Gut Health… Is It Just a Trend?

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Until recently, I thought the term ‘gut health’ was trendy. Not even that trendy: only 1.2 million # on the old ‘gram (please bear in mind that famous slimming groups have 17 million and counting).

But then as I’ve spent time dabbling in the world of #nutrition, #weightloss, #myweightlossjourney, #paleo, #plantbased I’ve discovered that people seem to eat mostly the same foods (animal products dependent) but for different reasons. Of course there is the belief that carbohydrates are bad, fats are bad, meat is bad, dairy is bad, gluten is bad, calories are bad, macros are bad, food is bad and so on. And this makes things a tad confusing.

Obviously I am doing my course in Nutrition and I follow a lot of Registered Dieticians (who also have their own beliefs), and so therefore I have drawn my own conclusion that maybe our gut is more involved than we originally thought and that we really need to start acknowledging that one way of eating does not fit all and THAT’S OKAY.

And here’s why.

Now prior to last week when I was travelling the Highlands (which, if you haven’t done – I highly recommend), I had commented to Tim that my Gaviscon intake had increased within the past 12 months, and it transpired that things were only about to get worse.

As we were literally in the middle of nowhere, my food options were limited (especially due to my yeast intolerance) which meant my ‘diet’ (as in the food I could get my hands on) was SHOCKING and I’m not sure there’s been a time in my life where I had eaten quite like it.

Fortunately we had purchased some emergency snacks which I had assumed would last us 3 or 4 weeks after our trip, but they ended up forming the bulk of our meals. This meant I lived on chocolate covered rice cakes, French Fries (crisps), apples, dried fruit, coconut rings, Maltesers, an icecream, gammon, egg, chips, bacon, cheesy chips, cookies, foam bananas, fizzy cola laces, reduced sugar chocolate, a banana muffin and some Tablet. This was accompanied with Pepsi Max, coffee and semi-skimmed milk. So yes, needless to say I funded the antacid companies all by myself last week.

In addition to the awful heartburn, I also had the itchiest legs, I couldn’t sleep properly, I had a breakout of hormonal spots and (not surprisingly) weight gain. I also SOBBED like a small child on our first wedding anniversary and couldn’t even express why. And quite frankly, I just felt vile and was becoming exceptionally frustrated by the state I was in.

Now I can appreciate the heartburn and the spots. But the symptoms were constant and impacting quite significantly on my trip. It was not okay.

Anyway, I liaised with Dr Google – obviously it was something to do with my digestion and up popped gut health. I decided to google what exactly gut health was and what were the symptoms of poor gut health.

1. Digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea

2. Food allergies or sensitivities

3. Anxiety

4. Depression

5. Mood swings, irritability

6. Skin problems like eczema, rosacea

7. Diabetes

8. Autoimmune disease

9. Frequent Infections

There is also talk of fluctuating and unexpected weight gain. Obviously I was expecting a weight gain from this holiday but I do gain weight VERY easily and I would argue not always fairly.

So let’s take a look at me

  1. Gas and bloating (someone recently congratulated on my pregnancy – I’m not pregnant)
  2. Yeast intolerance, allergy to blackcurrant and beetroot
  3. Not diagnosed but when you have epilepsy it’s hard not to be a bit anxious
  4. I have been in the past
  5. Aforementioned crying – I also cried today because I want a Mac and can’t afford one #princessproblems
  6. Exceptionally dry skin on my legs and rash outbreaks
  7. N/A
  8. N/A
  9. Reoccurring sinus infections

Of course there could be many reasons as for the above, but I reckon addressing my gut health is the easiest place to start. So that’s what I’ll be doing. I will also be addressing my stress levels, because until I get my first proper pay cheque, things are a little bit tight in our household at the moment and if you’ve read my other blog posts, you will have seen it’s been a tough few months.

In order to address your gut problemos, its important to eat mostly plant based, lean protein, healthy fats, eat more prebiotics and probiotics and cut out dairy and refined sugar. I will also be adopting 16:8 intermittent fasting eating between 10am-6pm to help with the old night time stomach battles.

Now as I’ve said I’m not a Registered Dietician or Nutritionist, and if my symptoms do persist I will be going to see a Doctor because these symptoms ain’t fun. But my mother did kindly inform me that it was a common problem in my Dad’s side of the family.

I have taken the time to read some of the official scientific evidence behind gut health and I think it would be unfair to dismiss it as a possible cause for my digestive issues.

So for now, I’m inclined to think ‘gut health’ isn’t a trend – but I’ll of course keep you posted! At worst, my diet will just mean I’m getting all my micro and macro nutrients which most certainly isn’t a bad thing.

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