Nutrition and Wellness Blog

Notes from a Gut Health Nutritionist

Nutrition and Wellness Blog

Notes from a Gut Health Nutritionist

3 Steps to Finding the Best Diet for Gut Health

Oct 25, 2022 | Gut Health, Health & Wellness, The Nourished & Thriving Show

[00:00:00] So when asked what the perfect diet is for gut health that you should be following, you have to ask those questions first, you have to get more information. Before you can then say what the best diet for you is.

[00:00:13] Hey, everyone. Welcome to The Nourished and Thriving Show. I’m your host, Katie Lovitt. I’m a registered dietitian on a mission to help you increase your impact and legacy on the world while healing your gut and reducing your IBS symptoms. I’m so grateful to have you here. Each week, I’ll inspire you to live vibrantly and provide valuable resources and information that empowers you to take bold action towards your health goals. Before we dive in, make sure you follow or subscribe to my show wherever you’re listening so you never miss an episode. Ready? Let’s go!

What’s the PERFECT diet for gut health?

[00:00:53] All right. So we are going to talk about, like, I feel like it’s the elephant in the room that’s not the elephant in the room of gut health… And just nutrition in general. So as a dietitian, pretty much any time that I tell somebody I’m a dietitian, they ask me about a certain diet – what I think about a certain kind of diet for gut health – Oh, okay. Well, what do you think about keto? Oh, you’re a dietician. Yeah. I’m a vegan. I did that, you know, however long ago for whatever reason. And it’s really funny, because a lot of the time people have done their own research. And it’s very obvious that they’ve done a lot of reading, a lot of listening, a lot of learning or something worked really well for a neighbor or a friend.

[00:01:48] And they really believe that it’s the right diet, like the right diet that’s out there. And that it’s something they believe so strongly that they assume that it’s also what I believe. And so most of the time I’m just sitting there kind of quietly smiling and nodding my head as they’re like going off on a tangent about why whatever diet it is that they’re following is the perfect diet. And you know, why everyone else should be following it as well, or how they don’t understand why nobody else is on it, or why every single person in the world isn’t following this diet. Cause it’s the best thing ever. It’s just funny because they’re talking and acting almost as if they believe it so strongly, the thought never passes into their mind that maybe I don’t agree with that.

[00:02:39] So anyway, I smile and nod, but it’s a question, I guess. All the time, like what is the best diet for whatever? Even if I tell somebody that I work in the gut health space, I still get asked about, Oh, what’s the best diet for diabetes? What’s the best diet to lose weight? What’s the best diet for, you know, autoimmune disease? Whatever it is. Or what do I think about this diet that they were hearing about from some influencer or, you know, author or TV show host and you know, but specifically for gut health. And I talk a lot about this and we’re gonna do more, more episodes on this too.

[00:03:18] But food seems to be the problem because you feel worse after eating, right. So, you know, we do elimination diets. You’ve heard of, you know, oh, it’s a food sensitivity or do the low FODMAP diet or, you know, try celery juice, try green powder. Should I be drinking smoothies every single day? Or is that a bad option?

[00:03:39] What’s the best diet for IBS? What should I be eating? What should I not be eating? Those are all the things I get asked. Seriously, the most frequently. And it tends to go in waves depending on what’s trending at the moment, what people are hearing about the most from other resources. But it’s always like the best thing, you know, and I get that because you’re really struggling and you’re not feeling great and you’re wanting to take whatever action is going to get you the best results with the most efficient energy. So you’re wanting a direct path. You’re wanting good results without additional effort. It’s more than what is required, at a bare minimum, to get you those results. So it makes total logical sense that you’re asking what diet is the best diet to follow. What about these trendy things that I’m hearing about on social media or on, you know, talk shows or whatever, that people are saying is a miracle cure.

[00:04:37] We all want that silver bullet cure because we wanna feel better. And we also don’t wanna be like super inconvenienced to have to actually change our lifestyle. We really want to go back to  normal, which I think is a great goal. But you know, the problem with these diets and the problem with this advice that you’re hearing from places like a book or an Instagram influencer, or a talk show, or a doctor on TV is it’s probably really good advice, but it’s just really, really general.

[00:05:09] And I’ve also actually had people tell me this, that they’ve heard these things from their doctors, you know? Oh, they said to follow a low-FODMAP diet, because I have IBS. I have a client right now that I’m working with who the doctor thinks that he has a certain kind of like vagal nerve condition that’s causing him to get dizzy.

[00:05:30] So, you know, he was saying, Well, eat more protein and drink lots of water and make sure you’re getting enough sodium. The problem with these suggestions and this advice is that: your current place where you’re at right now isn’t really being taken into consideration with any of that, if with any of those recommendations.

[00:05:53] And even whenever people are asking me about my opinion or telling me what their opinion is about certain diets, the big piece that’s missing is the personalization of it. And that’s the key. Like if there ever was a magic bullet for success, that’s it. The personalization aspect of it. So that’s what my clients always get whenever they’re working with me, is personalization. And that’s why my clients get such great results, because we have to really look closely at three things. Okay? And sometimes you can do this for yourself. Sometimes these areas are a little bit blind for you. And so we’re gonna talk about that a little bit too.

Three Steps to Uncovering the Right Diet For You

1. Evaluate your goals

[00:06:34] So the first thing is, what are your goals? What are your goals? Where do you wanna go? Where do you wanna end up for some people? Their goal is optimal health. No matter the cost. Everything’s gonna cost us something. Have you ever thought about that for a moment? So if you want as close to perfect health, because we’re never gonna be perfectly healthy (there’s no such thing as perfection), but if you want to support your body for optimal health in the very best way possible as close to perfection as possible, and you’re willing – which is another aspect which we’ll get to in just a minute – to do whatever it takes to get there and make certain sacrifices to get there. That’s great. If you’re not, that’s great too, but you really need to spend some time thinking about What do I want? What do I want my life to look like? Is going out to restaurants and trying new restaurants and like gourmet chefs your jam with your significant other? Then you need to be able to do that. Is traveling something you really enjoy, then you need to be able to do that. Is going out and going on mission trips, something that you really feel led to do? Then you need to be able to do that. You have to take into consideration what your life looks like now and what you want it to look like in the future.

[00:07:56] And I say this a lot where… We lose our imagination muscle a lot of the time as adults. We forget what it’s like to dream and envision, and we just kind of go through the daily grind and then we wake up and it’s been five years and we’re like, What have I done with my life? So really sitting down and spending some time assessing your life and where you’re at and where you wanna go.

[00:08:17] That’s gonna help guide you to what action you need to be taking. It helps guide a practitioner too. Whether it’s your doctor, dietician, health coach, whoever it is. If they’re really providing personalized care, they should be asking these questions too, because they should be a foundational part of anybody’s plan.

[00:08:40] If somebody is just coming along and putting you on a whole bunch of supplements and a really strict diet and making lifestyle interventions that yes, may be optimal for optimal health, but your social life is really struggling. And now – instead of feeling trapped in a prison of your symptoms –you’re feeling trapped in a prison of protocols and diets.

[00:09:05] Has your life really improved that much? Maybe the answer is yes, but maybe it’s no, and again, it all comes down to what you want to accomplish at the end of the day and where you want to end. So that’s the first thing that needs to be considered.

2. Discover the root cause of your symptoms

The second thing that needs to be considered is what you need to heal. What’s going on? What is going on? Why are you having these symptoms to begin with? It’s probably not the food you’re eating. It’s probably other things. A lot of the time this is complicated, and this is why I have a job, because there’s a lot of layers to it. And there’s a lot of things that need to get unpacked.

[00:09:41] And there’s a lot of things that may not be visible at first… Being able to take some certain action and reveal those layers as you continue to move forward. So this is where it can be really helpful to have somebody like me walk alongside you and help you take that, what I call, shortsighted action, as more information is revealed about what you need to get better and what all exactly is going on.

[00:10:05] You know, our bodies are not crystal balls. It’s not always super easy. We’re really complex organisms. And yes, we have functional testing that are amazing tools to help us get more information, but it’s not always cut and dry, black and white. There is some finesse and some art and you know, application to some of this. Two. So that’s the second thing.

3. Consider what you’re willing to put in to get the results you want

[00:10:25] So first is your goals. Second is what you need to heal. And then the third kind of goes hand in hand with your goals and that’s what you’re willing to do to get results. What you’re willing to do to get results and making sure that your willingness is matching your goals and your visions, right?

[00:10:47] You can’t say that you want to travel the world and have optimal health and you’re willing to sacrifice whatever it takes, but then you also are gonna go have donuts with your kids on the weekend. Those don’t line up. Something’s got to change there.

[00:11:10] And that’s okay. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go have donuts with your kids. That’s for you to decide. That’s not for me to decide for you. You have to decide what’s the most meaningful thing in your life, what you’re willing to do and not do, what you’re willing to give up and not give up, what you’re willing to step into and what you’re not willing to step into. Because if you don’t have the energy for it right now, or it’s not something that you feel like you can really tackle and take on, or it’s not something that you’re in the stage of life for whatever it may be, you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to do it. So start thinking through those things.

The Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine the Best Diet for Gut Health

So what are your goals? What do you really need to heal? (You may have more intuition to this than you realize.) And then the third, what are you willing to do to get results?

So when asked what the perfect diet is that you should be following, you have to ask those questions first, you have to get more information. Before you can then say what the best diet for you is.

[00:12:12] If you are in the season of life that’s really busy, putting you on a really strict diet that requires you to cook every single meal may not be realistic if you don’t have the resources that you need to make that happen. So we’re gonna do an episode on general guidelines of a healthy diet, probably at some point without going too nitty gritty on it and keeping it as general as possible, which I just said, wasn’t great. But it, it can be helpful for some people just as a gauge.

So what’s the best diet for gut health?

[00:12:44] So nobody can tell you what the perfect diet for gut health is for you, right? We can make recommendations and help you figure out what you need. But you’re the only one who knows those other two aspects and keys of it: what your goals are, what your vision is and what you’re willing to do or not do to get there. So let me know what you thought about this episode, share your visions and dreams with me. I love hearing about those. It makes me really happy to see you light up and share those with me. So we’ll talk soon.

[00:13:11] Thank you so much for listening to the entire episode. I hope you are feeling inspired and empowered to take bold action towards your health goals. If you enjoy what you heard, don’t forget to follow my show so you never miss a new episode. And it would mean the world to me, if you left me a review, so others know what to expect from my show.

[00:13:37] Last, get in touch. Let me know what bold action you’re taking. Let me know how you’re inspired. Follow me on Instagram @the_healthygut_dietitian. I’ve put a link in my show notes for you, so you can simply click and follow. Come say hi, I respond to all my messages and I can’t wait to get in touch.

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