This is the time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions to eat better and get more exercise, but I have one that may change your life. It changed mine, BIG TIME, and it involves the brain-gut connection and how healthy aging is directly connected to the microbes that live in our intestines.
Two months ago I made five easy changes to reset the microbes in my gut, and they’ve changed my life.
Part 1: Dr. Amy Shah explains everything you need to know.
My health transformation began when I listened to a Mel Robbins podcast (also on YouTube) while I was on the treadmill. Robbins was talking about her “food baby,” the bloated distended stomach accompanied by abdominal pain she often gets. Her guest was Dr. Amy Shah, a medical doctor trained at Harvard, Cornell, and Columbia University, who’s an immunologist and leading expert in women’s hormonal health and nutrition.
I could identify with Mel Robbins, because almost daily, I had a bloated food-baby stomach, accompanied by abdominal pain, plus I had explosive diarrhea that often came without warning. This embarrassing condition frequently kept me a prisoner in my home until I was certain everything had passed, so when Dr. Shah laid out her method to heal inflammation and reset your gut, I didn’t hesitate.
Entire books have been devoted to this topic, but that day, I started following Dr. Shah’s suggestions, and three days later, I was a different person.
As a rule, I already followed #6-10, so #1-5 were the only ones I needed to address.
1. No white bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes. (It could be the gluten that’s getting you.)
2. Add sourdough bread to your diet. It helps heal your gut. (It’s now the only bread I eat.)
3. Add pineapple and/or cucumber to your daily diet. They also help heal your gut.
4. Give up sweets.
5. Give up dairy. (It bloats many people.)
#6-10 I was already doing.
6. Give up cruciferous vegetables. They can cause gas.
7. Give up carbonated beverages. They can cause gas.
8. Alcohol and eating late at night can also play a role in an unhappy gut and not sleeping well.
9. Daily, do a 12-hour fast: For example, stop eating at 7pm and resume eating at 7am. To have a balanced gut, your gut needs 12 hours when it doesn’t have to digest food.
10. Get 30 minutes of sunlight and exercise. A 30-minute walk will achieve both.
Exercise is the BEST probiotic you could ever take.
Once you’ve experienced the positive difference these habits can make in your life, you can gradually start adding one at a time back into your diet and zero in on the ones that may trigger your problems.
When I started adding #1-5 back into my diet, all it took for my gut to return to its former unhappy self was one chocolate chip cookie!
After getting my gut in a balanced environment where the microbes that lived there weren’t mad at me anymore, the pain, bloated abdomen, and explosive diarrhea disappeared, and SO DID MY ASTHMA! Also, the whites of my eyes had turned a little yellow, but all of my blood and urine tests were perfect, and my physician assured me my liver, pancreas, and kidneys were fine. After faithfully following #1-5 for a week, THE WHITES OF MY EYES TURNED WHITE AGAIN!
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised because an out-of-whack gut-brain connection has also been linked to depression, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, lower levels of good cholesterol, and eczema.
Part 2: Mel Robbins and Dr. Amy Shah continue their conversation.
A month into following Dr. Shah’s suggestions, it was time for my five-year colonoscopy. Since my colon turned out to be the picture of health, it allowed me to rule out a list of other problems. If you suffer from some of the things Mel Robbins and I did, it might be that the microbes in your gut may be unhappy.
You might consider trying Dr. Amy Shah’s diet and if you don’t experience relief, you may want to call your doctor and check for colon polyps/cancer, inflammation, Diverticula, Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Disease, Celiac, Crohn’s, or ulcerative colitis. If your gut’s not happy, you could have serious health problems.