For the past five years or so I have been learning everything I can about natural health and healing. You might find me behind the laptop looking up remedies for this or that or tucked into an herbal medicine book.
All of this is well and good, but if there is a systemic health problem treating the symptoms, even if done herbally, is fairly pointless, though it does make one more comfortable.
About three years ago I realized that everything I read, researched, or experienced in our own family points to gut health as the single most important aspect of your health. So from there I was determined to treat everything from my husband’s back pain to our energy levels to some of my children’s attention and behavioral problems by healing the gut.
And it worked.
So today I thought I would share with you the three foods that I always turn to when someone is in need of some gut healing. We have done the GAPS diet and I highly recommend the protocol for anyone who has ever questioned their gut health, taken antibiotics, or had any overall health problems.
Top Three Foods For Gut Health
Animal Fats. Whenever anyone has ever asked me what to change about their diet first I recommend starting with fats. First realize that the right fats are incredibly nourishing. Second, realize that industrialized poly and mono-unsaturated vegetable fats are incredibly inflammatory to the body and the gut. Third, realize that animal fats are incredibly soothing and nourishing to the gut and the rest of the body.
So incorporating tallow, lard, good butter, egg yolks, and cod liver oil into your cooking and eating can make a world of difference in your gut health. Always remember that fats that come from pastured animals are exponentially healthier than fats from industrialized grain-fed animals.
Ferments. Once you have taken out the inflammatory vegetable oils and are incorporating good animal fats, it is time to get your gut flora in balance. If you’ve ever taken antibiotics or had a diet low in fermented foods and high in sugars then you need to do this.
Fermented vegetables are the best start if someone is sensitive to dairy. Otherwise I say go all out, starting gradually of course. So have some yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables, kombucha, water kefir, and other fermented foods at every meal if possible. Once your taste buds realize that sweet isn’t the only tasty flavor they will begin to appreciate the nuances of sour, tangy, spicy, etc.
Bone Broth. This food is a marvel, not only for its health value but for its dollar value as well. Bone broth, if prepared correctly, contains all sorts of minerals, joint-healing gelatin, and gut-soothing properties. It also has protein-sparing properties meaning it can help your body absorb and stretch a very small amount of meat into a nourishing amount of protein.
Preparing bone broths are simple, though in off-grid living the storage of them becomes the tricky part. To prepare the broth cover the bones with water, add a splash of acidity (vinegar, lemon juice) to draw out the minerals, and simmer for as long as you can manage. The larger the animal the bones came from, the longer you’ll want to simmer. In the end if your bones easily crumble when you’ve strained them out then you’ve done the job right.
Resources For Gut Health
- If you’re interested in the GAPS diet read more at their website or you can find the book and the recommended supplements here.
- You can find fermented vegetables here.
- You can find starters for all sorts of ferments from kefir to sourdough to kombucha here.
- Our favorite brand of fermented cod liver oil can be found here.
- If you are at all interested in lacto-fermenting any types of foods check out this brand new must-own guide.
- If you’re interested in recipes for grain-free recipes full of broth, ferments, and animal fats you can check out my seasonal cookbooks.
- If you’re new to fermented vegetables try our favorite dill pickles and salsa.
What are your favorite gut-healing foods?