Breaking News!! YOU can fix your mild to moderate gut issues!
If you are suffering from constant bloating after meals, constipation, brain fog, or maybe you are just feeling plain ol crappy after eating, then I highly recommend you buy The Clean Gut book by Alejandro Junger MD….it’s a MUST READ! Once you are done reading the book, I suggest you follow the 21-Day Clean Gut Program outlined in the book or give the online program a try.
In this post, I will give you a brief synopsis of the book, 5 important points that I took away from this book, and then I will give you a review of the 21-Day Clean Gut Program. The Clean Gut Program is an eating plan that helps to restore balance to your gut microbiome.
You can take charge of your health! You can feel better! This book can be a catalyst to help you begin your journey of better gut health!
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The content of this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor regarding any medical conditions or taking any new supplements. Click here for The Gut Nerd’s medical disclaimer.
A Brief Synopsis of the Book: Clean Gut
In this book Alejandro Junger begins by talking about gut health and how all causes of disease begin in the gut. He then goes on to discuss his own journey with gut health. His journey began when he was a doctor specializing in cardiology. The years of practicing this specialty led him to very unhealthy habits which then led to his many health issues. Years of working long hours, getting very little sleep, eating microwaveable dinners and fast food led to constipation, bloating, extreme fatigue and depression.
His desire to fix these issues is what led him on a journey of self discovery. This self discovery then led him to become a doctor of functional medicine. His work as a functional medicine doctor then led him to develop the Clean Gut Program.
The book explains all about the digestive system, intestinal flora, and the gut’s nervous system. You then learn about gut dysfunction and how the annihilation of intestinal flora (good gut bacteria) leads to health issues such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, gluten sensitivity, depression and even heart disease!
Once you have those basics down, Dr. Junger then explains in detail what the clean gut program is and how it can help to repair any issues you may be having in your guts. The clean gut daily protocol is explained and then in the back of the book there are recipes created specifically for the Clean Gut Program. These recipes include shakes, salads, soups and much more.
This book really helped me to re balance my gut flora! I have struggled with constipation on and off all of my life. I always knew that fiber was important to help keep me regular. This book helped me to further understand the inner workings of my body, which in turn allowed me to clear up my constipation.
Takeaways – What Stood Out To Me
There is a lot of great information contained in this book! I have taken lots of notes, made lots of highlights in the book AND written on many a sticky note so as not to forget what I have read.
Here are five things in this book that stood out to me.
TAKEAWAY 1: THE GUT IS YOUR SECOND BRAIN!
The gut’s most important job is to obtain the necessary building blocks for the body from the food we eat, while making sure nothing foreign or dangerous gets into the body. It’s important to understand how the body does this and how our diet and lifestyle can affect our gut.
Dr. Junger breaks the gut down into four main parts to help better explain exactly how the gut works.
The four main parts are:
The Digestive Tube
The Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue
The Intestinal Flora
The Gut’s Nervous System
The gut’s nervous system is more active in the production of neurotransmitters then the brain in your head. Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of happiness and well-being, is primarily manufactured in the gut! The brain in your gut helps to run your intuition. It communicates with you through feelings. This is where you get the term “gut feeling”.
TAKEAWAY 2: YOUR BODY IS DESIGNED TO SURVIVE
To quote directly from The Clean Gut book: “Our bodies simply don’t know how to get sick. What we call diseases are really just different forms of survival mechanisms. They are essentially the body’s attempt to send a bamboo shoot through concrete.”
Mind blown. Survival is disguised as disease!!
The body responds to most threats through inflammation. Inflammation allows the body to bring immune-system cells into the area where they are most needed. Once the infection is cleared up, the body then returns to it’s pre-injured state.
The real problem arises when there is inflammation everywhere in your body (systemic inflammation). This type of inflammation affects different parts of the body. However, these different areas affected (eg. joints, skin, heart), are actually consequences of one problem: gut dysfunction.
Chapter 5 covers this in depth!
TAKEAWAY 3: THE FOUR PILLARS OF GUT REPAIR
I’ve always wanted to try a gut repair program, but never fully understood how to properly repair any gut imbalances that I had.
This book helped me to do this.
There are four pillars that are covered in this Clean Gut Program. They are:
1: Remove – this program aims at removing anything that is stopping the gut from functioning properly. This could be any type of toxic organism such as viruses, bacteria, yeast or parasites
2: Replace – this program replaces nutrients in the body. Nutrients such as magnesium, vitamins, good proteins, good fats, fiber and complex carbohydrates.
3: Reinoculate – removing the “bad” organisms is only part of the program. The next step is to replant and feed the gut’s intestinal flora (good bacteria).
4: Repair – the Clean Gut Program provides the right conditions and essential nutrients to help repair the intestinal wall.
All four of these pillars work together to help repair the gut and allow your body to function better!
TAKEAWAY 4: EAT MINDFULLY
There were two really good food tips that I picked up from this book. You can use these tips in everyday life, not just when trying to re balance and heal the gut.
Tip 1: Follow the 80/20 rule. This rule is so simple! Fill 80% of your plate with greens and vegetable, and 20% of your plate with protein and good fats. This is all visual and there is no need to count calories or macros!
Tip 2: Stop eating when you are 80% full! This will allow your body to absorb and digest the food better. Proper digestion is just as important as the food that you eat.
TAKEAWAY 5: COMBINE YOUR FOOD MINDFULLY
If you want your body to digest your food more efficiently, it’s best to combine your food as follows:
Combine vegetables and greens with animal protein (fish, meat, eggs)
Combine vegetables and greens with vegetable protein (eg. lentils, beans)
Avoid pairing animal protein with vegetable protein or with a starchy carb. (eg. don’t eat chicken and quinoa or chicken and pasta. Instead, eat chicken and veggies, or quinoa and veggies, or pasta and veggies.)
Why? Why should you combine your food like this? The answer all has to do with how your body digests each of these types of foods.
Meat, fish and eggs require the secretion of hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin. They break the food down in an acidic environment.
Starches (starchy veggies, pasta, rice, quinoa), require the secretion of the enzyme ptylain in an alkaline environment.
Mixing proteins and starches at the same meal (think Chicken Alfredo or steak and potatoes), can neutralize the breakdown of these foods. This can then inhibit proper absorption, which can then create fermentation in the gut.
Fermentation in the gut creates bloating, gas, constipation and malabsorption of nutrients. If you are consistently feeling bloated after every meal, pay more attention to how you are combining your food when you eat. Try combining your foods, based on the guidelines above for one week and see how your feel. You may be surprised!!
21 Day Clean Gut Program – My Thoughts
Once I was done reading the Clean Gut book, I did the 21-Day Clean Gut Program. This program is only 21 days, so I figured I could handle that and if it helped me with my constipation then it would be worth the effort.
Before beginning this program I made sure that I had all the supplements that I would need in order to effectively do the program. The supplements that were needed for this program were:
- Herbal antimicrobial: this supplement is effective in killing yeast, parasites, viruses and many types of bacteria.
- Saccharomyces Boulardii: this probiotics promotes anti-yeast activity.
- Multiple-Strain Probiotic: this probiotic will contain several strains of probiotics that will help to repopulate the gut with the beneficial flora (good gut bacteria)
- Magnesium: the gut needs magnesium to work properly. Magnesium also helps to stabilize the nervous system.
- Multiple Digestive Enzymes: taking a digestive enzyme during the cleanse helps to reduce the workload of the digestive system.
- Monolaurin: this is a biofilm dissolving supplement. Biofilm is the protective barrier covering the opportunistic bacteria. Monolaurin is an antibiofilm dissolver made from concentrated lauric acid. Lauric acid is found in coconut.
- B Vitamin Complex: you will want to find a B Complex vitamin that contains B12, B6, B5. Vitamin B is essential in supporting energy levels and the immune and nervous systems.
Once I had all the supplements, I began the program.
Here is what I thought of the program. I’ll start with what I liked and what worked for me.
What I liked/What worked for me
I began every morning with one of the smoothie recipes that were found in the Clean Gut book. I thought that I would be starving and still hungry after drinking my smoothie, however, I WASN’T! I was satisfied and full and didn’t feel the need to eat again until lunch.
I kept to the easy recipes and kept my lunches and my dinners as simple as possible. The Hamburger Soup found on page 192 of the book, was really delicious and there was enough left over that I could have this soup for at least 4 more meals! It made lunch preparation easy!
After about 7 days, I noticed my bowel movements becoming more regular and easy to pass (TMI…. sorry). Constipation was a major source of concern for me before this program. After almost one year of a high fat low carb diet with not enough fibre, my body was not functioning well at all in the poop department. However, after 7 days of drinking a morning smoothie daily, my bowel movements started to improve and I was becoming regular again! THIS was the main reason I was doing the program! To get back a proper bowel movement! It was exciting to see that what I was doing was helping my body!
Caffeine is not allowed during the 21-day program, which meant, NO COFFEE!
Now, I have done this before. I have quit coffee for 14 days. The last time I quit coffee, I had a headache for two days! However, this time around, I had NO headache and my body was not craving coffee! I was allowed green tea so every morning I made myself a green tea latte, so perhaps this is what helped me!
There is always going to be something that we don’t like when trying anything new. Something to keep in mind when reading this.
What I didn’t like/What didn’t work for me
The meal planning and cooking a separate meal for me was challenging. I did attempt to make a meal or two for me and the family, but they weren’t too keen on them, so I would just make my meal and then add on a few extra things for them. It worked out, but it did made more work for me in the kitchen.
Taking pills/supplements at every meal was a pain in the butt… but just for the first few days. Once I got the hang of remembering to take my supplements right after eating, I was good to go!
About 7 days into the program I started experiencing light headedness! It would come in waves, at first, but as the days went by, it got worse and worse! At first, I thought it was because I was only having a smoothie for breakfast and that maybe my body needed more. So I added some more food to my breakfast. However, this didn’t help. My dizziness was getting worse and now I was also experiencing diarrhea!!
Then I thought that maybe it was a side effect from the supplements I was taking. I thought I was taking too much vitamin B. By this time the cleanse was basically over, so I stopped all supplements and then slowly began reintroducing foods, as instructed in the book.
My lightheadedness was still there and was slowly getting better and my diarrhea was still there as well, but seemed to be improving. I really wanted to know what could have caused these adverse reactions, so I decided to reach out to a holistic nutritionist that I knew. I told her my issues and showed her the supplements that I was taking. She suggested that perhaps it was the enzymes that I was taking. Some side effects of taking these enzymes was dizziness, nausea and diarrhea.
However, here is the thing, after looking again at the supplements I was taking, the holistic nutritionist noticed that I was also taking another enzyme!! You see, I added on another supplement. This supplement was NOT a part of the recommended list. I added it not really knowing what it was. I thought it was something else entirely. It turns out that the added supplement I was taking was ANOTHER enzyme!! THIS explained why I was feeling the way I was feeling!
My body was being given TOO MANY enzymes, hence I was having the horrible side effects associated with taking too much of the enzymes!
I must say, I felt quite silly, but was also relieved to have had someone to help me figure it out. It took at least 3 – 4 weeks before the dizziness started to subside. Even now, I get dizzy spells here and there. The moral of this story is to follow the Clean Gut program to a T!! DON’T ADD ON ANY OTHER SUPPLEMENTS! Unless you really know what you are doing!
Is This Program Worth Trying?
I shared with you the basics of the Clean Gut book. I also shared with you my experience of doing the 21- Day Clean Gut Program. These experiences were mine. If you give this program a try you may have different experiences from me. So, should you give this program a try?
Yes! A resounding YES!
First, read the book. Reading the book will give you the basic knowledge to help you to fully understand why you are doing the 21- Day Clean Gut Program.
Then once you are done reading the book, give the Clean Gut program a try. It’s only 21 days and you will gain a lot of knowledge about your body and how it works best.
For me I found that I need to eat way more high fibre fruits and veggies. I also found that a smoothie in the morning works great for my digestive system. Plus not mixing starchy carbs with animal proteins has been a game changer for me.
Prioritize Your Health
You only get one life and one digestive system! Learning how your body works and feeding it foods that will keep it running smoothly is the best way to live a long, healthy life!
Now more then any time in history, it is so very important to get healthy and stay healthy!
Are you ready to transform you health and your life?
Comment below and let me know!
PS. Some links are affiliate links. I have used all the products and therefore approve of them. I will receive a monetary reward if purchases are made from these links. Thank you and please know that the products I promote are ones I have used and have worked for me.