Gut Healing Protocol
When looking at what thriving health means as a human being, we have to adjust our entire way of thinking about food. Most of us are fussier about the way we feed our pets, than we are about ourselves! What you eat is such a crucial foundation for good health, and yet we pay little attention to it.
The sicker you are, the more you will need to adjust your thinking about food. Food should be nutrition to your body – nothing more. Most of us eat for pleasure. We eat the wrong foods, consume anti-foods and eat too much, with no thought that this is affecting our health! Then we rush to the doctor and expect him or her to fix our symptoms. If you want to heal yourself, you have to change your relationship to food – not easy, which is why I am here to help you! Much of what we eat and drink has to do with our emotions. As part of your healing journey, we will identify what emotions come up as you clean up your diet – and heal these! This makes it much easier to eat what is actually good for you.
The Importance of The Gut
Our underappreciated digestive system is what keeps us nourished and thriving! The main part of this is the gut, or gastrointestinal tract (GI), with many organs supporting this. It is not an exaggeration to say that 99% of people have some damage in their gastrointestinal tract! This shows up in an array of symptoms, including stomach pains (any gut issues, really), dry itchy skin, immune issues, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), histamine issues, fatigue, brain fog, food sensitivities, joint pain, stomach ulcers and even autoimmune disease.
Gut issues have everything to do with something called ‘junctions’. Unlike our skin which has several layers, the gut lining is just one layer of cells. It’s like that for maximum nutrient absorption. If the lining is damaged in any way, it causes tiny gaps between the cells. We call these ‘junctions’. This leads to a condition we call ‘leaky gut’. This is where the tiny particles of food are not well-absorbed by the gut, and ‘leak’ into the surrounding tissues. This causes havoc in the body in the form of inflammation.
Our bodies do have several protection mechanisms to prevent undigested food particles from getting into our bloodstream. With leaky gut, those barriers aren’t there. So it’s like your poop is getting into your bloodstream – yuck! That’s going to cause system-wide inflammation and all the symptoms mentioned above.
There are 3 issues with any type of grain. The first is that in many countries, they are sprayed with glyphosate, and residues of this remain on the food. So with every mouthful of any sprayed grain (even gluten-free ones), you are consuming a toxin that affects the tight junctions of your gut lining.
The second issue is gluten. There is a form of gluten in every grain, that is not classified by the FDA as a gluten – but still affects the tight junctions of the GI. The damage caused by this is like ‘a thousand tiny cuts’ – on their own, not too bad, but over a lifetime, they accumulate and give you many symptoms that you don’t realise are gut-related.
The third issue is stomach acid. Gluten can cause us to produce less stomach acid. We need stomach acid to properly break down foods, as well as to destroy certain microorganisms that are harmful. If our stomach acid is low, these get into the GI where they can flourish.
Dairy is another food that causes the junctions in our GI tract to loosen – especially pasteurised dairy. Some people can and do thrive on raw milk, but this is difficult to obtain. When trying to heal a leaky gut, it is best to go off ALL dairy until your symptoms are gone. Then only consume small quantities of raw milk as a meal on its own, without any other foods. When you’re ready for this, we will do muscle-testing to determine if dairy is a food your body thrives on, or not.
While you are healing, it is best to go off all dairy. Cheese is generally laden with mould, even if you cannot see it. This gets straight through low stomach acid and a damaged GI tract, to cause inflammation in the body. Cooking cheese makes it indigestible – which is why you have nightmares after eating pizza! Nobody should eat this toxic food.
The Gut Healing Protocol
We are going to do this for at least 4 weeks, in conjunction with the heavy metal detox (start that after 1 week on this protocol). After 3 weeks, we assess your symptoms. If they are still there, we keep going for another 3 weeks, and so on – until you are completely symptom-free. Then we can slowly add some things back into your diet.
Step 1 – Trigger Foods
We start by eliminating the common trigger foods from your diet:
- ALL grains – wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice etc.
- Cooked eggs
- Hemp seeds
- Dried peas
- BT toxin (Bacillus thuringiensis) found in ALL GMO foods, and in most non-organic foods – see more here.
- Artificial sweeteners
If you suspect any other trigger foods for you specifically, please mention them at our next session. Almost any food can trigger anyone – it is all about your personal biochemical individuality! The best way to test for these is NOT through the extremely challenging elimination diet, but through muscle-testing. Helen Hansen, who works with me, can do a surrogate online Zoom session to determine your exact trigger foods, if you would like (sessions are $110).
Step 2 – Diet
You are also going to continue the intermittent fasting you started on the liver cleanse. Aim for 16:8 – 16 hours of no food, and 8 hours where you do eat. Hopefully, you have already adjusted to this excellent way of eating! The 16 hours off gives your gut time to rest and heal.
In general, you are going to eat a highly nutritious, lightly cooked diet on the gut healing protocol. You are drinking water and herbal teas only; as with the liver cleanse, you’re adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your water. This is important to keep up on the gut healing protocol, as the lemon juice or vinegar aids digestion by increasing stomach acidity.
In addition to the trigger foods list, avoid these:
- Sugar including biscuits, cake, sweets, chocolate etc.
- Coffee and black tea
- Raw fruit unless blended (lightly cooked is okay; avoid dry fruit for now, except for dates but don’t overdo them)
- Any fast or junk food
- All fruit juices except freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (if you tolerate it well); and fresh lemon in your water.
- If you can, ideally do the first 3-5 days of the protocol on just bone broth and vegetable broth (and the supplements listed below). Either make your own bone broth or buy premade broth, which you can get from health shops, frozen or as a powder. In your eating time in the day, drink as much bone and vegetable broth that you need. The aim is not to starve yourself, so if you feel hungry, have a cup. The psyllium husk will also assist as it makes you feel full.
After days 3-5:
- Bone broth every day. This helps to heal the stomach lining and is super-nutritious.
- Lightly cooked vegetables; blending them with the cooking water makes them even easier to digest.
- For your starch foods, eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, butternut and any squash.
- Add coconut oil to your food. Use it liberally throughout the cleanse; it helps to heal the junctions in the gut lining. If you don’t like the flavor, you can use MCT oil. Aim for 3-4 tablespoons daily.
- Lightly cooked free range or organic meat or chicken (if you tolerate it well).
- Raw eggs. Cooking eggs changes the protein structure to something that is indigestible to many people. You can add these to a smoothie.
- If you love fruit, you can lightly cook most fruits like stone fruit and apples. You can eat bananas raw, as they are easily digested.
- Raw vegetable juice. This is an excellent time to invest in a juicer. Have a raw juice daily. Use any vegetables that agree with you. Add an apple to make it taste good; celery and cucumber make it milder. Use organic vegetables and fruit if possible. Ginger is a great addition (just an inch!). Some suggestions: fennel, any green leafy veg, carrots, celery, cucumber, lemon.
- An extra note about stomach ulcers: If you have been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer, have a raw cabbage juice every day on the protocol. There is much documented evidence of cabbage juice’s ability to heal stomach ulcers. Go here for more information. You can add carrots, celery, apple etc. Drink 3-5 servings spread throughout the day. This will heal your ulcer!
- Raw honey in moderation. Have a teaspoon or 2 a day, in smoothies, teas and your psyllium husk drink (see below).
- Smoothies with protein powder, whey, banana, dates, chia seeds, berries, MCT or coconut oil, raw eggs and coconut milk.
- Chia seed ‘pudding’ (soaked in water for an hour or so) with coconut milk, stevia to taste and pureed fruit like berries.
- Raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds. These are also anti-parasitic but they do need to be sprouted to neutralize the lignans. They will also help you feel full.
- Lightly cooked soups.
- Probiotic-rich, fermented foods and drinks. Consume an abundance of as many types as you can find, and that you tolerate well. These include sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, kombucha, kefir (avoid milk kefir for the duration of the gut protocol). Make sure they are not pasteurized! I have seen ‘pasteurized’ commercial sauerkraut which may taste good, but has none of the beneficial bacteria we are trying to get into the gut by eating fermented foods.
- Ginger. Add fresh ginger to your daily raw juice; incorporate it into your food, or drink it as a tea, crushed into hot water. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It stimulates stomach acid and bile production too, and eases nausea.
- Peppermint is a fantastic addition on the gut protocol. It is a calming herb that helps to soothe the digestive tract, and ease gas. Use fresh mint or 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil in your water. It is also an anti-nausea herb.
I can develop a suggested eating plan with you if you would like – let me know in one of our sessions.
Because the gut is damaged, you want to give it as much of a rest as possible. This means lightly cooked food rather than raw (even though cooking damages some nutrients, we are going off most raw food while on the protocol). It means ‘slushy’ foods, soups, and things that are easy to digest. Continue with the ‘veg slush’ you did on the liver cleanse. Drink high-protein, nutrient-dense shakes. Limit fruit; only have bananas, papain, or berries blended in a smoothie. And avos! Even though they are classified as a fruit, they are low in sugar, really easy to digest and full of nutrients and good fat.
Please also pay attention to your meal times! Slow down. Focus on your food. Eat slowly, chew well. Don’t eat while you’re working! Sit and enjoy it. Use the time to connect with your family. Don’t watch TV or your laptop while you eat. Eat outside if you can. Enjoy every mealtime. Pay attention to how the food makes you feel. We are so out of touch with our bodies! This protocol is a fantastic way to start to connect with your body again.
Eating slowly also helps to increase your stomach acid. It switches on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the ‘rest-digest’ one.
Take a digestive enzyme supplement with each meal. If you are over 40, this is even more important, as our digestive enzyme production decreases as we age.
Step 3 – Healing substances and supplements
Psyllium. You need to get and keep your bowel movements regular. The best and gentlest way to do this is with psyllium husk.
Day 1: take 1 rounded teaspoon.
Day 2: 1 rounded teaspoon, 2x a day.
Day 3 onward: 1 rounded teaspoon, 3x a day. Continue for the duration of the gut healing protocol. BUT also listen to your body! If this is too much, drop back to 1 teaspoon once a day.
How to take: half an hour before a meal, in a glass of warm water with 1 teaspoon raw honey, and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Follow this with a ‘chaser’: another full glass of water. Drink it quickly before it coagulates. Some people find it intolerable as a powder; you can get it in capsule form. Take 4-6 capsules. MAKE SURE to drink the right amount of water for your body weight, as specified in the liver cleanse. You can drink up to 2 times this amount daily, on the gut healing protocol. Without sufficient water, the psyllium will have the opposite effect and actually constipate you.
Additional (optional): Add 2 drops of oregano oil added to the ‘chaser’ glass of water, each time. Oregano is a potent antimicrobial.
L-glutamine. This helps to heal the gut lining. It comes in the form of a white powder with a mild taste – it is not necessary to take it in capsule form, and the powder is easier to absorb than tablets. Take 1 teaspoon 3x a day, mixed into a little room-temperature filtered water. You can take it with or without food. The only requirements are NOT hot food or drink, and not with acidic juices (which you won’t be having on this protocol anyway).
Look for a gut-healing supplement at your local health shop. This should contain mucilaginous healing agents like slippery elm, licorice, marshmallow and aloe vera. They coat the gut lining and help to heal the loose junctions. (A side effect of licorice is that it decreases potassium, which may cause swollen ankles, which is why I don’t recommend it on its own. If this happens with the supplement, let me know.) You can also drink pure aloe vera juice if you tolerate it well (some people don’t). Aloe vera will also keep your bowels moving.
Probiotics. Take a very good probiotic with multi strains, at night before you go to bed. I prefer a liquid probiotic to tablets.
TUDCA. If you took TUDCA during the liver cleanse, continue to take it – 1 tablet in the morning, one last thing at night.
Chlorine Dioxide Solution (CDS)
There are so many benefits to taking this inexpensive but powerful substance! On the gut healing protocol, it is going to help by correcting the microbial balance in the gut microbiome. In addition, it is delivering oxygen to the cell mitochondria, which has healing effects we don’t even fully understand! If you can get it in your country, I would highly recommend taking a ‘maintenance dose’ while on the gut healing protocol. See more about CDS here; and chat to me about usage.
Step 4 – Ongoing lifestyle habits
- If you can, keep up the habit of intermittent fasting.
- Consume bone broth regularly.
- Incorporate fermented foods and drinks into your lifestyle.
- Do a weekly or bi-monthly coffee enema.
- Incorporate the gut-healing foods into your lifestyle – coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, peppermint, ginger, fermented foods and of course bone broth.
After around 2 weeks that you’ve been on the gut healing protocol, you can start the parasite cleanse, which you will be timing to the lunar cycle. Now that your GE is healing and your liver is in good condition, the next stage is to get rid of any unwanted visitors in your body!
You can also start adding substances to clear out the heavy metals in your body. You can find these here. Only do the parasite cleanse and heavy metal detox if you’ve done the liver cleanse.