The quest for a happy gut
My shopping list contains mainly fresh, pure produce and natural fats, because theyr’e the only things that don’t upset my digestion. I have diagnosed myself as being sensitive to gluten, sugar, and artificial additives, due to getting gut inflammation when eating wheat, rye, grains, oats, and anything with sugar, like out of a packet, tin or bottle. So eating unadulterated fresh food, taking high quality pro-and prebiotic supplements, and adding a smidgeon of gluten-free range foods here and there, allows me to sometimes have a little more control over side effects that have come after a lifetime of eating carte blanche foods (anything and everything).
I have written this article because it might help others that have the same problems. Cut back to pure only, like you were living in the 1950’s; then test one gluten free type item at a time, until you have accumulated a range of foods you are in control of, that you can tolerate*. The rule is to always have a good balance of protein,carbs, and vegetables at meals. Buy “organic” where possible.
* Note that effects will differ from person to person.
Fresh meat, chicken, fish
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Some dairy products
Beans, seeds, and nuts
Cold pressed Olive oil
The above should be safe for the gluten sensitive and gluten intolerant, although some people may need to go completely dairy free also, because some dairy can still cause inflammation. If you are Celiac, then you may already follow your own list. I am really only writing for those who can eat most things, but have come to a tipping point where their guts are protesting; they don’t feel comfortable after certain foods, and are trying to sort out which foods should be avoided, and what they should now be putting into their food bag at the supermarket.
Latest Discovery: With all the proliferation of GMO grains, it is no wonder that normally healthy people cannot tolerate these nor some so-called healthy wholegrain varieties that overload the gut. Also, to throw another issue into the mix, I recently discovered the term “Fodmaps”, and read Joe Leech, Dietitian who posted very intersting articles about how naturally occurring sugars in HIGH FODMAP fruit, are the cause of bloating which is mistakenly leading people into thinking they were gluten intolerant, when they were in fact only Fructan intolerant. (Intolerant to grains) Therefore you have to look up this list of Low Fodmap fruit, before you make your shopping list, to ensure you are not unknowingly buying High Fodmap fruit (and eating it at the wrong times); thus bringing on the very things you are trying to avoid. Also, 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 chose plenty of low fodmap foods and fruits and eat those at certain times, to avoid gut problems.
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 religiously 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”, 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 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 have stopped consuming protein powder drinks because they were giving me bloating. I take a half teaspoon of Immunity Fuel superfood in water without a side effect.
I always start the day with a full glass of warm water to cleanse my system.
Then I have low fodmap fruits (on its own) or 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, 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, starting with:
Fresh Low Fodmap Fruit with Plain unsweetened Greek Yogurt. Or Collective brand Kefir pre and probiotic yogurt.
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
Omelet or Fritattas and 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 gives 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/