By Danielle Gordon
Inside, we are inherently the same. Our desire to become leaner, stronger, faster, build muscle, look a certain way, prepare for a life changing event. We desire to OPTIMIZE our body.
The first component (in my humble opinion) of healing, optimizing and allowing greater health is to check in with your gut. What is your gut literally telling you?
We are not what we eat, we are what we ABSORB. If you are spending time and money on organic, grass fed, golden little pieces of meats and veggies—that’s awesome! If your gut and digestive system is not whole, healthy, and complete you are literally pooping out dollar bills.
Gut health: Your gut is the source of inflammation. Get your gut healed and the rest will follow. This should be the focus, first and foremost for the ability to absorb and utilize all the nutrients (macro & micro) you are feeding your body and brain.
Signs of a Healthy Gut
- Ability to recover and heal
- Energy levels high
- Hormonal balance
- Healthy eliminations (Yes, peek at your poop)
- Clear skin/bright eyes
- Low inflammation
So how to get your gut healthy?
My top suggestions are listed below. It sounds like a lot—but I’m going to break it down into smaller, digestible little pieces.
Don’t get overwhelmed by this list. Choose what is right for you. Consider what you have time for, what you can afford and what is the most practical.
1) Get Your Cortisol Levels Balanced
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone”. Too much or too little can lead to health issues and the loss of any one of—if not all—of what I list above.
Too much or too little can cause physical and mental health issues (such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks). If you’re constantly feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by even small things, it means you’re over-stressed and your cortisol is out of whack.
Here are some ways you can start getting your cortisol levels balanced
- Make sure you get adequate sleep—a solid 8 hours.
- ALLOW your body to mend, heal, rest, and recover
- Set an alarm TO GO to bed, and then DO IT
- Float tanks
- Creating a morning & evening ritual
- Epsom salt baths
- Restorative Yoga (no “sculpt”, not hot, RESTORATIVE)
- Get the right nutrients for you
2) Healthy Foundation of Nutrition
Ideally, you want a diet based on whole foods. (If you’re not sure you’re getting the right nutrition, you can supplement your diet.)
Here are the top nutrients you should ensure are in the foods you consume:
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It’s found in our muscles, bones, skin and tendons. It’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together. It gives our skin strength and elasticity, and helps replace dead skin cells.
It’s a protein found in connective tissues of the body. It is significant in making certain parts of the body such as nails strong and is also an important factor in joint health.
The source and quality is just as important. A brand I like is . You can buy it here.
There are so many strains of magnesium out there. Choose the one (or 2) that are right for you. Magnesium is the delivery system for so many other nutrients and minerals that your body requires.
Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
I’m not talking kombucha here. Fermented foods like Kim Chi and Sauerkraut are great. My digestive system doesn’t work well with those. A good pre and probiotic is key! A daily dose of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with lemon (add a little cayenne if you’re feeling saucy) first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is a great way to get the juices flowing.
L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the bloodstream
Common uses of glutamine powder: weight loss, burn fat and build muscle. Science shows it is especially helpful in treating leaky gut and improving your overall health.
Great information can be found here.
Branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients that the body obtains from proteins found in food, especially meat, dairy products, and legumes. They include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. “Branched-chain” refers to the chemical structure of these amino acids. I use this supplement to ensure I’m getting enough amino acids.
ADHD, Anxiety, Inflammation and muscle recovery are just a few benefits.
Colostrum is used to boost the immune system. It repairs the lining of your gut, assist in repairing the nervous system, heals injuries, improves your overall sense of well-being, slows and may reverse aging and is an agent for killing bacteria and fungus. You can buy it here.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria (such as lactobacillus or bifidobacteria) that help keep your digestive system healthy by controlling growth of harmful bacteria. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the human body. They are food for probiotics.
Selenium fights inflammation, increases blood flow and has been shown to reduce free radical oxidative stress. Benefiting heart health!
Practice the “AIP Protocol”
“AIP” stands for Autoimmune Protocol Diet, or AIP diet. It focuses on healing the gut by eliminating foods which cause inflammation and reduce symptoms in those with an autoimmune disease. This is directly connected to what I talk about in the sections above.
This protocol cuts out foods that may cause inflammation. Examples are: Gluten, lactose, sugar, artificial sweeteners, trans fat foods, second serving of alcohol.
AIP focuses on encouraging gut healing through NUTRIENT DENSE foods that are anti-inflammatory—such as leafy green vegetables, broccoli, blueberries, salmon (which is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids).
3) Pay Attention to Your Actions (or lack of) Throughout the Day
That’s right peeps. You’re probably doing far too much in one day and generating levels of stress that are knocking you completely out of balance. Doing too much also ensures you don’t get enough sleep—either by going to bed too late and/or getting up too early.
Look at your schedule, your to do list, your training, your regimented structure and DO LESS. STOP and BREATHE!
Take something OFF your list of to-do’s and do NOTHING. This (may) be the hardest thing for you to do because you’ve gotten programmed that you must do more to reach your goals. I totally understand this because it’s my greatest obstacle (I teach what I need to learn).
Habits and behaviors turn into RITUALS and ROUTINES. These no longer take any effort or thought. Once you have new rituals with HEALTHY habits and behavior, you can use that brain power for everything else in your life. CREATE SPACE in your mind.
4) Turn Off Those Screens
Telephone, TV, computers, video games. SHUT THEM DOWN at night at least 30 minutes before bed.
Create connections and community (art/language courses, volunteer, meetups, find a workout buddy.)
5) Create Accountability
Create a circle of accountability. Journal. Make your friends keep you accountable to your word!
Hire a coach. Create S.M.A.R.T Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). And to that—K.I.S.S your S.M.A.R.T goals (Keep It Simple and Straightforward).
This is a ton of information. You may already do a few things on this list. Is it working for you? Be open to change. What worked 5 years ago or even yesterday may not be what your body, mind and soul need TODAY.
We are ever changing biological beings. Be a nutrient seeker in all parts of life. We cannot go from 0 to 100. Give yourself some grace. Be patient. And, do the F*ing work!
We humans struggle to make changes.
But once our gut is in check, it is (nearly) impossible to reinoculate and feed our digestive system ONLY through whole foods.
I highly encourage a daily routine based on YOUR current goals and reevaluating as they change. But what I talk about above are NON-NEGOTABLES that work for not just me, but also many of my clients.
We can work together to figure out what EXACTLY works for YOU.
Hit me up if you need more resources, ideas, have questions and need to stay accountable! Stay tuned as we dive deeper into each of these subjects.
Want more? Sign up for more info here at my website, Danielle Faith Gordon.
QUESTION: Coach, I’m real new to exercising in general. I found your site and I’ve gotten a ton of information. I’ve been working real hard and I want to make sure I’m eating right. Do you have some info you can give me?
ANSWER: Yes, check out this article: Nutrition for Hard Workouts.
QUESTION: I just joined a CrossFit gym and I found out I’m terrible with push-ups. I can seem to get away from supporting myself on my knees. How do I break this habit?
ANSWER: Here’s an article that should help: Push-Up Tips for Beginners.