Monday, February 23, 2015

In the World of Wellness: What in the World is Leaky Gut?

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" in those ways and also as a means of defining a life free from disease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you.

Every month I'll do a post on a health and wellness related topic. This will give you a chance to explore other options, become informed, and make the best overall decision for your own well-being.

In the World of Wellness: Leaky gut is bad for more than just your belly

You may have leaky gut if you experience any of the following: Unusual weight gain/loss, gas, bloating, headaches, runny nose, fatigue, even depression. Of course, food intolerance's/allergies fall right into this group too.

If you were to be diagnosed with leaky gut you might start Googling it, trying to figure out just what it is.

That can lead to a mess of information, everything from WebMD telling you it's a mystery to others saying it's specifically this, this, and this.

Well, hey, that's not confusing at all.

To sum it up as best as it can be summed up by what is known: It's when your intestines leak food particles into your blood stream causing a whole heckofalatta problems.

Why do they do this? A number of possible reasons exist. Poor diet, stress, imbalance of good bacteria vs. bad bacteria in the gut, and toxins (found in food, the environment, your lotion and shampoo get the idea). Even eating too much of the same foods over and over can cause damage because your body need variety to thrive.

I've had to think this over quite a bit myself due to my new and oh-so wonderful food allergies. As much as I'd like you all to think I'm perfect (just kidding, I would hate that) I'm so, so not. Stress? So, sooooo much last year. Poor diet? As much as I hate to admit it, there was far too much ice cream in my life last year too. Too much of the same foods? Totally. I love coconut and spinach and bananas and I ate them too frequently. Like, every single day frequently.

Let's say you've been diagnosed with a leaky gut, like me, and all the lovely things that go with it. Now what do you do? Well, it's much like the treatment for food allergies. You must remove all the bad (or what your body has deemed as bad) and replace, renew, rebuild.

First, if your doctor did a thorough check, which they should have, you will have to avoid all the foods your body has deemed as bad. All of them. For at least two months, if not longer. Avoid sugar at all costs. I mean it. No honey, no maple syrup, nothing. We all know sugar is bad for us, but in this case, it makes everything that much worse.

You'll also need to work on the stress in your life. Really, really work on it. Get more sleep. Go for a walk every day. Work your 8 hour shift and then go the heck home.

Then, you need to look at all the toxins in your life that you do have control over. What can you remove or improve? Maybe swap your chemical filled shampoo with a natural one that consists of words you can actually pronounce and that you know the meaning of? Perhaps.

During this time you'll need to rebuild your intestines with probiotics and certain digestive enzymes, which your doctor should give you guidance on. They will probably give you a powder of some kind (many varieties exist for healthy gut rebuilding, but I like Intestamine the best) that you'll need to drink every day. It won't taste amazing, but it will help you. There are other supplements you can take, such as licorice root, which makes a big difference and that you should start taking on a fairly regular basis from here on out. Talk through all the options with your doctor. If you see a naturopathic doc, you'll probably even get more out of that conversation only because these types of supplements rule their world.

Leaky gut happens. It just does. But it's not the end of your life and everything happy in it. Give yourself the time needed to revitalize your body. Keep working at a healthy lifestyle and you will overcome it.

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