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The Gut Health Solution: Overcoming Reluctance for a Healthier Lifestyle

Here’s a fun fact: You’re not the only one who looks at ice cream, wants it, thinks about how much it’s going to hurt your tummy, and then EATS IT ANYWAY. Because, you know, maybe THIS time it won’t be a problem.

We get it. We live with food allergies and sensitivities, and there are things that we look at and think, “Dang! I MISS that.” Most days, staying in the clear is so old-hat we don’t even think about it anymore. But just last week, KJ had a CRAZY couple of days in a row and woke up on Day CRAVING scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast, which isn’t good for a girl allergic to eggs.

The moment passed (but not before we discovered Bonni was eating that very breakfast a thousand miles away at the time that craving hit!), but it’s always a reminder of what we need to do to stay healthy and vibrant.

If you’re struggling, know this: You aren’t just being hard-headed. Science is on your side.

Changing not just WHAT we eat but what we ENJOY eating...and what we seek out... means altering processing systems. That requires energy. The brain really wants to conserve energy. So it will be on the side of doing what it’s used to doing. The body is the same.

Also not helping is the fact that taste buds and brains like things just the way they are, thank you very much; food companies have used science to create the modern American diet high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. We've trained our taste buds to expect those things. And our brains know that with enough salt, fat, and sugar, we will feel satisfied, even happy. ( Does that sound like bacon and eggs and hash browns?)

We LIKE pleasure, so we look for it again! Only we find it takes more intake to get the same reaction. We start to crave that good feeling, so we indulge more and more and develop eating habits that make us unwell.

If we eat something and it immediately makes us sick, we are more likely to notice and avoid that thing in the future. The damage is slower to appear with gut-depleting foods, and symptoms are harder to blame on specific things. So, our brains discount their impact. We can convince ourselves that “just one won’t hurt.” But it can and does. Just because you don't feel it making you sick does not mean food isn't hurting you. For example, Kj’s egg allergy doesn’t FEEL like a problem in the moment. It feels like a very itchy rash... 4 or 5 days AFTER she's exposed. That took time and patience to track down.

Joining in the battle AGAINST your health is another modern problem: Food that’s quick and easy to grab and go. You know what’s hard to find in the middle of the night? Healthy food. Tacos are everywhere. But a good salad or chicken pita? That’s not happening. Unfortunately, the faster the food, the more likely it is to be highly processed and mostly rough on healing guts.

What else is working against you?

  • Along with being fast, quick food is often CHEAP. So people think healthy food is too expensive. The truth is nutrient-dense foods from reputable sources CAN cost more, but those extra dollars are often saved later in lower health care costs.

  • You don’t want to miss out. We sometimes think eating BETTER means not eating “as well.” We’re here to tell you that this isn’t a life of deprivation. We LOVE good food and have the recipes to back that up!

So, what can you do to break the bonds holding you back? Here are FIVE ACTIONABLE


1. Pay Attention:

  • Listen to Your Body: Notice your cravings and symptoms as well as your emotional connections to food. Understanding your body's signals will help you make mindful choices.

  • Keep a Journal: Track your food intake, emotions, and symptoms. This will help us help you identify patterns and connections between your diet and well-being. Spotting trends and issues becomes much easier if you can keep an objective record.

2. Make Small, Consistent Changes:

  • Identify Three Millimeter Steps: Choose three small changes that are easy to implement and will improve your diet. Gradually increase the number of healthier choices to create sustainable habits. Put your focus on getting good things IN as much as taking less healthy things OUT.

3. Eliminate Excuses:

  • Address Cost Concerns: Buy seasonal produce, consider farmers' markets for cost-effective options, and regrow certain fruits and vegetables from scraps.

  • Find Healthy Alternatives: Replace unhealthy indulgences with healthier options to satisfy your cravings without compromising your gut health. (This can often lead to greater cost savings as well.)

4. Try New Foods:

  • Embrace Variety: Experiment with new fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. Over time, you'll develop a taste for healthier options and create a diverse gut microbiome.

5. Trigger Your Pleasure Center:

  • Indulge Mindfully: Enjoy small portions of dark chocolate or other treats daily to activate your brain's pleasure centers in a controlled and healthier way.

  • Engage in Short, Intense Activities: A quick walk, dance session, or short exercise routine can release endorphins, boosting your mood and strengthening your connection to healthier habits.

Making lifelong changes can be daunting, but we’re here to promise you it’s absolutely possible and sustainable, given commitment, patience, and a willingness to adapt. We hope that by knowing why it’s hard and keeping in mind some small tips, you’ll feel more empowered to make conscious choices to improve your gut health. So, embrace small and consistent changes, trigger your pleasure center in healthier ways, and be open to trying new foods. Remember, creating a healthier gut paves the way for a happier, healthier life, allowing you to thrive and tackle life's challenges with vitality.

Cheers to your journey of improved gut health and a brighter, healthier future!



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