I am going to highlight two conversations that I had this week with two different clients. One client started to make very small changes to what she was eating. When we did our on-boarding call and first days of food diaries, she was doing pretty well eating real, whole foods. We worked together to brainstorm a few tweaks, such as adding more protein and water. In the short time she had been incorporating those changes, she was amazed at how her energy levels had gone up and more importantly her cravings for sweets and sugars had gone down. I called that a huge win and we worked together to add on to her success.
The second person had recently been to see a doctor and was having some unusual symptoms that would not go away and the doctor recommended she shift some of the things she had been eating. Low and behold a few weeks later the symptoms were GONE. Not decreased, not less intense, GONE!! And she was eating pretty healthy to begin with!
I wish I could scream from the mountaintops, ‘YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FEEL LIKE CRAP EVERYDAY.’ You are powering through your day, waking up exhausted, feeling lethargic, worn down, overwhelmed and tired all the time and you have just settled for feeling like crap. STOP FEELING LIKE CRAP, life is too short. I am not asking for you to give up all of the things you love, but you could make some real, fundamental changes for 80% of your day and start to feel 100x better and I am not exaggerating.
I wanted to start with those two stories, highlighting changes that people made to what they were putting into their bodies to open my post about the Microbiome. You are probably ready to X out of this article, because WTF is the microbiome and why you should care about it?
Your microbiome is made up of bacteria that live in the digestive tract of humans. (you being human have one!) A slightly nicer term you might like is ‘gut flora.’ To give you a nice little analogy, I borrowed the version below from the Harvard School of Public Health.
“Picture a bustling city on a weekday morning, the sidewalks flooded with people rushing to get to work or to appointments. Now imagine this at a microscopic level and you have an idea of what the microbiome looks like inside of our body.’
There are trillions of microorganisms in our body. You read that right TRILLIONS. Every single human has a completely different microbiome based on food and nutrition intake, and natural environment. The microbiome can be both helpful and potentially harmful depending on the visitors.
As your microbiome grows and develops it affects your body in numerous ways:
- Helps you digest fiber.
- Helps control your immune system.
- Helps control brain health
“Ok Jill, I am reading a whole bunch of technical terms, why should I care?”
The Gut Microbiome May Affect Your Weight.
According to a well known study on identical twins, one of whom is obese and one of whom is healthy, when the microbiome from the obese twin was transfer to mice, those mice gained more weight than those that received the microbiome of the lean twin, despite the fact that the two mice were eating the same thing.
Our goal is to feed the good guys and starve the bad guys! Quite literally!
Ok, what do the good guys like?
I am so glad you asked.
The good guys like:
VARIETY! Beans, fruits, vegetables, plants, greens, eat the rainbow
FERMENTED FOODS: Yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha!
PREBIOTIC FOODS: Artichokes, bananas, asparagus, oats and apples
FOODS RICH IN POLYPHENOLS: Green Tea, dark chocolate, olive oil, whole grains
The bad guys like:
- Artificial sweeteners. These increase blood sugar by stimulating the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Fried Foods
- Red Meat
- Processed Foods
- Sugary Soft drinks
My goal today is not to overwhelm you with terms that you might not use everyday. My goal today is to educate you about opportunities you have to FEEL BETTER today. If you start making changes to your microbiome by eating less processed food and incorporating more real, whole foods, you can start to feel the difference as soon as a week later!
TAKEAWAY TIPS to create an optimal microbiome:
Eat as much variety in your diet as you can. A rich and diverse gut flora is considered to be a healthy one.
Incorporate pre-biotics and probiotics into your diet
Limit your alcohol.
Limit your antibiotic use
Move your body more!
Try to find the sweet spot of sleep
Be mindful of your stress levels, higher stress in your body means an unbalanced microbiome.
If you want help feeling better TODAY, you know where to reach me! email@example.com.