I have certainly come along way from the days of eating a high sugar, high carbohydrate, low fat and somewhat inflammatory diet. I’ve been through weight fluctuations, severe IBS symptoms that had me too scared to leave the house; to high protein, low cal diets apparently designed to strip body fat and promote muscle building. If you have followed me on the socials for a while you will know I now eat in a very unprocessed way or as I like to call it = jerfing (Just Eat Real Food).
This does not mean that I am instantly well. The years of abuse to my body in one form or another – food, alcohol, many nights of partying, stress, over training; the list could go on – has taken it’s toll. The reversal of this has been and still is a process – a work in progress. I wanted to share with you all what the current phase in my journey along The Nourishing Way looks like. I hope this gives you an understanding of what I am working through and allow you to see how I approach my health.
I have made progress in certain areas of my health. My digestion however is still out of whack. I am still struggling to clear up my skin and to loose weight. I just know these things are related. Our bodies are all one big connected system – what is happening in one area of our body by default has to affect the other areas. Like my gut not working properly would lead to the nutrients from my food not being absorbed like they should be and this is showing up in my skin.
So how do you find out exactly what is going wrong in your gut? You do a stool test. So this is what I have done recently. And the results showed some deficiencies.
The first one I am tackling is my bacteroides count. We have a colony of bacteria living in our intestines, predominantly the large intestine – the colon. These are called bacteroides. And I don’t have enough. At a minimum we are meant to have over 500 million of these little guys and I have only 300 million. In one way or another I have managed to wipe out a very significant portion of these guys. These little guys are important in many metabolic activities. They help us convert our food into materials that our bodies can use. Missing a significant portion of these means that I am missing the help get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that I need from my food. In a nutshell I’m eating all this wondrous food but my body isn’t absorbing it and therefore not getting the required amount it needs.
So how do I fix this? I need to increase the diversity and number of bacteria in my gut. This means lots of bone broth. I have also increased the amount of Vitamin K2 foods I have been eating – think organ meats, fermented dairy (not your store bought sugar loaded yoghurts but properly cultured yoghurt), grass-fed butter, cheese and eggs. I am also meant to be taking a supplement to help build these little guys back up but I’m having trouble finding it, no stockists actually have it in stock, its something they order. I really should have just ordered it from one of them already. I would have had it by now. So this will be putting me back a little in getting the numbers back up. I used to beat myself about things like this, but honestly work has been hectic. My mum is overseas looking after her mum and life has just been full at the moment. I’m doing everything else I should be so I’m not going to stress about this one thing that I will get to.
I have been really good with making sure I’m getting my broth in. I am having 3 cups a day. I’m definitely getting some weird looks and comments like “What is that?” at work. I use it as a way to educate – Bone broth for gut health. I’m pretty sure by now they are used to the ‘strange’ foods I eat. I make my broth with bones from grass-fed beef, nice big marrow bones, joint bones and connective tissue is the best. I had been adding lots of additional onion, garlic for their antimicrobial benefits and vegetables like carrot, fennel and celery for added flavour, all thrown into a slow-cooker (as shown in the pic) to make it super easy to do. I had been doing this for about 2 weeks and found I was just feeling more and more bloated. I couldn’t work out why. It wasn’t a die off reaction, I was trying to grow the bacteria, not kill it. Then I realised. The onion and garlic! They are fermentable vegetables that our bodies have trouble breaking down. Normally I don’t have a problem when I eat them. I actually would have a cup of broth a day made like this and no reaction. However with food like this we generally have a tolerance level. This tolerance level is individual to us all. I had obviously maxed mine out by having three cups of broth, heavily infused with onion and garlic and also eating some meals made with these added to them.
The Solution: I have made a new batch of broth with ginger and turmeric – both anti-inflammatory foods – replacing the onion and garlic. Within 24hours I was feeling the effects. The bloating subsided within 24 hours. This is why we need to learn to listen to our bodies. Our bodies are constantly giving us feedback, we just don’t always hear it. I love being my own little experiment!
I will keep you updated as I progress through tackling the other deficiencies in my test and how I am going to reverse the results. If you have any questions after reading this or this has prompted you to think you feel you may have digestive issues too, send me an email or hit me up on the socials.
The Nourishing Way