The quest for a happy gut
My shopping list contains mainly fresh, pure produce and natural fats, because they’re the only things that don’t upset my digestion. It’s common sense. I listened to my body when it became inflamed and sensitive to gluten, sugar, and artificial additives. I got inflammation and bloating when eating wheat, rye, grains, and oats. So by eating purer fresh food, regularly taking high quality pro-and prebiotic supplements, along with some gluten-free range foods here and there, I gained more happy gut time. I got control over the bad effects that food was putting on my gut.
I would love to know if this helps others that have the same problem with food sensitivities. So I suggest, cut back to pure foods wherever possible, and take notes about what you eat. See how it affects you. Test one gluten-free food item at a time, until you have accumulated a range of foods you noted that you can tolerate*. The rule is to only to have a good balance of protein, carbs, and vegetables at all meals. Buy “free-range or organic” where possible, and cut back on spices.
* Note that effects will differ from person to person.
This following basic list should be fairly safe for most people, including the gluten-sensitive and gluten intolerant:
Fresh meat, chicken, fish
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Some dairy products
Beans, seeds, and nuts
Cold pressed Olive oil
Of course, some people may need to go completely dairy-free too, because dairy can still cause inflammation for certain people. i.e. If you are Celiac, then you may already know what you must or must not eat. I am really only writing generally here, for people like myself; who used to be able to eat “everything” but have lately become uncomfortable after consuming certain foods that were no problem when younger. So we are trying to sort out what foods to avoid, and what alternatives we could shop for to aid our quest for a happier gut.
Due to GMO grains, it is no wonder that normally healthy people have become intolerant. Grains aren’t what they used to be. So yes, we need to cut back on grains. Also, another discovery came to light while researching – I read about the term “Fodmaps”, Joe Leech, Dietitian talks about how naturally occurring sugars in HIGH FODMAP foods, are often the cause of bloating which is mistakenly leading people into thinking they are gluten intolerant, when they are in fact only Fructan intolerant. (Intolerant to grains) Therefore I recommend looking into this. Try it out, and see if it rings true for you too. Below is a list of Low Fodmap foods and fruits, for your shopping list, to enable you to cut back on High Fodmap fruit (and eating it at the wrong times). I believe if you avoid the grains that are specified as High Fodmap type, you will gain some control over your rampant belly aches. Couple that with the adage: “Eat fruit alone or leave it alone“, (away from protein, never at the same time). So now, we have a new picture: eat pure food, and choose plenty of low fodmap foods and fruits and eat those at certain times, to avoid adverse gut reactions.
These following foods are stated they have no gluten (or very little gluten) but may still give you a reaction, so I suggest check labels meticulously and test/eat these following items sparingly:
Zero Lacto Milk
Butter and Cream
(Full fat aged cheeses if you are not lactose intolerant)
Plant Protein /Smoothies
Almond Milk/Coconut Milk
Plain or Kefir probiotic yogurt
Gluten-free breads, biscuits and muesli
Chocolate if labelled gluten free
Fresh Brewed Coffee
“Meat only meals”, or too much meat at meals, without balanced greens – because if you are not getting fibre, you are damaging your kidneys.(among other dangers)
Low-fat Diet packaged products – because sometimes their artificial substitutes are worse than full fat.
Fruit flavoured yogurts – too much sugar
Whey or Soya Protein powders – bloating
Processed meats and cheeses – because of preservatives
Sugary, floury, wheaty, or grainy cereal packaged products including – cereal bars, yeasty breads, crackers and crispbreads because they contain yeast, wheat, grains and sugar (which causes bloating and Candida)
Muffins and cakes as each portion carries at least 10 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
Spelt, Bulgar, Couscous and Barley, Malt (can be inflammatory to gut lining)
Seasonings and Hot Spices
Soya Sauce, Malt Vinegar
Pasta, Pizza, Nachos, Chips, and all take-out fried foods and sauces
All alcohol and fizzy drinks, and flavoured milk
You should read product labels carefully. Take time to find out what all those additives are. Aspartame 951 for a start, should be avoided at all costs. I discovered that the low fat Ovaltine had aspartamine, and it had been my favourite bedtime drink. (no more)
If time is limited, cook simple and plain at home, and treat yourself from your allowed list when you go out. I tank up on organic vegetarian dishes, salads, chia and quinoa salads, when I am out, because they are too complicated to prepare at home for “one person” meals. See my other post on various organic cafes around Auckland.
Here is a simple shopping list to get you started.
- Protein: Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, prawns and tofu
- Whole grains: Brown rice, buckwheat, maize, millet, oats and quinoa
- Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, kiwi, limes, mandarins, oranges, papaya, pineapple, rhubarb and strawberries
- Vegetables: Bean sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, choy sum, eggplant, kale, tomatoes, spinach and zucchini
- Nuts: Almonds (no more than 10 per sitting), macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts
- Seeds: Linseeds, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower
- Dairy: Cheddar cheese, lactose-free milk and Parmesan cheese
- Oils: Coconut oil and olive oil
- Beverages: Black tea, coffee, green tea, peppermint tea, water and white tea
- Condiments: Basil, chili, ginger, mustard, pepper, salt, white rice vinegar and wasabi powder
I always start the day with a full glass of warm water to cleanse my system.
I have stopped consuming protein powder drinks because they were causing bloating.
Instead, I take a half teaspoon of Immunity Fuel superfood in water – and get no adverse side effects.
Then I sometimes have low fodmap fruit (on its own) and after a time gap, have an egg on toast, (and sometimes free farmed nitrate free bacon) or avocado on toast (sourdough or gluten free) I do treat myself to plunger coffee and cream as I dont get side effects from those.
If you have no side effects from consuming protein powder drinks, then choose plant protein powders that are free from Whey or Soya, to make a base smoothie or protein drink in the morning. You can add LSA, spinach, fruit, and plain unsweetened greek yoghurt.
Sprinkle a spoonful of Ground LSA (Linseed, Sunflower and Almond) . The LSA brands are Macro, Ceres or Healtheries. Store LSA in the freezer to keep fresh, once it is open.
Breads: Sourdough, or Gluten free brands such as: Venerdi brand or Vogels brand.
Jam: Healtheries Dietex Marmalade or St. Dalfour Marmalade, or other low sugar brands having less sugar and additives.
Hubbards Gluten free Thank Goodness Muesli, and their latest ancient grain cereals.
If your inflammation levels are high and you can’t eat any of the above, you could try taking digestive enzymes supplements with breakfast, and add a little fermented foods throughout the day.
One new alternative to grains that has become popular, is Kumera Toast.
It involves parboiling sliced Orange Kumera, sliced longways so it resembles size and thickness of Toast Bread. Then you dry it and pop it into the toaster until thoroughly cooked and browned. You are now able to use it as regular toast. With any topping you like to add. Enjoy!
A typical Low Fodmap Breakfast:
Fresh Low Fodmap Fruit with Plain unsweetened Greek Yogurt. Or Collective brand Kefir pre and probiotic yogurt. Or try items from this following list:
Gluten free bread or wraps with cold meats or fish, pickled vegs and salad with simple dressings.
Grilled Haloumi Cheese or Feta with nuts seeds, mixed rice and green salads is a perfect meat free meal.
Avocados or mushrooms on toast
Omelets or Fritattas with side vegetarian salads
I recommend plain traditional dinners like vegetarian stews, without too much spices, or plain grilled chicken or fish, with boiled kumara and steamed green veges (or green salads in summer). Grass fed Steak once in a while, if you are not on a detox.
Arrowroot for thickening Black Bean or lentil stews. Organic Stock.
Soups: Home-made chicken or lentils and vegetables with gluten free stock cube or Matakana Chicken bone broth powders.
Pottage Soups – easy to make “everything” thick soups in one pot and store portions in freezer so you don’t have to cook every day.
All of these above dinners are suitable for Keto dieters if no bread, potatoes or pasta or grains added. It is easy to order grilled meat, fish and steamed greens or salad when dining out.
Desserts after dinner
Fresh fruit and cream or coconut cream
A piece of fruit, a cup of tea and a gluten free biscuit/cake.
Drink 8 glasses water throughout the day.
Green tea, and peppermint tea and sometimes chamomile, Red Seal brand.
If detoxing then hot drinks should just be herbal teas, and if not, then allow regular tea and coffee.
You could add Anchor Zero Lacto trim milk to regular tea or have lemon.
Fresh ground coffee, black or with organic cream; my favourite brand is the organic Hummingbird Coffee for Plunger – heavenly coffee!
Keto Bulletproof Coffee is an adventurous alternative without cream
No regular cakes, confectionery sweets, (excepting occasional pure chocolate). Test out and buy whatever gluten free treats that give no reactions.
Chocolate: The most yummy chocolate bar from Matakana!
The Vegan Society recommend Trade Aid and Whittakers brand of Dairy Free chocolates.
Queen Anne Chocolates have Gluten free range for special occasions.
So that is my average daily diet. Of course, some of the above will not suit everybody. Take it with a pinch of salt and adapt whats convenient for you. Let me know if you have made changes and if you benefitted.
The top of page featured image comes from https://www.gluten.org/managing-a-gluten-free-dairy-free-diet/