The Balanced Belly
An imbalanced gut can lead to all sorts of problems. If you are wondering if your gut is at the root of your specific health woes, it is important to learn more about the signals your body is sending you and how you can use this information to turn your health around.
The most frequent and easily detected signs of an imbalanced gut can be clear, or not quite as obvious:
1. Your Poop
There is a much controversy about how many times a day you should have a bowel movement, what your stool should look like, or how should it smell. I discussed elimination in detail here but it is worth mentioning again as your #2 is your #1 tool to see what your body is up to on the inside.
Are you absorbing all those wonderful foods you have been committed to nourishing your body with, or are they going to—literally? Are you toxic? Dehydrated? What foods work best for you and your body and which could be harming you?
How feel emotionally immediately after eliminating can be a further tell-tale sign of an imbalance. Do you feel energetic, happy, and light after your trip to the bathroom? Or alternately, do you feel drained and lethargic?
Understanding what you are seeing every time you go to the bathroom will arm you with some tools to begin the process of making your body stronger, which means you will have more bounce in your step, get sick less often and optimize your nutrient absorption.
2. Your Skin
Your skin is a window into your insides. Even the most advanced of diagnostic scopes do not reveal results as instant, informative and accurate as what your skin reveals every time you look at it in the mirror.
When I meet someone, I always look at their eyes, the quality of their skin, and the way they hold tension in their facial muscles. I can tell a lot about their daily habits and what needs to shift so they can be more energetic. Check your skin out: Is it even tones? Blemish free? Are you pores over-sized? Are you dry or oily? Does your skin appear plump and firm on your face and body? A balanced gut will often result in great looking skin and both can be achieved with a little time and TLC.
3. Your Energy
Is an afternoon energy slump a part of your daily routine? Do you sleep through the night without having to get up? Do you wake feeling refreshed or are you dragging yourself out of bed every morning? How do know if your energy levels are lacking?
Energy depletion is a serious problem that might be keeping you from living your best life for hours every day.
Many of you are subsisting on very low energy, which means much your day is spent coping with exhaustion. Energy is directly related to gut health. The food you eat is vitally important, but your gut’s ability to break down and absorb those nutrients is the true determinant of gut health.
These days you can buy energy. You can get it in a tiny little bottle for five hours or you can keep a steady drip of caffeine coming thanks to readily available coffee and caffeinated beverages. Some of you may even resort to taking amphetamines but honestly, I would never recommend that. I know, but balancing your gut you can get more energy naturally.
The great thing about your energy levels is they are like a muscle. With the right foods you can actually build more energy. Without them, you may be left finding yourself dreading Monday mornings and counting down hours until Friday afternoon.
4. Your Mood
Do you feel grouchy, unsettled or start many a day with dread right at the gate? It could be annual review day, but it could also be a sign that your body is missing nutrients or the right mix of beneficial gut bacteria.
Since when did we, as a culture, get so anxious, so prone to depression, so easily thrown into fits of anger and rage?
The right balance of gut bacteria produce substances that keep you happy and balanced. These bacteria affect everything, resulting you’re your moods keeping you sick, and being sick affecting your moods.
Anxiety or depression is keeping many of you from the things, people and activities you love or those you would like to love. I believe many people are operating on a low-grade level of depression or anxiety, or a mixture of both, keeping them stuck and unfulfilled. This can be alleviated when the gut is repaired and rebalanced. I should know, it happened to me!
Pharmaceuticals may have their place, but there are alternate options and many begin with balancing and restoring gut health.
If you struggle with skin issues, lack of energy, moodiness, or less than perfect poops finding balance in your gut may the simple, yet highly effective solution to your problem(s). This is the most important thing you can do for your constipation, your liver, your diarrhea, your immune system, your energy levels and more.
I know you are wondering how to even begin this process. Although it is always best to seek out the support of a professional, following a whole foods based diets, eliminating processed foods, especially refined sugars and carbohydrates and man-made fats and incorporating some food-based probiotics (in raw fermented foods) will set up a great foundation on which to begin. Following an elimination protocol may help you determine which foods are best suited for you, and which are not and incorporating some gut-healing bone broth will make sure your belly has the tools it needs to repair, rebalance, restore and give you back your vibrant health.