This is Part 3 of my 12-Part Leaky Gut Series. Part 1: Leaky Gut: What Is it, And Do You and Your Child Have It? Part 2: Leaky Gut According to Chinese Medicine Part 4: The Feingold Diet for Behavioral Problems Part 5: Real Food 101 Part 6: Autoimmune Paleo Protocol for Leaky Gut Part 7: The 4 R’s to Gut Healing: Replacement (Step 2) Part 8: Reinoculation Phase for Healing Leaky Gut Part 9: Repair Phase for Healing Leaky Gut Part 10: Challenges of Going Through Dietary Changes and How To Succeed Part 11: Raising Kids with Healthy Cravings and Part 12: Leaky Gut: Tying It All Together
This is the third article in a series about leaky gut syndrome (intestinal hyperpermeability). If you missed Article One and Article Two, please go back and read them first. That will help you better understand the rationale behind this one.
The first step in the Four R Approach to Gut Healing is removal of substances that are causing inflammation and damage to the gut. These substances include: common food allergens such as corn, soy, wheat, dairy, gluten, tree nuts, eggs, nightshades, and seeds. It’s important to remember that most of these foods, such as nuts, seeds, nightshades, eggs, and even some dairy products, can be reintroduced after the gut has been healed and sealed. Genetically modified foods and crops that have been treated with glyphosate (Roundup) have long been suspected of tearing holes in the gut, so it is highly recommended to make every effort possible to remove GMO foods and foods that have been heavily sprayed with pesticides. These are not to be reintroduced after the gut has healed.
The removal process also includes phasing out foods that trigger inflammation in the body, such as cereal products, highly processed foods, sugar, fructose, agave nectar, fruit juice, sweetened beverages, factory farmed meats that tend to be high in environmental toxins and pro-inflammatory fats, non-organic butter, and dairy products that have been tainted with genetically modified bovine growth hormone (rBGH). I understand this can seem overwhelming at first, but I promise it sounds more difficult than it really is.
During the four-stage process of healing your gut, you should focus more on the foods you can eat. Most individuals find that their diet becomes more varied and flavorful when they toss out the processed foods in favor of fresh foods that nourish and heal the body. These include: grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, grass-fed ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, cultured vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut, miso, kefir, kombucha, sweet potatoes, organic berries, and other foods you can get directly from local farmers at the farmer’s market or directly from the farm. Fresh foods that have not traveled a long distance are higher in micronutrients your body requires for optimal functioning. Therefore, you will likely feel more satisfied after meals because your body will finally be getting what it needs.
Another thing that must be removed during the first stage of the gut healing protocol is any kind of parasite or small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Even in industrialized countries, parasitic infections such as tapeworm and roundworm can exist. However, the most common type of parasitic infection we see is intestinal dysbiosis. This often occurs as a result of use of antibiotics combined with a low-fiber diet high in sugars and processed foods. These factors cause a shift in the delicate balance of the intestinal microbiome, killing beneficial bacteria and feeding the parasitic ones. Removal of parasitic microorganisms requires a targeted herbal approach that includes antibacterial foods and herbs such as raw garlic, caprylic acid, wormwood extract, berberine, grapefruit seed extract, black walnut, tribulus, and others commonly used in Chinese Medicine.
In the next article of this series, I’ll explain how to go about removing processed foods, artificial colors, preservatives, and other common food additives from the diet. This step, REMOVAL, alone is often highly beneficial for enhancing cognitive function and eliminating chronic headaches, chronic stomach problems, and erratic behaviors/behavioral problems, so it is well worth the effort.