Allergies, digestive issues, chronic health problems got you down? Here are 5 steps you can take to heal your gut, along with recipes to help you on your way.
It’s all in your gut…
Did you know 80% of your immune system is in your gut? And no, I don’t mean that extra little bit of stuffing around your middle that’s been hanging on since Thanksgiving. I mean your intestines! Yep, those squishy, slimy looking things that swirl around inside of you.
The same way a happy, healthy gut can keep your body going strong, a compromised, distressed gut can be the cause of all sorts of health issues:
- skin issues
- autoimmune diseases
- chronic illness
Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?
But (thankfully), there’s always something you can do to help your body out! Here are five easy steps you can take to get your gut (and your health!) on the right track.
Easy Honey-Sweetened Chocolate Ice Cream (it’s actually healthy, don’t worry)
#1. Cut out the sugars and processed foods.
I feel your pain, even though the holidays are over, it’s still hard to stop eating the sugar. Processed sugars (corn syrups, white sugars, pretty much any ingredient with “ose” at the end of it) severely compromise your immune system. Not only that, they also act much like cocaine in your brain, causing an addiction forming reaction.
If you really have to have sweets, go for natural forms like fruits, honey, maple syrup, or stevia. Though even those should be used in moderation!
Much like refined sugars, processed foods will eat away at your immune system. Plus, they’re usually full of sugar and unnatural ingredients that your body doesn’t recognize, lowering your immune system.
#2. Go easy on the grains (even gluten-free ones!).
That’s right, even gluten-free grains are hard on your system! All grains, nuts, beans, and some seeds contain phytic acid, an enzyme inhibitor that makes them extremely hard on our intestines.
Also, like the sugars, too many grains can lead to an overgrowth of candida, a fungi that will damage your gut lining.
Here are some of my family’s favorite grain-free recipes, if you need help cutting back:
- Meatloaf Sliders
- Summer Squash Zoodles with Chicken Sausage Alfredo
- Pizza Meat Muffins
- Perfectly Easy Coconut Flour Brownies
#3. Add in homemade bone broth.
Bone broth is a very nutrient dense food, full of vitamins and minerals. It helps seal up your gut and heal it from the inside! Just be sure that the broth your getting is homemade, the stuff from the store usually has added ingredients that are unnecessary and hard for your body to digest (like soy). So the next time you’re roasting up a chicken, save those bones and make yourself a pot of broth with them!
I like to drink a mug of homemade broth as often as possible – it’s comforting and delicious! If you’re not up for drinking it straight, it’s easy to get your broth in by using it for the liquid in your soups.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to sneak broth into my family:
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper, Sausage & Cauliflower Soup
- Quick & Easy Veggie Lentil Soup
- Chicken & Sweet Potato Chipotle Chili
- Easy, Creamy, Dairy-Free Macaroni & Cheese
#4. Supplement with grass fed gelatin and/or collagen.
Much like broth, these natural supplements will help seal your gut lining and keep your intestines strong and healthy! Gelatin and collagen contain the amino acid glycine which helps increase hyrochloric acid in the stomach helps our bodies digest and assimilate the nutrients in our food.
Not quite sure how to get these into your diet? Homemade fruit snacks and homemade marshmallows are a great way! Gelatin and collagen are also wonderful added to smoothies and drinks. I like to get my gelatin from Perfect Supplements or Great Lakes. Both are kosher and non-GMO.
Here are some of our favorite gelatin-rich recipes:
- Grapefruit Gummies
- Mini Cinnamon Maple Marshmallows
- Healthy Eggnog Smoothie
- Perfect Homemade Hot Cocoa
- Easy Squash Custard
#5. Add in probiotic foods.
Like the opposite of antibiotics (which kill off bacteria in your body), probiotics help keep your immune system functioning well by keeping your gut full of healthy bacteria. Fermented fruits and veggies like pickles and yogurt are great ways to get probiotics into your diet, as well as fermented drinks like kvass, kefir, and kombucha.
These are some of my family’s favorite fermented recipes:
- Easy Homemade Pickle Chips
- Lacto-Fermented Cauliflower
- Homemade Mango Soda
- Spiced Apple Kombucha
- Easy Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot
Want to know more about a healthy gut?
If you want to learn more about healing your gut and getting your digestion back, check out my series on the GAPS diet.