My philosophy for healthy eating is about enriching your body with whole foods – that is, pure, unprocessed, unrefined foods, and organic where possible. By eliminating the junk and minimising inflammatory foods (which are a key trigger to IBD and IBS), your digestive system will work so much better when it is in an alkaline state. As you begin to heal your gut, your body will better absorb all of the amazing nutrients, vitamins and minerals in whole foods, which in turn will give you an abundance of new energy!
So what’s worked for me? I call it the 80/20 principal. This means that 80% of the time I eat strictly in accordance with the principles below, and the other 20% of the time I can enjoy other foods that don’t necessarily fall in this basket. However, for the first 3 months of healing my gut, I was very strict and pretty much 100% of the time I ate in accordance with these principles. The proof is in the “pudding” as well, because over time I actually developed a craving for all of these amazing whole foods – knowing how nourishing they are for my body and just how much better I function when I eat well.
I will admit that it takes time to adapt and requires preparation and organisation in advance so that you can plan your meals – but if you always keep the end game in mind (being healthy!!) then it will be a cinch 🙂
Here are my 8 ‘key to healing the gut’ principles?
1. Start your day off well with a glass of hot water and lemon. This will help to kick-start your digestion, alkalise your body and boost your immune system!
2. Reduce inflammatory foods.
- No wheat or rye
- No gluten
- No dairy
- No soy
- No refined sugars or foods or anything with chemicals, additives and flavourings
- No processed meats or grain-fed meats and poultry (best option is organic and grass-fed)
- No coffee
- No alcohol
3. Increase anti-inflammatory foods
- The “golden triangle” – turmeric, ginger and garlic (also cinnamon is wonderful)
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild Alaskan salmon and flaxseeds
- Healthy oils like coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower and avocado – these are also high in antioxidants
- Fresh fruits like blueberries and bananas, lemons and lime
- Herbal teas like dandelion tea, green tea and nettle tea
- Aloe vera
4. Boost your meals with super foods. Some of my favourites:
- Cacao – it’s the best alternative to refined chocolate and is actually good for you!
- Spirulina – great for alkalising the body and blends well in green smoothies
- Hemp seeds – high in protein and delicious when sprinkled over smoothies or salads
- Chia seeds – high in omega 3, protein, fibre, calcium and vitamin C – so much goodness!
- Aloe Vera – alleviates inflammation and ulcers in the body
- Lucuma – high in antioxidants and full of vitamins and minerals
5. Probiotics and fermented foods. Your gut is home to around 100 trillion microorganisms. Probiotics and fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha provide your gut with trillions of beneficial bacteria. This will help rebuild and balance healthy bacteria levels in your gut.
6. Herbal remedies. This is where a naturopath comes in handy as they know what minerals and vitamins your body needs and can tailor a formula designed for you personally! Key herbs that I have used in my healing process are slippery elm, marshmallow root, golden seal, marshmallow root, turmeric, withania, chamomile, albizzia and licorice (among others)! Fabulous concoctions can be made – but I recommend you get advice on what’s best for your body.
7. Developing your own spiritual practice is key for any healing of the body. For me, its yoga and having a daily meditation practice.
8. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Your health should be one of the highest priorities in your life – there are very few things that can surpass this. Stress is one of the biggest contributors to inflammation in the body (trust me, I have learnt the hard way)! So acknowledge what is making your stressed, and do your best to minimise it.
One of the hardest things when I eliminated certain foods from my diet, was knowing what I could have in replacement of them! Here’s a short handy list of some substitutes I’ve found along the way:
- Swap wheat for quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, millet and amaranth
- Swap cow’s milk for almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk
- Swap white flour for almond meal and buckwheat flour
- Swap vegetable oil for coconut oil, olive oil and macadamia oil
- Swap refined sugar for stevia, honey and rice malt syrup
- Swap refined spreads for nut butters like ABC spread (almonds, brazil nuts and cashews)
- Swap coffee for herbal teas
All of my recipes are based on these principles and I promise you that the only difference you will notice is how much better you will feel!!!