2022: A New You ✨ with Better Poo! 💩

If you’re one to make New Year’s resolutions, the list may look something like this:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Improve cholesterol
  3. Gain better control over blood sugar
  4. Reduce bloating
  5. Fit into my clothes better, look and feel great!

Instead of taking a shotgun approach to improving our health, focus on one simple thing (which is one of America’s top health issues) and poo better. Everyday. If you can improve your digestion and get the garbage out of your body better during the next 365 days, you are bound to see beneficial changes in your digestion, weight, skin, cholesterol levels and more.

So, my constipated comrades, let’s start the new year off by pooping like pros!

You see, by just focusing on having a good poo each day, you can reap the benefits of better blood sugar regulation, lower cholesterol, and a decrease in bloating and body weight. It also lends itself to having better energy when you don’t have a bunch of garbage in your gut.

We’ve explained it to children as young as 2 and to adults; assuming a healthy digestive capacity, when you eat food, your body absorbs the nutrients and sends the remainder to the colon. It’s imperative to take out household trash regularly and so it is with getting the garbage out of our bodies. Hence, pooping.

Bowel movements are a completely necessary bodily function that, in removing waste, also create more space in the digestion system. Like emptying your bathroom wastebasket regularly allows room for you to put more stuff into it.

The act of defecation has both physiological (it stimulates the pudendal and vagus nerves) and psychological beneficial effects. A really morning good poo can make you feel like a brand new person, ready to conquer the world.

So how do we accomplish better poos in 2022? Easy.

  1. Start by noticing the frequency and quality of your poos. Use the Bristol Stool Chart to keep notes.
  2. Learn the elements necessary to have the perfect poo.
  3. Implement tools to deal with stress. The body doesn’t do its trash-removing duty well during periods of Sturm und Drang, heightened emotions and stress.
  4. Set up a morning routine which includes bowel-stimulating drinks or food as well as time to sit and have a Good Morning Poo

Remember that you may need to address any underlying thyroid issues, food sensitivities, stress sources and managment, and sleep quality. Always speak with your doctor or healthcare provider if you notice bloody stool, severe constipation or abdominal pain, and other troublesome symtoms.

This ONE change of having better poo can set you up for this year, and many to come, in helping you achieve your goals of attaining better health and taking better care of your body.

Haven’t joined our Go with your Gut Facebook group? Now’s the time. Need results sooner?

Our 10-day Express Detox will guide you through the process of removing extra sources of toxins from your diet (and hygiene products) along with and assisting your body’s detoxification processes. The whole-foods, plant-based approach is a great jumpstart into your new year.

We have formulated the daily menu plans and built the process into easy-to-follow steps. By removing most of the major food allergens and incorporating a plethora of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, and legumes, the 10-Day Detox assists the body in ‘rebooting’ in a healthy way. Our masterclass takes place on January 2nd so you can make healthy changes in early 2022!

When Food is Foe 😈

It certainly is a frustration and a struggle when you suspect that the food you’ve been eating is somehow contributing to the trouble you’re having with your gut, brain, muscles and joints, or skin.

A short list of common symptoms related to food-induced inflammation can range from heartburn and stomach pain to bloating and diarrhea. It could manifest as headaches or migraines, loss of focus, anxiety and/or depression. The symptoms could show in your achy points or in your skin as rashes or breakouts.

Your Personalized Diet

Everyone needs to eat according to their own needs, preferences, and lifestyle. A diet that works for a celebrity, your best friend, and even your cousin may not be what creates health for YOU.

Truly personalized nutrition doesn’t just take into account your height and weight, age, ancestry, activity level, or food preferences and lifestyle, it also means finding out which foods are causing an inflammatory response in your body.

Gut Permeability aka “Leaky Gut”

Having a “leaky gut” was a condition once unbelieved but is now well-documented in scientific literature. When there’s a compromise or breach of the cells lining the gut, there is a potential for all sorts of maladies, including poor nutrient absorption, food sensitivities, and many symptoms throughout the body.

Inflammation: the Good AND Bad

Just like stress, inflammation isn’t all bad. When you get a cut, the area of the trauma will start to swell and redden as the immune and circulatory system rush to the scene to stop the bleeding, prevent infection, and start laying new skin structures. The problem is when stress, or in this case, inflammation becomes chronic. This situation can ignite a host of disorders including arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and, quite possibly, autism and mental issues.

How do you heal the painful symptoms associated with stepping on a nail? Sure, you could try covering it up, wrapping the area with pillowy gauze and taking aspirin, but you haven’t removed the root cause. So the first step to true, actual healing is to have the nail removed.

How might diet-induced inflammation show up for you? We’re all different so while soybean might cause one person a headache or migraine, for another it could cause joint pain or heartburn. Same with gluten, blueberries, or even green peppers.

Just because a food or diet is labeled as anti-inflammatory doesn’t mean it’s acting that way for you. In fact, surprisingly enough, we’ve had two clients in the past year for whom tumeric, a known anti-inflammatory, was actually INFLAMING them. One of the clients had been taking it everyday (!) in attempts to quell her joint pain.

The Multiple Problems with Elimination Diets

One of the keys in reducing diet-induced inflammation in the body is first identifying the foods that are causing the ‘fire’ in the body. Why not start with an elimination diet to try to improve migraines, autoimmune conditions or gut health? Why not try eliminating the most common allergens (e.g. wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, corn, and soy) or trying FODMAPs? While a particular food may relate to certain symptoms, it’s not necessarily the best course of action to subject clients to an elimination diet because they are difficult to sustain , are often inconclusive (do you have a mirgraine or heartburn because of the gluten or because you’ve been under stress or because of barometric pressure change in the weather?) and they don’t usually give the full relief clients need and desire.

1. They could miss a genetic component important for you to know and to share with your family. A good example of this would be a person who eliminates gluten from their diet and feels better. Unless they were tested for celiac disease, they wouldn’t know how stringently they might need to follow the gluten-free diet. Their relatives might also be unaware of how their expression of ‘silent celiac’ disease could be infertility, skin rashes, mouth sores, osteoporosis, and even lymphoma. 

2. Extra stress is another problem of elimination diets. They are frustrating and mentally demanding (trying to figure out a symptom’s cause might feel like a scene from A Beautiful Mind or this It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meme), time-consuming and perhaps most importantly – they are not as successful as testing. The reason for this is that as you eliminate or add in foods, you may not do so slowly or completely enough AND since the immune system is in a heightened state of alert still responding to the foods you haven’t eliminated, you’re likely not going to feel 100% or even 80% better. Instead of spending 6 or more months removing foods from your diet – not feeling sure that you’re even getting better, or not getting a 100% resolution- you may want to consider another process. With our protocol, we guide clients through step-by-step, starting with 10 days of their ‘safe’ foods and then systematically expanding their diet in a way that allows us to determine other food reactions and intolerances.

3. Elimination diets don’t necessarily ‘put out the fire.’ Because our genetics and environment can play a role and impact our abilities to deal with inflammation, you can’t just avoid foods that cause you problems. Our body’s response to stress plays a role too. The great part of knowing your food – and food chemical – sensitivities is that they give a wider, more accurate picture …when it comes to discovering that molds, yeast,  FD&C Blue #2, or benzoic acid are also causing issues, perhaps in your household environment or products. Once we remove the ‘known offenders’ in your diet (including supplements and hygiene products), the immune system starts to calm down and then we can safely start food reintroduction and see more clearly what causes your problematic symptoms. Otherwise, with elimination diets, you’re mainly just guessing about the foods, supplements, and hygiene/household products you’re using and whether or not they are ‘safe’ for you.

Supplements aren’t the Answer

“Can’t I just take extra probiotics, collagen, turmeric, or fiber to help my gut?” You could play the guessing game and potentially waste time and money in trying to find the perfect supplement (or twenty). Here’s the problem: you’ll likely not see a great benefit from them if you’re still eating foods that irritate your gut’s lining and that cause inflammation in the body. As mentioned before, you could be reactive to turmeric and therefore adding that supplement could be your personal kryptonite.  

Want a faster, better way to help your gut AND body heal?

Consider comprehensive food sensitivity testing. Why comprehensive? Because, for example, just looking at IgG levels doesn’t mean that the food is the problem necessarily; IgG can be elevated for a number of reasons. It’s more important to look at multiple markers of inflammation being released by a cell in response to a food – including cytokines, prostaglandins, histamine, leukotrienes, interleukins and more.

If you’re tired of feeling “gross”, being so bloated you look 5 months pregnant, and have stomach pains that distract you from fully participating in the life you want to live, or have other ‘unexplained’ symptoms that could be related to the foods you eat regularly, consider a comprehensive program that includes your test results and implementing the proper protocol with expert guidance and support.

Food sensitivity testing is one of the most powerful tools we have to help clients finally improve life-long symptoms and get back to engaging in life more fully. Interested to see if the testing is a good option for you? Schedule your complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call and let’s get your healthy journey started!

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A Case for Morning Routines

Have a better tomorrow by learning about morning routines then building and implementing your own! (Video version available here in our Go with your Gut free Facebook group).

Benefits of a Morning Routine

1. With a set morning routine, you’re on auto-pilot and the morning flows fairly seamlessly. The alternative is jumping all over the place as you feed the dog, get dressed, check your voicemail, and look for your keys.

2. Peace is a result of a well-planned morning routine; instead of feeling scattered and stressed, you can enjoy your cup of coffee or tea and know that you are ready for the day.

3. Feeling organized about your day – you can see your appointments and activities laid out, and you have a plan to achieve your most important goals, even building in self-care!

Life before a AM Routine

We’re speaking for ourselves here, but you can likely relate.

1. Inconsistent wake (and sleep) times. Sometimes we’d wake at 6am, or 8:45am or 11am…this left us feeling discombobulated and stressed as we struggled to fit in all our appointments and to-do tasks. Even worse, we’d work into the night and then create a self-perpetuating problem of inconsistent waking times.

2. Adrenaline rushes. Running around grabbing work materials, finding the outfit we planned on wearing was in the laundry hamper and having to figure out an alternative, looking for keys or an umbrella…and then hoping and praying traffic to get to meetings on time. Mornings were full of stress and anxiety.

3. Forgetting water and/or lunch. This lead to us either skipping lunch or buying a $13-20 lunch when we had perfectly good food at home. What typically followed was both food waste and money waste (from lost groceries and eating out).

This way of living cost us time, peace, and money. Something needed to change. Tired of the results we were getting, we decided, “No more of this chaos, we’re getting organized with our mornings.”

Our First Attempts at a Morning Routine

We’ve read all these articles about successful people who wake up at 4am or 5am, so we decided to enlist willpower and sign ourselves up for a 6am boxing class (during the snowy/icy winter season). Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. Why? For one, it didn’t work with our life and sleep schedule. We don’t go to bed at 8pm or 9pm typically and so we were always tired in the mornings. For two, we like food; the problem was fueling ourselves around this class. If we skipped breakfast, we’d typically feel faint during the 1-hour high-intensity workout. If we ate even a small snack 15-30 minutes ahead of time, we felt nauseous.

Reading about the great achievers, such as Richard Branson and Tony Robbins, showed me that some of these morning routines were 2-3 hours long. That was never going to work with our lifestyle so we had to create our own flexible 30 minute AM routine with exercise included. We’ve changed it throughout the years and kept it flexible to support where we are in life. Here’s what it looks like now (we’re big fans of alliteration, as you’ll see):

1. Wash and water – we brush our teeth first thing and then drink 1 cup of water before jumping into exercise…

2. Strength-training and skincare – we’ll play a very short podcast and bust out squats, full push-ups, ab work, bridges, ‘superhumaning’ (laying on the belly and lifting arms and legs), and pull-ups. All done in about 6 minutes! Then we’ll typically wash our face and body and get dressed.

3. Bunnies (pets) and breakfast – we have two (unbonded) bunnies and we’ll let one out as we prep our coffee or tea and breakfast. About halfway through, we switch them out. Typically we’ll also do our ‘mental/spiritual gym’ exercises. For your purposes, insert dog/cat/kid(s) where we have bunnies listed.

4. Launch into life – we go into the office and check the day’s calendar and our most important goals; we set alarms and put the phone on airplane mode (as needed); we’ll also take breaks to do household activities (e.g. laundry) during the day

This is not a *perfect* morning routine. Use this for inspiration to create your own routine. Now that we’ve created a customized morning routine, the only regret we have is not starting earlier in life. High school, college, and post-college could have been SO much easier and not filled with stress and anxiety. Peace is a gift we can give ourselves with a simple morning routine. The key is to make it work for YOU!

So what do you think? Do you already have a morning routine? Is there a way to improve your mornings by putting them on auto-pilot?

Client Spotlights!

There are so many hugs and high-fives on the road to clients reaching their goals; as March starts wrapping up, here are just a couple of stories from those are in-progress or have graduated from our Foundations of Health Program:

1. A New Father’s Post-partum Success

It’s no secret that most men whose partners are going through pregnancy tend to develop Couvade syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy, where some of the same symptoms and behavior of the mother are picked up – most often including minor weight gain.

“A year ago I was trying ‘go it alone’ to lose weight, mainly with working out and I saw some results but the workouts didn’t stick and neither did my results.

This year, everything is different and I’m thrilled with the results so far! I’m drinking more water and I’m looking for ways to exercise, even with my infant son, to make sure it happens. In fact, since the start of us working together in early February (it’s now mid-March), I’ve lost over 17lbs – basically the same weight that my son is! My jeans and clothes fit better, I’m back to exercising and have much better energy these days (without the 4 cups of coffee and energy drinks I used to have)!” – Kevin R., Columbus, OH
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2. Success in both Eating and Living better!

 “Frustrated with post-menopausal weight gain, a thickening waistline, and a lower energy level, I reached out to Adrienne.  After 5 months of working together, I lowered my body fat %, dropped a couple inches off my waist, and increased my energy level.  Achieving those goals was amazing, but the even better part was that there was MORE!  I worked with Adrienne for another 3 months, and she turned out to be more than just a nutrition coach – she’s a lifestyle coach!  We tackled issues like self-care, relationship improvement, stress reduction, alcohol cravings, and more. So now, not only do I EAT better, but I’m LIVING better, too!”    – Renee W., Columbus, OH

Soothe your Scalp

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Because your scalp is an extension of the skin on your body, its health can be influenced by diet, stress, products, genetics, and weather. We generally spend time taking care of our facial skin and hair, neglecting our scalps…until a problem arises. Whether it’s an itchy or flaky scalp, you can help bring it back into balance.

If you find the flakes have a yellowish tinge, it could be seborrheic dermatitis, or dandruff. This is a very common cause of flakes and is often a result of a fungus called malassezia. Excessive sebum can feed the fungus, causing irritation and inflammation as well as tiny white flakes.

Perhaps the issue is scalpal eczema which results in a very sensitive skin which can be itchy and have an accompanying red rash. The dryness of winter can exacerbate this condition and the flakes produced tend to resemble oat bran.

Psorasis is auto-immune disorder, typically inherited, that can impact skin all over the body, including the scalp. The immune system goes into over-drive, producing more skin cells than can be sloughed away naturally, causing a build up of scaly patches.

Stress, diet, chemical or food sensitivities, allergies, and weather can play a role in the need to brush your shoulders off.

Chemical sensitivities are hard to tie down (ever notice how many ingredients are in a typical shampoo?!) but keep an eye on products such as hair dye, styling products and other scalpal hygiene products.

Food sensitivities can play a role in skin’s irritation and breakouts. Talk with a qualified registered dietitian-nutritionist to help figure out what foods are helping versus hurting the situation. Omega-3s can help replenish moisture in an irritated or dry scalp. Research shows that high-glycemic diets and high blood sugar can increase inflammation. Refined, white carbohydrates typically found in sweets, pasta, bread and junk food can spike blood sugar. Probiotics can also help reduce dandruff since they help maintain a balance of yeast in the body. An anti-inflammatory diet including vegetables and fruits, protein providing certain minerals, and avoiding added sugar and processed foods is a good place to start.

Certain shampoos, herbs, and essential oils can help with fighting the fungus and cooling the scalp.

Stress can change your immune system and create inflammation in the body. Proper sleep is great for taming tension and anxiety; calming activities (i.e. reading, yoga, exercise, and meditation) can help.

May your scalp be soothed and shoulders free from flakes.

5 Fast Ways to De-stress

5 Fast ways to de-stress

Running late, getting stuck in traffic, an irritating headache, a conflict at work…all of this can cause us to feel stress. During these times, here are 5 quick methods to employ:

  1. Breathe – when under stress, we tend to forget to breathe and do so very shallowly. Whether you’re waiting for a web-page to load or are in a conversation with a co-worker or boss, remember to breathe deeply. Take 5 deep breaths right now.
  2. Re-hydrate – most people we’ve encountered are chronically mildly dehydrated. Grab a refreshing glass of water or hot peppermint tea to help rehydrate and have a better mindset.
  3. Walk – physically moving our bodies helps us connect better to them and can be very therapeutic. Stand up and take a 5 minute break to walk around the block or the office. If people who smoke can take a cigarette break, why can’t non-smokers take a ‘health break’?
  4. Connect + Laugh – call or text a trusted confidant or friend and share your concerns or annoyances. Perhaps he or she will be able to provide a bit of levity and help you release anxiety and worry. Also consider watching a short, funny video to reduce stress and remind yourself to relax.
  5. Organize and Manage Time – some stress can result from clutter, feeling overwhelmed, and lack of time management skills. One excellent anti-dote is to start getting organized by de-cluttering, building routines, creating a reasonable ‘to-do’ list, and delegating responsibilities.

#2 Problems Solved! Have the Perfect Poo

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If your bathroom visit has you feeling less-than-stellar, whether from incomplete bowel evacuation or runny rapid transit, you may wonder what’s going on with your gut. We will solve the mysteries of these #2 issues so that you can sit down and take action!

What’s your number?
If you’re looking at the stool chart feeling as through you run the gamut of each type, start to observe toilet clues and investigate reasons that may underlie issues of diarrhea and constipation. Like most changes, this starts with awareness. Track the number associated with the Bristol stool chart type that best matches your bowel movement.

Water makes all the difference. Diarrhea results when the intestine doesn’t have time to reabsorb all the water from the food waste before it exits. On the other hand, if too much water being reabsorbed, constipation occurs and results in hard, dry rabbit-poo-like stools.

When you can’t wait another second….diarrhea. Common causes of diarrhea include:
Food allergies or sensitivities
Lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance/Celiac disease, or malabsorption of fructose
Hyperthyroidism
Emotional stress
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Gastrointestinal infection

Sh*t happens….hopefully. Constipation involves the passing of hard, dry stools that resemble rabbit or deer excrement. Are you eating sugar, processed carbs, packaged foods? If so, you’re at higher risk for constipation. Or perhaps it’s one of these common issues:
Low fiber intake (or too much fiber and not enough water)
Food allergies (dairy and wheat can also lead to constipation issues for some)
Hypothyroidism & hormonal imbalance
Lack of physical activity
Dehydration
Issues with the nerves or muscles in the intestinal tract

Whoa! That stinks!
If you find that your flatulence clears a room or your BMs are so stinky they cause a plane to turn back, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. For the deadly gas (silence optional), the problem has its roots in sulfur compounds. One reason why flatulence can flatten the mood: bacteria adds sulfates to trapped air bubbles in the gut, creating smelly farts. Food can lead to foul smells particularly when one is consuming foods high in sulfur (think Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, and onion).

Smelly poo can have its origins from food as well. Those who eat a lot of animal protein tend to have stinkier BMs. A weak digestive system will contribute to foods not breaking down well and putrefying in the gut. Poor diet and stress often have key roles to play as can food sensitivities and inflammatory bowel disorders.

Have the Perfect Poo
Though seemingly as mythical as unicorns, some people claim to have the perfect poos. You can too! First, you have to know what you’re aiming for. On the Bristol stool chart, a perfect poo would ideally be a 4, with 3 and 5 being strong contenders. Let your competitive side show as you try some of these tips to improve your digestive wellness.

  • Get more fiber (think fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains)
  • Drink enough water! Some people like to jazz it up with some lemon and/or mint.
  • Address any underlying thyroid issues
  • Consider eliminating gluten and/or dairy from the diet (both are a common cause of diarrhea and constipation) or other foods on your sensitivity results
  • Fermented foods (i.e. kimchi, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut) may be beneficial as they can support the colonization of healthy bacteria in the gut. Consider a probiotic supplement.
  • Exercise!
  • Incorporate stress management techniques
  • Get enough sleep

It is important to give your body the tools it needs to be healthy. Every piece of food eaten is broken down and nutrients are absorbed. If it passes too quickly in the digestive tract, important nutrients are missed. If it takes too long, damage may occur in the colon (think diverticulitis as an example). Remember that there are plenty of neurotransmitters in your gut and the brain-gut connection is real. Your thoughts, anxiety, depression, stress, and mood impact your gut.  With all of the information and ideas presented, what step will you take to  achieve gastrointestinal balance?