Forever and a day, the gut (better known as the intestinal track a.k.a microbiome a.k.a the second brain) is a pretty big deal. For real for real, both in size and in function. I'm always trying to find ways that will balance and maintain a healthy functioning gut for myself and heck, if I could just get one of you on my body beauty health-train (my fingers are crossed, legs too!) my day would be made. It's an incredible thing to be able to feed your body and watch your beauty shine bright from the inside-out. If you trust the process and really begin to pay more attention to what you're eating and simultaneously how your body responds, you'll be able notice a very big difference between real food consumption in comparison to processed food consumption. It all starts with a healthy gut.

Basically, I'm trying to 'gut it together.

All puns intended. Our intestinal track is about double the size of a tennis court and houses over a billion microorganisms. It's incredible. The gut produces 75% of our neurotransmitters (happy brain chemicals) and contains two-thirds of the body's immune system. Long story short, every 'dang day that we are alive and well, our intestine is interacting with the outside world through all that we are consuming. Our goal is to keep our intestinal track functioning smoothly as it should naturally responsible to remove foreign matters from our body, protect against pathogenic bacteria, synthsize B and K vitamins, improve digestion, improve nutrient absorption, improve gas-induced abdominal discord, promote healthy tissue development, stimulate the immune system, and metabolize important plant compounds and drugs. Woo! Yes. Read it again.

Our gut is no joke. It's something that we have to tend to everyday in order to keep our insides aligned.  

There are numerous amounts of things that can impact the health of our intestinal tract. High consumptions of sulfur, processed foods, and even stress have the ability to negatively impact the gut microbiota by the overgrowth of harmful microorganisms. Dehydrated vegetables, dried fruits, frozen (and fresh) shellfish, white bread, baked goods, refined carbohydrates, cow's milk, meat, eggs, cheese, low fiber diets, avoid artificial sweetener + animal fats, and saturated fatsall aid in negatively affecting the intestinal tract. To be honest, any food source that is not a whole plant food and created from gums, additives, and such ingredients will significantly make an impact on the gut. Not only food items, but stress affects gut health too! Over a span of a few days, stress has the ability to alter the gut microbiota by slowing down gastric acid release, slowing down how well things move, and an increase in bicarbonate production insinuating that our good bacteria really has no 'dang chance to survive and keep thriving.

Don't fret, I would never leave you guys hanging. I'm going to share how we maintain a happy, healthy, and thriving gut by providing a few quick tips! Let's do this because there are many whole plant foods that will interact with gut bacteria to allow the good bacteria to thrive and are very significant energy sources. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and cacao powder have all been studied and proven to increase the count of good bacteria within the intestinal tract. The more good bacteria in your gut, the more good bacteria will leave your gut. Also, fiber. Fiber is vital because it is the main source of carbohydrate for gut microbiota products and the recommended about of daily fiber is 30-40g per day. 

tips to a HEALTHY, HAPPY, AND properly FUNCTIONING gut:

  • PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT. Look into taking a probiotic supplement, everyday, along side a meal in order to increase the chances of good bacteria reaching the colon and aiding in a clinical effect. Try looking for a probiotic supplement that has a *100,000,000-10,000,000,000/ml bacteria count per dosage. This will enhance growth of naturally occurring good bacteria and decrease the production of unwanted, harmful, and toxic materials within.
  • FERMENTED FOOD + DRINK. Fermented foods (like kimchi and sauerkraut) have a natural occurring population count (give or take) of around 100,000,000 bacterium. The fermentation process produces beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. Try implementing a forkful (1-2 tablespoons) of a fermented food into your daily routine. Now, beverages. Fermented beverages (like kombucha, kefir, cider, and yogurt) are making the ultimate comeback due. Fermented beverages contain enzymes that the body craves naturally and aids in the ability to effectively derive nutrition from other food that we have consumed—it goes hand in hand.
  • ORGANIC. Always choose organic. Invest. It's worth it. Avoid non-organic food items because these items are sprayed and treated with antibiotics that have been proven to completely rid all good-gut bacteria. The active ingredient in Round-Up, glyphosphate, a Monsanto herbicide is the antibiotic that is used when handling of our food items.
  • CACAO POWDER. Real, raw, organic cacao powder will increase the good bacteria and will reduce the bad bacteria, fats, and inflammation kickers. Whether it be cacao powder, a cacao bar, or cacao nibs—sprinkle that sh*t everywhere. For real. Add cacao powder into your smoothies, frostings, bark, cookies, cakes, hummus, and everything else in between!
  • DAIRY. Dairy items contain probiotics that have a greater number of live (good) bacteria. If you don't have a dairy allergy or sensitivity, yogurt is an ideal way to consume probiotic bacterium with strains greater than 1,000,000/ml. With dairy have an abundant amount of live bacteria, it has been proven to enhance the survival of bacteria through the upper gastrointestinal tract.
  • EXERCISE. Those who are striving for improved cardiorespiratory health, have a proven intake of more diverse gut bacteria. Really, all it takes is a solid routine of 5-6 days out of the week, from anywhere between 25-45 minutes to get your heart rate up, and maintain a healthy lifestyle!
  • CORTISOL. Practice gratitude. Be grateful. Daily. Cortisol (the stress hormone) has an instantaneous and direct effect on the gut microbiota—the less cortisol, the better. Expressing, believing, and showing gratitude will decrease cortisol levels and allow for the gut to function as need be.