Got gut health? Far too many of us struggle in this area and one of our favorite pros, Donna Gates of Body Ecology, is here to help.
You’ll want to dig deep into this two-part series on foods, supplements and other daily necessities that will keep your internal system thriving. We took our own copious notes on some of Donna’s genius breakfast and smoothie ideas!
A Full Day of Gut-Healing Foods
A very important aspect of digestion is eating the right gut health foods at the right times and combining the right foods together to promote alkalinity. When we wake up in the morning our bodies are dehydrated, contracted and naturally acidic. We also need energy to start our day. Using the principle of balance to guide us, it’s good to drink liquids that hydrate us while giving us energy, relax us a little and also help us become more alkaline. Our bodies are still waking up and need time to get into full gear, so nutritionally-dense, easy-to-digest, liquid-type foods and drinks are a must. Here are a few of the gut healing foods I recommend…
In the Morning…
hydrate | First, drink several glasses of water (yes, this is a gut health food). Nothing hydrates like water, and water with minerals added to help alkalize is best.
probiotic juice | Then, drink a “probiotic juice” that acts as an adrenal tonic and also provides the “sweet taste” you need when you are too contracted. Choose a no sugar sour juice like cranberry, pomegranate, açaí, noni, mangosteen or black currant and put this into a probiotic liquid like young coconut kefir or probiotic drink. Add stevia to sweeten. (Note: Try not to use stevia in large amounts, it’s not a good practice in general, especially if you have hormonal imbalances or infertility.)
berries + greens | Kiwi or a handful of berries provides more energy and antioxidants as you begin your day. Or try some young coconut kefir with supergreens and add some chia seeds. Let this thicken for several minutes, and you have a great drink that will nurture your intestines. I always find time to mix 1/2 tsp. or more of supergreens and a probiotic drink. In minutes my energy increases even more.
anti-aging green morning smoothie | You can even whip up a nutritious anti-aging green morning smoothie with water, two stalks of celery, two leaves of romaine lettuce, a small zucchini, a small cucumber, some soaked chia seeds, a handful of mint, a large squirt of Barlean’s 3-6-9 swirl Essential Oil and a few drops of stevia. It’s an amazing, yet alkalizing, high fiber drink too.
kefir + berries | If your body likes casein, (the main protein in dairy foods), pour some homemade milk kefir over a bowl of your favorite berries. This cooling quality is great for inflammation (internal heat) all year round and is another reason why it is an anti-aging food. Or take the berries and your freshly-made milk kefir, and add stevia to create a delicious berry smoothie. Milk kefir, a splash of roasted pumpkin seed oil, some vanilla flavoring, and Lakanto and/or stevia is another tasty smoothie combination.
This light, yet extremely nourishing start to your day is a perfect example of practicing calorie restriction with optimal nutrition. These are all good options that hydrate, give you energy to start your day, are filling, and are all properly combined. An acidic meal including bacon, eggs, toast, oatmeal, and cereal with milk (a food-combining nightmare) are not good examples of what to eat in the morning (sorry!).
enzymes | While all the suggestions above are easy to digest, you may want to take digestive enzymes if you feel you need them (and can’t incorporate enough gut healing foods). For example, even though fermenting helps with digestion of casein in the milk kefir, the casein may still be difficult to digest for those with weak digestion. If you have this problem, try taking a digestive enzyme with HCL and pepsin for digestion of casein in your stomach and a second enzyme with pancreatin that breaks it down when it reaches your small intestine.
In the Afternoon…
Protein + probiotics | The best time of the day to eat heavier proteins (like animal proteins, and nut and seed pâtés) is between 11:00am and 2:00pm. Your liver is ready to accept proteins at this time, and you are more active and need the extra concentrated energy. Many of us would benefit from eating two smaller protein meals. For example, around 11:00am, eggs, cultured vegetables, and a small leafy green salad makes an energizing brunch. Eggs are great for your thyroid and your brain and help create energy. At 1:00pm have a tasty protein and veggie lunch with a probiotic drink.
kefir + greens | If you need or want to gain weight, have an energizing, alkaline snack like young coconut kefir mixed with some supergreens around 3:00 or 4:00pm. This will give you a mid-afternoon boost of energy to get you through that period when you feel a bit sleepy or unfocused. Satisfying those afternoon cravings with something healthy will give you more motivation to prepare an evening meal that is balanced and unrushed.
In the Evening…
veggies + grains | Your last meal of the day should be vegetarian. Your digestive tract starts to slow down around sunset, so difficult-to-digest, complex meals are not wise. Eat early and eat a light vegetarian meal. You may sleep better and awaken refreshed if your last meal is 80% vegetables (from the land and ocean), cultured vegetables and a gluten-free, grain-like seed such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat or amaranth. These are optimal gut healing foods.
Learn more about gut health in part one of this series.