A few weeks ago I posted my story, my gluten-free story. And I might’ve left you hanging a bit. This past year has really been about hanging on. Or shall I say, maintaining. Maintaining gut health and a gluten-free lifestyle does take work, and patience. Just like any journey to health and healing. So today I wanted to share with you a few things that I’ve been doing to help maintain good gut health. Now, before I get into it, please know I’m not perfect in my ways or 100% healed. Honestly, I don’t think I will ever be. But I’m happy with being pretty darn close and knowing what’s right or wrong for my body.
There are 3 main things I focus on for maintaining MY gut health (emphasis on my). Yours may be different, but I think it’s important to share what works with each other.
First focus: Staying on top of my digestive supplements. I’ve talked about this before in this post, but I’ll list them here again. I used to have to take a lot more, but now I can maintain with these basics.
- HCL- for digesting protein and helping with production of stomach acid
- Digestive Enzymes- Before a meal.
- Max Stress B- Life Source B vitamins. Really help with regulating adrenals. (I usually buy these from www.prlabs.com or People’s pharmacy here in Austin.)
- Probiotics and Colostrum- So good for the gut flora. And I double the amount when traveling or with stress.
Second Focus: Learning how to handle stress and when to rest. Yes, you all heard be several times over these past weeks talk about resting, and why I take it seriously. I can always feel my body breaking down when I am under a lot of stress. So when that happens, I stop and reevaluate priorities. Sometimes that means resting from workouts for an extended period.
Stress can really harm the flora in the gut and cause more inflammation. I definitely don’t want to go back there. Read here for complete article on stress/gut correlation.
Third Focus: I treat my food differently (or try to). What do I mean by this? Well, I focus on making my own nutrient dense food and/or buying some of my favorites that I know reacts with my body.
I also soak certain foods when I can; Nuts, seeds, and even some dried fruit. I am really trying to do this more when we are making big batches of food for big training weekends, that I have more time and save some for the following week.
Soaking certain seeds/nut can really help ease digestion. Certain nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes contain foods contain phytic acid as well as enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients. If you have food allergies or have a lot of digestive problems, soaking or sprouting these foods help break down the enzymes and neutralize the phytic acid. This will help you better absorb and digest the wonderful nutrients in these foods. Why do you think we love gluten free overnight oats, sprouted brown rice protein, and chia pudding so much? Ha!
Here’s a great chart to reference to for soaking. Or click here for the article.
Ever so often I will soak organic dried apricots, but for different reasons listed above. Dried apricots do not contain any inhibitors. But they DO contain a great source of non-heme iron (more so than fresh apricots). Re-hydrating them is just easier on my digestion due to the water content. Make sense?
Maintaining gut health and gluten free living is really about nourishing; body, mind, and soul. 80% -90% of the time I strive for this way of life. 10-20% of the time I may let go, intentionally and unintentionally. But I’m human and live in an imperfect world. Wouldn’t you agree?
What type of lifestyle are you trying to maintain these days?
Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.
Thanks for sharing your story. I like learning about you.
I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t have any food sensitivities, allergies or the like so I just try to maintain my health and my weight through as many whole nutrient dense foods as possible.
Oh wait, I am allergic to alcohol. I still drink it though. I just get awful red. I’ve long since accepted it. Ain’t nobody taking away my glass of vino.
there needs to be a magic pill for that. So worth the redness!
Danielle @ I Eat Therefore I Run
Ever since you recommended Maria Emmerich to me, I’ve devoured both her books and her food, and I’m working towards ultimately becoming keto-adapted. Have you read her books? She frequently writes about gut health and how to make it better. I’ve since cut out sugar from my everyday diet and I no longer crave it, nor do I get the negative side effects from it. If I’ve had some refined carbs, the next day, I’ll actually feel hungover from them! Thanks for the recommendation, it’s helped changed my life so much in such a short time 🙂
I”m so glad! i love her and had many discussions with her as a nutrition specialist myself. I have her Keto book but we don’t follow it. It’s more for guidelines and recipes. Everybody works differently, ya know? But i think everyone needs to explore keto, for sure!
Laura @ the gluten-free treadmill
Thank you so much for sharing all of your strategies – it can be really tough for me too, and especially when I stressed, I feel like nothing is working! Definitely going to try a few of the things you recommend here!
Laura @ the gluten-free treadmill
I AM stressed! Oh typos… 🙂
stress can really make gut healing difficult. If you can manage that, then it will be get better.. surely but slowly.
Megan (The Lyons' Share)
Such a great post!! As you know, I’m working on healing my gut now. I do probiotics, digestive enzymes, and a B complex, and I’m working on incorporating some gelatin/ collagen. I have read a lot about colostrum, but just haven’t gotten myself on that bandwagon yet! One question – do you ever think about rotating on/ off of probiotics? People talk about this, but I’ve never actually been able to find good research to say that we need to rotate on and off. Thanks for sharing!
i actually don’t take a probiotic pill. instead i take colostrum 3x a day and drink tons of kombucha. I think getting that and then eating prebiotic foods really can help with gut flora. And collagen is amazing!! yes, love it
Megan (The Lyons' Share)
Helpful, as always. Thank you!
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
Great post, Linds! It really is crazy what stress can do to our lives…and our guts! I can definitely tell a difference when I’m under a lot of stress in how my body feels and functions…and sleeps! Ha! I’m definitely going to have to look more into the soaking and sprouting thing. I’ve actually always wanted to try sprouting but have never tried…not sure why, but I get so intimidated sometimes by new-to-me kitchen techniques. Even though in past experience almost everything I have attempted has been a lot easier than I imagined! But I have noticed that my stomach doesn’t seem to handle legumes as well as others, so I think I could benefit from trying this! And also, I’m now totally craving dried apricots! Lol
i haven’t really sprouted much, just soaked. Which you can totally do!! I’d try it for the legumes. Or actually, i bought sprouted legumes and it helped
Great post… I actually went back and read about your journey – so scary! It is truly about what works for you. I miss certain things with gluten – bread, mainly, but my energy levels and clarity of skin and mind is totally worth it. I don’t feel blah all the time.
I’ve noticed that sometimes my body doesn’t love almonds… and when I soak them it handles it a lot better. I didn’t know you could soak/sprout so many things!!
crazy how much the small things can help, yes?
Christa @ Edible Balance
I agree with everything in this post my friend!! I am always learning, and our bodies are always changing. Never a dull moment, right? Such good info, and the stress correlation?! Oh heck yes! I’m learning to let it go a little more often, and just relax.
i knew you would! love how far you (we) have come. Stress is a huge culprit not worth fighting for
can i get an AMEN!!?
Oh this made my foodie/nutrition nut self do the happy dance haha! I’m still learning what works for my body too… However I’ve learned you can’t go “wrong” with Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes. Trying to maintain a low stress lifestyle 🙂 Today was the perfect example when exercise was NOT helping my stress level… I ended up stopping my run & just walked out of the gym because I knew it wasn’t helping me. P.s. did you get my email?
I love this lady, so much grat information!! I had no idea about soaking. Thanks for that!!
I also love that you are aware of when your body needs rest. In these stressful times, we all tend to overrush things. Resting is so important AND blissful too.
yes, blissful! we don’t do it enough
I’ve been taking a probiotic for about a year and I think it has made a difference. I didn’t realize that soaking so many things was so helpful – might have to look into that.
let me know if you do!
I’ve been mostly dairy free for 25 years, and mostly wheat-free for 3. Have extended the latter to gluten-free in the last 6 months. It’s HARD. Especially when trying to be social. I’ve gotten good at checking menues ahead, and having a pretty good idea what I’m going to order when I get there.
I’ve never soaked foods…may read up more about it this week.
it can be overwhelming, but try not to stress about the food. Just do what you can. Ya know?
I need to be better about soaking my grains and beans before cooking. It’s something I always mean to do, but then Sunday morning is staring me in the face & I have time to cook, but no time to soak. womp womp
girl, i totally feel ya! haha
Loved reading about your journey! I eat gluten-free (& mostly grain-free) and was previously low-FODMAP (but able to tolerate many fodmaps now) because I’m pretty sure it was the birth control pill that destroyed my gut. Now, I mostly have to focus on probiotic foods + supplement for a healthy gut. I am so glad to have gone through this though because now I LOVE helping clients with gut health, especially IBS and food sensitivities. I just wrote quite a few posts this month all about digestion since there’s so much confusing information out there & people want to hear about it (my top post ever is on constipation).
wow!! we sound so similar Lauren. Glad you are better and helping others. that is awesome!
Heather (Where's the Beach)
Thanks for taking the time to share this. So much great information here!
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast
I love it- so many great tips. The soak and sprout chart is awesome! We try to soak a lot too, and I grow sprouts in the spring… our first seeds are just about done!
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
We are not he same page today, my brother! I wore if I should add in some of those supplements as well? Would love to talk more about it with you (per your comment on my post ;). I’ll send you an email in a bit!
i meant same gut “theme” today. haha. Hope i didn’t come across in a bad way. But yes, email! or call. love ya!
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
We ARE on the same page. I just have fat fingers and can’t type. LOL!
You’re going to think I’m crazy but I was going to email you today to ask about a few of the supplements you’ve mentioned. Now I don’t have to ask about supplements but I’m still going to email 🙂
As always thanks for the info!
email away friend! always love hearing from you
Arman @ thebigmansworld
You are such a gutsy resource (ha, get it!)
Currently, I am maintaining the ‘middle ground’ diet which is open to new things but happy to endorse the white sugar and processed spreads..like vegemite.
i like your middle ground man diet. 😉
Very interesting Lindsay, I had no idea you have to be THAT careful with your diet, but if it makes life more enjoyable, it is definitely worth it!
As you know I also fine tune my diet like your beloved kiwi. I am not only consuming one dessert/sweet/baked product a day until my half marathon in May to ensure I can fill those excess calories with nutritious foods. It seems to be working, and I am trying to rest…promise 🙂
good woman! rest and eat, crucial for you elite athletes!! and the diet is easier than it sounds. I cook a lot! haha
I’m focusing on maintaining stress-free lifestyle. I’ve nailed the gluten-free… Now I’m trying this one 🙂
yes! great focus!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
Love this post Lindsay! You know I am gluten-free too due to Celiac and soy-free for my soy allergy. Also my semi-vegan diet of no dairy, eggs, or meat. But my stomach and digestive health is still so topsy-turvy. It can be fine one week and completely horrible the next. I am still experimenting and trying to find the right path for me, but it is so complex.
it’s all about experimenting, yes? Oh boy, wish our food was more simple, but we don’t live in a perfect world, ya know? Keep me posted!
This is something I am constantly working on. I’m gluten free and pretty much dairy free. After my gallbladder removal surgery, I couldn’t handle those two things AT ALL. It was like something triggered it and made it 10238138012 times worse. So I’m 100% gluten free, I can’t even go near the stuff or I get super sick 🙁 I focus on real foods, and enzymes, probiotics are my life! hahaha. I actually have to take a proton pump inhibitor before bed for reflux, but I’d like to not live on antibiotics the rest of my life – I hate them. Is that what the HCL does?
the HCL can help with reflux if you are not producing stomach acid. Reflux before bed might be a sign that you are not. Just a thought
I was waking up at like 4:30 am with severe upper abdominal pain, and then it calmed down to a dull/achy abdominal pain that would only go away if I got up and walked around, or ate or drank something.. my doctor though it might have been the reflux which is why I got these stupid meds haha
Emma @ be mom strong
Great info… I am not gluten-free but I’m sureI will have clients one day that are and will need to know this!
Right now I’m just trying to stay CLEAN and nutritious for the baby!