By Dietitian Jill Place
Want a step-by-step guide for health? Here’s your good gut blueprint!
I started out writing an article on your healer mind. Then … it dawned on me while I was sitting in front of this very computer at 1am the other day creating this that it was a blueprint for just about any lifestyle change you’d like to make!
And … since I’m cuckoo for good gut awareness … that’s where I’m applying it first.
Check it out below. What’s with the “habits” thing you’re probably thinking? Well … we all have habitual ways of dealing with our lives … from the way we take care of ourselves to the movies we see or the amusement park rides we go on.
This blueprint is specifically all about changing the way you think about and act on health stuff. So that you can heal what ails you or find new ways to feel great! Looks l like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Well … I gotta tell you … it IS! But I also gotta tell you … it has rewards that I personally couldn’t have imagined when I started this whole journey.
But … yet again … it’s not about me. Here’s ANOTHER story that it’s NOT about …
Health Takes Understanding …
and so does everything else! I couldn’t have arrived at this amazing infographic if I didn’t understand and actually LIVE all this!
But enough again about me. Here’s something that happened just last week that totally illustrates what I mean!
I had a call from a prospective client who wanted to lose weight. She had had a failed gastric bypass (to me, a last-ditch move when no other weight loss strategy worked), weighed over 200 pounds, and was seeking my advice for a hair analysis.
“I’m high in potassium and magnesium”, she said. I had never heard of the test … and … since I’ve done alternative medicine for over 30 years … shared with her that hair analyses were really inconclusive for alot of things … including nutrient deficiencies.
“But they came recommended … ” she kept repeating. As if that was a good reason to take them as gospel.
But then I asked her about her eating. And not only learned about the gastric bypass but realized that the REAL problem was that she was a compulsive overeater who didn’t need a test that had no relevance to address her problem. Instead, she needed to address the “root cause” … which was her lousy relationship with food.
But she either didn’t understand or didn’t want to. It didn’t matter … when I told her what my treatment entailed (which was very similar to the infographic above … we just change the conversation for weight loss) she said she’d get back to me. I doubt if she will.
To sum up, this blueprint is about finding some CLARITY about your health path. So you save time, save money, and get the right tools to change your health.
Positive Change … the First Piece of this Blueprint
We wake up one morning vowing to make some change. Let’s say we want to lose weight.
But 95% of these efforts fail. Why? Because we just focus on the “Positive Change” but ignore the rest of the pie … uh … journey.
Also did you notice the arrows whizzing around the pie? They’re there because'Positive Change' is both the beginning AND the end result of your healing journey.Click To Tweet
Actually … picture the whole thing if you can as an upward spiral … the more you whizz around the pie the more you understand what you need to do to make more positive changes. And the more you spiral upward … the more you can understand what your particular journey is and tailor it to your own wants and needs
I don’t know what the woman’s journey that I talked about earlier is … but I knew even after a few minutes that her journey had nothing whatsoever to do with nutrient deficiencies. Unfortunately … she didn’t …
Let’s begin here because … before you start whizzing around the pie and spiral upward … you have to clearly state for yourself some intention for your journey … like losing weight.
Then you have to break it down … what do you want to do first … how long are you willing to do it for … what do you need to do to make it a reality. I would read the three articles about health self-experiments beginning with Experiment Your Way to Health for another good blueprint on how to do that.
On the bottom of that article are links to the other two. Read them all, download the worksheet, and get going! Then read on …
Reduce Stress & Boost Awareness … the Second Piece
Actually, these two go hand-in-hand. You use certain tools to reduce stress. And those tools also boost your awareness.
The good news … if you’ve done a lot of similar work this will be a snap for you. The bad news … if you haven’t this might take you some time. But everybody’s instruments are unique and profound. And need to be honored for what they are.
Reducing stress is probably the most important thing you can do to heal your gut … and heal your health. Stress causes an acidic bodily environment, shuts down the immune and digestive systems, and disturbs the gut-brain axis … all of which cause leaky gut which causes inflammation.
And the best way I know to reduce stress, leaky gut, and inflammation … which leads to a whole host of health problems … is to practice mindfulness. The body has to rid itself of stress in some way, and this is the easiest, most effective way I know.
In the second article, I explain my own journey toward mindfulness. Including its link to boosting awareness. Let’s face it … when you sit and breathe and spend time with yourself you just can’t have any other outcome.
Wanna experience mindfulness firsthand? Try my MicroMindfuls™ … sequential snippets of mindfulness I made just for you. And “Acting Out” … more on that soon.
Clean Your Inner & Outer House … The Third Piece
This piece is possibly the shortest … and longest … one of the bunch. Because it may take a couple of hours to clean your pantry and other parts of your house of things that don’t support your intention … say … of losing weight. But it may take a lifetime to release toxic emotions and trauma if that’s what’s stopping you from changing for the better.
I call it “soulwork” because it IS. I spent an hour yesterday with a crying teen at my psychiatric hospital convincing her that emotions were GOOD.I am sooo thankful for my acting training that validated my own emotions ... I go through life now free to experience them ... and I think it saved my life! Suppressing them ... trust me (and apology for this in advance) ... will BITE YOU IN THE ASS!Click To Tweet
Trauma … however … is a another thing. If you’ve experienced it … and research is showing that traumatic experiences occur for little things too … like misconstruing some message you got as a child … you need the help of an expert to get you through it.
But all this … again … is part of your individual journey. The blueprint just calls attention to the fact that you have to address it.
I’ve had several clients with now-almost perfect lifestyles who had healed their leaky gut, lupus, and the like and were still suffering. Why?
They refused to look at the trauma in their lives. Maybe they weren’t ready. Or maybe they … like the example I gave you at the beginning of this article … didn’t have the clarity and understanding to see it as a vital part of their healing.
The house stuff … that’s the easy part. If your intention is to … say … lose weight … get the food out of your pantry that will trigger you to overeat. Plan your meals. Bookmark exercise routines you like on YouTube.
Options & New Ideas … The Fourth Piece
In reality, the amount of options and new ideas out there could fill reams of binders, shelves of libraries, and much cloud storage. But there are three possibly new ideas for you that loom large in this blueprint … taking charge of your health, embracing the root cause and the obvious … making diet and supplement changes.
Please … whatever you do … take charge of your own health. Don’t depend solely upon what doctors tell you to determine the state of your well-being.
This is where instinct comes in. But if you participate in the second piece you’ll begin to trust your instinct about what’s wrong and right for you healthwise.
And please … make your choices out of instinct … NOT out of fear. I know that a cancer diagnosis is really scary. But … instead of jumping at the first thing offered to you … take a breath … slow down … think rationally … weigh your options.
That’s the great value of mindfulness. Second thing … please embrace the idea of finding the root cause for what ails you.
Again … more lots of cloud storage. But the bottom line is that have-a-symptom take-a-pill doesn’t always cut it in our current climate anymore. We have much more autoimmune disease … which can’t be treated with a pill.
You have to find what the ORIGIN of the problem is instead. Most of the time it’s leaky gut … which leads to some genetic predisposition to a health problem … which just leads to more problems.
Getting to the root cause allows you to heal all that from the inside out instead of putting a band-aid on things. And promote sickness over wellness.
… a Small Part of Your Good Gut Blueprint
Third … and you may be surprised at what a small footprint diet, supplement, and other lifestyle changes have in this big blueprint. But unless you visit the prior pieces of it beforehand any lifestyle changes you try to make may end in failure. Remember those 95% of diets that fail?
There are basic diet changes and supplement protocols that work for most to get a good gut. But … again … reams and clouds of ideas on how to do these changes.
That’s again why it’s so important to do the rest of the things in this blueprint. As many of the diet changes you can do to heal your gut … like going Gluten Free … might be totally foreign to … not to mention inconvenient for … you.
And the blueprint makes it easier. But you might want to work with an expert at first to focus you as we DO tend to abandon our best intentions.
Not only that … if you have serious gut issues … it’s important to do testing to pinpoint them and then possibly have a supplement (and possibly medication) regime tailor-made for you.
Rebuild Neural Pathways … The Fifth Piece
We do most things unconsciously. You don’t get up every morning having to relearn how to walk and talk. Instead, you build these neural pathways between neurons so you don’t have to …
The most basic definition of a neuron is that it’s a nerve cell that specializes in transmitting information throughout the body and the brain. Neurons also store our thoughts and thought patterns through connections between them … the neural pathways … which ultimately define your unique behavior.
We do the same things all the time … which dig deep ruts into these pathways. These deep ruts get even more complicated when connected … as they often are … to an emotional response. Things around my wrists upset me for years because of the trauma of being pulled out of the water by them after almost drowning when I was two.
So can we rebuild neural pathways? ABSOLUTELY! Otherwise we’d never learn anything.
And research has shown that when we do, unused pathways dissolve away. Of course, if you’ve every done lifestyle changes … and who of us hasn’t … you know that … in the beginning it’s difficult … but afterwards it flows without even thinking about it. Much like walking and talking … and those weren’t easy in the beginning either.
I now proudly wear my FitBit … and love buying new bands for it.
Not only that … research has also shown that these environmental changes affect us not only down to a cellular level but influence our genes too. It’s an almost revolutionary thought (and my sister would disagree with me) that genetics only has a small influence on your health … about 30%.
But environmental changes, including lifestyle choices like smoking, can alter DNA sequencing. And … more important … some choices do not change your DNA sequence, but rather cause a chain reaction that affects the functioning of one gene that then affects the functioning of another gene.
In other words, Functional Medicine gives us the tools to genetically turn off disease and turn on health. And now I’ve read the research to prove it!
Beyond the Good Gut Blueprint
If looking at this pie makes your eyes cross from its complexity … stop and take a breath. I never meant it to be so.
And I never intended for you to dig deep into your possible traumatic past in 5 minutes. It took me a lifetime to come to terms with mine. I just wanted to call attention to the fact that its a vital piece of this pie.
But … if you look at what you CAN do … you CAN set an intention or goal … you CAN start with some easy mindfulness exercises … you CAN clean out your pantry (tool for that coming soon) … and you CAN embrace some new ideas … like getting to the root cause of what ails you.
For example … if you’re determined to heal your gut … set that intention. Then start with some mindfulness as that will help you become aware of whatever in-the-moment feelings you have around it.
Never done mindfulness … just sit down and breathe slowly in and out three or four times. That will reset your stress response to rest and relax.
Then consider some new ideas around health. Most of us have leaky guts. Find out what to do … do it in baby steps … possibly starting with a forkful of sauerkraut (hang the apple … stick with fermented foods) a day. Get some more veggies into your life. Ask your doctor some questions that have been burning in your brain for some time.
The more you do THOSE SMALL STEPS the more you’ll build new neural pathways and the more positive changes you’ll experience.
Coming soon … individual articles on all these pie pieces as well as tools to move you forward. And … coming soon … Dietitian Jill’s 5-Day Good Gut Challenge. Will keep you posted …