If you were to ask me, "Kat, what's the single most important thing to prioritize if I want to look and feel my best?", without hesitation my answer would be your gut health.
As more and more research is finding, our gastrointestinal health plays a role in just about everything: mood regulation, hunger regulation, sleep, stress levels, emotional wellbeing, immune health, thyroid health, energy, inflammatory responses, cravings, the list is practically endless.
It makes sense, right? Our digestive tract is where it all goes down (no pun intended): it's where we absorb the nutrients of our food to be used for all our bodily processes and it's how we excrete the waist that's harmful to us. Our gut has even been labeled as our 'second brain' as it relies on the same type of neurons and neurotransmitters and communicates directly with the brain.
So it stands to reason, when our gut isn't functioning well it can lead to a myriad of symptoms and conditions like brain fog, bloating, fatigue, acne, autoimmune conditions, inflammatory conditions, thyroid disorders, headaches, eczema, joint pain, obesity, anxiety, and depression, just to name a few.
In my own journey, the years I spent healing my gut are 100% responsible for my success in both putting my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis into remission and creating a body I'm happy with.
At this point you may be asking, how do we tell if something is wrong with our gut and how do we know how to fix it?
And while there are 100's of tests you could take to determine the health of your gut, for the purposes of this episode we're going to take the most direct approach, and look at your poo and what it may be trying to tell you.
(The following infograph and information is brought to you by Precision Nutrition. This information is not meant to treat or cure any conditions, and it is not meant as a replacement for medical advice.)
Possible Causes: Imbalanced blood sugar, nutrient deficiencies, aging, disrupted sleep, imbalances in the microbiome, autonomic nervous system problems (the control system that functions unconsciously like heart beat, digestion, or pupillary response), chronic diseases like Chron's and colitis, or medications like antibiotics and painkillers.
What To Do: Eat more whole, minimally processed foods, eat slower, pay attention to hunger/satiety cues, and improve your sleep habits.
Possible Causes: Travel, poor diet, a change in diet, taking antibiotics
What To Do: Eat a wider range of fresh, minimally processed foods, grow a garden or exercise outside to get exposed to a wider variety of bacteria, consume pre-biotics (chicory root, onions, oatmeal, asparagus, dandelion greens, artichoke, and bananas), and consume probiotics (kefir, fermented products like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi)
Possible Causes: Fiber deficiency, food sensitivities, processed foods.
What To Do: Keep a food diary for a couple of weeks to track your diet and symptoms, take the short cut and click here to order an at-home food sensitivity test, or contact me if you want a coach to help you work through an elimination diet.
Possible Causes: Not consuming enough water, heat exposure, frequent/intense exercise, certain medications, stress, low carb and/or high protein diet.
What To Do: Drink more water, balance your workout routine, relieve stress, increase water-rich foods (fruits, veggies, and whole grains)
Possible Causes: High stress load, too little time outside, weak support network, low ability to cope.
What To Do: Walk outside, enjoy nature, low-key music, massage, deep breathing, laughing, snuggling with a loved one or pet, yoga, slow stretching, relaxing in a hot tub, having sex, non-competitive play, mindfulness and meditation, and sip green tea.
Possible Causes: Imbalance of high impact exercise vs active recovery, overtraining, imbalance of cardio vs resistance training, sedentary lifestyle.
What To Do: Find ways to move your body that you genuinely enjoy and that feel good to you. If you think you may be overtraining, increase active recovery time and observe whether symptoms like muscle aches and fatigue improve.
Other things to watch out for:
Want a customized plan to help you get your gut back on track?? Click here to get $100 off a 1:1 Nutrition Intensive with me!
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