I am knee deep in pregnancy hormones, studying for my upcoming boards (YAY!), seeing clients, and hanging with Casey & Billie.  Last night, Casey and I were watching Cooked on Netflix. It’s one of our favorite shows. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it. It goes deeply into the history of cooking, but also the health benefits of the foods down to how the preparation of our foods impacts their nutrient density.  Watching it sprouted an interesting conversation between us about our gut bacteria and how the foods we eat, down to the way we prepare them to have a direct impact on our overall health, in particular, our gut bacteria.

We often think of bacteria as a negative – and in some ways, we think of our gut bacteria in a negative light. We hear so much about Candida overgrowth and SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth) and how the gut bacteria balance is the blame.  But the truth is, not all bacteria is bad, not even candida. In fact, our gastrointestinal tract has about 400 different species and for every 1 human cell we have about 10 bacterial cells in our body. Yes, so that would mean we’re more microorganism than we are human.

WHOA.  

This speaks to how vital and important those little microorganisms can be for us. Ignoring them just isn’t an option.

There is a strong movement in nutrition and health professionals about maintaining and creating a harmonious relationship between our microorganisms and our gastrointestinal tract. The more and more I learn and research, the more fascinated I am with the topic and it should be a focus during our health journey – whether you want to do preventative health, have a diagnosed chronic illness, or simply just want to lead a healthier lifestyle. Having the microflora at the forefront of your health can have impacts that not just affect you, but your future generations to come.

Yup. Our genetics.

The great thing is… so much that we’re already doing and preaching is doing a great service to your gut bacteria.  But since I’m the type of person who needs to understand the why behind most things, especially what and why I’m eating a certain food… I thought I’d share some details on the why behind it’s so important to feed our gut bacteria and maintain the harmony.

If you’re a client of mine, you’re probably about to roll your eyes because I have probably said to you a BUNCH of times – “where’s the fiber?”,  “Make sure you’re getting your fiber in”, and “let’s increase your fiber intake”. Fiber isn’t just great for maintaining our energy levels by stabilizing our blood sugar, but it also directly feeds our gut bacteria.  

So every time you hear me say… let’s make sure you’re getting enough fiber, you’re about to understand the deeper why behind each leafy green, brown rice, plantain, and sweet potato recipe I share with you.  It goes so much deeper than “get your veggies in”, it actually goes into a lesser discussed area in our GI tract, the colon.

Yup. The colon. That area that we like to ignore and not talk about too much. The colon’s major function isn’t just what you’re thinking…but it’s actually to ferment our dietary fiber intake.

Wait, what?

Yes, some of our food ferments in our body and this isn’t a bad thing, in fact, when we’re eating foods that feed our most beneficial gut bacteria, it’s actually an incredibly healthy thing.  We have a few different types of dietary fiber and they all play important roles, but I just want to focus on how fiber can be a prebiotic food – which essentially means it feeds our bacteria.  

The fermented fiber that we eat, feeds our gut bacteria (makes them all happy inside) and those incredible little microorganisms break down the carbohydrates in the fiber into lactic acid and short chain fatty acids.  When we have a well-balanced gut full of Short Chain Fatty Acids, it helps maintain the right pH balance to help ward off pathogens and enhances our cell walls lining our GI tract.

Ok, I’m not going to nerd out too much and you’re probably starting to wonder how Kombucha and Fermented foods are now the “IT” health food out there. And that’s because those fermented drinks and foods already have all of those beneficial bacteria going straight through – and they are full of the prebiotics (the bacteria that feeds our gut bacteria) and the probiotics (the actual bacteria strains that we want!) already in them.

It’s like a great buy 1 get 1 free sale.  

These bubbly drinks and foods are actually full of live bacteria that help feed and promote those microorganisms to do their best job – maintain your gut health and balance.  This is why they’re becoming more and more popular in health food stores, blogs, and magazines. You see them everywhere. They’re not just a better alternative to regular sodas – they’re actually POWERFUL sources of bacteria that help promote your long-term health.

Now… don’t take this as just drink your bucha and you’re good to go. Make sure you keep getting your fiber because if you’re not a client of mine or you are… I’ll be asking you, Where’s your Fiber?!

Maybe our health isn’t as complicated as it seems.

Perhaps it’s not just about eating an anti-inflammatory diet, paleo, or a vegetarian diet, but rather… basing the majority of what we consume around feeding the incredible, powerful microorganisms that live in our GI tract.  

A new way of looking at the way we eat is to focus on feeding our gut bacteria.  The foods that we eat aren’t really just for us… but to feed our billions of microflora that has a direct impact on the way we’re nourished.  

Want to learn more about how you can fuel to thrive? I’m officially taking on new clients to start on June 1st. Click here to apply.

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