MSMonday: Gut healing, Beyond Food
In my previous post about Gut Healing I discussed how to make gut healing happen with food and some supplements. But there are many things we can be doing that go way beyond food too! From slowing down when you eat, to adding in several things into your daily or weekly routine, you can be a gut healing boss in no time.
Weekly Self Care
This will be different for everyone, what is someone’s version of self care is another’s version of boring torture. But what is going to be the same is the result. The relaxed state that the self care brings. Healing only takes place is a calm environment. Therefore we must do what we can to elicit a calm state. If you’re constantly stressed due to your job or home life, you’re going to struggle with your healing. (I’ve talked about this a lot in regards to why I switched careers!).
Find something or a few things that you can fit into your weekly routine that will bring you back to your calm center. That might be yoga, walks or meditation. It might be exercise, reading or cooking. It might even be making sure you’re organized for the next day each night. Whatever brings you back to your relaxed state will do the trick. Consistency is what matters here.
This is a buzzword that I’m so over. But I’m NOT over the benefits. I’m working this into my daily routine, despite my disdain for the word. More and more research is showing just what a daily gratitude practice will do for you. It can help you to see your world in a whole new way. You can start seeing the positive as a default, instead of the negative. I think that’s incredibly powerful, especially in this day and age.
Knowledge is power. And with power comes confidence.
Can you imagine what it would feel like to walk into your next doctor’s appointment with confidence instead of uncertainty or fear? That’s what knowledge can do. I know that us in the autoimmune and chronic illness community are some of the most well read and knowledgeable patients around. But there is always more to be read out there. Read all you can about your illness and gut healing. Once I did that, I felt so much more in control of my situation, it was a game changer for me.
Eat In a Relaxed State/Mindset
This is hard. I get it.
I eat in front of my computer, tv and while reading too. But the more we do that, concentrate on other things than our food while we are eating, the more our body will do that too. Our digestive process is meant to be a single process, one thing going at a time. When we introduce more things into that equation, like reading or watching tv, the more energy is taken away from the digestive process. Which means the slower the process goes and food can start to sit where it isn’t meant to. (Hellooo digestive upset!).
I work from home, so it’s easy to grab lunch, and keep working. But I’ve started to be deliberate about my lunch. I eat it away from all work spaces, in a relaxed state, and I chew my food plenty before swallowing too. If you follow me in instagram, you’ve probably seen me post about my lunches on my stories!
This will also vary from person to person. What is right for me, might not be right for you.
Research has shown that engaging in exercise is beneficial for gut flora and the gut microbiota. Exercise is also beneficial for reducing stress and inflammation and getting lymph fluid moving. Exercise can quickly become detrimental to your body, so it is very important that you listen to your body and pay attention to its cues. Some ideas on how to get started are, yoga, gentle stretching, walks or rebounding.
If you’re interested in learning more about autoimmunity and exercise, come join my FB group! AIP, Autoimmunity and Exercise!
Castor Oil Packs
Castor Oil Packs are an easy way to help your digestive juices, lymph fluid and bile start moving. If you struggle with fat absorption (meeee) this is a great thing to incorporate into your week. Hint! this can be part of your weekly self care practice. Since it takes a little while for the application, you can multitask. Read a book, take a cat nap or meditate while doing a castor oil pack.
You’ll need a few things to do this, Castor oil, Flannel and a heating pad, but it’s worth it. Some stores (Whole Foods) carry all the things needed for this, but you can easily DIY it for muchhh cheaper.
THIS WILL BE MESSY- PLACE A TOWEL ON YOUR BED FIRST.
- Get a piece of flannel the size of the area you’re trying to cover (your abdomen) or cut it to fit.
- Saturate the flannel with castor oil- THIS CAN BE MESSY. Use a big jar or tub to do so. Make sure the flannel is totally soaked.
- Place the flannel on your abdomen, or desired area of treatment, cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and cover with heating pad.
- Place a towel below you (if you forgot) and lay down quietly for 30-60 minutes.
- You may hear some gurgling noises from your tummy. That’s normal! That means it’s working.
- Use baby powder to remove the castor oil after you’re done, or take a shower.
- Repeat several times a week and store flannel in a jar for future use.
This is one of my favorite things to do! I love how soft and smooth my skin feels after, I also feel rather invigorated too. Dry brushing is a great way to detoxify by moving your lymph fluid (that sits right under the skin layer) it improves digestion and circulation as well. I will do this right before I take a shower, just 5ish minutes and I’m done.
Take a dry brush and in big, broad, upward circular strokes, brush your skin lightly. You always want to go in the direction of your heart as well.
This is something I’ve recently started doing. My dentist recommended a fluoride toothpaste to me on my last visit because of some possible cavity areas, so I’m trying this instead.
As I mentioned above, we have a mouth microbiome too. Oil pulling can help to get rid of a lot of the bad bacteria we have. It sounds more “intense” than it actually is. You basically just swish with a tablespoon of coconut oil for as long as you can. Start with 5 minutes and try to work your way up to 20 minutes. You’re an oil pulling rock star if you can do it daily. I’m not at rock star status yet. Mainly because I forget. But I’m working on it!
We have microbiomes everywhere, including our mouths! Tongue scraping gets the layer of toxins left over from the night off your tongue. I love doing this in the morning to get a full clean feel after brushing my teeth. Many people will brush their tongue with their toothbrush, but that just moves the bacteria around. Tongue scraping gets the bacteria off your tongue. Try it a few times and you’ll notice a big difference.
If you do this with oil pulling, I’d do it all in this order: Oil pulling, brush teeth, tongue scraping.
Get Proper Testing
This is a biggie. Test don’t Guess.
Healing diets, (AIP, Wahls, GAPs, SCD) can get you pretty far and can be really helpful, but sometimes they can only get you so far before you hit a roadblock in your healing. If you’re still experiencing symptoms after a while on these diets: DON’T KEEP RESTRICTING FOODS. Please. That will leave you sad and way underfed. Please work with a practitioner to get the gut health testing you need to figure out exactly what is going on with your gut. It could be anything from parasites to an infection, that need further, specific treatment.
Gut healing can be done everyday! There are always things that can be done, even without food. This is just a short list of the healthy practices you can start on to get into a gut healing lifestyle. Is there something that you’ve been doing that isn’t on the list? Let me know below!
If you’re feeling a little stuck and want to chat with me about working together, book a Consult Call! We’ll discuss what you’re struggling with and how I can best help you on your healing journey. Book your call here.