Hi beauty, I know that you are probably thinking I am going to tell you to eat carrots and grapes all day for optimal gut health. Not quite. If you are looking to improve your overall gut health hear me out…
You’ve heard the saying go with your gut, right? That’s a real thing! Experts often refer to the gut as your ‘second brain’, because it contains millions of neurons, which are sensitive to emotion. Many studies have proven the gut-brain connection with chemicals, neurons, and hormones that constantly provide us feedback on how hungry we are, whether or not we are experiencing stress, sadness, and even anger.
These emotions can trigger a reaction in your gut.
The gut is intimately connected to the rest of your body and directly impacts various aspects of your health – it isn’t just about your bowel movements. So, if you’re looking to be in an optimal state of health and wellbeing, you have to focus on healing your gut.
Let’s dive in and let me explain how making this switch can positively impact not only your health and wellness but the environment as well. I’m going to talk you through the world of gut health, how you can improve your gut health by going plant-based, providing you with a vegan gut-healing meal plan, and give you tips on how you can easily make the switch to a plant-based lifestyle.
Why Is Gut Health So Important?
Within the gut microbiome, there are trillions of microbes – bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microscopic living beings. Although you may think that the microbiome exists purely to help support your gut, the microbes within the gut affect and directly impact other areas of health around the body.
There are 1,000 different species of bacteria in the microbiome and they all impact your overall health in different ways.
Most commonly known, microbes impact your immune system, heart health, weight management, central nervous system, mental health, and of course, the digestion of food.
Therefore, an unhealthy gut can lead to lower immunity, lower energy levels from improper food digestion, weight gain, higher levels of anxiety and depression, and increased likelihood of experiencing heart attacks, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
So, if you’re wanting to protect yourself from the symptoms associated with an unhealthy gut, you need to focus on improving your gut health long-term!
How can you do this?
One of the best ways is through a plant-based diet!
How Can A Plant-Based Diet Improve Your Gut Health?
There has been an enormous amount of research into the relationship between veganism and gut health, with studies showing that within 16 weeks of eating a vegan diet, your gut microbiome is supported, stronger, and more diverse.
However, even as little as 2 weeks after going plant based (if you’re typically a meat eater) you will experience a gut cleanse and experience the benefits of a stronger and healthier gut.
Why is this?
Well, there are a few reasons why going plant-based can make such a difference to your gut health!
Research shows that those who eat meat have a higher amount of harmful bacteria within their gut. This higher level of harmful bacteria puts people more at risk of developing illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer. AND inflammation in the body.
Secondly, meat-eaters are much more likely to develop bowel conditions such as IBS, Crohns, and Colitis. Although the severity of each of these bowel conditions varies from person to person, generally, these conditions give you fatigue, abdominal pain, cramps, abnormal bowel movements, and reduce the absorption of micronutrients from food. No one wants this. ALL of these symptoms have been eliminated for my clients who have committed to transitioning to a plant based diet. What do you have to lose- besides that extra weight?
Balanced plant-based diets are rich in fibers, polyphenols, and short-chain fatty acids, all of which improve the development of a diverse microbiome, leading to a healthier and stronger gut. High fiber intake provides higher levels of lactic acid bacteria that support and promote a more diverse microbiome. Polyphenols provide high levels of natural probiotics that provide anti-inflammatory benefits and support heart health. Short-chain fatty acids support immunity, regulate functions in the digestive system, and promote higher energy levels.
Additionally, when someone switches to a plant-based diet they will detox their gut. The sudden increase of fiber, polyphenols and short-chain fatty acids in the first few weeks of being vegan promotes regular bowel movements and pushes toxins from the body, providing a natural cleanse and resetting the gut.
Whether you’re someone who eats meat with every meal and loves it, or you’re a little nervous about switching to a plant based diet because you think you’re going to be limited to cold salads and soups, these 5 tips below will help you make the switch, happily and healthily, to a plant-based diet.
A lot of people believe that they can go vegan or plant based simply by cooking their favorite meals and missing out on the meat within those dishes. However, if you simply take the meat out of your meals, not only will your meal be looking a bit sorry for itself, but you’ll very obviously miss the meat that pulled the dish together.
Instead, reinvent your favorite meat dishes with vegan meat substitutes (mushrooms, walnuts, lentils, etc) and nutrient-dense vegetables. Don’t just sit there are eat green beans and carrots by themselves just because they used to be a part of your favorite chicken dish, experiment and get exploratory in the kitchen!
2. Keep It Simple
Lots of people assume that cooking vegan means you have to go big or go home – that couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t waste hours spiralizing veg, making every sauce from scratch, and attempting to become a Michelin star vegan chef every time you enter the kitchen unless that’s something you want to do.
Plant based cooking can be simple and easy, you don’t need to overcomplicate it! Follow along on my Instagram where I show all my favorite easy plant based meals and my favorite meal prep services (Sakara & Science and Soul if you’re in SD).
3. Use Substitutes
If you’re someone that has eaten meat for a long time or you feel like you’re starting to miss certain parts of your diet after going vegan, don’t panic, you can find great substitutes for your favorite meats, cheeses, and kinds of milk. Just make sure you don’t eat too much soy or processed vegan food and you’ll be fine!
Remember, a big part of eating meat is also the seasoning that covers the meat, and you will likely be able to still use similar seasoning to make your food taste meaty and delicious!
4. Don’t Rush Towards Vegan Junk Food
There’s so much ‘vegan’ junk food out there that it can be tempting to head to a burger restaurant or try out the newest vegan foods. Whilst eating these kinds of foods very occasionally is fine, don’t be tempted to rush towards vegan junk food to make yourself feel better – you won’t!
Instead, focus on home cooking or heading to restaurants that have a varied, balanced, and healthy selection of plant based options.
Tip- ALWAYS read the ingredients. Even if the food or product is vegan or plant based, you want to avoid inflammatory oils and toxic fillers.
5. Go At Your Own Pace
Although most people feel the need for a change and immediately change to a plant based diet overnight in an attempt to reset their gut, if you’re especially nervous about doing so, don’t do rush into it and make a big change.
Instead, ease into a vegan diet – small changes are better than no changes, and even just decreasing your meat consumption can make a huge difference to your gut health.
If you’re ready to heal your gut with a plant based diet, here’s a super simple 3-day plant based gut-healing meal plan that you might want to try out. All of the meals listed in this plan take less than 30 minutes to make, with most taking under 15 minutes.
Breakfast: Detox Smoothie (featured in the Gut Detox Guide)
Lunch: Tempeh Burrito Bowl (recipe coming soon)
Dinner: Detox Soup (featured in the Gut Detox Guide)
Breakfast: Overnight Oats and Chia Seeds
Lunch: Baked Falafel and Hummus
Dinner: Mushroom Burgers (recipe coming soon)
Breakfast: Oatmeal and Blueberries
Lunch: Big chop salad (add kidney beans, olives, and sauerkraut)
Dinner: Mushroom Pasta (featured in the Gut Detox Guide)
Snacks: Apple Nachos
Are You Ready To Heal Your Gut By Going Plant Based?
If you’re ready to invest in yourself, cleanse your gut, and take the first step on the path to a better standard of health and wellness, but you’re searching for guidance and support, get in touch with me today!
As a certified health and wellness coach, it’s my joy, pleasure, and purpose, to guide you to a healed, healthier, and happier version of yourself.
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