Last time we went over the importance of gut flora. Now that we know that unhealthy digestion and elimination is caused by a lack of good gut flora we can discuss how to correct the delicate balance in our guts.
If you go back to Diagnosing the Health of Your Gut you can determine if you need to correct the balance or simply maintain a healthy one. Correction will take a bit more work, and sadly most of us could benefit from that extra work.
Correcting An Improper Gut Flora Balance
We have been feeding our guts bacteria since we were born. That trip down the birth canal is our first introduction to flora. That is just one of the reasons a one-in-three c-section rate is alarming.
The second introduction to gut flora happens moments after birth when we are nursed by our mothers. Breast milk passes friendly bacteria from the mother to the baby. Unfortunately it can also pass on an overgrowth of bad bacteria, resulting in thrush. The health of our guts effects our babies.
If you have missed either of these first two steps or have ever had a round of antibiotics, a starch-heavy diet, or vaccinations and have not eaten a lot of fermented foods you may want to consider taking a few extra steps to correct the balance of your gut.
The basics of healing your gut include:
- taking all difficult to digest foods out of your diet.
- removing all foods that may feed the bad bacteria out of your diet.
- feeding your body gut-healing foods like bone broths and probiotic foods.
- giving your gut time to heal.
- recolonating your gut with good bacteria through foods and a good-quality probiotic.
The best protocol that I have come across is The GAPS Diet. It can be used by adults and children alike. I have seen it help our family’s more minor gut problems, but also have heard from many who have seen vast improvements.
By going through the various stages of this diet you give your gut time to heal and reintroduce good bacteria through probiotic foods and a high-quality probiotic supplement.
Maintaining A Healthy Gut
If your gut health is already on track then maintaining it isn’t all that difficult.
Here are a few tips:
- Avoid too many sugars and starches in the diet.
- Avoid antibiotics, antibacterial soaps, and vaccinations.
- Don’t be afraid to let your children get dirty and contact other people or animals that may have different types of bacteria.
- Eat lots of fermented foods, continuously.
The latter is the most important. Eating fermented foods every day will help maintain a good balance of bacteria, help you achieve easier digestion and elimination, and help your immune system stay strong.
Examples of Fermented Foods to Eat Daily:
- Yogurt. You can make it in the crock pot, or keep it raw and make it on your counter top with special starters. (see sources)
- Milk Kefir. Easier to make than yogurt in some cases because it does not have to be kept at a constant temperature. Purchase grains once and reuse continuously. (see sources)
- Raw Cheese. A delicious concentration of the nutrients found in real milk. (see sources)
- Kombucha. If you’re new to this fermented tea check out this article. Purchase a starter and make your own for a fraction of the cost of store bought. (see sources)
- Water Kefir. A cousin of milk kefir, the grains produce a tangy-sweet probiotic version of soda pop. Faster to prepare than kombucha. (see sources)
- Lacto-Fermented Vegetables. If you’re new to fermented vegetables see this article. Our favorites include salsa, cortido, and dill pickles. It is my favorite way to store up the harvest. You can also make or purchase lacto-fermented condiments or lacto-fermented vegetables. (see sources)
I have received several question from the previous parts of this series, so I will be running a Q & A as the final part of this series.
If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.