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Do You Have A Healthy Gut?

Do you have a healthy gut?

May 5, 2014
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I spent all last week promoting – and you spent all last week reading about (thank you) – an awesome product. I like to share things that are cool. Nonetheless I was looking forward to a break…. a weekend full of dancing and White Collar marathons (my new TV addiction … it’s almost nothing but devastatingly handsome men in suits) … and then I finally checked out this set of leaky gut materials all the paleo professionals have been talking about.

I got sucked in.

And barricaded myself in my room at 9pm on a Saturday night. I promised myself I could go dancing if I sat down and investigated thoroughly.

[It is now Sunday afternoon. And five episodes of White Collar later.... So much for diligence...]

This is what leaky gut looks like. & it's the most under-diagnosed condition in the country.

This is what leaky gut looks like. & it’s the most under-diagnosed condition in the country.

 

As for leaky gut… what is it?

Leaky gut allows the stuff you’d otherwise excrete as feces – TOXIC food particles, environmental chemicals, and bacterial waste to leak through your digestive tract and into your body. Once inside, these foreign particles travel to different areas of your body and trigger an immune response, promoting inflammation and jumpstarting the development of chronic disease.

Instead of keeping the bad stuff out, the delicate lining of your intestine lets all the bad stuff in, and your body breaks down from the inside out.

Brain issues. Low energy. Uncomfortable digestion. Any kind of skin problem. Insulin dysregulation. Weight gain. Autoimmune diseases.

Yikes, and yikes, and yikes, indeed.

I also happen to know from years of clinical experience that gut issues are often the foundation of hormone issues – like PCOS – and male pattern symptoms like acne and facial hair. Why? Because an unhealthy gut causes inflammation, which causes cortisol and insulin levels to rise, which causes testosterone production in the ovaries, which throws a wrench in the menstrual cycle, which derails fertility and causes eight million kinds of symptoms and imbalance.

The gut is a real important issue for women’s health… not something I’ve discussed as much on this site as I should’ve. By miles.

So… what then? Where do I, you, we, start?

A good, solid paleo diet helps with leaky gut.

“Paleo” is about 80 percent of the answer.

Eliminating the gut irritants grains, dairy, and legumes – which is what most “paleo people” do – is a big step towards healing a damaged gut and eliminating all the symptoms that come from it. This is one of the biggest reasons I and so many other health professionals eat paleo. We want our guts to be healthy. We know that gut health is the most important factor for whole body health.

Period.

So eat paleo. Eliminate potential gut irritants. 100%. No cheating.

At least for several months if your symptoms are bad. Several weeks if not.  If you’ve got any symptoms related to mental health, gut health, skin health, or hormone health — leaky gut could be your culprit. Clean up your diet with paleo adherence and see if the problems get better.

You might even have leaky gut and not even know it. Leaky gut can silently inflame your body at a slow, steady stream for years and years. I don’t want to scare you. That’s just a fact. It happens to people on a regular basis. It’s a serious problem worth – at minimum – a clean paleo diet for a month. This gives your body a chance to heal.

What else?

Chances are good you’ll still need (or at least benefit from) more tweaking.

The GAPS diet, the specific carbohydrate diet, Sarah Ballantyne’s autoimmune protocol… these are three different diet plans – very specific and highly well-attested to around the globe – designed to heal a damaged gut. Vitamin A may be crucial for some people. Fermented foods or probiotic supplementation. Avoiding fructose. Increasing your intake of leafy greens. Reducing insoluble fiber. Increasing soluble fiber. It’s all very tricky because every person has a different gut environment. Different symptoms, both obvious and hidden ones.

With more symptoms, it may require.. as I said. tweaking. More on which in a moment.

Do I have it?

I don’t know. I’ve always wondered. I really have no idea. Sometimes my digestion isn’t awesome. I have some skin issues but I know my hormones are the biggest players in that. I’ve dealt with significant stress in my life. I sleep very poorly. Do I have it? I don’t know. (I’m not a leaky gut expert… though I’m trying to learn through Steve.)

So I took a quiz! Steve made a quiz! Like so:

 

Fullscreen capture 2014-05-04 AM 113752

Now you know I’m a tab hoarder.

I’m willing to bet my high risk is because I’m a stress monster.

But who knows. Maybe it’s the three pounds of blueberries I ate yesterday afternoon.

The kind of tweaking I’d need? I don’t know yet. Sarah tells me I might need more vitamin A.

I have a feeling I need to sleep more. But I’m addicted to dancing and we all have our weaknesses.

I have yet to watch my free videos and read the documents from Steve’s quiz.

As for you? You can take it now, too!

If you want, you can take it @ here.  Steve’s got lots of amazing resources available for investigating and overcoming leaky gut…the kind of stuff that teaches you what kind of tweaking you might need… this is just one of them. It’s not one of those gimmicky web draw-you-in things. Just. a. quiz. (@ Leakygutresources.com) Because leaky gut is a nasty monster thing and we all deserve to be free to be healthy and happy.

Or something. :)

 

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Managing director of Paleo for Women and author of Sexy by Nature.

3 Comments

  1. I like your simple explanation of leaky gut. I took the quiz and I’m right up there too, but my symptoms are slowly getting better as I head into month 3 of a mostly paleo diet. Thanks!

  2. you’re awesome! i adore you and your writing. oh i love you

  3. The Paleo eating plan is definitely gut-friendly and excellent for improving your overall health. My husband and I have recently started eliminating inflammatory foods listed in the book “Perfecting Paleo” and we already feel so much better, including more energy and losing weight. A healthy gut is imperative for a healthy functioning immune system, in additon to keeping sickness and diseases at bay. Great blog post. Thanks.

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