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How fad diets can harm you…and what you should do instead

Ever been confused by all the fad diets out there? All the screaming info on the internet can make you wonder…

What’s best for me? Should I go keto? Gluten-free? Paleo? Vegan? 

The challenge here is that when we human beings want to create change, we tend to go to the extreme. 

“Pedal to the medal,” we say. “If a little is good, more is better.” “No pain, no gain.”

Unfortunately when it comes to your gut, none of these things apply. In fact, they can actually get you into serious trouble. 

This is because your gut is a living ecosystem. Ecosystems work on the principle of homeostasis, which means that they like to stay stable.1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3656095/

Abrupt, intense changes are the worst things for an ecosystem. 

So how does this apply to you?

When people want to “improve” their diet, instead of (for example) gradually increasing the amount of fibre they’re consuming, they often slam into overdrive, blasting abruptly into an all-veggie diet or dumping huge amounts of fibre into their systems all at once. 

This can be disastrous for your gut ecosystem, causing detox IBS symptoms like pain, gas and bloating. The resultant pain may put you off trying to make any improvement at all. 

Here at Chuckling Goat we work on the principal GNP – GRADUAL NURTURING PROGRESSION. 

  1. Gradual – because abrupt change is not helpful to your gut ecosystem. 
  2. Nurturing – because you need to watch carefully, tracking each new addition to your health protocol, and making sure that it is helping and not hurting. 
  3. Progression because – well, it is important to improve and progress. Your symptoms will reduce and your wellbeing will increase, as you reduce the amount of sugar and increase the amount of probiotics and fibre you consume. 

But it needs to be done gently. Gradually. And with a lot of mindful awareness. 

In this society, we’re not keen on the idea of “slow and gradual.” Just scan the synonyms for “slow”: sluggish, stagnant, idle, lagging, leaden, listless, negligent, tardy, remiss, torpid. It’s just not considered sexy. The concept of “slow” has developed a bad rap in our I-want-it-now culture. 

As we moved from the farm into the cities, we lost the patience to ride the seasonal wheel. We no longer tolerate things taking a long time. 

So here at CG, we are reclaiming the concept of slow, when it comes to gut health. Think slow and graceful, like the growth of an old-growth forest or the unfurling of a plant. We’re talking about the pace of farming or gardening here. It doesn’t happen overnight – it happens gradually. And that’s the way it should be. 

Imagine that you’re asking me for an apple – and instead, I hand you an apple seed. I tell you to plant the seed, water it and wait for it to grow. 

“But I need the apple NOW!” you might say. 

I hear you. But that apple tree needs time to grow. And so do the populations of good bugs inside your gut. 

Yes, we do recommend that you increase the amount of probiotics and fibre that you’re consuming. But NOT abruptly or suddenly. We’re after a gentle nurturing progression that will grow you in the right direction over time, not slam you into a detox reaction that will cause pain, bloating and discomfort. 

For example, suppose you take a microbiome test and your results reveal that you are low in the bacteria oxalobacter, which helps you digest oxalates (contained in just about every fruit and vegetable). 

What do you do? 

There is no quick fix for this. There’s no pill to take, or injection to use. You just need to increase the population of these bugs, very slowly over time, by eating the foods that contain oxalates. The oxalates feed the oxalobacter, and your population will increase gradually over time. 

“But how can I eat oxalates,” you may say, “when my lack of oxalobacter means that eating oxalates will make me bloated?” 

The answer is – with a GENTLE NURTURING PROGRESSION. 

Start with one teaspoon of an oxalate-rich food every day for a week. Then increase to two teaspoons every day for a week. And so on. 

You are working towards gut health very slowly, very mindfully and with a nurturing outlook that watches the entire process with great care. 

This process applies to your consumption of kefir, Complete Prebiotic, Pure Fish Collagen or anything else that you’re adding to your daily routine. If anything feels worse rather than better, you’ve increased too quickly. Dial back to 1 tsp daily, and start the progression from the beginning. 

Track your responses and if anything feels worse instead of better – it means you’re moving too quickly. Don’t quit. Just dial all the way back down to 1 tsp daily, and begin the slow increase process again. 

Add in one new change per week, instead of changing a lot of things all at once, so that if anything causes an adverse reaction, you’ll know which new addition is the culprit. 

You are creating a metric underneath your own experience, like a scientist. You are the expert of your own wellness. The best way to accomplish this is to journal it. For more details on how to keep a quick and effective gut health journal, as well as a free journal template, see our blog post here

Go slowly – and get well. Don’t forget that if you have any questions, you can always reach one of our trained Nutritional Therapists on live chat, 8 am to 8 pm weekdays. Gut health is a journey – and we’re here with you, all the way!

References

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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