IS YOUR GUT MAKING YOU CRAZY?

We Welcome Guest Blogger and Friend Sarah Bingham founder of Fast Food Healing.

Sarah is a licensed nutrition consultant with a master’s degree and more than thirty-five years experience counseling and lecturing on all aspects of nutrition throughout the country. Her current focus is in family nutrition, helping parents recover their children from conditions like autism, ADD, ADHD, asthma and other learning/behavior issues. She is also a dynamic and passionate speaker who communicates with clarity, humor and inspiration the simplicity of achieving wellness.

Sarah works as the Director of Nutritional Programs for Valle Counseling in Tampa, FL. She is a certified GAPS (Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) practitioner (see www.gaps.me). Sarah is the founder of Fast Food Healing LLC, a personalized in-home nutrition counseling business. Sarah always addresses body, mind and spirit as they are all critical to a healthy body.

Following is an article Sarah shared with us.  Did you know that 80-90% of your neurotransmitters (chemicals that effect your mood and brain function) are created in your gut? Also, the seat of your immune system is in your gut. Hence, that old saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling” is quite accurate. Hence, what research is beginning to put together is if your mood, mind or behavior are off, you have a very good chance of having a gut that is off and a poor immune system.

What do I mean by “off”? Your gut is loaded (about 4 pounds) with good guy bacteria. This good guy bacteria keeps in check the potentially bad guy bacteria that is also present. All of these microbes have important functions, like creating B vitamins, neurotransmitters, and anti-cancer substances. When the good guys are winning, your mood and ability to think are in great shape. Your immune system is also in good shape. But, when the bad guys are winning, you could be suffering from any one of these conditions: Irritable bowel, reflux, ADD, ADHD, asthma, autism, bipolar disease, food allergies and intolerance, depression, dyslexia, autoimmune disease and more.

What causes your gut to become out of balance? Antibiotics, stress, the birth control pill, most prescription drugs and a diet high in processed foods. So, take a mother to be who has eaten a processed diet her whole life, has had a few courses of antibiotics and is now pregnant. Her gut “flora” or bacteria are more than likely out of balance. A baby’s gut is sterile until going through the birth canal. At this point, the baby swallows some of the mother’s vaginal fluid, which is reflective of her gut balance or imbalance. Thus, the baby’s gut is inoculated with either good guy bacteria or bad guy bacteria. And the cycle begins again.

Sometimes it’s easy to bring your gut back into balance using probiotics, lactic acid fermented foods and good whole foods and sometimes it takes a major effort to accomplish a rebalancing of the gut. When I look out at our society with lots of depression, rage, anxiety, immune dysfunction and irritable bowel, I think we all need a major revamping of our gut flora. As Hippocrates said back in 400 BC, “All disease begins in the gut.”

love your gut

The Building Blocks of Life

Are you getting enough protein?  As a vegetarian I get asked that question almost every day.  It seems as if protein is this magical food that when you eat it your life is just better, maybe that is why our society seems to be adding protein to every single meal.  However according to the DRI established by the USDA only 10-35% of our calories should come from protein.  Protein is the basic building block for growth, when you consume protein it goes through a digestion process where it is broken down into amino acids.  These amino acids are then reassembled into muscle, nerves, hormones, enzymes, and neurochemicals.  Proteins can also be converted into glucose to use for energy, but it is not as efficient as carbohydrates and fats.

So are you getting enough protein?  It is recommend we eat at least 1-2 gm per Kilogram of body weight (Kilogram = pounds divided by 2.2). For example, a 150 lb person weighs 68 kg. This means they should consume at least 68-136 gm of protein per day.  It is important that you do eat enough protein in your diet because protein is involved in:

  • Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
  • Tissue repair
  • Immune function
  • Making essential hormones and enzymes
  • Energy source
  • Preserving lean muscle mass

Where do you get protein?  Protein comes from meats, poultry, fish, meat substitutes, cheese, milk, nuts, legumes, and can be found in smaller amounts in starchy foods and vegetables. Protein that comes from an animal source however contains all the essential amino acids (essential amino acids are ones that we need to get from our diet), while most plant protein sources needed to be combined properly to get all the essential amino acids.

Overall, protein is a very important part of our diet, but it is not the only part (or even the largest part).  A healthy balanced diet is a combination of carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Stop Running Away From Fat

Everyone seems to hate fat.  They try to lose it, they want everything “low-fat” or “fat-free” (even though fat free and low fat just means added sugar, which is the actual thing making you gain weight), but fat is actually essential for you and your body.

Fat is essential for normal growth and development, it is a great source off energy, it allows your body to absorb vitamins, it provides cushioning for your organs, and helps maintain cell membranes! There are three different types of fats including unsaturated fat, saturated fat, and trans fat.

Unsaturated fats fall into two categories: polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated. The polyunsaturated are your Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids which are good for your heart!  Monounsaturated fats are oils, avocados, peanuts, tree nuts, etc and they lower your LDL level and increase HDL levels!

Saturated fats have been given a bad reputation, however they are safe to consume. Saturated fats are found in red meats, whole milks, cheeses, coconut oil, and many baked goods.  However, many foods have a combination of unsaturated and saturated fats!

The ONLY type of fat that you need to be running away from is trans fats since trans fats are industry created fats used to give processed foods a longer shelf life. In fact the FDA is banning the use of trans fats in products (obviously it must do some damage if the FDA will actually ban it), it will be a slow process to completely eliminate them in the USA’s food supply, however you can eliminate them in your own home now!

So your diet no longer needs to be “fat-free” or “low-fat” because fat is essential for your body to function properly and is an important macro-nutrient in a balanced diet.  So don’t continue to run away from the fat, embrace it!  Just stay away from trans fats…