The gut is the biggest organ of detoxification, elimination, and absorption. The common foods we eat on a daily basis can bog down this system, making you feel tired, mentally foggy, and weaken your immune system. By following the Happy Gut Cleanse protocol, you will clean out your gut, improve energy, feel mentally clearer, and lose unwanted pounds and inches.
During the first week of the program, you may experience detox and withdrawal reactions from not eating foods that were telling your brain it wanted more of them, even while they were causing pain, inflammation, and zapping you of energy. You may get headaches, mental fog, fatigue, achiness, joint pain, and general malaise. It seems counterintuitive that getting rid of these foods will actually make you feel worse at first, but that is often the case. Your body will experience withdrawal symptoms, similar to detoxing from an addictive substance. For a few days, your cravings for those foods may also increase. This is all normal, and it will pass within a few days.
If you drink more than 1 cup of coffee daily, you may experience withdrawal headaches if you stop cold-turkey on the day you begin the 28-Day Happy Gut Cleanse. In order to prevent this, cut the amount of coffee you drink by ½ cup every 2 – 3 days (you can fill up the difference with decaf, but not recommended) prior to starting the program. Once you have reduced your coffee intake to 1 cup or less, you can transition to green tea or matcha green tea powder (higher caffeine content) for its anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, and metabolism-boosting effects. For withdrawal symptoms, drink lots of water and take magnesium glycinate.
Other Energy-Boosting Options:
- Greens, greens and more greens: Add greens to your morning smoothie as a way to revitalize. Blended greens release all the intracellular enzymes and nutrients that your body needs.
- Spirulina: This powdered blue-green algae is a superfood, full of vitamins and minerals.
- Maca: This South American root can be added as a powder to your morning smoothie.
- Bone broth: Rich in minerals and cytokines, bone broth is an immune-booster and gut healer.
The first few days when you take added sugar out of your diet, you may find that your sugar cravings actually increase. This is normal as your body detoxes from sugar. It can take anywhere from two to five days to pass. The keys to overcoming the urge to have sugar are:
1) Take 3 deep breaths – Many sugar cravings pass within a few minutes. Deep breathing will help you get through it.
2) Drink plenty of water – Water helps your body cleanse and detox from your sugar cravings.
3) Drink herbal teas – For example, peppermint tea soothes the nervous system and curbs your appetite, which will help take away your sugar cravings.
4) Eat nutrient-dense foods –Dark leafy greens give your body the minerals and vitamins it needs. When satisfied by food, your body will not crave the empty calories in sugar.
Our bodies are made up of approximately 70% water, so clean, filtered water is an essential component of the Happy Gut Cleanse. A great rule of thumb, and from a lifestyle perspective, is to drink 64 – 96 oz. daily (about 8 – 12 glasses), depending on your level of physical exertion and sweating. Water helps your body flush out toxins, helps with weight loss, and improves your cellular energy production. Don’t drink out of plastic bottles. Instead, drink water that has been filtered to remove toxins and heavy metals; examples of cost-effective water filters include the Brita®, PUR®, and Aquasana®.
Grains, dairy, and legumes are high sensitivity foods, high in short-chain carbohydrates that lead to uncomfortable gas, bloating, and constipation.
Grains containing gluten (like wheat, barley, spelt, rye) and dairy are high FODMAP foods. FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Mono-saccharides and Polyols. In layman’s terms, simply, FODMAP foods contain difficult to digest short-chain sugars that get fermented by your gut bacteria, leading to lots of gas, bloating, diarrhea, and sometimes abdominal cramping and pain.
Beans and legumes (a class of vegetables that includes beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, soy and peanuts — the only nut that is actually a legume) are also high in lectins and phytates, which act as anti-nutrients, blocking your ability to absorb minerals. These anti-nutrients are also found in gluten, and are believed to lead to a leaky gut. Beans, legumes and gluten often lead to acid reflux, cramping and bloating. People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, Crohn’s, or ulcerative colitis feel better when they avoid these foods. The exceptions allowed in the Happy Gut Cleanse are peas, snow peas, snap peas and chickpeas (but only when they are ground up to make chickpea hummus).
Eggs are among the top ten high-sensitivity foods. Many people develop an allergic reaction or sensitivity to eggs over their lifetimes. They may react to either the egg yolk or the egg white, or both. Eggs also happen to be a pro-inflammatory food.
Egg yolk is high in arachidonic acid (AA), a compound that is used in metabolic pathways that promote inflammation. AA is a source of omega-6 fatty acids that provide the body with messenger molecules (for example, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, prostacyclins, and thromboxanes) involved in the inflammatory response. The key is having the right balance of anti-inflammatory omega-3s and pro-inflammatory omega-6s. Ideally, you want your body to be able to turn inflammation on and off as needed. For this reason, egg yolks are not part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Just like with meats, when we eat eggs from chickens fed an unnatural diet based on soy and corn, we are basically consuming these food allergens indirectly. Mass-produced eggs come from chickens raised on foods that were not natural or typical parts of their evolutionary diets. It’s not good for the chickens, and it’s certainly not good for us!
Instead of eggs for breakfast during the 28-day cleanse, you’ll be having a nutritious, vitamin-rich, gut-healing shake from the Happy Gut Cleanse Program.
Yes. Organic eggs from cage-free hens fed a natural, free-range diet rich in omega-3s are much better for us, and they are allowed after the 28-days of the Happy Gut Cleanse. The best eggs are locally sourced at a farmers’ market, where you can speak to the farmer and find out how the chickens are raised. Remember: Part of having a Happy Gut Life is knowing what you are eating, where it came from and, whenever possible, what it ate.
The ideal is to buy as much as you can that is organic, but we understand you may have budgetary or access constraints. A great resource to help you stretch your dollar and purchase the essential foods that pack nutrients with less pesticides, contaminants, and artificial ingredients can be found at EWG.org Remember to only buy foods on the allowed list for the 28 days of the Cleanse.
The Gut C.A.R.E.™ Program is designed to function as a complete system. However, due to issues with maintaining freshness, we do not include a fish oil (omega-3) supplement in our shipment. Instead, we encourage you to eat omega-3-rich foods. Dietary omega-3’s are found in avocados, nuts (like almonds and walnuts), seeds (like flax, chia, and hemp), and wild-caught fish (like salmon and sardines), which are all part of the Happy Gut Cleanse. If you choose to supplement, we recommend nutraceutical brands; examples include Green Pasture’s Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Nordic Natural’s ProEPA Xtra.
From the approved list of foods, you can make your own trail mix with nuts and seeds (no dried fruit). Another great option that can cut your cravings for chips or sweets is 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. The coconut oil supplies your liver with much-needed fats (medium-chain triglycerides a.k.a. MCTs) that it uses to create ketones to fuel your brain between meals, thus reducing any cravings.
Other healthy snack options include:
- Raw or steamed vegetables
- Nuts and seeds (soaked and sprouted are best, from the allowed list, but go easy on the cashews
- Raw carrots with hummus
- Green apple wedges with a nut or seed butter
Dinner is served! Dinner ideas are so delicious, quick, and easy on the Happy Gut Cleanse. Start with a protein, such as our flavorful, lemony Chicken Piccata, cooked with shallots, capers and organic ghee (clarified butter). Choose a savory vegetable side dish, such as Dr. Pedre’s Cinnamon-Nutmeg Butternut Squash. Add a large side salad of mixed organic baby greens, sliced sweet organic carrots, and English cucumber slices. And to top off your delicious Happy Gut Dinner, complement your greens with a Happy Gut approved healthy, omega-rich dressing, like Dr. Pedre’s Scallion Vinaigrette. With these happy gut options, you can have a flavorful, healthy gut-supporting meal on the table in 45 minutes or less.
Try to stick to the approved list of foods as best you can. When ordering at a restaurant, choose the broiled, baked or steamed options. Ask what types of oils they use, and if they use any butter in their cooking. Ask to have your food prepared with olive oil or coconut oil, instead of butter. Make sure you ask if items contain gluten or dairy, as these are often hidden in soups, sauces and dressings. Remember most soy sauces are not gluten-free. Ultimately, the Happy Gut Cleanse and Gut C.A.R.E.™ Program are an investment in yourself, so carve out those 28-days to fully immerse yourself in the program.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can still do the cleanse, but you may need to make slight adjustments in the diet to meet your protein needs. You can get protein from nuts and seeds, but to meet your daily requirements, you may need to allow some legumes in your diet. Take time to soak beans overnight for 12 hours, then rinse and wash them to reduce the phytic acid (anti-nutrient) content of the beans and make the less gas-producing. The same can be done for lentils, but they only require soaking for 90 minutes. Eat fermented soy products, like tempeh, miso and pickled tofu, but avoid other processed soy, like regular tofu.
You can still do the Happy Gut Cleanse, but you will need to adjust your nutrient intake to meet the demands of your athletic training. You may need more protein, and you may give yourself a higher allowance of some starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and brown rice, to fuel your glycogen stores for training. Time the eating of these foods for the day before intense training so that your muscles are properly fueled.
Although it would be easier and less time-consuming to return to your regular eating habits after completing the Gut C.A.R.E.™ Program, we think you’ll live much happier if you take the time to reintroduce the foods one by one and figure out which ones are problematic for you. If you start eating all the foods in the “out” list all at once and old symptoms return, you will have no way of knowing which foods continue to be problematic for you. We want you to be able to take away a lifelong plan after the 28 days, and this is the best way to do so. Knowledge is power. Knowing which foods are your problem foods will help you make the right choices for total body wellness.
We cannot answer specific questions about conditions; instead, consult with your doctor or find a Functional Medicine practitioner near you by going to http://www.functionalmedicine.org.
If you live near the NYC metro area, we welcome new patients by appointment in our New York City office by clicking here. We also offer secure concierge video consultations if you are too far to visit us in NY.
However, you should not do the Happy Gut Cleanse if you:
- Have an allergy to any ingredient listed in any of the supplements
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have active cancer
- Have chronic liver or kidney disease
- Have type I diabetes
- Are taking anti-coagulant medication (i.e. blood thinner)
- Are under the age of 18
If you have a chronic condition and are taking any prescription medications, please consult with your doctor before starting the program and do not stop your medications to do the Happy Gut Cleanse..
Any cleansing program has the potential to improve liver detoxification, which can then affect the therapeutic levels of medications. Maintaining steady levels is particularly important if you are taking blood thinners, anti-arrhythmic drugs, anti-epileptic agents or while on chemotherapy. It is again important to discuss this cleansing program with your healthcare practitioner if you have any of these underlying conditions or take these types of medications.
One of the best ways to relax is to learn to meditate. There are many different styles of meditation, but at its most basic form, meditation is about connecting with your breath while bringing your thoughts and awareness to the present moment. Other relaxation techniques include yoga, tai chi, taking three deep breaths, walking in nature, playing, dancing, singing, and doing what you love to do.
Try this meditation: Sit in a comfortable position with the back straight, shoulders relaxed, and the belly soft (to allow room for your diaphragm to expand as you inhale). Sit on the floor or on a bolster pillow with your legs crossed, or sit in a chair. Allow your body to relax so that you can focus on the breath and clear the mind. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for one second, then breathe out for eight seconds. Focus on your breath. Free your mind of thoughts. Surrender. Start with at least 5 minutes. Extend the time to 15 minutes as you become more comfortable with sitting in meditation.