Improving Your Digestion

Eating gluten free to cope with a GI ulcer or improve your digestion is a great start but may not get you the healthy small and large intestines you need and deserve. There are other proponents in our food system that need to be REMOVED (1st protocol in healing a gut). Clinical and experimental data points to food allergy as a primary cause of ulcers. Foods to avoid include:

  • Avoid grains – gluten free or not. Get them out, heal your gut, and increase your absorption rate of important vitamins and minerals. After 2 years, perhaps grains can come back in the picture.
  • Corn – avoid it like the plague. Be a food label guru as well. Corn sneaks into many processed foods.
  • No legumes – peanut butter, beans, hummus, all the above.  Here is a good explanation of why legumes, which have lectins, are not good for you gut.
  • Dairy – bon voyage.  Perhaps not forever, but at least for now, while your gut gets back to normal. Bottomline if you are eating dairy make sure it is full fat, organic and grassfed.
  • Fruit in limited quantities and depending on the type of systems the individual person is having. Fruit is composed of fructose and this can be harsh on a weak intestines. Until your gut is healed don’t make fruit the center of your plate.
  • Nuts & Seeds. While nuts and seeds are good in limited quantities, they are something that will need to be put on the back burner until things are looking better on your insides.
  • Vegetable oils – avoid and look closely at food labels. Canola oil is in everything.
  • Nightshades – these can be problematic for the time being, so avoid them until things heal.
  • Booze (wine, beer, liquor) and coffee
  • When eating vegetables, remove the peel, go organic and cook them well. A good meal/snack is a well cooked sweet potato with coconut oil.
  • When it comes to meat – spend the little extra for organic and free range/grass fed.
  • Overall consider a low FODMAP diet to heal your (See below for more information)

You want to REPAIR (second protocol to healing a gut) the ulcer and GI tract as quickly and best that you can. The ulcer is causing inflammation in your intestines, which can lead to inflammation in your joints and arteries if not addressed. After removing the above suggested foods repair the gut with bone broth, coconut oil, starchy vegetables (soluble fiber) like fruit and squashes, drink peppermint tea and some important vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins Supplements:

  • Vitamin D is essential. Buy a good Vitamin D3 supplement and consider taking up to 5,000 IU a day. This is above the RDA, however, vitamin D is crucial to gut health and beyond. They best is to get tested to see where your levels are at, supplement and again get tested 3 months down the road.
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C and E
  • Glutamine specifically L-glutamine which can be bought in a powder form and helps repair the lining of your intestines.

To progress the healing process you also want to REINOCULATE with specific food and supplements such as eating fermented foods (does not include kefir) like sauerkraut and fermented vegetables. We can easily make our own or here in Chicago there are some options at the Green City Market on Saturdays. If food isn’t a realistic option for you at this time, I recommend investing in a good probiotic. Please email me if you want assistance in this area.

The final step of healing your gut is to REINTRODUCE some of the removed foods after 4-6 weeks. Add one food at a time and assess how you feel, your digestion. sleep, mood, skin. Repeat the reintroduction of food every 3 days and I do NOT recommend ever reintroducing gluten containing grains.

Overall Tips To Improve Your Digestion:

  • Chew your food slowly and really enjoy each bite. While eating think about the flavor, the texture, the overall bliss of healthy food.
  • Minimize fluid intake at your meals. Too much liquid can deplete your digestive enzymes. Eat well cooked food when your digestion feels compromised. Eating raw produce and the likes is harder to breakdown.
  • Really find out what is going on in your intestines. Even attending many GP, Primary and even GI doctors, you may come out empty handed. Get a stool test, such as the Metametrix GI Effects stool test. Such test can be ordered by your doctor or can be ordered online (Forrest health).
  • Eat homemade bone broths, liver and egg yolks. There are other food options and I can help you.
  • If your digestion has never felt optimal, follow the steps above and consider eating a low FODMAP diet. FODMAPS are short-chain fermentable carbohydrates and stands for: Fructose, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharide and Polyols. I will have to extend another, more detailed post on a FODMAP diet, however, if you are showing intolerance symptoms to food consider a hydrogen/methane breath test. As my dietitian friend, Aglaee, describes this test, you should first drink a lactulose solution to determine whether you are more of a hydrogen or methane gas producer and then test for the specific FODMAPs by taking another breath test with either fructose, lactose or sorbitol. There are currently no tests to check for fructans and galactans. These tests can usually be ordered and sent by mail and can cost anywhere between $100-200 each.

If you ever have questions about diet and how it make be leading you to your best health or holding you back, don’t hesitate to ask. Email me at [email protected]