Reset Your Digestive System
Think about it. Presumably, you’re 50 something or older like us. You’ve been eating the way you’ve been eating for decades. There may have been times when you tried to eat better or didn’t care as much about what you ate, but for the most part, you ate the way you ate. Your digestive system has adjusted to that way of eating. Your way of eating has affected the microbiome in your gut. After decades of conditioning your gut in a certain way, it would be very beneficial to change your diet for a while and eat foods to restore gut health.
Why Restore Gut Health?
Your microbiome consists of up to 1,000 species of bacteria. Each plays an important role in your body. Most are important for your good health. Others cause disease. Your microbiome helps you digest fiber, controls your immune system, and your brain health. All critically important functions. An imbalance between healthy and unhealthy microbes in your microbiome can cause weight gain and disease. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are just 2 examples. Your microbiome also can play a role in heart disease, blood sugar levels and far more.
What you eat, your diet is critical in determining the overall quality of your health. If you aren’t feeling well, whether it’s from a specific condition or an unidentified malaise, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to reset your digestive system to restore gut health. It’s the first step on the pathway to wellness. So, take our advice and heal your gut.
How Long Will You Eat Like This?
When we went on this diet it was for 60 days. Was it hard? I won’t lie to you, yes it was. But we were committed to getting healthy. It seemed logical that 60 days of sacrifice for optimal health was well worth it. The other reason that eating this way for as long as you can (up to 90 days) is good is that you feel great after the first couple of weeks! Your body becomes used to eating this way. That trip to the drive-through or bowl of ice cream just doesn’t seem appetizing anymore. And, it feels worse if you do give in and eat that way. So, it’s up to you. We say, at least 60 days.
What to Expect on a Diet to Reset Your Digestive System
As we discussed in How to Have Optimal Health, resetting your digestive system requires a commitment and discipline. Not only will your diet be very restricted, but you’ll be shopping differently. You’ll need to clean out your refrigerator and fill it up with the good stuff on the list below. It will be a short- term lifestyle adjustment.
If you live with someone else, they will either join you in your temporary lifestyle change or two separate meals will have to be prepared for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And that person’s food will be there tempting you every day. But if you don’t feel well, or you have a chronic condition that is wreaking havoc, your journey to wellness will be so worth it.
Traveling and Eating in Restaurants
Avoid traveling and eating in restaurants during this time if possible. We had a business trip that we couldn’t avoid. We ate not much more than lettuce for 4 days. Hotels and restaurants typically cannot accommodate this type of diet. When you see the foods to eliminate and what you can eat, you’ll know what we mean.
Humans Have Parasites Too
One more “heads up” before you dive into a diet to restore gut health. However, you may feel right now, it’s most likely going to get worse for the first couple of weeks. One of the main reasons why is that you will be starving your body, and the parasites living within your body, of sugar. We mainly think of parasites affecting our pets. If you have pets you’ve probably purchased heartworm, ringworm or other medications to make your pet feel better.
Well, we humans have parasites too. Many forms of them, in fact. Parasites can cause all sorts of issues from rashes to anemia, fatigue and much more. As you’re taking away their favorite food and killing them off you may feel worse before you feel much better. So, if as you start the diet to restore gut health, you aren’t feeling so good, that’s good. Stay with it. You’ll feel better than you have in a long time soon.
Eat Good Foods, Eliminate Bad Foods
There are two main functions of a diet to reset your digestive system and restore gut health. The first is to give yourself healthy foods to heal your gut and eliminate foods that harm it. The other is to give your gut, your digestive system, a break by consuming foods that can be digested easily and avoid foods that are hard to digest.
You will be eating antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial foods. These foods are also rich in probiotics, minerals, enzymes, and vitamins. And, they are easy to digest. You will eliminate foods that are hard to digest even though you may have always thought they were good for you. Don’t worry. After the 60 days on this diet to restore gut health, you can add back some of the restricted but generally healthy foods. You will, however, have developed some great eating habits and be less likely to once again eat food that is unhealthy.
Foods to Completely Eliminate
Alcohol – no beer, wine, hard alcohol. Most alcoholic beverages contain sugar. But avoid alcohol that doesn’t contain sugar even if you can find it. You can do it! It’s only for 60 days.
Sugar – avoid all sugar even natural sugar such as in pineapples, bananas, oranges, etc.
Caffeine – no coffee or tea that contains caffeine. This was the toughest one for us. But we’ll give you some alternatives below.
Seafood – except wild-caught salmon
Red Meat – except grass-fed beef
Chicken – except organic, free-range
Nuts and Seeds – except hemp and chia
Foods High in Starch – no potatoes
Tomatoes, Beets, Egg Plant, Bell Peppers
Legumes and Beans
Vinegar – except Apple Cider Vinegar
The Following Oils – Cottonseed, Soybean, Peanut, Corn, Soybean
What You Can Eat
Berries – Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Elderberries, Cranberries (juice with no sugar added is fine)
Fruit- Lemons, Limes, Granny Smith apples, Pomegranates (in moderation), White grapefruit (bitter), Watermelon (in moderation)
Vegetables- Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Field/Leafy greens (avoid spinach), Cauliflower, Onions, Garlic, Brussel sprouts, Cucumbers, Celery, Mustard greens, Collard greens, Radishes, Summer squash, Zucchini
Grains (once a week) – Millet, Amaranth, Wild Rice, Buckwheat
Meat (twice a week or less)- Wild-caught salmon, Grass-fed beef or wild game, Organic, free-range chicken
Fats and Oils - Coconut oil, Ground flax, High-quality olive oil, Avocados
Restore Your Gut Recipes
That’s our next phase. Please check back for recipes using the allowed foods listed above as we publish them.
We are not health coaches or holistic healers. We are simply sharing our personal experience on a diet to restore gut health and reset your digestive system. We had a health coach that guided us through this process. We had weekly conference calls and his input was incredibly valuable. If you would like to have that guidance to restore health, we will introduce you to the person we worked with. Go to our Contact Us page and reach out to us. We’d be happy to hook you up.