Your motivation is in your gut.
How is my gut today?
What can I do, what can I eat to make my gut feel better, perform better?
You probably don’t ask yourself these questions too often. — Neither do I.
And yet we all probably should. And probably soon will be.
Because as more and more research and real life case studies show, our gut, our microbiome, the trillions of bugs living in our gut, primarily in our large colon, those bugs decide how much energy we extract from our food, they control hunger signals and what foods we crave, how much our blood sugar spikes after eating certain foods — as you can guess all of that defines how fat or lean we stay long term. Our gut bugs train and control our immune system’s functions, defining how many allergies and food intolerances we have, how often we get sick or get in trouble eating something. Our microbiome produces many hormones and neurotransmitters, that control our mood, our anxieties, blues, depression or optimism.
We have trillions and trillions of gut bacteria, 100 trillion bacterial cells — they outnumber human cells 10 to 1! As they like to say these days we are only 10% human. Like it or not, you have very close and permanent tenants, that you want to take good care of, if you want to stay healthy, full of energy, lean, happy, performing at your best, looking your best.
I’ve just finished a great book dedicated to our gut tenants.
This book breaks down the subject, the topic of digestion thoroughly. There is an experiment going on in the book, that takes us on a journey along with a camera-pill, that the author swallowed, an intriguing journey through our digestive system, starting in our mouth and ending … well, you know where.
Throughout the journey we discover, how foods are digested, how long certain foods stay in our stomach and in our system, what is digested and absorbed first and how long it takes foods and certain drinks to go through our system — that alone is fascinating and full of details about our digestion, details that influence how much we eat, what we eat, how much health and energy we have after a meal and so much more. For example, on this journey we discover that fiber, fat and protein eaten together slow down digestion the most — that keeps us full for longer, allowing our hunger hormones to be released properly, preventing overeating and often cravings. That’s why I say, that the perfect meal, every meal ideally, should have fiber (vegetables), protein and fat (eggs, fattier meats and oily fish). These foods also have all the essential nutrients our body needs — vitamins and minerals, essential amino and fatty acids — that in turn makes sure, that we don’t crave anything for a long time, since our basics are covered. Eating slowly, by the way, chewing your food well, helps with cravings and eating less too, since we allow more time for our hunger hormones to be released, sending the signals to our brain, letting it know we had enough food.
I’ve learned a lot about digestion at every stage from the book! And that’s an important knowledge, if we want to make better food and lifestyle choices, choices that keep us full of energy, lean and happy.
The biggest part of the book is dedicated to our gut health, of course.
How do we keep our tenants happy, paying rent in good-mood hormones, vitamins and minerals and other beneficial to our health metabolites (chemical substances produced by our gut bacteria), instead of getting more of bad-behaving tenants, causing sugar/processed food cravings, turning us into anxious and depressed monkeys?
We can increase diversity and health of our bugs through certain foods first and foremost.
The champions are:
Olive oil, oily fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, grass-fed meat (2–3 times a week), eggs
Cocoa (preferably in sugar free chocolate or cacao beans), tea, coffee, red wine (not too often and no more than a glass, with as little alcohol as possible) and other polyphenols-rich foods
Turmeric, that seems to be a real champion, when it comes to control of good atmosphere of our gut neighborhood — it inhibits growth of bad-behaving guys, bacteria, parasites and fungi, reducing depression, anxiety and even things like eczema and asthma
Fiber-rich vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits and grains (you want to eat as little as possible sweet fruits and none of the processed grains to avoid blood sugar spikes).
Especially great and absolutely necessary to feed your good tenants are foods rich in prebiotic fiber and inulin — onions, leeks and garlic, chicory, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, bananas (the greener the better for greater resistant starch content, that is also found in potato starch and cooked-chilled-re-heated potatoes and pasta).
Seaweed is a champion too, having as additional bonus omega-3 essential fatty acids, reducing inflammation and increasing insulin sensitivity (allowing us to metabolize sugar more efficiently, using it for energy in our cells instead of storing it as fat).
And of course you must have heard about probiotic-rich foods, foods that bring new and more of good tenants to your gut, since a lot of them tend to leave (die off) pretty quickly, especially if we don’t treat them well, killing them off with unfavorable foods and lifestyle choices.
The most amazing probiotic-rich foods, that by the way work times better than ANY supplement, are sauerkraut and kimchi, cheeses (the smellier the better), and yogurts (no sugar of course).
Besides that, to take care of your gut friends, you want to exercise (not too much), fast or intermittent fast (not eating for 12 hours and more, or reducing your calories to 500 or so a day, once or twice a week), sleep well, keep your window open and get dirty often.
And what do you need to avoid doing to make sure good tenants stay for as long as possible alive and thriving?
No processed foods
No stress over small stuff (and everything is small stuff)
No late-in-front-of-the-TV nights — try to be in bed each night by 10.30 pm, avoiding screens for an hour prior
Artificial sweeteners, FYI, tend to make some bugs angry, producing inflammation increasing substances, AND studies show, that consuming artificial sweeteners tend to make people eat more (making us fatter), since the brain expects calories coming along with sweet taste, and it makes us get those calories elsewhere, since we didn’t get them coming with sweet tasting concoction in the first place.
A lot of information in this book. This was by far the most informative and practical and fun book I’ve read about the gut and digestion.
Guys, it’s so important to keep our gut healthy, our digestion running as smoothly as possible — think of the time (most of us had it at least once) of diarrhea or excessive gas action there, were you able to focus on anything fully, killin it? I doubt it very highly. I couldn’t.
Our digestion and gut health affects everything in our life, most importantly our energy levels and our mood, our positivity and enthusiasm for life — if we don’t have that, we have nothing, we don’t want to do anything, and that’s the worst thing to have in life — absence of desire to live fully, chasing our dreams.
Our motivation to live KILLIN IT! is in our gut — how about that?
Think about it next time reaching out for some bug killing sugary cookie or that piece of pizza, or grabbing a bagel for your Starbucks-full-of-crap drink.
Speaking of cookies, not all cookies are bad anymore!
There are healthy cookies you can buy now, rich in fiber, prebiotic fiber, that our bugs love so much, and other good-for-you-superfoods to keep you and your gut bacteria happy!
You don’t get healthy and stay healthy.
HEALTH is a DAILY PRACTICE. One bite at a time.
Daily Bite of Health