What an honor to be invited on Good Morning America! to present my infographic showing how the gut lining becomes diseased, which I equate to an internal garden, and the GUT C.A.R.E.™ Program, featured in my new book, Happy Gut.
If you missed the show, a link to my GMA segment is here and below, we share some of the key learning points for you, in bold!
In the picture above, I am showing host, Robin Roberts, a garden wall that is an analogy for the cells that line the gut. You see, the gut is so central to health, that I like to call it “the seat of all health.” In my clinical practice, I have seen that if you heal the gut, you can begin to heal the rest of the body. On the giant GMA telestrator, we are in front of a picture of a garden, which I use to explain what a healthy gut looks like, and what happens when you develop leaky gut syndrome.
You can begin to repair damage to the gut in just 28 days.
Seeing your gut as an internal garden, you can see how important it is to attend to the health of your gut in the same way you would if you wanted to have a vibrant, abundant garden.
Imagine this garden wall is the lining of your gut. As you can see, all the stones fit nicely together with no space between them. All the cells are interconnected.
Now, maybe you’ve been on antibiotics or your gut has been disrupted by pesticides and toxins. The gut can become “leaky” due to the breakdown of the stomach lining. These holes between the cells allow food molecules, bacteria, and yeast to get through the thin lining of the intestines. These, in turn, activate your immune system. As they leak through, your body identifies them as foreign, so it starts attacking. This immune response can make you feel tired, mentally foggy, anxious, and even depressed.
Above, I am explaining my Gut C.A.R.E.™ Program, which stands for CLEANSE, ACTIVATE, RESTORE and ENHANCE.
When we say CLEANSE, we are cleansing your diet of foods that are inflammatory, the same way you would tend to a garden by first clearing what inhibits healthy growth. The top foods that cause gut sensitivity are a large part of the Standard American Diet: wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, excess sugar and even legumes (including peanuts). We add in foods that are anti-inflammatory such as dark leafy greens, berries, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocado, green beans, almond milk, quinoa, hormone-free, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and sustainably-caught, wild fish. These are the beginning weeks of my program.
Next, we ACTIVATE, because just as a garden has its own natural balance with bees, the planting of certain plants and the quality of the soil, by activating your natural digestive enzymes, bile, or stomach acids, we bring your internal garden back into balance. People with a disordered digestive system may not be producing enough of these, so we supplement. Here, you’ll be looking for ingredients like amylases, proteases, and lipases–these are enzymes that break down carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Other enzymes, like cellulases, help break down vegetable cell walls.
Imagine you’ve hurt your leg and need to keep the weight off of it. You use a cane so you can still use the leg, but the cane takes the load to help you heal. That’s what supplemental digestive enzymes are doing for the gut, by taking a load off its work of digestion, while giving it time to heal.
In the next part of the program, the R is for RESTORE. Think of this as restoring your gut garden with “the good guys.” You want to cultivate your internal garden, your microbiome with fertilizers like prebiotic foods—foods that feed your friendly
bacteria like asparagus, garlic, onion, dandelion root, coconut water kefir, and fermented vegetables like kimchi. You can even take a probiotic supplement. What to look for? The most common strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. You will see words like ‘1 billion units’ and it sounds like a lot, but there are an estimated 100 trillion bacteria in our guts, MORE THAN THE STARS IN THE MILKY WAY! So it’s just a drop in the bucket to take a probiotic with 1 billion active cultures. Often, I am prescribing probiotics with 50 billion CFU’s per capsule, and some of my patients need to take as much as 200 billion CFU’s per day.
And finally, the E is for ENHANCE. This is about enhancing the function of the gut lining to heal your gut- just as a garden experience is enhanced by nicely trimmed paths and the fullness provided by vital elements like bright flowers to attract the bees and birds. For the gut there are certain nutrients that can reduce gut inflammation, such as aloe, DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), and L-glutamine, which is the primary energy source for the cells that line the small intestine. If you give the cells a really good source of energy, it’s been shown that you can reverse a leaky gut.
Robin asked, “So you do all of this for the 28 days and then what?”
What follows the C.A.R.E. part is the Reintroduction Phase. This is where you reintroduce one food at a time to your diet spaced by several days. The exact method by which to do this is detailed in Happy Gut. You then observe to see if old or new symptoms occur. If they do, this food is something you should not be eating. The 28-day Gut C.A.R.E.™ Program is about creating a Health Plan for a new life. I like to empower patients to make them aware and to show them how much in control they are of how bad they may be feeling, and also of how good they can feel through their diet. HAPPY GUT aims to increase one’s health span vs. life span. The quality of life with a happy gut is so much better!
Here I am backstage in the props area of GMA with the demo table! I sincerely hope the segment was helpful, that you buy my book, and learn how to heal your gut from the slow fire within — the inflammation that is at the root of all disease. Here’s to your Happy Gut!