Soothing an Irritated Gut Naturally
Healing Leaky Gut
If you suffer from ANY chronic, inflammatory disease or disorder (like: eczema, psoriasis, asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure, IBS, hormone imbalances, ANY form of auto-immunity or mental illness) it is pretty safe to say that leaky gut is at the root of your troubles.
Our family spent YEARS trying to get to the root cause of our SEVERE eczema. Once we did, guess what we found?
Food sensitivities. (30+ food sensitivities!)
And guess what was the root cause of those food sensitivities?
Yep. Leaky gut.
Thankfully, we also found the information we needed to turn it around. You can read our eczema story here to find out, not only how we completely (and permanently!!!) healed our eczema, but also how we reversed our 30+ food sensitivities and healed our leaky gut.
I believe that the gut-healing program we went through as a family was the tipping point we needed to get us to healing and I STRONGLY recommend it to anyone who is serious about healing leaky gut.
Soothing an Irritated Gut
Maybe you aren’t quite ready to jump into a full gut-healing program, but you’d like a way to support your gut in the meantime.
Maybe you’ve got some intestinal discomfort and you’d like a natural way to ease symptoms.
Today, I’d like to share with you some of the foods, supplements, and daily routines that can be helpful in soothing an irritated gut. Many of these suggestions were included in our gut-healing protocol and definitely speed healing, each in its own way. These are great ways to get started and it’s quite possible that you will find relief from whatever you’re experiencing, just by making some of these simple changes.
Sugar dramatically increases inflammation. Always. There just isn’t an easy way to tell you this. The fact is, you are going to have to break it off with sugar (at least for awhile) if you want to improve your gut health.
So hard. I know.
As long as you are pouring more gasoline on the fire, your gut will not be able to repair itself. Not only because of the inflammation it causes, but also because it feeds the harmful bacteria that are damaging your gut. You know how if you keep feeding a stray animal, it makes him a little harder to get rid of? Well, you’ve got to quit feeding that overgrown bacteria hanging around in your gut if you ever want it to go away.
ALL refined and processed sugars should be completely taken out of your diet forever. Amen. These are incredibly harmful and do nothing at all to nourish your body. Say goodbye. It won’t be long before you won’t even be able to believe you ever ate that poison in the first place. I promise.
Natural sugars, such as honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, dates and other dried fruits should be very limited (preferably eliminated) while you are healing your gut. Once your gut is happy, a small amount of natural, unprocessed sugar is usually fine.
Fruits should be kept to a minimum while healing, but not necessarily eliminated. Berries, for instance, have a pretty low-glycemic index and won’t affect your efforts too much, in most cases.
Nearly all grain products on the market today have been so hybridized, refined, and doused in gut-deteriorating pesticides (Google: glyphosate) that it’s a really good idea to avoid them completely while you’re healing your gut. In fact, it’s likely that once you remove sugar and grains from your diet, you’ll begin feeling better right away.
Grains are somewhat more difficult even for a healthy gut to digest. After we finished our gut healing and reversed our food sensitivities, we decided to add back into our diet a small amount of ancient grains, always soured or soaked. Einkorn (our ancient grain of choice) has not been hybridized at all. That means that your gut is much more likely to recognize the proteins and digest them properly. Einkorn does contain a small amount of gluten, but nothing even close to the amount of gluten in today’s modern wheat (28 chromosomes in ancient einkorn ~ 48 in modern wheat). And the sourdough seems to do an amazing job of breaking down whatever gluten there is to be found in the einkorn flour.
So my suggestion regarding grains would be to avoid them completely until you are #1 – healed, and #2 – able and willing to soak or sour ancient grains.
Whole, raw, grass-fed dairy CAN BE a very healing food IF you are certain that you have not developed a sensitivity to it. This is true about most whole foods actually. It is best to look into food sensitivity testing before taking on any kind of serious gut-healing protocol. Because a sensitivity will cause ANY FOOD to become a source of inflammation in your body. If you believe that you may have a sensitivity to dairy, it is best to keep it out of your system until after you have repaired your leaky gut.
Herbs, Spices, and Fresh Garlic
Fresh herbs, dried herbs, fresh garlic cloves, and spices of every description are God’s gift to help heal and detoxify our weary bodies. Get yourself a few pots of herbs for your windowsill: basil, oregano, parsley, dill, etc… and get ready to flavor your food! Add handfuls of fresh herbs, spoonfuls of spices and dried herbs, and as many garlic cloves as you can stand to everything you eat! The benefits are almost innumerable.
Bone broth is one of the most nourishing substances on the planet. It contains HIGH amounts of minerals, amino acids, collagen, gelatin, and L-glutamine. Each of these substances is very soothing to the gut lining. Collagen and gelatin help to “heal and seal” the gut lining, while L-glutamine helps strengthen it to prevent future damage.
Bone broth is incredibly easy to make yourself. Simply put some grass-fed bones (of any variety, though chicken is most common) into a pot. Fill the pot with water and simmer for 12-24 hours. Voila! Bone broth. Use it in all of your soups and stews and any time you need liquid for a savory recipe. You can even season it with salt and pepper and drink it from a mug.
Coconut oil is also very nourishing to the gut. The saturated fat in coconut oil, called lauric acid, is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. It will help to coat and soothe the gut lining as well as encourage healthy bowel-function, which is crucial to healing! Use cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil in your every day recipes, add it to smoothies, stir it into your tea, get it in any way you can.
Fermented foods are populated with enormous amounts of beneficial bacteria, ever so much more than you can get from a probiotic supplement. These beneficial bacteria work hard to protect your gut from invasion. Read more about how they do that here. You will find these friendly bacteria in foods like: yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Find a couple of favorites and try to get them in every day.
Fermented foods also help to dramatically lower your body’s pH levels. A body with a high pH is a body prone to disease. A body with a low pH is a body that is prone to wellness. It’s the facts, man. Can’t change it.
One caution: If candida overgrowth is a problem for you, it may be necessary to wait on fermented foods until after you have dealt with the candida.
Fatty, cold-water fish along with cod-liver and flaxseed oils are excellent sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids and vitamin D. It would be a great idea to alternate between a spoonful of high-quality cod-liver oil and flaxseed oil each day.
A High Quality Probiotic
If you are not able to get a hefty amount of fermented foods into your diet every day, a high quality probiotic is a must. It actually wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a maintenance dose even once you’re healthy.
Digestive enzymes will help to break down the food you eat into individual nutrients so that they can be better absorbed and used by your body. They also break down the proteins found in many pathogens so that they can be moved out of the body and prevent further irritation of the gut lining. It’s best to take one or two capsules immediately before each meal.
L-glutamine is naturally found in bone broth, but can also be taken in capsule form several times daily (between meals) as a supplement to help strengthen and repair the gut lining. 3-5 grams/day.
Aloe Vera Juice
Pure, aloe vera juice is PACKED with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, enzymes, and has safe, natural laxative properties. It’s a Ph-lowering, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, wound-healing powerhouse! And you can drink it!! 1 – 2 ounces (2-4 T) on an empty stomach one or twice daily.
This is actually my very favorite tea in the wide, wide world. Mmm.. We drink it every night. This anti-inflammatory tea also includes licorice, which is known to be soothing to the digestive tract.
Slippery Elm Bark, Okra Pepsin, and/or Marshmallow Root
These herbs coat and soothe the digestive tract.
Slippery Elm Bark can be mixed with warm water to make an ooey- gooey drink of sorts. Sounds good, right? It’s not, but it IS VERY SOOTHNG. Take 1-2 teaspoons daily on an empty stomach.. though you may want to start out with just a 1/2 teaspoon and work your way up, making sure to keep your self very hydrated! Slippery Elm Bark also comes in capsule form.
Okra Pepsin stimulates immune function, coats the gut tissue and provides support for bowel function and cleansing. It is taken in capsule form, but it’s also a great idea to add okra to your diet if you have access to it.
Colostrum strengthens the intestinal wall and the immune system. If you choose to take colostrum, make sure you find a very high-quality source. Raw, grass-fed colostrum from a local farmer is best.
There are many essential oils that can provide overall support for gut-health as well as immediate relief of digestive discomfort.
Apply 1-3 drops of an essential oil (like Digize, Peppermint, Ginger, or Purification) along with a bit of carrier oil (like olive or coconut oil) onto your mid-section. Massage the oil in a clockwise direction. Do this whenever you have specific digestive discomfort.
For overall digestive support and to promote healing, consider taking Frankincense, Copaiba, and/or Digize vitality oils in capsule form, dropped under the tongue, or in a glass of water daily.
Essential oils are extremely high in antioxidants, they increase circulation, decrease stress, and aid in digestion. They support the body’s ability to do what the body does best, which is to HEAL ITSELF!
Young Living Essential Oils are safe, effective, and known for their purity and therapeutic properties. If you would like more information about choosing the right oils to support your body, as well as tips on how best to apply them, send us an email and we’ll set up an appointment to chat.
Prayer and Meditation
Stress contributes to leaky gut more than all of these other factors combined. You CANNOT stress and digest at the same time! In order to heal your body (from anything) you have got to get your stress levels under control. Prayer is PROVEN to decrease stress levels significantly and increase healing. Reach out to your Creator and the Greatest Physician. The One Who made your body knows how to fix it!
Make sure you are giving your body several hours of rest every night. Your body does most of its repair work while you sleep!
Be honest, are you getting 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night?
A few ideas to help you get to sleep:
- Turn off all electronics 1-2 hours before bed. The blue light prevents your body from making the melatonin it needs to rest.
- Use Frankincense and Lavender essential oils together in a diffuser at night, or in a base of jojoba and rosehip oils to make a relaxing evening moisturizer.
- Once a week or so (more often if you have the time) take an Epsom salt bath before bed in order to release toxins and replenish magnesium levels.
- Keep a bottle of these nearby for a little extra sleep support on nights when your mind is really racing.
For us, it wasn’t enough to haphazardly throw all these great diet and supplement ideas at our leaky gut. We needed some guidance and strategy. However, these suggestions are a great place to start if you aren’t ready for a complete protocol and they might just provide you with the relief that you need.
Definitely give it your best shot.
And let us know how it works out!
Did any of these suggestions bring you relief?
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And as always friends, please remember that I’ve got kids sledding down the stairs on Costco boxes as I write to you…
So, if you think I’ve forgotten something important, have any questions or comments, or simply a bit of encouragement to share, please use the comments below, send me an email, or find us on facebook.
I’d love to hear from you.