Yesterday I was inspired to meal prep and get a little more creative in the kitchen than I have been lately. I was falling into a rut of quickly making salads in the morning before work just so I have some type of lunch with me. This was getting pretty boring pretty quickly. It was a different day but the same salad over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, they were tasty salads! I would throw in spinach, cucumbers, watermelon radishes, olives, red bell peppers, garlic powder and onion powder topped off with extra virgin olive oil. But day after day, it was becoming so bland. Plus, my digestive track can only handle so many raw veggies in a week. Raw veggies are so much harder for our body to digest and can cause uncomfortable side effects. So, I wanted to change my lunches for this week! First, let me bring you back to why I was doing salads every day... I was pretty much sensitive to all my favorite proteins and veggies so I had to cut a lot out and didn’t really know what to do. Back in November of 2018 I had seen a functional doctor to fix my bloating and GI upset along with many other symptoms that were bothering me. We ran many tests and one of them included a food sensitivity panel. I was blown away by how many foods were causing inflammation in my body. It was on a scale from 0 (causing no reaction) to 3 (causing severe inflammation). I had one food that was categorized as a 3 and it was crab meat! I had two foods that were labeled as a 2 and those were egg whites and egg yolks, gluten and dairy... so there goes my crab cake Benny’s!! So sad. There was a lot of little 1’s here and there and a lot were common healthy foods that I would eat often such as salmon, broccoli, coconut, hemp seeds and scallops. Essentially, my gut was inflamed and leaky and could not detox properly. But it all made sense. I was constantly breaking out through my skin 1-2 days after I would eat these foods and it was boggling my mind as to why this was happening. However, since my gut couldn't detox these inflammatory foods, it was processing it through my skin. How crazy is that? I immediately became fearful of these foods because I was scared to break out and cause further inflammation. I had to begin healing my gut before I could start to slowly bring these foods back.
I started healing my gut by having collagen peptides, L-glutamine, probiotics, cutting out inflammatory foods and alcohol and incorporating more meditation and yoga. I’m still on a journey today to continue healing my gut but so much has changed since I started. The gut brain access is so real and stronger than we think. If we are constantly stressed, our brain will send a signal to our gut saying this is no time to digest food, we must flee! So every time I ate when I was stressed, my food wasn’t being digested and was becoming stagnant and causing poor bacterial over growth and thinning the membrane of my gut wall. This allowed for all and any foods to pass through my gut including toxins which showed up on my skin. Therefore, meditation and yoga worked to help bring my nervous system back into a rest and digest mode by calming me down and bringing me back to earth. The collagen peptides and L-glutamine work to regenerate cells by stimulating new cell growth in the gut lining. The probiotics helped to rebuild a healthy population of bacteria in my gut which will allow me to break down my food and utilize it for fuel. The bacteria in our gut should be our friends and not our enemy. We are only as good as our gut bacteria! That’s the truth. If we have inflammation and bad bacteria in the gut, it will tell our brain that there is danger and that in turn causes the anxiety feeling that might pop up out of nowhere. Everything is connected, especially the gut brain connection. A new gut lining and bacterial ecosystem isn't created overnight. It takes months at the least and often times takes up to a few years to rebuild. I’m still at the very beginning of my journey but am well on my way. I am working to avoid my food sensitivities that are a 2 and a 3 but am rotating my sensitivities that are a 1 by only having them 1x a week so I can slowly build up a tolerance to them and gain the nutrients that those foods have to offer while decreasing inflammation exposure. The biggest cues for me to go see someone was that I noticed new symptoms that had never occurred before like severe bloating after eating, severe acne and irregular bowel habits. I was sick and tired of feeling gross and miserable so I eventually wanted hard evidence and proof that something was wrong. I’m so glad I got tested and got the help I needed to start healing my body and mind. I’m beyond thankful for the team of people who have helped me along my journey and for my support system at home. If you are experiencing these symptoms and feel lost, confused or overwhelmed, I hope to let you know that you are not alone and you can be healed! Small changes make big effects, especially with our health. If I can heal my mind and body through nutrition and lifestyle changes all while working 40+ hours a week, you can too. Please don’t be afraid to reach out and ask any questions or share your story with me so I can help to be a guiding light for you too. Peace and love, Katie