06 May

Remember as kids taunting each other with, "I hate your guts!" Long dramatic pause. "Guts are gross!!" It may have been childish and silly, but it wasn't wrong. Our guts are full of trillions of microorganisms ready to suck the life out of anything and everything you throw in its direction. They are also pretty smart, or at the very least, they have smart friends. They are constantly communicating with our brain. If they are confused or imbalanced, they cause brain fog. If they have too many sugar-eating bacteria and not enough sugar to eat, they tell the brain, "Hey, we have some bored bacteria down here, could you send some sugar?" And the cravings begin. The next thing you know it's 2 am and you are in the Walmart freezer section picking out your favorite ice cream. 

Don't worry, you aren't alone, but in this case, that's the exact problem. You have trillions of little friends who have come in to support the cause. They want to "help a brother out." As a result, balance has been lost and chaos has been created. 

This revolution of sorts often starts with an overgrowth of a certain bacteria, usually the ones who help process our high sugar diets. However, what about all the chemicals that our processed foods contain? If we don't have enough problems with added sugars, how about added chemicals? Let's talk about the nastiest one of all - glyphosate. 

Did you know that even though gluten has a bad rap, and rightfully so, it's really not the gluten that is usually the problem? Removing gluten only from diets only helps 15% of those with problems. It's not the gluten causing the problem. (This is your answer when your kids ask you why Jesus could eat bread and we can't.) It's not the gluten. It's the glyphosate on the gluten. Imagine Roundup, just on a much bigger scale. America uses it on ALL their wheat crops and that makes gluten very difficult to digest.

In Italy, they don't use glyphosate and in Italy, I've been told that us gluten avoiders can eat homemade Italian pasta and bread. Gluten problems disappear in Italy. I've never tested this theory, but I'm willing. If anyone would like to send me there, in the name of medicine, I'd be very appreciative. I will bring you bread and pasta home as my thank you. Come to think of it, customs won't let me, so I'll just bring you back love and hugs.

Let's talk about another "friendly little gut helper." Antibiotics. We throw them around like candy. Everyone wants a Z-pack or some antibiotic prescribed to them them when they go to the doctor, and most doctors are happy to comply. However, this causes a 3-ring circus to happen in our guts. You think it was chaotic before. Now, it just got real. 

So, now that I've painted this picture of a chaotic mess happening in your stomach and intestines, as we speak, the question is, how do I know if this is affecting me? Well, I've got bad news. It probably is. If you eat like a typical American, your odds just went up. If you've been prescribed antibiotics, it's up. If you eat conventional meat full of antibiotics, or if you eat fruits and vegetables, chemically treated, it's up. If you touch dairy, or gluten, up, up and away and hello leaky gut. 

Leaky gut is basically when your protective gut lining (similar to a cheese cloth), starts to develop some gaps in the junctions that allow the good stuff into your blood stream. It's like a break in the ring around the rosey line. Someone's getting thru now, and they aren't things that should be creeping out. They also know your weak areas and that's where they like to land and populate. Hello inflammation and pain and fatigue and allergies, and well here's a list for you to do your own self-assesment:  

1) How often do you experience constipation, diarrhea, bloating or upset stomach? 

2) How much processed food do you eat? Is your diet full of veggies, good fats and proteins, with limited sugar, or is your diet full of processed carbohydrates, fast food and sweets? Do you find yourself often craving sugar, breads, pasta and junk food?

3) How do you feel in general? Are you tired a lot throughout the day? Do you sleep well?

4) Do you have skin irritations and rashes, even acne?

5) Do you notice any food intolerances? Does your belly blow up after a plate full of pasta? Do you get gassy and uncomfortable after drinking milk or eating ice cream?

6) Do you experience headaches, brain fog, even memory loss?

7) Do you have joint pain or arthritis?

8) How's your immune system? Do you notice you get sick more than usual, even with the common cold or flu?

9) Are you plagued by anxiety or depression? 

10) Are you suffering from an autoimmune condition? There's more and more evidence emerging that leaky gut causes systemic inflammation, which results in your body basically turning against you. 

Take a minute and just identify if any of these apply. Even if it's only one, it's worth checking into. Imagine if you could lessen your headaches, or sleep better. These seemingly small things are a game changer, let alone the bigger problems. It's all manageable. It doesn't have to be this way. It's very fixable, but it does require commitment. I hope you think you are worth it. If not, that's a whole different blog post...

Angela Miller is an an RN and Professional Life Coach passionately pursuing her purpose to help others remember who they are and how to become their best self, emotionally and physically. For more information, visit www.soaringforward.com.

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