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September 9th, 2019 | Interviews
There is no denying I am a fan of Lee Holmes. I recently went to the launch of her new book Eat Right For Your Shape and I am always enamoured by Lee’s positive energy, enthusiasm and zest for life. If the research is correct and there really is a link between our mental and physical wellbeing and gut health I think Lee Holmes must have a pretty healthy gut – this lady is shining bright!
Gut health is a very topical subject, and with good reason. There is an increasing amount of research pointing to the links between gut health and our mental and physical health (which we are going to talk about in more detail shortly). I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak to Lee Holmes on this topic. Lee runs a Heal your Gut program, has a Heal your Gut recipe book and has also created the ever so popular Heal your Gut powder (available on the Nourishing Hub).
NH: What has been your own personal journey around gut health?
LH: I found gut health to be the epicentre of my health struggle. I was experimenting with taking certain foods out of my diet and trialing ingredients for recipes in an effort to figure out how food was affecting my health but in the end it came down to the health of my gut. We can eat the most nutritious foods but if we are not absorbing the nutrients due to poor gut health then it is a waste of time. I went on to heal my gut and improve my health by following my 4 step Heal Your Gut Program (which we will discuss).
NH: Why is the health of our gut so important to our overall health?
LH: The gut holds about 70 – 80% of our immune system. It effects our energy, our hormones, our mental state, how we feel and how we act. The gut houses a lot of good flora, which helps to absorb nutrients and get energy from our food. There is an increasing amount of research demonstrating the link between the gut and the brain. Interestingly the gut sends more messages to the brain than the other way around. The vegus nerve transmits these messages from the gut to the brain. For example it may be a feeling of threat and is signalling the brain to do something. Hence we should ‘listen to our gut’ or go with our ‘gut feeling’.
NH: What are some of the key factors that are upsetting our gut health?
LH: Environmental factors (such as toxins and chemicals) impact our gut, food (i.e. preservatives, processed food), prescription drugs/antibiotics, smoking, alcohol and caffeine can all have a negative impact on our gut flora. There is increasing research proving the link between stress and gut health. Stress can strip the gut of good bacteria and compromise the gut lining and it’s ability to absorb nutrients.
NH: What are common symptoms that your gut is not healthy?
LH: It could be any (or a combination) of the following:
* Tummy pain
* Constipation / Diarrhea
* Skin disruptions (dry or irritated skin)
* Lack of energy
* Tiredness, fatigue
* Weight gain / weight retention
* Cravings – will often crave sweet things
* Hormonal issues
NH: What 3 things can we do to enhance gut health?
LH: Firstly, look at the foods that aggravate the gut and the digestive process. Look at those foods that you wouldn’t expect to upset the gut but often do, such as avocado, coconut oil, garlic, onion and tomatoes. Experiment with your diet.
Secondly, improve the integrity of the gut lining. Choose foods that are easy to digest with a good nutrient profile such as bone broth. Did you know that glycine, found in bone broth can help to stimulate stomach acid, which in turn aids digestion.
Lastly, increase your good bacteria. Eat more fermented foods (such as sauerkraut, kefir yogurt or kombucha) or add a probiotic supplement to your diet.
NH: What are your 4 steps to healing your gut?
Phase 1. Give your digestive system a rest. I have created 100 recipes to heal the gut. These recipes are nutritious, tasty, simple to make and easily digestible. All recipes are gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar free and include wholefood ingredients that can be found in your local supermarket or healthy grocer.
Phase 2. Cleanse the Body. In this phase we practice things like oil pulling or having epsom salt baths to draw out the toxins.
Phase 3. Put the good bacteria back into the body. As mentioned above this includes eating fermented food, probiotics, etc.
Phase 4. Look at how stress effects your gut. In this phase we look at how different areas of your life (relationships, your job, etc) are effecting your stress levels and in turn your gut health.
NH: Can you tell us more about the wonderful Heal Your Gut Powder?
LH: Heal Your Gut Powder is made from diatomaceous earth (also known as fossil shell powder). It took us 2 years to find the highest naturopathic grade of organic diatomaceous earth. The fossil shell helps to clean out the accumulated build-up of waste, toxins, metals and mucous in the digestive tract. Removing these impurities helps us to be better able to absorb nutrients. The diatomaceous earth acts like an internal toothbrush that sweeps away the build up of plaque in our gut. Also the heal your gut powder will help to eradicate parasites from our body naturally – did you know that 70-80% of us carry parasites in our gut? The Heal your Gut Powder is rich in minerals, particularly silica which gives us more energy, makes our hair shine, our eyes brighter and can aid with weight loss.
Thank you, Lee, for sharing you wondering words of wisdom with us!