Sugar-free

How To Improve Gut Health

Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” 

Our gut plays a huge role in our overall health

And while this may not be 100% true for every disease in every person, more and more research shows that our gut (digestive system) has a bigger role in many diseases than we used to think. And we’re not just talking about heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, IBD, etc. We’re talking about all kinds of issues like allergies, pain, mood disorders, and nutrient deficiencies. 

There are a lot of reasons for this. Our gut is the portal to the outside world. It’s here where we take in disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We also take in nutrients (and toxins) through our gut. The nutrients we ingest and absorb are the building blocks of every single part of our body. We’re just learning the connections between our gut and other areas of our body, like our brain (have you heard of “the gut-brain axis”). Not just our gut per se; but, its friendly resident microbes too. These guys also have newly discovered roles in our gut health and overall health. 

 

So, let’s talk about the roles that our gut and our gut microbes play in our overall health. Then I’ll give you tips to improve your gut health naturally. 

 

Our gut’s role in our overall health 

 

Our gut’s main role is as a barrier. To let things in that should get in, and to keep things out that should stay out. Think of “absorption” of nutrients as things we want to let in; and “elimination” of waste as things we want to pass right through and out. 

 

This seemingly simple role is super-complex! And it can break down in so many places. 

 

For one thing, our guts can “leak.” Yes, like a long tube with holes in it, it can allow things to get into our bloodstream/bodies that can wreak havoc (bacteria, undigested food, and toxins). You name it, whatever you put into your mouth can be absorbed by your gut and get into your bloodstream, even if it’s not supposed to. And when your gut wall gets irritated, it can “leak.” When this happens, you get inflammation, which is a starting point for many diseases that don’t seem linked to the gut but have a sneaky connection there. 

 

FUN FACT: About 70% of our immune system lives in and around our gut. 

 

A healthy gut is not a leaky gut. It maintains its barrier and shuttles things through to be eliminated. Maintaining a healthy gut barrier is the first pillar of gut health. 

 

The second main part of your gut are the billions of friendly health-promoting microbes. Gut microbes help us digest and absorb nutrients. They fight off disease-causing microbes, make some vitamins for us, and have all kinds of other health benefits, like mental health benefits, reducing inflammation, and stabilizing blood sugar. 

 

So, keeping your gut microbes happy is the second pillar of gut health! 

 

Belly photo with cartoon bugs.

How to improve gut health 

 

There are a lot of natural ways to improve gut health.

Let’s start with what to stop. It’s always best to eliminate the cause, so let’s stop giving our guts junk to deal with. How about eliminating added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol? Try that for a few weeks, and you may be amazed at how much better your body (and gut) feels. 

 

You may also want to eliminate other gut irritants. Dairy and grains contain common compounds known to irritate some people’s guts. Sometimes you only need to eliminate them for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference for your health.  

 

By eating nutrient-dense foods, we allow ample macro- and micro-nutrients into our gut to maximize the chance for absorption. These nutrients help our bodies build and repair our gut, and every other body part as well. Some of the most nutrient-dense foods include dark leafy greens, colorful fruits and veggies, liver, and fish. 

The second pillar of gut health is our microbes.

By ingesting probiotic-rich foods and drinks, we can help to replenish our gut microbes. These are found in fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Make these a part of your daily diet. 

 

Want to make your own fermented recipe that’s easy, delicious and is healthy for your gut? Check out the recipe below.

 

Whole foods are full of gut-friendly fiber. Not eating enough fiber increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Fiber plays lots of roles in our gut, including whisking away some of those pesky bad bacteria and toxins so they can be eliminated. Fiber also helps to feed the friendly resident microbes that help us absorb and digest our food better. What foods have a lot of fiber? Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even cacao. 

 

And don’t forget the extremely important lifestyle factors like getting enough sleep, dealing with stress, and getting the right amount (and intensity) of exercise for you. It’s easy to forget some of the simple, but key links there are between what we do with our bodies and how well they function. 

In a nutshell 

The function of your gut is key to your overall health. There are two pillars of gut health: maintaining a good barrier and maintaining healthy gut microbes. 

The main ways to improve both of these naturally is by eating nutrient-dense whole foods. Foods filled with nutrition, probiotics, and fiber. And eliminating common gut irritants like added sugar, processed foods, alcohol, dairy, and grains. 

Here’s a recipe to help nourish and support your gut health:

Fermented Carrots (Probiotic-rich)

Category: Fermented Foods

Servings: 12

Carrot Bunch

Ingredients

  • 1 Liter warm water
  • 4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 organic carrots, medium, peeled, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make a brine by dissolving the salt in water.
  2. Place carrots into a clean canning jar, packing them in tight. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of headspace at the top.
  3. Fill the jar with brine, making sure to cover the carrots completely. Weigh the carrots down to make sure they don't float (you can use a fermenting weight).
  4. Close the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 1-4 days. The longer it sits, the more the flavor will develop. Feel free to open and taste.
  5. Serve & enjoy!

Notes

Tip: Use this as a side dish, or even a snack. 

https://www.naturalhealthanswers.com/how-to-improve-gut-health/
 

Woman's hands forming heart over her stomach.

References: 

https://authoritynutrition.com/does-all-disease-begin-in-the-gut/
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-nutrition-gut-health
http://neurotrition.ca/blog/your-gut-bugs-what-they-eat-and-7-ways-feed-them

20 Candida Diet Approved Snack Ideas (that are easy and delicious!)

When you go on the Candida diet and start making your health a top priority you might realize that your favorite snacks are no longer suitable for your new lifestyle. Fear not! There are SO many delicious sugar-free snack ideas that are tasty, nutrient-dense and totally guilt-free.

I remember feeling so discouraged after learning about all the foods I had to avoid when starting the Candida diet. All the crazy emotions from sadness to anger arose when I knew I had to get off of sugar plus I felt so overwhelmed when it came to figuring out what I was going to eat.

This was back when the internet was very new and Candida information was hard to come by. Fast forward 20+ years and now there’s an overload of information on the interwebs and it can make your head spin! My goal is to help make things easier and less stressful for you.

20 Sugar Free Snacks Perfect For the Candida Diet

Here are a few of my favorite snacks that will work perfectly for you if you’re on the Candida diet, going sugar-free, or if you’re just wanting to eat healthier:

Easy and delicious sugar-free,
dairy-free, gluten-free Candida diet snacks:

  1. Olives
  2. Veggie sticks with dairy-free cream cheese spread
  3. Roasted almonds or other nuts (avoid peanuts, pistachios, cashews on the Candida diet)
  4. Apples and almond butter
  5. Unsweetened Coconut milk and berries
  6. Pumpkin puree with cinnamon and stevia
  7. Sprouted pumpkin seeds
  8. Sprouted Sunflower seeds
  9. Sprouted Watermelon Seeds
  10. Kale chips
  11. Cauliflower florets with nutritional yeast (check out this excellent article about nutritional yeast and Candida overgrowth)
  12. Frozen blueberries or raspberries
  13. Sugar-free chia pudding
  14. Turkey jerky
  15. Grass-fed beef jerky strips
  16. Salt and vinegar zucchini chips (use apple cider vinegar for the Candida diet)
  17. Green smoothie with a scoop of protein powder (I like this one or this one may be a good option for you)
  18. A spoonful of coconut oil
  19. Egg muffins
  20. Hard-boiled egg or Deviled egg

There can be so much confusion and frustration related to what to eat on the Candida diet. My hope is that these ideas will help give you some relief, hope and maybe even some excitement to try new foods!

Instead of looking at the diet as what you can’t eat, let’s shift this thought into the amazing amount of yummy things you can eat. These foods are going to boost your nutrition while being satisfying and delicious.

Everyone has different tastes and preferences when it comes to food so you’ll need to make choices that agree with you.

Deprivation, stress and overwhelm should not be a part of your plan when it comes to getting healthier be it the Candida diet or any other change you’re making with your food plan

These snacks will work for you if you are wanting to avoid the health-damaging effects of refined sugar, want to shed some excess “lb’s”, want to lower inflammation, and just want to feel better overall.

The Candida diet also forces you to get creative in the kitchen like never before.

Experiment with new ideas and you’ll be shocked by what you discover. Some of my all-time favorite recipes came from the creative discoveries I made when I finally chose to change my life and put my health first for once by ditching sugar for good.

Here are some more snack ideas:

Sugar-free Coconut Cupcakes

Keto Macaroon Fat Bombs

Please share on Pinterest!

Have you tried any of these easy and delicious snacks? What is your go-to snack while on the Candida diet? Let me know in the comments!

20 Sugar Free Snacks Perfect For the Candida Diet

How to Reduce Sugar Cravings with Ease

How To Reduce Sugar Cravings With Ease. 7 tips to help ditch the sugar cravings so you can experience less pain, lose those extra lb's, improve your mood and increase your energy!

Let’s be honest, sugar cravings are more than just wanting to eat sugar. They take us over and we feel powerless to their calling. 

I remember many years ago when the addiction was at its peak and my sugar cravings were affecting me on so many levels. I was always thinking about when my next sugar fix would be and what delicious treat I was going to devour next.

The sugar would give me a nice high that would give me a false sense of energy because shortly thereafter I would crash and burn.

Being out of balance like that not only affected my body but it affected my mind. I had to come up with a plan that I could implement fast and get some quick wins to get me going on the right path. 

How about you?  Are sugar cravings taking over your life and making it difficult for you to take back control of your health and your sanity?  If you are needing something to get started on a making a change I’ve got some great tips for you!

 

Here are a few of my favorite ways to eliminate sugar cravings and stay on track to creating more energy, clear skin, weight loss, and so much more!

CinnamonNaturally helps to balance blood sugar levels and adds a familiar taste of comfort to things like tea and coffee. When a sugar craving hits why not have a Cinnamon tea on hand to give you that taste of sweet without the sugar. I love this tea and this tea looks delicious too.

ChromiumA mineral that’s often deficient if you find yourself craving sugar and refined carbs. Chromium is something I like to take on days where I’m especially prone to sugar cravings like when I’m stressed or my eating schedule is off. Always check with your health care practitioner first before taking to ensure you need it and for correct dosages.

Exercise – Sometimes the only reason you’re even craving sugar is that your body and brain are addicted to the rush of feel-good hormones. Exercise does the same thing, except it’s MUCH healthier.  I have a treadmill and love that I can use it when it’s either too hot or too cold outside for walking. NO more excuses. 😉

JournalingIf you’re feeling emotional and your first instinct is to reach for the ice cream, try writing in a journal instead. You’ll feel so much better and by getting your emotions out of your head and on to paper is often all that’s needed.  

You can find so many pretty journals out there like this one and this one and oooh how about this one

Or how about a guided journal? These have prompts that can be fun to try if you’re not sure where to start with journaling. Here’s an e-book that I found helpful called Effortless Journaling: How to Start a Journal, Make It a Habit, and Find Endless Writing Topics that is free with Kindle Unlimited.

Here’s one that is geared towards food: Eat Pretty Live Well: A Guided Journal for Nourishing Beauty, Inside and Out  that includes lively and informative overviews, fill-in trackers and checklists, thought-provoking Q&As, goal-setting guidance, prompts for self-reflection, and repeating spreads for monitoring 40 days of living and eating well—all in a gorgeous, illustrated package. Love.

Choose a journal that will inspire you to pick it up and let it all out.

Citrus essential oil – Taking a few deep inhalations of lemon or orange essential oil will provide a jolt of uplifting feel-good hormones as well as a gentle energy boost.

Drink tea – Herbal teas, especially licorice tea which is naturally sweet, are great for providing a touch of sweetness alongside delicious flavor. I love this tea even though it’s for when you have a sore throat you can drink it anytime as it has good things for healthy digestion as well.

Take a whole foods multivitamin – Sugar cravings stem from nutrient deficiencies, taking a whole foods vitamin supplement can help to address deep-seated nutritional issues and get you back on track to feeling good and craving free.

Want even more great tips to help you lose weight, improve your digestion, increase your energy and end your sugar addiction once and for all?

Click here to get on the list to be notified about when my NEW Sugar-detox programs go live!

To your wellness,

Paige

What Not To Do When You Go Off Sugar

What Not To Do When Going Off Sugar

If you think going off sugar is a good idea, you’re definitely on the track towards vital and vibrant health.

Removing sugar from your diet is a smart way to lose weight, increase your energy levels and improve your mood, but only if you do it the right way.

So often people get rid of sugar without really knowing what to do. Here are my top tips for making sure you get the results you’re after when you eliminate sugar.

What Not to Do

 

Don’t get rid of sugar and fat at the same time

Maybe you think you’ll kill two birds with one stone and cut fat at the same time as sugar. First of all, fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Even if you eat 4 tablespoons of coconut oil in one sitting, you’ll STILL lose weight if you cut sugar. Fat is essential for stabilizing blood sugar levels and curbing your sugar cravings, so make sure you get plenty of healthy fat at every meal.

 

Don’t drink or eat “diet” anything

Aspartame is NOT healthy and will make it so much harder for you to lose weight. It’s totally toxic and was originally invented as a type of rat poison. Practically everything labeled diet or sugar-free has aspartame so stay away from anything with these labels.

 

Don’t load up on natural sugar like dried fruit and bananas

Some natural sugar is okay if there’s enough fiber to counter the insulin spike. Bananas and dried fruits like dates are notoriously high in sugar and will make it all the more difficult to eliminate cravings.

 

Don’t keep eating bread and refined carbohydrates

Bread and refined carbohydrates like pasta, potatoes, and white rice, don’t look like they contain sugar, but these foods break down into sugar once digested. If you keep eating them, you’ll keep craving sugar, and you’ll wonder what you’re doing wrong.

 

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you mess up

Everyone slips up now and again. Be gentle with yourself if you make a mistake or have a weak moment and vow to keep trying. Don’t let one slip upstart you on an outright binge.

Want even more great tips to help you lose weight, improve your digestion, increase your energy and end your sugar addiction once and for all?

Click here to get on the list to be notified of my NEW Sugar-detox programs coming soon!

To your wellness,

Paige

Are You Addicted to Sugar? Find Out Now

 

Are You Addicted to Sugar? Find out now with these 8 questions plus discover ways to reduce your sugar cravings with ease.

Can’t stop dreaming about when you’ll get your next sugar fix? 

 

Have thoughts of donuts, chocolate ice cream and brownies taken over life?

Sugar addiction has become pretty common in our society.

I’m very familiar with this since I am a recovering sugar addict. I struggled for years trying to free myself from needing my next sugar fix.

It was harming my health to such a degree that it became a matter of life or death for me.  I was struggling so much with infections, digestive upset and ultimately cancer. 

I finally got a handle on it and figured out how to finally be free from the constant desire for unhealthy, sugary treats.

 

Maybe you’ve questioned whether or not YOU have a problem with sugar. I invite you to keep reading and discover the truth for yourself…

 

If you agree to any of these clues, you might have a problem with sugar consumption. Sugar is highly addictive, if you do have a few of these signs, don’t worry, you can turn the situation around.

  • You crave sugary foods or refined carbs at least once a day

You love having a big donut or muffin with an afternoon coffee. Or maybe you’re more of a savory type of person and you enjoy a croissant loaded with cheese or a bag of chips. In the end, it all turns into sugar.

  • You often keep eating even if you’re full

When you get your hands on a big piece of chocolate cake you can’t stop yourself from finishing it, even if you’re totally full.

  • You eat sugary foods or junk food even when you know you don’t need to

You had a nice healthy supper an hour ago, yet you want to snack on some jelly beans, chocolate or a bag of chips even though you KNOW that it’s not nutritionally necessary, nor are you truly even hungry.

  • You make excuses to eat sugar

You buy organic sugar or honey so that you can make excuses and claim that it’s healthier. In truth, sugar is still sugar, and you know this yet you can’t stop yourself from indulging.

  • You make special trips to the store or restaurant to get your fix

Uh oh, your ice cream stash is empty, there are no more chips in the cupboard. Time to run to the store and stock up, or go for a treat at your local cafe just because you can.

  • Sugar becomes your reward

Oh, I’ll just clean the kitchen and then I’ll deserve to have a slice of cheesecake. I had a rough day, I deserve to eat chips and drink pop for dinner.

  • You’ve got a secret stash and when nobody’s around you dig in

This is a big one, if you have a stockpile of unhealthy snacks that you hide from your loved ones, it’s time to open your eyes and put down the candy.

  • You’ve tried to stop eating sugar and you just can’t

No matter what you do it seems impossible to stop. You’ve tried to quit sugar but only end up feeling horrible and finally you cave into the urge.

 

Having a sugar addiction doesn’t have to have its way with you and bring you to your knees.

 

I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right strategies, delicious healthy recipes, and guidance from a qualified professional, you can ditch your sugar woes and feel amazing.  You’ll also want to check out my post where I list seven ways to reduce your sugar cravings with ease.

 

Want even more great tips to help you lose weight, improve your digestion, increase your energy and end your sugar addiction once and for all?

 

Get on the list to be notified of my NEW Sugar-detox programs coming soon!

To your best health!

Paige

 

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