10 Ways to Make Gut Health Easier
Speaking from personal experience, I know gut health is not easy. I spent years following intense elimination diets and taking expensive supplements only to discover that I still wasn’t even digesting my food properly, and even more recently, I found out I was mercury toxic which I learned was still disrupting the balance of my gut. This journey is anything but easy!
After walking this path of chronic illness since I was a teen and becoming a nutritional therapy practitioner myself, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and taken a lot of wrong turns. I’ve wasted time, money, and have found myself curled up in bed with a stomach ache hundreds of times.
But throughout all of my failures and missteps in my own gut healing journey, I was inching closer and closer to figuring out how to make this journey easier! And today, I’m sharing that knowledge of how to make gut health easier with you…
10 Ways To Make Gut Health Easier
1.First, know your why
The number one thing to start within setting any goal is knowing why you’re doing it. Just following your doctor’s orders because they’re in a white coat and look important isn’t enough to motivate you in the long run.
Think in the big picture here. Think about things like…
- Being able to play your favorite sport again
- Going on that dream vacation
- Being more present for your loved ones
- Better achieve your own hopes and dreams
Having serious issues with your health can potentially hold you back from doing all of those things and more. Keep your ultimate goal in mind to keep yourself on course and make your entire journey easier to follow.
2. Focus on your digestion before you focus on healing your gut
This was my biggest mistake for years and one that I’m very intentional about since I became an NTP. In gut healing protocols, we’re used to seeing people pull foods from their diets and add in supplements to patch up their gut. Certainly, this behavior isn’t wrong.
However, if we don’t focus on healing our digestion before we heal our gut lining, our gut lining can continually be damaged throughout the process or damaged soon after if we’re not intentional about good digestion. Here’s how I always explain it… taking tons of glutamine as your first and the only effort in healing your gut is like going to the gym only to get a buff left shoulder without working the rest of your upper body. It’s not possible. You need to address the entire system to heal it, and that includes making sure you’re not getting reflux, or are improperly digesting fats, carbs, or proteins.
Healing your digestion is hard work on its own, and comes from being intentional, slowing down, and supplementing when necessary. I wrote an entire blog post on naturally healing your digestion, here.
3. Establish 5-6 core gut healing recipes that you can always depend on
Many of us get shiny object syndrome when trying to get the hang of a new lifestyle. What about this recipe? Or this food? Or this product? Variety and trying new things is great, and I encourage rotating your foods, but constantly trying a brand new recipe is anything but easy. It requires new pantry items, new cooking methods, and can be way more hassle to add to your routine regularly.
To make the process easier, establish a core meal routine of 5-6 or so staple recipes that you can always lean on. Things that you’re comfortable making and know won’t stress you out!
Here are some of my gut healing staple meals…
For some main dishes…
- Beef Stew
- Carrot Leek Soup
- Roasted root veggies (like these) + a non-starchy veggie (like greens, etc.) + a high quality protein + a high quality fat.. never fails!
- Homemade beef jerky
- Coconut collagen fat balls
- Coconut yogurt with berries (I buy the brand “coyo” at natural grocers, but you can make it at home)
- Homemade gummies (recipe in my e-book)
Of course, throw in some variety here and there, but in the interest of making it easier on yourself, have solid staples!
4. Favor warm, well-cooked meals over cold meals
I like an occasional smoothie with raw greens and frozen fruit as much as the next person. Especially in the Texas heat! However, cold, raw meals aren’t the best for our digestion… especially in the morning and in excess. Our society has this idea that smoothies are amazing to have for breakfast every single day when in reality, cold food interferes with our digestion and can influence the overgrowth of gut bacteria like candida.
If you want to go easier on your gut and actually make it easier to heal, favor warm, well-cooked foods over cold and raw meals. Rather than worshiping salads and smoothies, try roasting your vegetables, slow cooking or baking your meats, and reaching for warm pureed soups over a smoothie.
When I’m really craving a breakfast smoothie, I typically reach for a pureed soup in instead like carrot leek soup, zucchini soup, etc. These soups have a lot of the same elements of what make smoothies healthy, without the cold temperature.
Does that mean that I’m 100% anti-smoothie or raw salad in all cases? Not necessarily. They certainly have merit and their place in the world! However, if you’re trying to make it easier to heal your gut, reevaluate your smoothie frequency.
5. Plan ahead every week and batch cook (and use your freezer!)
I wouldn’t be able to do this real food 24/7 thing if I didn’t plan every week. With other obligations that we all face like work, long commutes, events, and so forth, it’s just not feasible to plan real food meals on the fly and cook them right then and there.
Every weekend, sit down and make a plan for the week ahead. It can be as detailed or relaxed as you want. You just want to go into it with a general idea of how to make the week a success! For me, I make sure that I have enough veggies and proteins on hand for the week and then mix them up as I go.
As for batch cooking, this is another extremely helpful tool in the planning ahead category. Again, you have to find the level that works for you, but it’s extremely helpful for me to have 60-70% of mine and my husbands meals prepped and ready all in one big batch that I do on the weekend. I take a few hours in the kitchen, keep the oven running, and cook tons of veggies and proteins all at once.
For those worried about histamine in leftovers or sustainability of batch cooking, the freezer is your friend! Freezing gut loving foods like soups, meatballs, and veggies, to have on hand in a pinch is an amazing way to make the process easier.
6. Build up your arsenal of gut healing books and supplies
Knowledge is power! Make sure you’re stocked up on resources and tools that help support a gut health-centric lifestyle like great cookbooks, educational books, pantry staples, kitchen supplies, and holistic home remedies.
7. Use supplements with extreme intention
One of the biggest flaws in any healing journey can be taking way too many supplements. I’ve been known to supplement for every symptom all while making the process more expensive, and way to complicated!
Our list of supplements shouldn’t be a mile long. Don’t keep in that B12 just because you get sleepy sometimes, and don’t keep taking something longer than you actually need it. Work with a doctor or nutritionist to help you refine your supplement to keep it simple and intentional to make it both easier, and more effective!
8. Have a doctor who you trust
I can’t stress how important working with a doctor is for keeping this all easier! Here in the online space, we feel empowered to tackle these journeys all by ourselves because of the plethora of information at our fingertips. I too felt empowered to do it on my own for way too long.
Here’s the thing… reading advice online will never be personalized enough to your unique situation.
You need to be working with a professional who can help get you to your root causes, track your progress with diagnostic testing, and effectively diagnose and treat your own disease.
Even after being an NTP myself, and spending hundreds and thousands of hours learning about health, I never would have pegged myself as mercury toxic. Never. What underlying causes could you be missing from not working with a doctor?
Still, don’t have a good doctor that you trust? I have a blog post here that discusses how to find a good doctor and my personal recommendations in Dallas.
9. Find a support system
Humans are social creatures. We need relationships and support to make the hard times easier. I can’t tell you how valuable it was for my own healing journey to find other bloggers and friends who I could relate to and supported me!
When your friends and family don’t get it, searching for support in local groups, or finding friends via social media can be extremely helpful. I get tons of support from friends I originally met online that became real-life friends!
10. Keep your mindset in check & practice gratitude
Even after you’ve got your diet airtight, have a great doctor, and your supplement cabinet is full to bursting with gut healing supplements, it can all before not if your mindset isn’t in check.
Dealing with a chronic illness is hard. Nothing about it is easy. However, healing our body can’t effectively be done without healing our mindset.
Hating your situation, feeling sorry for yourself, and believing that you will never heal is a recipe for disaster when trying to heal your gut. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and how much you have to be grateful for.
Keeping a gratitude journal has changed the way I view my life and my own health. My gratitude journal isn’t filled with things like “I’m grateful for my yacht” or “I’m grateful that I can eat whatever I want”. I’m grateful for things like…
- Having the ability to buy food
- Having clean water, and a clean kitchen that I can cook in
- Community support from friends online
- Access to books, podcasts, and internet where I can learn more
- God’s love, forgiveness and grace
Everyone has something to be grateful for. The sooner that we focus on what we’re grateful for in our health and our life rather than what we hate about it, the easier it makes our situation.