Let Food Be Thy Medicine: Healing My Gut

I need to heal my gut… ft. Ayurveda, a smoothie recipe, & dietary guidelines

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with digestion and gut health.  It’s been a while since these kinds of issues have popped up for me, but they’re back!  I want to use this opportunity as a chance to learn more about healing foods and hopefully figure out what foods ‘trigger’ bloating and poor digestion for me.

To better explain how I’ve been feeling, it’s been a long time since I’ve woken up and had a ‘flat’ stomach.  When my gut is at its best, I know that I can wake up and feel like my stomach is empty and ready to start the day with a meal.  Now, I wake up and still feel like I have bloat and digestive issues before even starting the day. 

Granted, I’ve gained a few pounds over the winter because ya girl had a fun few months full of a generous amount of beverages (I’m by no means a ‘drinker’, so 3-4 drinks a week is a lot more than normal for me). I also stopped eating veggies and fruits, a lot of my dinners consisted of turkey burgers and potatoes.

I want to point out that THIS IS OK! It’s normal to fluctuate a bit throughout the years and the seasons.  However, it’s good to be aware of your fluctuations and honor the seasons you go through – even if it means realizing that you’ve deviated a bit from your goals.  Progress isn’t linear and that’s ok!

I’ll be documenting my food and activity over on my Instagram, and I’ll be writing a bit about what’s working and what isn’t.

I don’t like to self-diagnose, but I think a decent amount of my problems (digestion, acne, etc.) stem from hormone imbalances.  To combat this, I’m going to try to incorporate foods that fight inflammation and also help promote balanced hormones.  I’m also going to turn to Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine rooted in holistic methods.

Ayurveda basically breaks people up into three body bio-types and then gives dietary and lifestyle guidelines based on what you are. These three types are called ‘doshas’, and you can either be Pitta (fire), Vata (air), or Kapha (earth).

I’m Vata. My body has a lot of ‘airy’ elements in that I’m tall, naturally lanky/thin, get cold easily, usually have racing thoughts/tendencies towards anxiety, and often have issues related to ‘gas’ (digestion). If this is confusing or intriguing to you, I’d highly suggest taking the short quiz here to see what your body type is as well as if you feel it accurately describes you!

Being Vata, it’s recommended to stay away from foods that are also Vata – cold salads, cold/dry fruits (like apples), beans (besides tofu), cold drinks, etc. because these just enhance/aggravate the already Vata-dominant characteristics that I have.

Instead, I should opt for ‘warmer’, softer foods like rice, nut butter, soup, mango, banana, chicken, tofu, etc. that help my digestive fire run smoothly.

I’ll be going more into my journey using Ayurvedic techniques, but for now, I want to avoid information overload and keep it simple.

Also, as the weather gets warmer, I’m so excited to be able to have more smoothies and incorporate superfoods and micronutrients like greens into yummy, refreshing drinks. While cold drinks might bother me when it’s also cold outside, I know that a cool smoothie on a warm day leaves me feeling just fine.

Current favorite smoothie, promoting better digestion & skin health:

  • 1 banana
  • A few cups of baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp maca powder
  • A scoop of vanilla protein
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 spoon of mixed nut butter (from TJ’s, contains no peanuts, since they’re inflammatory)
  • Enough almond milk to make the consistency how you like

I’m also beyond excited for it to be warm enough to go to Pressed Juicery and get their freezes, which are like dairy-free frozen yogurt. Daydreaming of 70+ degree weather and sunsets after 8pm seems too good to be true, but every day we get closer!

A few foods I’m going to try to avoid

  • Dairy (since it’s high in hormones)
  • Peanuts (since they’re inflammatory)
  • Sugar (because it’s literally the devil in terms of health)
  • High gluten levels (inflammatory)

A few things I’m going to try to have more of

  • Avocados (great for hormone balance)
  • Broccoli (also great for hormone balance)
  • Chia seeds (healthy fats, great for skin)
  • Sauerkraut (probiotic, good for gut health)
  • Bananas (good for digestion & skin)
  • Chlorophyll, in my morning water (good for reducing inflammation in the body)
  • Collagen (good for gut health, skin, joints, etc!)
  • Warm lemon water in the morning (helps with digestion and good skin!)

I’m going to experiment with meal prepping as well since I bring my own lunch to work 95% of the time, and I have yet to find a meal that’s both really delicious and doesn’t contribute to any digestive issues. 

Ayurveda is also something I plan to dive more into because it also comes along with recommended daily routines to help pacify overly-Vata qualities. It may seem like information overload at first, but Ayurveda truly makes a LOT of sense.

Looking forward to focusing more on this and sharing my journey, hopefully, I’ll be able to help others who are struggling with something similar!!

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