Keto Your Gut: How To Heal Your Gut Naturally
Today I want to talk about healing your gut naturally, specifically what benefits healing your gut can have on your health, as well as what to eat and do to help your gut heal.
When I first started with Keto, my goal was fat loss (NOT weight loss). I had been lifting weights, doing intermittent fasting, and eating literally anything and everything I wanted. Even so, I was starting to see muscles coming through, and wanted to hurry along my fat loss so I could see those muscles even more!
The first 60 days saw me lose 23 pounds, and by day 90 I had lost 36 pounds and more than 23 inches:
Then the holidays and my birthday came, and I kind of flowed in and out of Ketosis (although I was still fat-adapted). It worked for me, but after Thanksgiving I didn’t even care about the Christmas treats – I was ready to get back on strict Keto and
But then came THE SICKNESS.
I think every single family this winter knows what I’m talking about: a killer flu season, terrible colds, bronchitis, and strep have all been making the rounds. And they made the rounds more than once in our house.
And what I realized through getting sick over and over again, was that my immune system was trashed. (I’m chalking it up to being on antibiotics after a surgery in July for the first time in my entire life. I have never, ever gotten sick so much. Ever.)
I started researching how to boost my immune system and came to one conclusion: I needed to heal my gut naturally.
You know what’s really interesting?
Most people – even if you don’t believe antibiotics destroy your gut – need to heal their gut just because of the foods they eat!
Making this even more important is the fact that 70% of our immunity comes from our guts.
So yeah, gut health is important.
Starting in the fall of 2017, I made healing my gut my top priority, even higher than exercising, or eating perfectly Keto. But above all, I’ve been learning that it takes time and patience. It’s not complicated or expensive, but you will need to give it some time for meaningful healing to take place.
Here’s why you should heal your gut:
- Your gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the cells in the entire body
- Gut flora promotes normal gastrointestinal function
- It provides you with protection from infections
- Regulates metabolism
- Makes up more than 70% of our immune system
- Gut inflammation has been linked to diseases like Hashimoto’s, Type 1 Diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, PCOS, and autoimmune conditions.
Often you will see Keto supplement guides with many expensive supplements that you “have” to take in order to do keto right, but I don’t want this to be that way.
Through a balanced, nutritious, Ketogenic diet, you can not only work toward healing your gut, you can keep supplements to a minimum.
I am, however, going to give you 5 supplements that may make your life easier. I’ll also show you how to get the nutrients in these supplements through foods, and then let you make the call on whether or not they’re for you – for yourself.
I hope that this helps you heal your gut the simple way. No overwhelm, no expensive stuff. Just real food, and some patience with your body.
Your gut decides what gets in, and what stays out.
It’s like the personal gatekeeper to your health.
Here’s what you should do to heal it….
Eat Fermented Foods
Foods like Kimchi, Kefir, and Sauerkraut are great for your gut! Here’s what they can do:
- Help balance stomach acid, leading to better and more comfortable digestion for you
- Lactic Acid fermented foods have little to no carb load
- They’re full of Probiotics – the good bacteria your gut needs!
- They can help you fight off the germs and illnesses you are exposed to everyday
Fermented foods will help improve the balance between the good bacteria (the disease-preventing, digestions-enhancing stuff) and the bad bacteria.
Using fermented foods for your gut is not a miracle of modern science. Since the time of Christ, the Greeks and Romans used fermented foods like cabbage and sauerkraut to treat and prevent diseases like intestinal infections.
Here are some of the best fermented foods for your gut:
- Fermented Pickles
- Grass-fed Probiotic Yogurt
Drink Your Bone Broth
This one of by far my favorite: drinking bone broth.
When you break it down, bone broth helps with so many things:
- Healing Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Help with food intolerances and allergies
- Improve Joint Health
- Reduce Cellulite’s Appearance & Improve Your Skin
- Boost Your Immune System
- Sleep Better
- Prevent Osteoporosis and Strengthen Bones
- Supplement Your Diet with Protein
There are tons of nutrients in bone broth, and I’ve broken down some of the most important ones and their benefits above, I think it’s important that you know everything found in bone broth.
Because, let’s face it, they’re all important.
- Proline: helps the body break down proteins into collagen, which improve skin quality and cellulite. It even helps clear the arteries of plaque, making your heart healthier.
- Glycine: enables DNA and RNA synthesis and digestion. It is used to produce glutathione, regulate blood sugar and digestion, and enhances muscle growth and and repair.
- Arginine: necessary for proper and efficient kidney function, healing, keeping the arteries healthy. We are still learning all of the many functions of arganine.
- Glutamine: L-Glutamine is so necessary for digestion function it has been studied extensively. (source) Glutamine is so powerful it has been known to reverse lactose intolerance and other digestive issues.
- Glucosamine: Found in pricey joint supplements, the Glucosamine found in bone broth maintains and supports cartilage, joint healthy, and flexibility.
- Hyaluronic Acid: Found in every single skin cell, Hyaluronic Acid helps cells multiply, age well, rejuvenate, and ultimately keeps your skin firm.
When you got sick as a child, there was a reason your mom gave you Chicken Soup: because it contains bone broth, which will help you get better faster than any drug on the market.
Bone broth is created by simmering the bones, marrow, skin, feet, tendons, and ligaments of cows or chickens. This simmering takes place of the course of several days, and causes all the components to release the healing compounds within such as collagen, lysine, proline, and glutamine.
Even better, researchers found that your body can easily absorb the nutrients and minerals found in bone broth such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and more. It contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine which is what you’ll often see as the active ingredient in expensive joint supplements. (source)
Of course, you can absolutely make your own bone broth, but many of us (myself included) don’t have the time to make our own.
So I started looking for an alternative to homemade – that wouldn’t break the bank, and I found Ketologie Powdered Bone Broth.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ketologie, they make high quality Keto products – all of which are awesome – but the one I’m most excited about is their Powdered Bone Broth.
I was initially very resistant to it, but after a bout of sickness I decided to give it a try
My first impression of the Ketologie Bone Broth was that it smoky in SUCH a good way. And then I started to taste the celery, and carrots, garlic, and that first sip finished with just a bit of pepper.
You guys, it was good.
One sip turned into two, then three, until I had downed the entire mug and my sore throat was feeling much, much better. My stomach was full from just one mug of this stuff – not surprising since it's pure protein. And let me tell you, since that first cup, I've been drinking some almost every day.
Remove Toxins From Your Food
Virtually all processed food contains additives that aren’t real, whole foods. They could preserve color, shelf life, texture, add taste, and many other things, but if it’s not real food, it’s harming your gut.
Now, I understand that taking an almost Whole30-fanatic approach to your eating 100% of the time isn’t feasible for most of us. ( no judgement…it’s a good way to live and eat…just hard)
But, eating processed foods is harming your gut.
Try eating only whole, real foods for a week and see how you feel. Maybe incorporate 1-2 weeks of month of eating only unprocessed foods. Or even do a Whole30.
Whatever you can do to rid yourself of processed foods will only benefit your gut health.
We always think of stress as something that happens in the brain, and thinking about it that way is absolutely correct – but it’s not the whole picture.
Think about someone having a panic attack (likely caused by stress, either real or imagined): The panic attack starts in the brain, but then manifests itself with physical reactions such as rapid heartbeat, hives, lightheadedness, dizziness, and many more.
Stress works the same way.
It originates in the brain, but then the brain triggers physical symptoms.
In fact, the power of stress is so important, it can chemically alter the makeup of your gut.
Cortisol is the hormone everyone knows as the stress hormone, and when activated by your brain, cortisol can flood the body, causing changes in the gut microbiome, increase gut permeability, and increase your perception of pain.
Yep, stress is that serious.
Thankfully, even if your life is stressful, there are way to manage that stress besides avoiding it altogether:
- Start a gratitude practice
- Practice self-care (baths, mani/pedis, yoga, etc)
- Make time for exercise
- Avoid caffeine, which makes the stress reaction worse
- Manage the physical symptoms with deep breathing, meditation, and stretching
I understand you cannot always escape stress, but doing what you can to manage it – and the accompanying physical symptoms – goes a long way toward healing your gut.
I am right there with you too.
I cannot run away from the stress in my life, but I have begun taking weekly hot baths with epsom salts, have been incorporating more exercise, and of course managing the physical symptom of my stress.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep quality and length affect your gut health too:
A recent study out of Sweden found that as little as 2 consecutive nights of insufficient sleep (either in length or quality) alters the gut’s microbiome indefinitely.
In other words, just 2 nights of bad sleep lowers the amount of good bacteria in your gut, leaving you susceptible to a whole bunch of problems.
In fact, in the study above, when the participants had just two nights of 4.5 hours of sleep, strains of bacteria linked with protecting them from disease were reduced by up to 50%, AND they became 20% less resistant to insulin.
I’m not here to be unrealistic: sometimes terrible sleep happens, or too little sleep happens.
I get it, we’ve all been there.
I want to encourage you to do what you can with sleep. Start making improvements toward better sleep habits, lengths, and qualities – in big ways or small ways – and your gut will benefit from it.
Remember, doing something is better than doing nothing!
Eat Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains a saturated fat called Lauric Acid.
Sounds weird, right?
Well Lauric Acid is GREAT for your gut. It it can help balance your gut through it’s anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
Coconut oil is also great for digestion, keeps you “regular” and helps kill inflammation that almost always lives in the gut because of all the toxins we eat.
I not only incorporate some coconut oil in drinks like bulletproof coffee, I often make fried foods in it. For that reason, I pick up one of these 1 gallon containers of coconut oil each year from Amazon, and store the extras after frying in a container in the fridge so that less oil is wasted.
Use Grass-Fed Meats
It know it seems like a lot to think about, but the meat you eat has a large impact on your gut.
Most grocery store beef was basically made with corn. The cows ate corn almost their entire lives because corn is cheap and “fills out” the cows. The more meat on the cow, the more money the farmer makes from each cow.
We know how terrible corn is for your gut: your body cannot properly break it down, and it’s also genetically modified.
And corn has the the exact same effects on the cow’s gut that is does on yours – and that effect changes the meat, causing it to have the same effects on your gut as corn does (albeit in smaller proportions)
Need even more convincing?
Grass-fed beef is high in Omega 3’s, which are easily digestible, and place a lower load on your gut to use them then non-Grassfed beef does.
I don’t have time to make a special trip to the health food store to buy my Grassfed beef, so I order mine each month through ButcherBox. It saves me time, money, and stress.
Take Resistant Starch
Resistant Starch is different from just eating carbohydrates, because it literally “resists” digestion.
What does this mean for you?
It means that when you take it, it will have little to no impact on your insulin or blood sugar.
And, it will help heal your gut.
Resistant starch is actually really easy to incorporate into your diet. Here are some ideas:
- Eat a bit of cold potato salad (cooked then cooled potatoes contain resistant starch)
- Mix 1 T of Raw Potato Starch in water and drink it
- Add in cashews as a snack
- Throw a few black beans in your taco soup
- Eat pistachios!
Now, on to the supplements:
First of all, you can heal your gut without these. BUT, I’ve found that these supplements will make it way easier.
Bone Broth: a great source of collagen and nutrients. Will also help with electrolytes. Pick up Ketologie Bone Broth here.
Digestive Enzymes: this will help you break down your food more easily, and digest more of the nutrients in your food. Metagenics makes a great, high-quality digestive enzyme supplement that I highly recommend.
A Probiotic: A quality probiotic will go a long way toward healing your gut and keeping your digestion healthy. I recommend the Metaganics UltraFlora Balance which you can find here.
Collagen: Collagen will not only help you stay satiated, it will reduce inflammation, help heal your gut, and provides essential nutrients to your system. Perfect Keto makes both flavored and unflavored high-quality collagen products.
Coconut/MCT Oil: It it can help balance your gut through it’s anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Coconut oil is also great for digestion, keeps you “regular” and helps kill inflammation that almost always lives in the gut because of all the toxins we eat.
Are you ready to heal your gut?
Ready to start Keto? Pick up the free Keto Quickstart: everything you need to start keto plus 30 days of meal plans:
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