Over the past few weeks you’ve read about my gut health journey:
Today I’m going to briefly explain the steps I currently take and steps I’ve taken to heal.
Disclaimer: these steps are very unique to my health issues and I’m not suggesting that you take them. However, by sharing my protocol I hope you glean an idea about how intricate this process truly is, and the importance of hiring someone to help!
It’s no secret that I loved Quest bars and Truvia. I loved anything sweetened, especially things sweetened with erythritol. Before I had a functional nutritionist, I read up on the harmful affects of sweeteners, particularly erythritol, and decided to cut erythritol out.To do this, I drastically minimized my Quest bar intake and switching from Truvia to stevia.
Little did I know, erythritol was only the tip of the iceberg. By the time I began working with Bridgitte (functional nutritionist), I’d also removed most packaged items, diet sodas and fizzy waters. By August I was omitting hard alcohol and switching to wine.
Bridgitte helped explain the importance of eliminating any and all sweeteners, and also minimizing sugar, which I tried for a while, (goodbye, bananas!), and it was not an easy feat!
After this three to four month process of weening myself off of sweeteners, diet drinks and hard alcohol, my diet and drastically shifted. It took a while, but from May to September I developed a realistic routine with some items below; finding a groove helped reduce anxiety around food.
- Honey: my new obsession. I eat RAW honey in coffee, with my medical food (more on this below) and to collagen fat balls (recipe below)
- Celery Juice: this helps me fight inflammation and wake-up in the morning. I mix it with green apple juice
- Berries: these are the only fruit I eat. Raspberries and blueberries are either a small snack or a topping on my medical food
- Avocado: I’m eating these like apples! Just kidding, I was eating them like apples at first, now I eat about two a week. They are crucial in providing good fats for healing the intestinal lining, they have lots of fiber too!
- red meat (organic, caught and harvested by my boyfriend) for lots of nutrients, especially iron
- some starchy carbs like sweet potato and butternut squash
- collagen: I eat mix it in my coffee daily and add it to shake and energy ball recipes. It aids in skin health and repairing/healing my body
- coconut oil, and Vanilla MCT oil (a key ingredient in fat balls)
- MINIMIZING COFFEE
- Red wine: I used to love tequila and alcohol, (and I still do!) but, red wine has anti-inflammatory properties and if I have 1-2 glasses I feel better than if I have 2 tequila drinks
It’s important to know that I minimized coffee partly due to adrenal fatigue. I hit a point in July when two pots of coffee would’t make me feel more energized.
By August, if I had more than 2 cups I’d get anxious… it was a sign that my body was rejecting the caffeine. Why, you ask? Well, the gut is a huge detoxifier in the body (like the liver) and if it’s functionality is compromised, then it can’t process the caffeine, hence why I was feeling super weird after a second cup of coffee. For the record, I never thought I’d back down from it, but for now, I feel the best with one to one and a half cups a day.
Before Bridgitte came into my life, I’d been trying to put myself on herbal supplements and wasn’t feeling anything but weird! I tried a combination of oregano oil, berberine, peppermint oil, cayenne, cod liver oil, clove oil, etc! Nothing was working and I cannot urge you enough to seek professional help, instead of trying to do-it-yourself.
I’m going to list the supplements I’m on, so that you can see the full picture of HOW we are attacking this, and let you know that this is NOT something I advocate; what I do advocate is that you find someone who an help you, and if you scroll ALL the way to the bottom, you’ll be happy to know about a new offering that can get you the help you need at CROF.
- Motil Pro: This is a supplement that helps the muscle contractions of the intestines. It keeps them active, so that I don’t fall back into dealing with constipation. It also helps with serotonin (which is produced in the intestine and affects your mood), and has other ingredients (link in title) that helps keep signals between the brain and intestines to keep things moving.
- HPA Adapt : This is an herbal supplement that keeps the dual pathway between my gut and brain (namely the Hypothalamus, Pituitary and adrenal glands), in order to keep my mood even-keeled and send the right signals throughout the day. HPA Adapt combines five powerful adaptogenic herbs, including Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Eleuthero, Maca, and Holy Basil, to maintain a healthy stress response.
- Magnesium Citrate: This is like a laxative, but natural. it pulls water into my intestine, as to keep things moving throughout the day
- B12 and Folate: I didn’t start taking this until 6 weeks into my healing process, but now, it truly helps me keep sustained energy throughout the day, whereas before I would feel dead tired by 1 p.m., especially when coffee started failing me. When you have a compromised gut, you cannot absorb these vitamins form your food, so taking a supplement that dissolves in your mouth can help you get them in.
- Cod liver oil: this helps give my body omega-3s which can help keep the microorganisms in my body diverse and healthy.
- Digestive enzymes: Part of what I discovered in my stool test was that I wasn’t breaking down a lot of my food– proteins especially. I take digestive enzymes three times a day, at each meal.They help decrease my bloating BIG TIME, and they make me fell more satisfied at a meal.
- GI Revive: This is a powder you add to water, much like a pre-workout, that has everything form Marshmallow root, to Cat’s claw to berberine to aloe vera! It helps heal the intestinal lining. I add Golden Milk to it (from Whole Foods) because it already has an herbal taste. This way I get some turmeric in at the same time!
- GI Replenish: For 6 weeks I took this protein powder which helps with absorption in the gut. It is *the* thing that made me start feeling full after eating! I could add it to shakes or stir it up into a pudding– delicious! I haven’t taken this in one month, because I moved onto another supplement below.
- GI Inflammatory X (Medical Food): This is a powder I eat daily, with Raw Honey. It has all the amino acids i need, vitamins, minerals, turmeric, and also, Quercetin, a major anti-inflmmatory supplement. It helps me feel full, makes for a great snack and helps my puffy tummy deflate.
- GI Microb X: This supplement is what I take at each meal to ensure that I’m killing the bad guys like H Pylori. It can cause bloating or weird pains due to the die-off of the bad bacterias, BUT one day without and my anxiety kicks back in. I swear the “bad bugs” in my gut lead to brain fog and funky weird feelings and this supplement helps SO MUCH!
- Probiofage: This supplements is a prebiotic. It helps kill the bad bugs, too, but also it has a SMALL dose of probiotics (only 8 billion, compared to 30 billion or 50 billion you see in other brands) to slowly introduce good bacterias into my gut without disrupting what’s already going on in there.
PHEW! That was a lot! As you can see, I’m on a very personalized protocol that I’ve been building on for over two months. If you feel like you’re experiencing any of the signs or symptoms I experienced in Part I, do not hesitate to reach out. Bridgette’s information is in Part I, and I can also help connect you as well. Do not try to help yourself, if you are having issues.
I want to share a few ways I combine foods in a daily routine so that you can see how easy it is to get good ingredients, without stressing too much. Below I’ll share my morning routine with you, as well as a collagen-protein-cookie dough recipe!
- Drink 1 bottle of water while taking all my supplements; water boils for french press coffee
- add 1-2 scoops of collagen powder to my celery juice (I prep all juices on Monday) and drink that while water is boiling or sitting in the french press.
- Finish celery juice and have 1 cup of coffee, mixed with 1/2 cup of almond milk or coconut milk, 1 scoop of collagen powder
- Eat medical food with 1 tsp of Raw honey drizzled on top, (sometimes collagen fat balls as well!)
Morning Snack: Collagen Cookie Dough Bites
After I do my breakfast, I typically teach at Barry’s Bootcamp, or go workout myself. If I did not add MCT oil to my coffee, or have nut butter on the side (2 TBS) I eat 2 collagen cookies 2 hours later, (or I have them not he side of the medical food). These are great because they are egg and grain free, they have protein in them, and they offer a great source of fat! Recipe below for 6-10 balls:
- 1/4 cup collagen (or vanilla protein powder)
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup MCT oil (vanilla flavor if you can find it)
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (I like maple syrup!)
- add almond milk or nut milk of choice as needed to stir into thick mixture
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ****Option to add almond butter and more flax meal
I stir all of this together in a big bowl. If I’m going to add almond butter, I try to do it in a food processor. If you like dark chocolate, you can add in some mini chips or shreds, but I like to omit them, due to the higher calorie content.
Since May I’ve wanted to speak up about all of this, however, I had a lot of “figuring out” to do. It’s been a process, or a journey, as you’ve read. I cannot be more empathic about the importance of seeking help. And, while writing about this, Lauren and I have come up with a way that YOU TOO can get help!
Tomorrow we will be sharing all about our NEW Program: DARETOEAT FULL EXPERIENCE. The Full Experience will include pre-enrollment with a Functional Nutritionist who will do food sensitivity testing and a consultation with you before you begin #DTE, so that you know WHAT to eat, and can get help with supplements should you need guidance or assistance like I have needed over the past six months! If you know you’re interested, send us an email today and you’ll get an information sheet about the program!