By Christa Orecchio
Taking care of your digestive system is the first base toward reaching optimal health.
When your digestion is off, you usually know it, as it is expressed through bloating, gas, constipation, stomach pain or diarrhea.
What you may not realize is when your digestion is compromised, it can lead to an imbalance in other parts of your body, laying the foundation for food sensitivities, chronic low energy, inflammation and autoimmune disease.
Poor digestive health can weaken the immune system and influence our hormones as well as our mitochondria. This can lead to feeling both tired but wired—worn out and unable to sleep—as well as causing weight gain despite a healthy diet, dry skin and brittle nails, feeling cold all the time, depression, brain fog and fatigue.
The goal in healing the gut is to rebalance and shift the terrain of our bacteria to a healthy 90/10 ratio. Meaning 90% of the bacteria in your gut is made up of beneficial species while the other 10% is less than beneficial but still necessary to keep the immune system alert and challenged.
As a clinical nutritionist, developing the five-step microbiome and immune rejuvenation protocol below was a game changer for my clients, as this approach goes beyond digestive health through targeting gene signaling at a microbiome level. The results are often a total improvement in the immune system, healing of the thyroid and adrenals, improved metabolism and reversed diabetes, and/or healing of chronic skin conditions.
Here is a closer look at the protocol:
Step 1: Remove inflammation
Eliminate foods with irritants such as GMOs, caffeine, soy, dairy, wheat, and corn to shift your body from an inflammatory state to healing. Incorporate antioxidant-rich healing foods such as spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel), bone and vegetable broths, and healthy fats such as coconut oil, ghee, and olive oil to lower the inflammation set point.
Anti-inflammatory Golden Milk
- Serves: 1
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, dried
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ginger, dried
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt
- Dark-liquid stevia, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Stir while heating on low. Slowly bring to a boil and then turn off heat.
- Pour into a mug and serve.
Step 2: Purge pathogens
Instead of relying on antibiotics or harsh antifungals, we can gently rebalance the microbiome through a pathogen purge using low-dose botanicals. Secondly, we need to address biofilms, small colonies of bacteria that build antibiotic-resistant forts to protect themselves. For true healing to occur, we must gently invade these biofilms with targeted enzyme support. Additionally, we incorporate herbs such as parsley and cilantro to help eliminate and pull out heavy metals from within the body.
Step 3: Reseed the gut
We use specific strains of probiotics to help the body digest foods and also to repopulate the gut so that the beneficial bacteria can continue to grow.
Step 4: Manage acid
Next we address hydrochloric acid (HCL) production and terraforming. This is a key step in gut healing, as a proper HCL level is necessary for protein digestion, as well as absorption of iron and essential B vitamins, especially B12. Terraforming is where we can start to incorporate food-based probiotic foods such as raw sauerkraut, homemade ginger pickles, miso, and kefir.
- Serves: 12
- Prep Time:
- 1 lemon, juice
- 1 full ginger root (the size would cover the palm of your hand) - peeled and shredded with a carrot shaver or cheese grater
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- Mix all ingredients together, put in a jar and let "pickle" overnight in the refrigerator.
- Chew ½-1 teaspoon ginger pickle before your largest meal and then spit it out.
The Ginger Pickle can also be made in a food processor.
Step 5: Regain balance
Finding balance within your diet and lifestyle is essential, as we do not want to be on a super-restricted regime day in and day out. I recommend an 80/20 balance, which means nourishing your body with healthy foods and lifestyle choices 80% of the time. For the other 20%, I suggest you find variety and not be so strict with your food choices. This 80/20 balance is not only healthy for our microbiomes, but also for our minds.
Our team has taken more than 6,000 people successfully through this process. If you’d like to learn more or experience a day in the life of living these five steps, watch our webinar all about gut healing and the Gut Thrive In 5 program.