt for plain coconut milk or water kefir. Traditionally made from cow, sheep or goat’s milk, kefir made from coconut milk and water are now widely available. This is great news if you avoid lactose and casein containing dairy products. One tablespoon of a high-quality coconut kefir can contain 10-50 different strains of beneficial bacteria and up to 150 billion CFUs! Now that’s impressive.
We all know that sufficient fiber is key for healthy poop formation and elimination, but too much too fast can be disastrous for your digestion. It pains me when I hear clients suffering from severe constipation, only to have been prescribed more fiber. When you’re already backed up, the last thing you want to do is add more fiber…ouch!
Try this: “Start low and go slow” is a common phrase I use in my health coaching practice. If you’re not used to eating a ton of fiber, I recommend only eating cooked veggies for awhile and then gradually introducing raw vegetables as digestion improves. I like to start my clients off with raw berries in the morning, fermented veggies in the afternoon, and steamed veggies in the evening.
Say whaaat?! You’re probably wondering what the heck mouthwash has to do with your gut health. Let me explain. The mouth is the entryway to our digestive system, and having a healthy mouth is important if you want to have a healthy gut. There are helpful bacteria in our mouths that have an important role in preventing cavities, supporting our immune systems, and serving as a component that kills pathogens that we might ingest. Alcohol-based mouthwash kills these special bacteria. Regular use can contribute to dysbiosis in the mouth and gut, leading to stomach ulcers, thrush and halitosis. Eek!
Try this: Try oil pulling with coconut oil. Oil pulling, or swishing, is an ancient Ayurvedic method of cleaning the entire oral cavity. Nadine Artemis of Living Libations has a detailed article outlining the benefits and how-tos of oil pulling. Read it here. You can also make a sea salt water rinse by adding 1 ounce of sea salt to 16 ounces of natural spring water with a few drops of a high-quality peppermint oil.
If you feel like you have plateaued in your gut health journey, take a look at these hidden disruptors. Of course, there are many ways our gut can get in a rut, to learn more connect with me on Instagram or sign up for my newsletter!
Shannon Caton is a trained and Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, NYC. With a focus on digestive issues, her clients explore how nutrition, lifestyle, physical movement and energy affects their well-being. Shannon creates a safe and welcoming environment for her clients and is committed to opening the dialogue of poo problems in an educational and lighthearted way. Living in sunny San Diego, Shannon loves gardening, cooking, yoga and continuing to further her education in functional digestive health. Find out more and receive your free Guide to Proper Poop by visiting her at shannoncaton.com.