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Health Starts in the Gut!

The roots of optimal health lie in your intestines, and you simply can’t be healthy if your digestion isn’t working properly. It’s in the gut that your body extracts the nutrients it requires while keeping out harmful compounds. It’s also where most of your immune system resides. Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and excessive flatulence are all warning signs that something has gone wrong in your gut. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) symptoms shouldn’t be a diagnosis, but a clue that you need to look for more answers.

It can be discouraging when doctors tell you what you eat has nothing to do with your digestive problems, or to follow the “everything in moderation” path. There are many books about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) claiming that a gluten-free or low-FODMAP diet is the solution. Others promote high-fiber foods, a vegetarian approach, or a low-fat diet. Unfortunately, all of these diets are reductionist: isolating specific, potentially problematic compounds without looking at the whole picture. Many of these diets also fail to emphasize the importance of healing your gut not only to manage your symptoms but to allow you to improve your food tolerance and recover your optimal digestive health.

The approach I propose is effective because it shows you how to eliminate all processed and fake foods, which often contain irritants, allergens, and inflammatory and hard-to-digest ingredients that can contribute to digestive problems. You might be surprised at how many of these processed foods are already in your meals, even if you think you’re already eating healthfully.

The first step of the nutritional protocol in this book will help you “reset” your digestive system—like putting it in a cast for a few weeks to allow it to heal so it can better “signal” you when eating specific foods. Afterward, you’ll be able to figure out whether grains (with or without gluten), dairy, cruciferous vegetables, and other foods are right for you. And by creating your own optimal diet in the final phase, you will regain control of your symptoms, your gut will be able to heal, and your quality of life and health will  reach a new level.

It’s critical to tackle your digestive issues from as many angles as possible. A holistic approach isn’t necessarily easy, but it will help you get the best results. You may have tried other dietary modifications in the past without success. Unlike narrow diets that tell you what to eat and what not to eat, this book explains why certain foods are problematic for some people, and how to determine if they are problematic for you. Unlike other diets you may have followed, this plan will help you discover and build your own optimal diet.

Chapter 1 will review the basic functioning of a healthy digestive system, including the importance of stomach acid, gut flora, and the leaky gut concept. In Chapter 2, we’ll discuss the many ways your digestion can go wrong. You’ll learn more about non-celiac gluten sensitivity, SIBO, and FODMAP intolerance, along with many other digestive disorders.

Food can either compromise your gut health or help it function more optimally, and Chapters 3 and 4 will cover different foods and food groups to help you understand what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Everyone is different and individual tolerance varies, but understanding the foods that are more likely to be problematic can help you better understand how your digestive system reacts to what you eat.

In Chapter 5, it’s time for action! You will learn how to proceed with the elimination diet protocol to start building your personal optimal diet.

Food is the central factor in digestive health, but supplements and the mind-body connection also play a big role. Chapter 6 addresses supplements, including homemade bone broth, fermented foods, glutamine, omega-3 fats, and vitamin D that can help support your digestive and overall health.

Chapter 7 covers the importance of taking care of your mind with tips on stress management, sleep, and exercise, which should constitute an integral part of your gut-healing program.

Your new way of eating shouldn’t prevent you from eating out and traveling! All you need is a little planning. Chapter 8 will help you develop strategies to live your life to the fullest without having to worry about digestive problems or limited food tolerance.

Don’t skip Chapter 9! It includes helpful and practical troubleshooting tips to help you address cravings and fatigue, in addition to helping you understand why symptoms can return and how to deal with them.

In Chapter 10 you’ll find several meal, snack, and treat recipes and ideas to help you stay excited about eating REAL food. You’ll never again have the excuse of saying you don’t know what to eat!

Chapter 11 gives you an idea what a week of eating on the elimination and reintroduction phase looks like. It also details how much you need to eat to ensure you get enough calories. Too many people fail at following an elimination diet because they forget that it’s about eliminating problematic foods—not calories! The nutritional protocol suggested in this book is far from a starvation diet, and this chapter will help you make sure you’re eating enough.

Nobody knows what you should eat, but your body will tell you if you learn how to listen. This book provides a practical, step-by-step guide to a REAL-food-based approach to help you recover your digestive health naturally. The protocol described in this book is the most comprehensive approach to building your personal optimal diet.