I've just returned from three months in America. We had a fabulous time visiting family and friends, and introducing our daughter to everyone for the first time at 1.5 yo, (thank you Covid). There are so many differences that set the USA and NZ so far apart - driving on the other side of the road, traffic, the wildlife, the crowds and of course the food. The Standard American Diet is characterised by many things, but to sum it up it consists of high intakes of pre-packaged foods, refined grains and carbohydrates, red meat, processed meat, high-sugar drinks, added sugars, candy and sweets, high fructose corn syrup, fried foods, conventionally-raised animal products and butter and other high-fat dairy products. Of course I was exposed to some of this going back to the states as I travelled a lot, visited friends and family who made me food and put out nibbles, went out to eat and just generally found it difficult to avoid when shopping a lot of the time.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't indulge like crazy on this terrible food for myself, daughter and husband, but I did eat food I wouldn't normally eat in NZ which consisted of some of the above more than I should have - there is just SO much of it in the states! I walked down some food aisles in Walmart and took video footage and was amazed to see the processed, sugar-laiden food piled high to the ceiling on the shelves. I noticed shopping carts full of this stuff and the people pushing the carts quite obese. It made me sad that there is no control over the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and that the WHO (World Health Organization) doesn't consider this as one of the main sources of what costs the USA billions in debt due to diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and more.
I noticed after a few months there I wasn't feeling or looking my best. My energy began to decrease, my skin looked more dull, the whites of my eyes weren't as white as when I arrived, my tongue was developing a slight white coating and I was putting on weight. Could it be that eating more of the SAD was causing this? I also noticed my gut was reacting to foods more, (gas and bloating) and being a clinical nutritionist I knew what this meant. I knew when I got back to NZ I had to take action.
The first thing I wanted to do when I arrived back to NZ was to jump into a detox/cleanse, however I know that in order to do that the body uses the microbiome, (gut) to help cleanse so you want a healthy gut first and I knew mine wasn't there. So, seeing that I was developing more food sensitivities meant that my gut barrier was now dysfunctional, I decided to put myself on a total gut restoration plan.
I know, that sounds like a lot, but I knew if I just jumped into a detox/cleanse that it wouldn't go as well as I hoped seeing that I needed to repair my gut barrier first. So, for the last month I"ve put myself on a a total gut restoration plan. I know to anyone reading this, they're thinking this sounds intense, but really it couldn't be easier. First, I removed any and all offending foods in the way of processed and packaged foods, refined carbs, added sugars and red meat. I also removed any alcohol, dairy and gluten. I then started to recondition my gut with a spore biotic. There are many probiotics out there, but this specific one survives the gastric system, (stomach acids) naturally so I knew it would get to where it needed to go and improve my bacterial diversity in my gut.
Secondly, after a few weeks on this probiotic alone I started a prebiotic powder, (tastes delicious by the way) as this helps to feed the good/beneficial bacteria the sporebiotic helped create. I like to think of this one as the reinforcer of all the good changes that have gone before.
Lastly, I will take, (haven't gotten there yet) a mucosal powder supplement that has key amino acids to rebuild a healthy mucosal barrier, continue to support diversity and alleviate any barrier disfunction.
After this 12 week gut restoration, I will then do a five day cleanse/detox as I know my gut will be ready and because it will be in it's best shape, the detox will be even more beneficial. I"m working on creating a five day smoothie based on the colours of the rainbow for my cleanse. Day one will be red, so I will make a large smoothie to drink throughout the day, along with a lot of water to help with removal of any toxins. If I'm hungry I will snack on raw nuts or have a piece of fruit. Day one smoothie will consist of a "Red Reboot": strawberries, acai/goji berries, beets, cinnamon, pea protein powder, coconut water and chia seeds. Day two will be "Orange Ovation": carrots, orange, rockmelon or papaya, cinnamon, pea protein power, coconut water and chia seeds. I"m working on day 3 "Yellow Yum", day 4 "Green Goddess" and day 5 "Purple Power". I know after this I'm going to look and feel amazing!
If you'd like to join me in this total gut restoration and detox/cleanse afterwards, then please get in touch. One thing I realised while in the states, is just how much and how quickly food can impact the body and mind, and just how quickly you can reverse any damage done. Life is meant to be lived to the full and feel great! I promise you, it will be one of the best things you could do for yourself! Get in touch now: Heather@foodforlife.co.nz, 0278125071.