Nutrition and Wellness Blog

Notes from a Gut Health Nutritionist

Nutrition and Wellness Blog

Notes from a Gut Health Nutritionist

How to stop being so confused about nutrition

Mar 22, 2023 | Gut Health, Health & Wellness, The Nourished & Thriving Show, Uncategorized

Confused about nutrition? Let me help.

So if I can help you figure out why you’re experiencing these symptoms and are confused about nutrition, it’ll completely rock your world and that will have a ripple effect to others because of how you’re showing up. And through this work, y’all, we can change the world. We can turn this whole thing around. How cool is that? And you can be a part of that. The most impactful way to start transforming your world and transforming your health is to look at your gut health.

*This is a modified transcript of an episode from my podcast, The Nourished & Thriving show. This episode is titled “How to stop feeling overwhelmed by all the nutrition advice”, which you can listen to here.

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. Today we are going to talk about why I do what I do in the nutrition space, and then I think it’s going to make you feel really motivated to make some change in your life too. So we’re going to use that motivation to propel you forward. And we are going to dig into how to stop feeling so confused by nutrition, overwhelmed by all of the conflicting choices and different information being shared that all promises to help you heal you, but never really delivers and causes you to kind of freeze and not take action. We’re gonna talk all about all of that.

The average adult lifetime and what that means for you…

So let’s just start talking about why we’re even here to begin with. To start off, I believe that humans should be living long, beautiful, high quality lives with people that we love. Instead, we see the lifespan of Americans decreasing, and in fact, many Americans are spending their last few decades of life going from doctor to doctor to doctor, and taking a whole medicine cabinet full of prescriptions instead of really being able to travel and soak up time with loved ones and live out the life they were really created and called to live.

What’s even worse is we’re seeing that people are getting sick with chronic diseases at a younger and younger age. These diseases used to be just associated with aging, right? They were almost considered to be a normal part of aging. But that’s actually been kind of disproven because we’re seeing them start to be acquired at shockingly young ages. It’s just not right. It’s so wrong.

Medical experts and researchers tend to just throw up their hands and shrug their shoulders. Meanwhile pharmaceutical companies make millions on new medications that are marketed to fix the problem, when all they’re doing is masking the symptoms and creating more side effects that then must be countered by even more medications.

I’m getting a little bit spicy and I know that I tend to be a little bit more sweet, but this really works me up and it’s really something that I’m passionate about. Again, like I said, this is why I’m here and why I do what I do. So with all of that, some examples of what we’re seeing is children now getting type two diabetes. It used to literally be called adult onset diabetes. We’re now seeing kids getting this. We’re seeing fertility rates going down in both men and women. We’re seeing autoimmune conditions skyrocket, and they’re almost expected to just be the norm, right? Like, “Oh well, my mom got hypothyroidism when she was 45, and so did my grandma. So that’s what I’m gonna get too.”

I think we kind of blame our genes almost as this cop out, but about 80% of our genetics can be controlled by our environment and lifestyle decisions. I’m gonna repeat: 80% of our genetics can be controlled by our food and lifestyle and environmental decisions and exposures and all of that. So we have a lot of control. There’s a lot of things that we can do. When I started my nutrition practice years ago, I wanted to make a change in the world. That’s why I did this. That’s why most healthcare providers do what they do. So I may talk down on mainstream medicine or the way things are, but it’s not targeted towards any person because I truly believe that all healthcare providers start out and do their job every single day with this deep desire to help.

About 80% of our genetics can be controlled by our environment and lifestyle decisions.

I was alongside of them. I wanted to make this huge change in the world. I thought if I can help people fix the actual problem, it will transform their lives. I saw all of these problems in the way people are being treated by medication and treated by mainstream medicine, and these symptoms are just being masked and covered up.

Older couple embraces happily on their couch, confused about nutrition

So if I can help you figure out why you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’ll completely rock your world and that will have a ripple effect to others because of how you’re showing up. And through this work, y’all, we can change the world. We can turn this whole thing around. How cool is that?

And you can be a part of that. The most impactful way to start transforming your world and transforming your health is to look at your gut health. And that’s actually why I focused on gut health and why it’s a big focus of the work that I do with my clients. Your gut health impacts every single thing in your body for good or for bad, and that’s why it’s so important to me that everyone focused on their digestion, their absorption of nutrients, and their microbiome.

Your gut health impacts every single thing in your body for good or for bad.

I’ve seen people live to an old age with wonderful health. Like an example that I think everyone is familiar with is the Blue Zones that are all over the world where you see a hundred year olds still hiking and still living really active lives. I was just watching a friend on Instagram saying that her 92 year old mom or grandma, she was still doing yoga and traveling and doing exercises and living a really active life.

So this picture that we have in America of just having failing health as we get older, it doesn’t have to be the way that it is, and I want it to become the exception instead of the rule. Science confirms this. Science tells us that people who have this high quality of life, even into their nineties, also have very healthy gut health.

Because all of these people who are kind of an anomaly right in what should be kind of the standard – they’re studied, right? What are they doing? Why are they so healthy? And so they’ve seen that people who have this really high quality health, even at older ages, have a really, really healthy gut.

So this is the future that I stand for. It’s what I want for our world, and it’s what I want for you. And if you’re with me and you want this for yourself,  make sure you send me a message and start a conversation about how I can help create this future with you.

It’s something that I get really fired up about. It’s something I’m super passionate about for myself, for my family, for my clients and for you. It’s something I would just really love to talk about with you and maybe give you some tips on how to get started and everything too, through that conversation.

White-haired couple happily eats outside with their dog, confused about nutrition

Showing up for those that you love and creating memories is why you care about your health. And that’s why it matters too… Creating those memories, showing up for those that you love, showing up for those you were called to help.

I talk a lot about a hot mess gut, right? Heal your hot mess gut. I talk a lot about it. We talk a lot about gut health and those symptoms that you’re experiencing that are really hurting your day-to-day quality of life. And yes, like you care about your bloating and being comfortable and not having heartburn and about being able to confidently order food at a restaurant. And I care about all of those things for you too. But you care about not being bloated so that you can put on real pants and go to your kids’ school program. You care about not having heartburn so that you can stay up late and have meaningful conversations with somebody that you love instead of feeling like you just need to go to sleep cause you don’t feel good. You want to be able to order confidently at a restaurant so that you can fully celebrate your anniversary or your best friend’s birthday.

That’s why it matters. You care about your gut health, but most importantly, you care about what it will allow you to do whenever it’s really healthy and robust. So I wanna ask you – what would you do if you could heal your hot mess gut? How would you show up in your life? What memories would you make?

I would so love it to hear from you about all of these memories that you want to make. Spend a few minutes journaling about it. If you’re in a place where you can sit and journal, just think about what you would do. Then, send me a message and share it with me. I’d love to hear from you.

Common mistakes when people try to improve their gut health

Let’s move into the next part of it. I hope you’re feeling really fired up about that bit about why this matters.

I want to help you stop feeling overwhelmed by all the choices and conflicting information that is being shared with you. All this advice promises to heal your gut and it can feel like just a lot of information and like you’re not really sure where to start or what the right thing to do is. Let’s dig into all of that… There’s three mistakes that I see people making most commonly when working to improve their gut health.

Mistake #1: Not taking action

So the first mistake is never trying anything. because you’re stuck in what I call the “root cause researcher” stage of gut rehab.

If you haven’t heard my stages of gut rehab, go back to earlier episodes of my podcast and I have the six stages of gut rehab where I go through all of them in one episode, and then I also dedicate a single episode to each stage. It’s super powerful to just know where you’re at in these stages of gut rehab I created after watching hundreds of people go through this gut rehab journey – whether they were working with me or just on their own – coming to me at all different stages and phases of the healing process. And it’s really helpful to identify where you’re at. It’ll help you feel seen and heard and understood and supported, and there’s so much power in that. So go check that out for sure.

But if you’re in this root cause researcher stage, you research and research and research and you’re scared to try anything because you’re looking for the perfect solution and that perfect solution doesn’t actually exist. I go into it more in that episode. Go check it out here if this sounds like you.

Woman leans on her couch as she stares at her computer screen, confused about nutrition

Mistake #2: Not committing to a plan

The second mistake I see is hopping around from one suggestion to the next without ever fully doing anything. I was actually just talking with a long-term client. We’ve been working together for a little over a year. She has gotten tremendous results and she is now at the final stage of gut rehab, this vibrant soul stage where she’s confident, she’s clear, she is empowered to make decisions for her body. She knows what her body needs. And we were talking like, “look how far you’ve come”. And she was like, “I totally would’ve still just been like hopping around from thing to thing. I felt like I tried it all and that nothing was working, when really I wasn’t giving things a shot. I wasn’t giving things long enough. It does take some time.”  So if you’re making this mistake, you feel like you’re doing things and you feel really frustrated because you’re doing all the things, but you’re not actually ever fully like committing and doing something full out.

Mistake #3: Blindly committing

The third mistake is going all in. For example, you might think you found the perfect solution, but you’re not really assessing if it’s working for you. You’re just super committed because your friend’s sister’s daughter’s neighbor told you that it worked for her and so it should work for you too. Or your doctor recommended it, or another health expert, or you paid somebody and they told you this, or somebody that you really respect wrote a book and you’re following their protocol. Recommendations are always welcome when you’re confused about nutrition, but if you’re not assessing if it’s working for you then it can be a problem.

And then whenever it doesn’t work, you shrug your shoulders and you say you tried and you give up. That actually puts you back in that root cause researcher mode from Mistake #1.

What does it really take to stop being confused about nutrition?

So if you’re making these mistakes, the chances are that you’re just going to feel more frustrated with your lack of progress and discouraged because nothing seems to be working, when in reality you’ve set yourself up to fail.

Everyone is different, and in my Signature Gut Rehab program, I help my clients come up with a 100% personalized plan to fit their needs, because what works for one person may or may not work for you, or part of it may work for you, but you need to adjust it a little bit. Everything has to be one hundred percent personalized so it fits in your needs. Then we constantly assess and evaluate and adjust as we move forward to make sure that it’s working. But I do have a tip for you…

The best (non-specific) nutrition advice for those overwhelmed and confused about nutrition

I’m giving you the biggest tip to seeing results right now because I want you to be able to make progress and show up in a way that is impactful and extraordinary in your life. Because just like we talked earlier, I believe you were made to live an extraordinary and beautiful life. And you’re not able to do that as long as your gut’s a hot mess.

So what can you do? I want to teach you how to take what I call “strategic shortsighted action”. From now on, every action you take when healing your hot mess gut is going to be shortsighted.

This is actually the next stage of gut rehab after root cause researcher, and it can be a problem for people. But it only really becomes a problem when you don’t realize that the action you’re taking is shortsighted. Like I said, if you’re super committed, that third mistake we just talked about where you think you’ve found the solution, that’s actually just shortsighted action. It’s just the next best step you can take with the knowledge you have on hand right now. You don’t realize that’s what you’re doing. But you’re gonna be disappointed if you believe that following an elimination diet or eliminating food sensitivities is going to be the magic bullet to completely solve your problems.

But on the flip side, if you use an elimination diet or a supplement as an experiment, it will always get you closer to your end goal of healing your gut. It will always get you a step closer, even if it was a “failure”. If you learn from that failure, it’s taking you a step closer.

Woman's hands write in a notebook, confused about nutrition

Putting that advice into action

So I want you to think about something right now that you’ve tried before that has not gone well, something you’ve been thinking about trying, or maybe a tip I’ve given you in some of my other content.

If you’re not sure where to start, the tip I’m gonna throw out there for you right now, because it’s one of my most common tips: If you don’t know where to start, try chewing your food 30 to 40 times per bite. Chew your food to applesauce consistency.

After you know what tip you’re gonna try, follow these steps:

  1. Pick an amount of time that you’re gonna try this for. Let’s just say a week, okay? I want you to be completely committed to this for one week.
  2. Journal it, mark your progress down. I have a really great free symptom tracker on my website that can help with this. (You can snag that here.)
  3. At the end of the week, assess how you feel, what went well, what didn’t go well? Have your symptoms improved? Have they worsened or have they just changed and now you kind of have a different symptom?
  4. Then after you’ve assessed that, make your next strategic action from there. So based on those results, what will you try next?

So that’s what strategic shortsighted action is. You’re doing one thing, you’re committing to it for a certain amount of time, you’re assessing, and then you’re deciding what action you’re gonna take from there.

Why is this crucial for your nutrition and gut health goals?

Now that you understand how to take strategic shortsighted action, I want you to think about how following this approach could help you achieve your gut health goals and remove the confusion and overwhelm around nutrition. So imagine for a moment a gardener who is learning how to grow a vegetable. To be more successful each season, she would plan based on recommendations, but then take notes on what worked, what didn’t work, and then use those notes to help plan for the next season. If she just randomly tried different things each growing season without remembering or paying attention to what worked in the past, she might have some lucky successes, but she would never become a true expert at gardening.

Many sprouted seedlings in paper fiber planting pots with sun shining on them

Just like you need to become a true expert in yourself, you have to assess and see what works well, what doesn’t work well, and make those decisions from there. I shared with you how to take short-sighted strategic action, but it can take time and diligence and can still be confusing and difficult to discern what action to take next or how long to try the action for… There’s a lot of things to try, but you at least have the foundations now in order to become an expert in your own body and in your own gut health, which is my goal for all of my clients.

If you want some additional support because you’re confused about nutrition or struggling with your gut health, that’s exactly what my Signature Gut Rehab program is created to do. It doesn’t have a mass blanket protocol. It isn’t me merely telling you what to do, what meal plans to eat, what foods to eat, etc. If that’s all it were, your symptoms would come back as soon as we were done working together. Gut rehab truly walks you through the six stages of gut rehab so that when you emerge as a vibrant soul, just like my client that we just talked about has, you’re an expert in your own body.

Find my podcast, The Nourished & Thriving Show, and where to listen here.

Follow me on Instagram @the_healthygut_dietitian.

Send me a message and start the conversation here.

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