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My 5 Step Plan to Improve Gut Health

Welcome to my gut health plan. This plan can help reset your dietary habits, as well as boost your digestive health. As our body is constantly detoxifying by itself, there are many foods that we should be consuming to help our colon cleanse naturally. Our diet plays a vital role in how effective our liver and kidneys function in removing toxins. While your body detoxifies itself, there are plenty of ways we can give our detoxification process a helping hand.

Google searches for gut health have sky-rocketed. The world is obsessed with all things gut-related. More and more people are beginning to realize that your gut is just as important if not more so than your brain. Inside your gut, you have what’s called your gut microbiome — an ecosystem of bacteria, microbes, and fungus and it’s so large it’s considered to be another organ.

Recent research has linked poor gut health to everything from anxiety and depression to diabetes and bowel cancer, so maintaining the balance of good and bad bacteria has become a priority. The gut microbiome is the center for human health, so you need to keep it happy. Eat too much of the wrong food or overuse antibiotics, and the balance in your gut can be disturbed. It’s this imbalance — known as dysbiosis — that can lead to disease so there’s no better time to start building a healthier microbiome.

I often recommend a simple gut reset to help you address chronic issues and get your digestion back on track, it can be especially helpful after a period of time that’s harsher on your gut (like the holidays). Whether it’s digestion, metabolism, the immune system, or your mood — all thriving health begins in the gut. Follow my five-day gut health guide below and you’ll be well on your way to a stronger and happier gut. This is not a diet, this a simply a basic plan that I follow to boost my body’s natural cleansing process.

Here’s my 5 step plan to help boost your body’s natural cleansing.

1. Start with an intermittent fast and begin your morning with water 

Just like you, your gut needs a period of rest and rejuvenation to function optimally. Giving it a break can reduce inflammation, shed water weight, and reduce bloating. Intermittent fasting gives the body a break for a set number of hours each day so that your gut can repair, reset, and rest. The night before you start your cleanse, plan to fast for 12 to 16 hours. This is easier than it sounds—a 12-hour fast simply means stop eating at 7 in the evening and don’t eat again until breakfast the next day until 7 a.m.

Drinking water, especially warm water on an empty stomach, is one of the best things you can do for digestion. Warm water takes less energy to digest and stimulates digestion while detoxing the system and helping food move through the digestive tract. Start your day with at least one full glass of room-temperature water before you consume any food. Every morning I drink 2 glasses of warm water with lemon or add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I love my apple cider vinegar as it contains malic acid, which helps my digestive issues like constipation and bloating.  Some mornings, I’ll also make my restorative, energizing garden vegetable juice with organic carrots, beetroot, apple, ginger, and some lemon juice.

2. Eat probiotic foods to boost good gut bacteria

Probiotic foods have live bacteria in them, so eating probiotic foods stocks your gut with these supportive microorganisms.

Probiotic-rich foods include:

  • Yogurt and kefir with live and active cultures – choose no-sugar varieties (sugar impairs healthy bacteria)
  • Fermented pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Apple cider vinegar

3. Add prebiotic foods to feed the gut microbiome

Prebiotics are foods that fuel the healthy microbes in your gut. These foods are usually high in prebiotic fiber that microbes are going to munch up. The best source of fiber is from complex carbohydrates from fermentable plant fibers or “prebiotics” which support good bacteria already present in the gut. Add more cellulose fibers into your diet, you can find them in the tough parts of veggies and fruit such as broccoli stalks, the bottom of asparagus, kale stems, and orange pulp. Try to include at least one serving of prebiotic food in your dinner. Lentil soup is also a great option.

Prebiotic foods include:

  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Legumes (lentils, peas, chickpeas, and beans)
  • Whole grains, such as oats
  • Vegetables such as asparagus, artichokes, garlic, and onions
  • Dandelion greens
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Leeks (green and white parts)
  • Fibrous parts of fruit and vegetables

Be sure to consume a diverse diet with all types of fiber. We want our gut community to be diverse. There are many strains of good bacteria, and there are some bad bacteria in there, too. Our goal is for them all to live in harmony.

Breakfast and midmorning snack 

Start your morning off with a healthy, balanced breakfast that is packed with gut-friendly foods. It’s best to have a sugar-free breakfast. Fruit sugars are OK (berries are best) but make sure they’re accompanied by plenty of fiber and fat, so you don’t have a blood sugar crash.

Few breakfast ideas:

  • Buckwheat overnight oats
  • Quinoa breakfast bowl
  • Clean green protein smoothie
  • Chia pudding

Snacks: Boil 1 cup of water, then add in 1 heaping tablespoon loose chai tea. Add additional gut-supporting spices like ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. You can also add nutmeg or clove. Strain the tea and add a splash of almond or coconut milk for creaminess. Giving your gut a break is a big part of this gut reset. Try to limit snacking, and if you’re feeling peckish, have another cup of chai tea or a healthy gut-friendly snack instead.

Snack ideas:

  • Medjool dates with organic natural peanut butter
  • Red pepper slices and hummus
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

Other Gut Cleanse Detox Foods

Simply, the best way to help your gut health is to eat foods that support your body’s natural detoxifying process. The liver plays a key role during detox, so it is important to consume foods that your liver will love. Keep in mind, these are only a few food options and there are plenty of gut health recipes online and you can have a look at my Balanced, Easy, Nutritious, and Delicious (BEND) Recipes on Zelheins Taste.

There are many foods that help to promote great gut and liver health, here is a list of some foods to introduce into your diet:

  • Broccoli
  • Swede
  • Turnips
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Avocado
  • Kale

Not only do these foods help the digestive system, but some also contain antioxidants and are a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Fuel up on Fiber! Fiber is very important to consume during your gut cleanse diet. It helps by regulating constipation, giving good bacteria a boost, and easing overactive bowels. Eating high-fiber foods can help promote a healthy colon while helping gut bacteria. Fiber can be found in many foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and much more.

Lunch and dinner ideas:

  • Have a broth-based meal with probiotics. Not only is broth soothing, but it aids in the production of gastric juices, strengthens the intestinal lining, soothes the gut, and aids liver and kidney function. Choose bone broth from high-quality, grass-fed animals or a vegetable broth and add some extra vegetables to it for a filling, gut-friendly meal. Miso soup is another great option.
  • Adding 1 tablespoon of kimchee, sauerkraut, or some pickles to your meals is another easy way to work gut-friendly bacteria into your life. Other ideas: Stir 1 teaspoon or less of miso in your soup, or sip on Kombucha, nondairy kefir, or kvass with your meal. Perhaps easiest, try incorporating a high-quality probiotic into your routine.
  • My Gut Detox salad, it’s light and energizing. The salad helps with peristalsis and my bowel regularity which is what I strive for every day. A side of kimchi or sauerkraut, just 1 tablespoon for me is a must, as it’s a powerful probiotic to help my bacteria in my gut. If my gut is extra sensitive, I add extra brined water into the cabbage/salt mixture before fermenting. This will produce more of the restorative probiotic-rich sauerkraut juice and I normally have 1/4 cup a day.
  • Plant-based veggie burrito bowl or any bowl full of vegetables and remember to add a good source of protein and healthy fats. Olive oil is a great option to add to any meal. Complex, unrefined carbs found in whole plant foods are also full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • For dinner, I tend to have a small meal during this 5-day plan and try to focus on nourishing and restorative soups. Warming foods do wonders for my gut health. You can also add a piece of steamed or smoked salmon on the side for added protein and Omega-3s.

4. Minimize stress and stay active to keep your body healthy

Constantly having high stress-levels contributes to a poorly functioning gut and prevents your gut from working the way it should. The body’s longest nerve, the vagus nerve, goes straight from the gut microbiome to the brain. Research has found that, similar to having lots of toxins in your environment, having very high-stress blocks the vagus nerve’s function.

When you’re stressed, you release peptides that lead to increased inflammation, gut permeability, visceral hypersensitivity, perception of pain, and gut motility. To minimize stress, try techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga stretches, and mindfulness.

Getting adequate sleep helps overall physical and neurological health and has a significant impact on stress levels, which will give your body the rest it needs to heal and reset your gut.

Exercise and physical activity can help your gut, too, and not only by supporting a healthy weight. Research has proven that the more active someone is, the more positively it affects the microbiome. But as with everything, moderation is key. Gentle activities, such as walking, cycling, yoga, or swimming, can keep you moving and improve your overall well-being.

5. Foods to Avoid During a Gut Cleanse

High-fat and high-sugar foods should only be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Eating too much fat and sugar will starve the good bacteria, which will have an adverse effect on your colon health. The following foods play havoc with your gut flora and should to avoided or limited during your cleanse:

  • Processed Meats (salami, bacon, hot dogs, etc)
  • Refined, processed carbs like table sugar or high fructose corn syrup
  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • Saturated Fats and refined oil
  • Junk foods (pizza, burgers, fried food, etc.)
  • Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin
  • Baked products (white bread, muffins, donuts, pastries, etc.)

Extra tip: Water Consumption

Many people overlook how important water is for your overall body health. Water plays a vital role in helping the digestive system run effectively. It is recommended to drink around six to eight glasses of water each day. In addition, try adding foods into your diet that are high in water content such as watermelon, lettuce, cucumber, and celery.

Detox water is made by infusing water with fruits, vegetables, or herbs. You can make your own at home using a variety of flavors. To make detox water, add fruits, vegetables, and herbs to water and then let it stand. Crushing or bruising fruits and herbs can help release more of their flavors. Detox water helps removes toxins, help with weight loss, balance your pH and boost your immune system.

If you can take away just a few of these changes, you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term gut success. Remember: Eat lots of fiber, take probiotics, and more fermented foods to your routine, and get some sleep.

Good luck detoxing your body from the inside out.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send us an email. I am here to help, advise and support you.



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