The secret to a long healthy life is a healthy gut. And in order to achieve and maintain a healthy gut, you must avoid inflammation of your gut.
And that’s the key. Avoid foods that cause gut inflammation and voila… you’ve got the optimal diet.
Chronic inflammation in your gut is one of the biggest cause of serious diseases. Most people assume that the gut is only for digesting food, but it’s WAY more complicated and much more involved. In fact your gut is your first line of defense against harmful substances.
Your gut is where all nutrients from food are transported into your body. And as much as essential nutrients need to be transported into the body for survival and optimal health, it’s also imperative that harmful substances stay out of the body for protection. So you can see why your gut acts the first line of defense. It’s like the TSA at your local airport…it’s security for your body. In a normal healthy gut, the line of defense is effective and functions properly, making sure nothing harmful gets through the gut and into your body.
However, chronic inflammation of your gut, caused by poor diet, impairs your gut’s ability to detect harmful substances. And as a result, it starts to let in substances that shouldn’t be allowed in. This causes havoc in your body, because your own immune system detects “foreign invaders” and attacks it to eradicate what it sees as harmful substance. The problem is that these “foreign substances” aren’t harmful to your body. In fact, most of these substances are just larger protein molecules that leaked through the weakened gut lining…caused by poor diet. This process is commonly known as the “leaky gut” syndrome and it’s one of the major causes of autoimmune diseases…a disease in which your body starts attacking itself in an effort to protect itself.
New research indicates that diabetes may be an autoimmune disease caused by chronic inflammation to the gut. (1) But that’s just one of many studies that have linked serious diseases to poor gut health. Not to mention other side negative health effects like weight gain, depression, skin disorders and much more.
So now that you know your gut isn’t just about digesting foods you eat…how do you prevent your gut from getting inflamed?
Well, it seems obvious enough at first..right? Just avoid eating foods that cause inflammation. But what foods cause inflammation? And this is where it gets a bit tricky, because we all respond slightly differently to food. However, there are certain common food triggers that you can eliminate to begin with. But I’ll be honest, you’re going to have to do a little experimenting on your own to figure out what foods are good for your and what foods are not. Is it a bit of a pain? Maybe…but would you rather have a healthy, long life or a chronically inflamed gut that can cause serious life altering diseases. I think the choice is pretty clear.
Here’s the first step in getting a healthy gut: Avoid gluten (grain) and dairy.
Gluten is one of the biggest cause of gut inflammation. Granted not everyone is gluten intolerant, it’s worth giving up gluten for 30 days to see how you feel. You may surprise yourself and find that you feel much better without it. And although you can get gluten-free flour…it’s best to stay away from any form of grains.
Dairy is another common culprit. Many people are dairy intolerant or allergic to dairy and may not even know it. The only exception is pasture raised grass-fed butter or ghee, which doesn’t have casein (cause of inflammation). As with gluten, avoid dairy for 30 days and see how you feel.
Just by eliminating gluten and dairy, you’ll likely feel much better and notice a significant difference in your health. BUT that’s just the start. The next step is to eliminate the other big 3 culprits…sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
Out of all three, sugar is probably the most difficult since it’s the most addictive. One way to help you ween off sugar is to substitute sugar with natural sweeteners like xylitol and stevia. That being said, keep in mind that the goal is to get off sugar, so don’t start adding stevia and xylitol to everything you eat and drink…that defeats the purpose.
Other foods to avoid are: Soy, peanuts, legumes, potatoes
So now that you know what NOT to eat, here’s what you CAN eat.
Protein: Grass-fed beef, fish (cold-water is preferred, low mercury), poultry (free-range, antibiotic/hormone free and not vegetarian-fed since that often means grain and soy by-products), eggs (organic from free-range/pasture raised, antibiotic/hormone free and not vegetarian-fed chickens).
Vegetables: Dino kale (cooked), spinach, (cooked), broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, fennel, radish, collards, cucumber, zucchini, celery, carrots, bokchoy, avocados, artichokes, green beans and dark leafy lettuce
Fruits: Most berries (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry), most citrus fruits (grapefruit, lemon, lime)
Fat: Coconut oil, grass-fed butter and ghee, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil
Nuts: Coconuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts.
Now usually I’m a stickler when it comes to the ratio of macro nutrients you eat…but in this case, it’s all about eliminating gut irritating foods, so I wouldn’t be concerned about the macro nutrient ratios. Just eye ball the amount of macro nutrients you eat, and try and consume about 50% of the food from veggies and fruits and the other 50% split between proteins and fats.
So there you have it. Give this simple diet a try for the next 30 days to help reduce gut inflammation and see how you feel. I think you’ll be pretty amazed at how much better you feel in just a short period. And it may be just what you need to help you get rid of that last bit of stubborn body fat as well
In health and fitness,
the diamond guru
Stay tuned for next weeks workout schedule!