Restoring Gut Flora After Diarrhea



Everyone at some point in their lives will experience the joys of diarrhea. Yes, this entire post will be discussing diarrhea. Specifically what it is, how and why you get it, plus how to restore your gut flora after the onslaught of constant bathroom breaks is done.

Having diarrhea chronically is just as bad as being chronically constipated. Before we get into chronic and acute diarrhea, let’s discuss exactly what diarrhea is, shall we?


Diarrhea is characterized as loose, watery stools or the frequent need to have a bowel movement. Diarrhea can be acute or chronic.



There are many causes that result in diarrhea.

  • VIRAL INFECTION: Rotovirus is a common cause of childhood diarrhea. This is a viral infection that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Initial symptoms of rotovirus are fever and vomiting followed by three to eight days of watery stools.
  • BACTERIAL INFECTION: several types of bacteria can enter your body through contaminated food or water and cause diarrhea. Common bacteria that cause diarrhea are E. Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. These are all foodborne illnesses that you can get from contaminated food.
  • TRAVELLERS DIARRHEA: this is another foodborne illness caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites. Travelers diarrhea is usually acute and clears up fairly quickly.
  • ADVERSE REACTION TO MEDICATION: many medicines may cause diarrhea. Medicines that may cause diarrhea are antibiotics, antacids and some cancer treatments.


Acute diarrhea usually only lasts a few days. This type of diarrhea could be from a viral infection or from something that you have eaten or a reaction to medication you are taking. This type of diarrhea is fairly common and clears up fairly quickly. Some examples of acute diarrhea: viral infection, bacterial infection, travelers diarrhea, adverse reaction to medications.


Chronic diarrhea lasts longer, at least 4 weeks. Chronic diarrhea is usually the result of an intestinal disease or disorder. Some examples of intestinal disease that may cause chronic diarrhea are:

  • SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • FOOD ALLERGIES: could cause chronic diarrhea. Some examples of food allergies that may cause diarrhea are:
    • lactose intolerance
    • fructose intolerance
    • sugar alcohols: sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol may cause diarrhea in some people.
  • ABDOMINAL SURGERY: you may develop chronic diarrhea after abdominal surgery. This type of surgery includes:
    • gallbladder
    • large intestine
    • small intestine
    • spleen or stomach
  • LONG TERM USE OF MEDICINES: medicines taken for a long time may cause chronic diarrhea. Medicines such as antibiotics, can change the gut flora and cause bacteria overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria which can cause chronic diarrhea.



Drinking Water

What do you do when you have diarrhea? How do you treat it? While you are dealing with diarrhea, the best thing to do is to replace lost fluids. Drink water and an electrolyte supplement to help replenish lost electrolytes as well as lost fluids.

If the situation becomes serious and you become severely dehydrated, then you will need to be hospitalized and put on an IV to get fluids into your body.

If a bacterial infection is causing the diarrhea then your doctor may need to prescribe you antibiotics.

My oldest daughter contracted salmonella when she was six years old.

She was a thumb sucker.

One day she went on a field trip with her class to see baby chicks at a farm. They all washed their hands after touching the baby chicks however my daughter had also been sucking her thumb before washing for hands.

I did inform her before the field trip to NOT put her thumb in her mouth until AFTER her hands were washed but she was a six-year old at the time and it was such a habit to put her thumb in her mouth that she did it without even thinking.

Salmonella works fast let me tell you! She felt sick by the time she got home that afternoon and by that evening she had a fever and was throwing up!

Then came the diarrhea!!

It went from bad to worse to so disgusting that it didn’t even look like diarrhea anymore.

The poor little girl!

She had so much pain and cramping. I can’t remember if she had to go on antibiotics, but I know it was at least seven to eight days of nasty loose, bloody-swamp-water-looking stools, before the diarrhea started to clear up.

If I knew then, what I know now, about the importance of balanced gut flora, I would have started implementing some flora replenishing steps as soon as she was feeling even just a little better.

Once she was no longer infected with salmonella, she was still very weak and pale. It took her months to look and feel better. Now I know this was because her intestinal tract was depleted of all good bacteria and very unbalanced. At the time, I went back to feeding her, her regular diet, which wasn’t an unhealthy diet by any means. However, she could have used some extra help in the rebuilding of good gut flora.

Here is what I would do now to help restore gut bacteria after diarrhea. I would feed her foods that helped to replenish her gut bacteria.


Once your body has healed and the diarrhea has stopped, you can now begin to replenish your gut with good, helpful, beneficial bacteria.

All the good and bad bacteria have been pretty much wiped out with that bout of diarrhea.

It takes about one month for your gut microbiome to recover after having diarrhea. You will want to take care of your intestines during this time and help to re-establish a healthy balance of your gut mircobiome.

The foods you eat following a bad case of diarrhea will have a big impact on how quickly your guts recover. Let’s look at some foods to eat that will help to replenish beneficial bacteria in your gut.



How To Heal Gut Flora After Antibiotics

  1. FERMENTED AND CULTURED FOOD: some examples of fermented and cultured foods are; sauerkraut, kimchi, keifer and naturally pickled vegetable. Try to eat a variety of fermented foods as this will provide your gut with bacteria diversity which will help to restore your gut faster.
  2. PREBIOTIC FOODS: you will want to feed your new beneficial bacteria. These bacteria LOVE fiber rich foods. Foods high in soluble fiber are considered prebiotic and will work best at feeding your good gut bacteria. Here are some examples of prebiotic foods: broccoli, chia seeds, beans and legumesraw-vegetables
  3. RAW VEGETABLES: organic vegetables are best as they won’t have pesticides on them. These pesticides will kill off the good bacteria basically working against what you are trying to do! Raw veggies are a great source of fiber. If your body is having a hard time with raw veggies, then steam them. Steaming cooks the veggies slightly making it easier for your body to digest.

Of course, once you are feeling better, you usually go back to your regular way of eating, However, keep in mind that if you want to restore your gut microbiome to a healthy balance, you will need to avoid these three foods.


  1. SUGAR: it’s always good to limit your refined sugars to no more then 25grams a day. However, when you are rebuilding your gut flora, you will want to avoid sugar altogether. Opportunistic bacteria thrive on sugar and we want to limit the production of these bad bacteria as much as
  2. RED MEAT: limit your red meat (pork, beef) to once or twice a week while your gut heals. Too much red meat can lead to an unfavorable shift in your gut bacteria.
  3. UNDERCOOKED EGGS OR SEAFOOD: avoid raw eggs and seafood (sushi) while your gut flora is rebuilding a strong population of friendly bacteria.raw-seafood



You now know what causes diarrhea, and how to heal your gut flora after a bout of diarrhea.

So how do you go about making sure you don’t get diarrhea again? Here are a few tips to help prevent diarrhea.


  1. WASH YOUR HANDS: to help prevent spreading a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, wash your hand frequently with soap and water.
  2. THAWING FROZEN FOOD: always thaw your frozen food in the refrigerator
  3. LEFTOVERS: refrigerate leftovers right away. Do not leave out.
  4. FOOD PREPARATION: wash cooking areas and food preparation areas frequently


If you have read any of my previous posts, then you will start to notice a trend. Our guts NEED bacteria to keep us healthy. But in order to have the good, high quality bacteria, we have to nourish our body with foods that feed the BENEFICIAL bacteria and starve the OPPORTUNISTIC bacteria.

This is why it is so important to be mindful of the food that you put in your body.

I would love to know your thoughts. Have you experienced gut issues after a bad bout of diarrhea and if so, what did you do to help heal your gut?


The Gut Nerd


5 Steps To Heal A Leaky Gut Naturally


It seems that the term “leaky gut” is becoming more and more popular. This term is heard, written and spoken in every method of communication: TV, newspaper, magazines, online and social media.

Do most people even know what “leaky gut” means?

What images pop into your head when you hear the word “leaky gut”? For me, I picture some sort of green goo oozing slowly from a bunch of small openings.

green-gooThis image is actually not too far off!

The good news about leaky gut is that there are steps you can take to heal a leaky gut naturally! But first let’s discuss what it means to have a leaky gut.

What Is A Leaky Gut?

What exactly does it mean to have a leaky gut?

To keep it simple, having a leaky gut means the lining of your intestinal wall has minuscule holes in it. Through these teeny tiny holes, bacteria, food particles, and antigens have all started to slowly escape the confines of the intestinal tract.

This, my friends, is the simplest definition of leaky gut.

Still confused?

Think of your gut lining (intestinal epithelial lining) as a VERY thin, yet tightly woven stocking. The stocking weaving is super tight, and only minuscule nutrients and minerals are allowed to pass through this weave. These minerals and vitamins are allowed to pass through because of the “tight junction protein” gatekeepers. These gatekeepers (TJP) only let the nutrients your body needs, through their gates. They do not allow antigens, food particles or bacteria to get through their gates.

Now imagine that these gatekeepers (TJP) have become weak, and there are no new, strong gate keepers to take over. These weak gatekeepers do not have the strength to keep the gates closed and now all the riffraff (bacteria, food particles, antigens) are escaping the intestines and getting into the bloodstream.



What Causes Leaky Gut?

So how does leaky gut, or intestinal hyperpermeability happen? Here are some factors that are believed to play a role in leaky gut.Avoid Excessive Sugar

Excessive Sugar Intake: a diet high in sugar, especially fructose, harms the barrier function of the intestinal wall.

NSAID AvoidNon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID): examples of NSAID’s are: ibuprofen and aspirin. Overuse or long term use of these drugs can increase intestinal hyperpermeability and contribute to leaky gut.

Excessive alcohol intake: too much alcohol consumption may lead to a leaky gut.Margarita

Inflammation: Chronic, ongoing inflammation can contribute to gut hyperpermeability.

Nutrient deficiencies: deficiencies in Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Zinc may increase the chances of a leaky gut.

Stress: Chronic stress is a contributing factor to many GI disorders including leaky gut.

Leaky Gut PicturePoor gut health: there are millions of bacteria in the gut: some good and some bad. This gut microbiome must be in perfect balance. When this balance is disrupted, the gut lining is affected which in turn can lead to leaky gut.

Yeast overgrowth: there is yeast naturally in the gut. However, problems can occur if there is an over growth of this yeast.


Signs And Symptoms Of Leaky Gut

Leaky gut, also known as intestinal hyperpermeability, shares a lot of its symptoms with other health conditions, which makes it very difficult for doctors to identify.

Because of this, “leaky gut” is not recognized in the mainstream medical community. Leaky gut is more theoretical than scientifically proven at this point. However, there is growing evidence to show that gut microbiota (good gut bacteria) plays an important role in supporting the gut lining and increasing the amount of tight junction proteins!

Here are possible symptoms of a leaky gut:

  • Chronic diarrhea, constipation or bloating
  • Difficulty ConcentratingNutritional deficiencies
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Skin problems such as rashes, eczema
  • Joint pain
  • Widespread Inflammation



Diseases Associated With Leaky Gut


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): symptoms are abdominal pain, excess gas, diarrhea and constipation. IBS is a digestive disorder. Studies have shown that those with IBS have increased intestinal hyperpermeability.

Celiac Disease: this is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by a severe allergy to gluten. Several studies have found that intestinal hyperpermeability is higher in those with celiac disease.

Crohn’s Disease: is a chronic digestive disorder characterized by persistent inflammation of the intestines. There are a few studies to show an increase in intestinal hyperpermeability in those patients with Crohn’s.

Food Allergies: a few studies have shown that those with food allergies often have impaired or weakened gut lining. A leaky gut may allow food proteins to cross the intestinal barrier causing the immune system to respond. An immune response to a food protein (an antigen) is the definition of a food allergy.

5 Steps To Heal a Gut Naturally

Now that we have discussed the reasons for a leaky gut, the symptoms of a leaky gut and the diseases associated with a leaky gut, we should discuss ways for YOU to help improve and heal a leaky gut.

White Pasta

Here are 5 ways to improve your gut, strengthen the gut lining and ultimately heal your leaky gut.

  1. Limit Refined Carbs: opportunistic bacteria (bad bacteria), absolutely LOVE sugar! They thrive on sugar! Cut out highly processed foods like white pasta, white bread, white rice, chips, candy. All of these foods help to increase the bad bacteria, and in turn continue to weaken the gut lining and continue the cycle of a leaky gut.
  2. Eat Fermented Foods: fermented foods are great for helping to boost good bacteria in the gut thus strengthening your gut lining and improving your gut health. Some examples of fermented foods: Keifer, sauerkraut, and kimchi just to name a few.Fermented Food
  3. Take A High Quality Probiotic: probiotics are beneficial bacteria in a pill. Once these bacteria make it to your digestive tract, they can start strengthening your gut lining.
  4. Eat Plenty Of High Fiber Foods: soluble fiber found in fruits and veggies feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. So make sure to get at least 30grams of fiber a day! The more fiber your beneficial bacteria get, the more they will grow and help to keep the opportunistic bacteria to a minimum, in turn strengthening that gut lining!
  5. Limit The Use of NSAIDS: keep usage of aspirin and ibuprofen to a minimum to prevent damage of your gut microbiome.

Eating whole foods, with little to no processing is the key to healing and maintaining a healthy gut lining and gut microbiome.

If you want to learn more about your gut, consider reading these books:

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Bodies Most Underrated OrganGut: The Inside Story Of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giula Enders

Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be The Root Cause Of Your Health Problems And 5 Surprising Steps To Cure It by Dr. Josh Axeeat-dirt

The Microbiome Solution by Dr. Robynne Chutkan


The Microbiome Solution
The Microbiome Solution


Also, see below for research articles relating to this post.


Comment below and let me know your thoughts on leaky gut or share your experiences with healing your leaky gut.


Anna aka The Gut Nerd
















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Top 5 Vegetables for Better Digestion and A Healthier Gut

You have been struggling with bloating, morning puffiness, joint pain and brain fog over the past few years. After months of specialists and your own research, you’ve discovered that you may be suffering from an inflamed gut.

Now that you have figured this out, you’re researching ways to heal your gut naturally with food. This can be a bit overwhelming as there is so much information out there.

Where do you start?

Allow me to help you out with just a small portion of the big pie that is “gut health”. In this post I’ll cover 5 vegetables for better digestion. Start by slowly incorporating these vegetables into your diet one at a time and they will start building up your beneficial bacteria. This in turn, will start to heal your inflamed gut.




Let’s clarify what vegetables are, you know, just for fun.

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans and other animals as food.

The majority of vegetables are good for you. However, keep in mind that not all vegetables are good for everyone. You may find your body doesn’t like certain vegetables. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants can actually be inflammatory for some people.


Cucumbers are a member of the cucurbitaceae family along with squash and different kinds of melons. Which means cucumbers are actually a fruit!!



Cucumbers are made up of 96% water, are high in fiber and are known to help prevent constipation. Pectin is a soluble fiber found in cucumber. This fiber has been shown to speed up the movement of the intestinal muscles while feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut. The more beneficial bacteria the better!

There are also antioxidants found in cucumbers such as Vitamin C, beta carotene and manganese. Also, flavonoids like triterpenes, lignans, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Most of the fiber found in the cucumber is found in the skin. If your body is having a hard time breaking this food down and digesting it, peel the skin. Yes, this will lower the fiber content, but your body will have an easier time digesting this food. Once your body adapts to the higher fiber, you will be able to start leaving the skin on.




What do you think of when you think of celery? I know I used to think of a model going on a “celery only” diet. However, there is SOOOO much more to this vegetable and it should be looked at as a great addition to the fight to heal your gut and NOT a food to help you get skinny.

The nutrition of this vegetable is found in every part of the plant, from the stalk to the leaves and seeds.

Celery is full of water and fiber: two elements that are essential for keeping the digestive system moving.

Here are some vitamins found in celery:

  • Niacin (Vitamin B3). This vitamin is necessary for the metabolism of food including the production of gastric juices and the secretion of bile needed to digest fat.
  • Vitamin B6 aides in digestion. It helps your body process proteins from the food in your diet.
  • Riboflavin (B2). Celery has 3% of the daily value of riboflavin per cup. This vitamin helps keep the mucosal lining of your digestive tract healthy.
  • Thiamine (B1) helps with production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach.
  • Antioxidants like polyphenol, Vitamin C, E, Copper, Zinc, and magnesium are all found in celery

As you can see this vegetable is much more important for your body’s intestinal health than you may have ever realized!

Lightly cooking celery will make it even easier to digest, but just be sure not to overcook as you don’t want to destroy all of those amazing vitamins and minerals.


Zucchinni is known as a courgette in some parts of the world. It is part of the squash family. This veggie is high in water, but very low in sugar and carbohydrates which makes it very appealing to those on a low carb diet (think Keto).

Here are some nutrients found in this veggie:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A



Anti-inflammatory properties can be found in zucchini which is what we want when trying to heal our gut. Pectin is one of these anti-inflammatory properties.

PECTIN! Like celery and cucumber, zucchini also contains pectin which not only has anti-inflammatory properties, but it is a soluble fiber that helps to move the intestinal tract. With the ability to lower gut inflammation and the ease with which it is to digest, zucchini is the perfect vegetable to add to your daily meals.


Spinach is a superfood! Remember how Popeye would eat a can of spinach and immediately his muscles would get huge and he’d become almost super human?

Even though this exact reaction will more than likely NOT happen to you, it is good to know that spinach is loaded with tons of nutrients such as:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

Like celery, cucumber and zucchini, spinach is high in fiber AND water. Both of these promote a healthy gut and intestinal wall.



Remember! The beneficial (good) bacteria in your gut LOVES fiber, so the more fiber you eat the more good bacteria you can feed and have multiplied in your gut. These good bacteria will help to destroy and keep in check the opportunistic (bad) bacteria.


Winter Squash


There are a great variety of winter squash to choose from like butternut, acorn and spaghetti. Most people love squash as they are creamy and buttery in taste and texture.

Here are some gut healthy nutrients found in winter squash:

  • Carotenoids (a precursor to Vitamin A)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • And even Protein!!

Winter squash are also highly anti-inflammatory. Squashes have a compound called ‘cucurbitacins’. This compound inhibits (stops) chemicals and enzymes that induce inflammation in our bodies. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients in winter squash support immune system function. Plus squash are a lot easier to digest since we tend to eat them mashed, roasted or pureed.


Keep a food journal so you can keep track of how you are feeling and if you’ve noticed a difference in how your gut is feeling after incorporating these 5 vegetables into your diet.



Be sure to comment below and let me know your thoughts on how eating these vegetables has made you feel.


Related research to the above post:


Take care!


The Gut Nerd




How To Heal Gut Flora After Antibiotics



Sometimes you have no choice but to go on antibiotics. You’ve been sick for weeks and you’re not getting better, so you go to the doctor and he confirms what you have been hoping to avoid: ANTIBIOTICS!

Here’s the thing, antibiotics can wreak havoc on your gut flora, but your infection won’t get better until you take those damn pills.

You are caught between a rock and a hard place.


Antibiotics kill off the bacteria responsible for the infection you are targeting. However, they also kill off the good bacteria you DON’T want to touch.

Taking these antibiotics may just give you gas or diarrhea. However, some people may develop more serious issues due to antibiotics, such as:

  • malabsorption
  • Acid Reflux
  • Candida (yeast overgrowth)
  • Acne
  • IBS (irritable Bowel Syndrome)

The good news is you can help your body to stop these issues from occurring, by restoring your gut flora while on antibiotics AND once you are done your antibiotic treatment.

Keep reading to find out how to heal gut flora after antibiotics.



OK, you’re on antibiotics, but you want to get a jump on restoring your gut flora.

What do you do? Here are a few things you can do.

Being restoring your gut flora by taking a probiotic while you are still on antibiotics. Be sure to take the probiotics 2 hours BEFORE or 2 hours AFTER taking your antibiotic.

Why take within a 2-hour window?

If you take a probiotic too close to taking your antibiotic, the antibiotic will just kill all the good bacteria.

Taking 2 hours before or 2 hours after the antibiotic creates a bit of a buffer. The good bacteria won’t have time to colonize in the gut while you’re on antibiotics, however the good bacteria just passing through will help to keep the opportunistic bacteria in check.



Cut Sugar Out of Your Diet When On Antibiotics

Opportunistic bacteria LOVE sugar. As do Candida, which is a type of yeast. The beneficial (good) bacteria help to keep the yeast and bad bacteria at bay. However, these good bacteria can get killed off and greatly diminished with the use of antibiotics.

As stated before, using a probiotic 2 hours before or after taking your antibiotic, will help. Cutting down or eliminating sugar is another step you can take to lessen the chance of yeast and bacteria overgrowth.

Yeast is a type of fungi that resides in the gut. Antibiotics cannot kill this yeast so this leaves them prone to getting out of control during antibiotic use. Candida is a yeast that can become problematic. Candida thrives on sugar and simple carbohydrates. If there are no beneficial bacteria around to keep the Candida at bay, the yeast will flourish. To keep these fungi from taking over, keep your sugar and carbohydrate intake to a minimum.

Candida won’t get very far if they don’t have a huge sugar food source. Staying away from sugar is always a good idea, but its even more important when you’re taking antibiotics!

After you are done your round of antibiotics, continue to limit your sugar intake. Remember that sugar is not just found in candy and junk food. Carbohydrates like white pasta, bread, rice, and starchy vegetables (potatoes), are all sources of carbohydrates that easily convert to sugar which Candida and opportunistic bacteria LOVE!


Bone Broth

The good bacteria that line your digestive track help to keep the mucus lining intact. This mucus lining keeps the intestinal contents on the inside of the intestines where they belong.

When you are on antibiotics, these bacteria decreases leaving the opportunity for fungi to take root on the intestinal wall. These fungi shoot their roots into the intestinal wall leaving tiny holes. This allows partially digested food particles to seep out of the digestive tract which in turn causes problems.


Hydrolyzed Collagen

Collagen is a protein that holds membranes together. Collagen is found in bone broth or it can be taken in the form of a powder (hydrolyzed collagen) that can be added to other foods or drinks.

Collagen can help to strengthen the wall lining and strengthen the good bacteria that is protecting the intestinal wall.

Taking collagen and/or sipping on bone broth won’t 100% prevent fungi from attaching themselves to the intestinal wall, but it will help to make the good bacteria more resistant to damage and more resilient when the antibiotics are done.



Fermented Foods

Fermented foods contain healthy bacteria such as lactobacilli. These bacteria can help to restore gut microbiota to a healthy balance after antibiotics.


Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, keifer and kombucha are some great examples of fermented food to eat after antibiotics.

You can even eat these foods while on antibiotics. Just be sure to follow the same rules as when taking a probiotic while on antibiotics. Eat these fermented foods 2 hours before or after taking your antibiotic. This will allow the good bacteria to kill a few opportunistic bacteria and fungi as they pass through the intestinal tract.



A lot of vegetables are loaded with fiber. Fiber can’t be digested by your body, however it can be digested by your beneficial gut bacteria which will stimulate their growth. This is good as we want as many beneficial bacteria as possible!

High Fibre Foods

Here are some high fiber veggies to start incorporating into your diet once you are done with your antibiotics:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Sweet Potato
  • Artichoke hearts – cooked
  • Pumpkin

One word of caution regarding Fiber: although it does restore beneficial bacteria after a round of antibiotics, it is best to wait until AFTER you are done your antibiotics treatment before upping your fiber intake.


Well fiber can slow the rate which your stomach empties which will slow the rate at which antibiotics/ medications are absorbed.

Instead, start consuming more fiber after you are done your antibiotic treatment.


We are lucky to be living in an age where we have access to many medicines to help us. However, we need to remember to use these medicines only when absolutely necessary. Overuse of medications like antibiotics can wreak havoc on the gut, which in turn can cause many health issues.

However, when there is no choice and antibiotics must be used, it’s good to have a back-up plan to help keep your gut strong while you are taking antibiotics and to help your gut get balanced after.

I hope this article was helpful. Please see some further studies below for more information on the impact of antibiotics to the gut flora.

Gut Health Books – 5 MUST READ Books on Gut Health


5 Must Read Books on Gut Health

On my journey to becoming The Gut Nerd, I have read a lot of books. Most of these books in some way or another have had to do with the gut. As I have stated in previous posts, most of these books were read solely for the purpose of helping heal my youngest daughter’s gut.

During this time I wasn’t really thinking about how I could apply this information I was learning, to my own health. However, as time went on and the more books I read, and the more online articles I read, I realized that I could use some help in the healthy gut department as well.

If you are at that point in your life where you are fed up with how you are feeling, or if you just know that you need to learn more about the gut before starting to incorporate changes, then keep reading.

I am going to share 5 gut health books with you. These are must read books that will help you learn how the gut becomes damaged and what it means to have a damaged gut. Plus some gut friendly recipes to get you started on your journey to a healthier gut!

Let’s get started!

1) Breaking The Vicious Cycle by. Elaine Gottschall


Breaking The Vicious Cycle
Breaking The Vicious Cycle

In this book, author Elaine Gottschall discusses how to heal many intestinal problems such as Chron’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac Disease.

You will learn about why these intestinal issues exist. Elaine Gottschall discusses in detail the reasons as to why the gut doesn’t absorb food properly therefore leading to major health issues like diverticulitis and chronic diarrhea.

Scientific evidence will be given relating to the positive effects of dietary changes on intestinal disease. Elaine writes about the microbiome of our intestines in great detail. She emphasizes that the “good” and “bad” bacteria must be in perfect balance in order for the body to function properly.

Elaine Gottschall given in depth knowledge of how to introduce the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to either yourself or a loved one.

The end of the book contains many delicious recipes for you to use when on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).

I make the Cheese Bread and the Peanut Butter Cookies often. They are delicious and easy to make.

2) The 131 Method Book by Chalene Johnson


131 Method
131 Method


In a previous post, I wrote an in-depth review of the 131 Method Book. This book helped me to lose that bloated feeling after every meal and helped to stop my insatiable NEED for all things sweet.

Author Chalene Johnson writes about a life altering experience and how it led her to want to heal her gut.

In this book you are provided with knowledge on food and how it can help or hinder your body.

You are given information on gut inflammation, the symptoms of inflammation and why you may have gut inflammation.

Chalene provides you with useful information that you can use right away! You aren’t told what you can and cannot eat. You aren’t told when and what to eat.

You are given information about foods and how certain foods may work for you and how some foods may work against you.

Information is given on your hunger hormones and how balancing these hormones is the KEY to stopping cravings.

You are given information on the importance of letting the digestive system rest through intermittent fasting.

But MOST importantly, you are given all of this information so that you can use it in a way that will work for YOU!

I can’t say enough good things about this book. If you are looking for a step by step approach to improving your intestinal health, and overall health, then this book is a MUST read!


3) Gut And Psychology Syndrome By. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci(neurology) MMedSci(nutrition)



Gut and Psychology Syndrome
Gut and Psychology Syndrome

I’m sure many of you have heard about or maybe even read about the GAPS diet. Well this book is where the GAPS diet stems from and as you can see GAPS stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome!

The connection to what is happening in your gut and how it’s affecting your brain is talked about at great length in this book. Dr. McBride writes in easy to understand language, how the digestive system should work and how this system actually works in a body with a broken digestive system.

This broken and inflamed digestive system is the root of many health issues including depression, autism, ADD and ADHD.

Dr McBride breaks down how the cells in the digestive tract are supposed to work and how they are actually working in an injured body.

Good bacteria and bad bacteria must all balance.

So, how do you heal a damaged gut? This book covers all the steps you need to take to slowly heal your gut.

The love and real interest that Dr. McBride has in helping heal children who are hurting, is wonderful to read.

The GAPS diet is extreme and necessary for a lot people whose guts are extremely damaged and inflamed. However, if this diet is something you cannot do, at least implementing some of it into your life will help to heal your gut.


4) Cooking For The Specific Carbohydrate Diet By Erica Kerwien


OK, so this book isn’t a book to read in the same sense as the 3 other books I’ve discussed.

This is a great book to have on hand if you want to heal your gut, eat whole foods and find tasty recipes to boot.

There are sooooo many recipes in this book!

Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Basic recipes like how to make yogurt! If you want to try to make dairy free yogurt, then there is a great Almond SCD Yogurt. (pg.17) You’ll need to purchase a yogurt starter if you don’t already have one, but no fear, this book has product sources in the back pages, to help you!

Wanting to try to make some grain free crackers? Perfect! There’s a great recipe for making Almond Flour Crackers (pg.47) and even Parmesan Crackers (pg.46)!

I found the almond crackers a tad dry when I made them the first time so the second time around I added grated cheddar to them and voila, they were much yummier and less dry.

Under Salads and Soups, the Tomato Cheddar Basil Soup (pg.60) was super easy and quick to make. I found it a tad bland so I just added a little more salt and then paired the soup with the Parmesan crackers.

It was filling, and DELICIOUS!

In the “Poultry and Seafood” section, I made the Fennel Pesto Meatballs (pg.127). These were extremely fragrant, tender and tasty.

One more recipe I want to share is the Crunchy No Grain Granola (pg.138). It took me a couple of tries to get the recipe cooked perfectly, but once I figured it out, this granola was yummy, crunchy and sweet! Such a perfect combination! I haven’t made the SCD yogurt, yet, but I’m fairly certain this granola would pair PERFECTLY with the SCD yogurt!

This is a DEFINITE book to have when looking to make small changes in the food you eat.

5) The Microbiome Solution by Robynne Chutkan MD

The Microbiome Solution
The Microbiome Solution

This book is written in a very easy to understand language, so if you are new to the world of gut microbiome and all the science behind it, you will have no problem understanding this book and you will be able to put into use the practical advice given.

Author Robynne Chutkan is a gastroenterologist and she wrote this book based on her own research and experiences within her practice. Her ongoing research about how the gut bacteria in our body affect our health is what compelled her to write this book.

In this book, Dr. Chutkan explains how our bodies have beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion and help to prevent disease. However, with today’s highly processed diet and the overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial products in the home, this beneficial bacteria is decreasing while the opportunistic (bad) bacteria in our bodies is increasing. This is causing gut dysbiosis, which in turn is causing many health problems.

Dr. Chutkan points out that illnesses like Chron’s disease are common in more developed countries yet rare in less developed countries. She uses the “Hygene Hypothesis” suggesting that less childhood exposure to bacteria and parasites in affluent countries like Canada, the USA, Europe, actually increases susceptibility to disease by suppressing the natural development of the immune system.


My mind was blown when I read this.

Live dirty. Eat clean was the mantra of this book.

Chutkan offers tips on how to help re-balance your gut microbiome which is fantastic! She also offers some basic day to day living advice.

Such as:

A little dirt is a good thing.

Open a window to let in fresh air.

Go outside

All of this is beneficial for our gut microbiome.

At the end of the book, there are also some recipes to help feed the good bacteria and suppress the bad bacteria. I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but some of them look delicious!

All in all this book is a great read especially if you are new to all of this and are just starting out on your journey to attain a healthy gut.


So there you have it! 5 Books to get you started on your gut health journey.

Did you find this helpful? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.






131 Method Book Review – Turning The Idea Of “Diet” On Its Head

I have always been a huge believer in healthy eating and NOT dieting. When my youngest daughter was born with Down Syndrome, I began a journey of researching ways to help my daughter’s immune system naturally. All of this research eventually got me to wanting to help MY immune system as well.

Finding the 131 Method Book was a mixture of years of looking at the gut brain connection and from listening to the Chalene Show podcast.

When I heard that Chalene had written a book about how to help heal the gut and balance hormones naturally through diet, I was intrigued!

Who Is Chalene Johnson?

Book Review

Chalene Johnson is the author of the 131 Method book and the co-creator of the online 131 Method program. She is a well-known fitness trainer and has also created many, many fitness DVDs and has been featured as a star trainer in the BeachBody company.

I used to (and still do) work out to many of her DVDs! I always loved how she taught the classes and her vibe and videos were always very motivating and fun!

As social media took off, I found Chalene on Snapchat and then Instagram and finally I started listening to her podcast The Chalene Show. Go and listen, if you haven’t already. This podcast contains all sorts of great content! She covers it all: business, relationships and The Chalene Show Podcastlifestyle.

One episode, she was talking in detail about a health scare she had that made her reassess everything she thought she knew about healthy eating and wellness.

This aha moment took her on a journey of re-learning about food and how what you put in your body can positively or negatively affect your entire digestive system and brain.

With the help of registered dietitians and integrative doctors, Chalene came up with a way of eating that healed her body and reversed the damage that was done to her brain. If you go to her IG account, you can find pictures of her brain “before and after”. It really is amazing to see how the brain changed…. And this was all done with food!

Chalene was so excited with her findings that she continued to work with her team of professionals to create an online program. She wanted to use what she had learned to help others.

The online program took 3 years of creating, researching and beta testing before it was ready to go out to the masses. Once that was done, Chalene decided to write the 131 Method Book. When I heard about the book I went and preordered it immediately.

Why The 131 Method Book and Not the 131 Method Online Program

When I found out Chalene had written a book about the 131 Method, I wanted to read that first before trying the online program. I figured I knew enough about nutrition that I could follow the details of the book instead of doing the online course.

Once I started reading the book, I quickly came to realize that this “method” was a mindset and whole lifestyle. It was NOT a “get skinny quick” diet.131 Ambassador Quote

What Is the 131 Method?

The idea behind the 131 method is diet phasing. It’s not “Keto” or “Paleo” or “Whole 30” or any of that. It is 12 weeks of phasing foods along with intermittent fasting. The basics behind it is that you change up the food that you put in your body and your body responds by making your metabolism flexible (metabolic flexibility).

The book goes into detail about how each phase works and the reason for each phase.


131 Method Book Breakdown

Introduction – Heartfelt Apology

The 131 Method book starts off with Chalene talking to the reader in a most heartfelt and sincere manner. She apologizes for misleading others over the years as a health and fitness expert. She then goes on to state that she is making it her mission to debunk all the misguided information out there regarding how to lose weight and what being healthy really is. (It’s not having six pack abs, let me tell you!)Piyo Dvd Chalene Johnson

Chalene continues on in the introduction to tell the reader in detail how her journey in the fitness industry and her own health scare, led her to do a complete 180 in how she viewed health and wellness. Chalene has made it her mission to undo the damage she has done in passing on incorrect information about diet, health and wellness. This book is part of how she wants to help.

She is committed to sharing her discoveries which has been the catalyst for the 131 Method.

To quote from the 131 Method book: “131 Method isn’t a book about getting skinny. 131 Method is about being smart and getting healthy.”

These were my two main reasons for reading this book.

  • I didn’t want to CRAVE sugar anymore.
  • I wanted to make sure I knew how to get my hormones in balance so that when menopause came around, I’d have the tools and be ready for it.

Could this book help me? All I knew was that I was willing to read the book, do the work and give it a go!


Part 1 – Erasing False Beliefs and Understanding Your Biology

Chapter 1:

Here is where Chalene breaks down how messed up the fitness industry has become in sending out false messages of what it means to be healthy and fit. She goes into detail about her experiences in filming exercise DVD’s and the pressure to look a certain way for those DVD’s and how that affected how she viewed what she ate and how she looked.

Looking A Certain Way

She goes on to give diet facts. Such as “95% of people who go on a diet gain all the weight back, and then some”. Or how about “diet disrupts gut health and hormone balance”.

Weight Gain


At the end of this chapter she provides you with a guideline to refer back to when you start to question the process of the 131 Method as a lot of information in the book goes against everything we have been led to believe about diets, health and wellness.

Chapter 2:

How The 131 Method Works

This chapter goes into detail about how the 131 Method works.

Here is the framework:

  • 1 health objective for each phase
  • 3 weeks of diet phasing
  • 1 week to fast and refuel


In this part of the book you learn:

  • How your metabolism works
  • How your food impacts your hormones
  • What it takes to speed up your metabolism
  • How to improve gut health
  • How to use stored fat as fuel

I know this all sounds very scientific and boring, but let me tell you, Chalene makes it easy to understand and not boring at all!

Briefly discussed are the three phases of the 131 Method.

Phase 1: Ignite

Phase 2: Nourish

Phase 3: Renew

Chalene goes into detail about these phases in Chapters 6, 7 and 8.

Before she even starts discussing these phases, she discusses so many more important things that you need to know, before you can even begin to start phasing your diet.

Chapter 3

The Drivers Manual

This chapter discusses why the 131 Method uses phases when it comes to eating. The basic idea is that the universe runs on cycles, seasons or phases. The body experiences similar cycles and seasons. For example, ovulation cycles, sleep patterns and even breathing patterns.

Diet phasing is the main component of the 131 Method.

Chalene will break down for you why diet phasing works. You will learn about homeostasis, the Krebs cycle, and Ketosis, all in easy to understand language.

It really is a very informative chapter and you will start to understand why it’s so important to rethink about what we put in our body as it directly affects our gut!

Chapter 4



Before any meal plans or recipes are given, Chalene helps us to learn the most important stuff – Mind-Set. In order to stop the endless cycle of dieting, you need to learn how your body works. Chalene helps you make that mind shift in this chapter.

You will learn how to prepare yourself for success in this chapter.

Why do you want to change? Your why, is what will motivate you to change your habits and eating.

You will be encouraged to shift out of a dieter’s mentality (the all or nothing thinking.)

Drink Water

Drink Water

Hydration is a key component of the 131 Method, especially in the Ignite Phase. You will be given tips to help you drink more water.

Get Some ZZZZs


Let’s not forget sleep! Chalene covers the need for adequete sleep and tips for a better sleep. One tip that I aim to follow every day is “avoiding screen time one to two hours before bed”. This is still a work in progress for me.

Move Your Body

Move Your Body

In this section, you are encouraged to move your body every day for at least 30 minutes. Again, lots of information on WHY you need to move your body and how it can benefit your body…..and it isn’t just about getting a flat stomach.

Are You Hungry?


Healthy Eating

Sometimes its hard to tell if you are hungry or just think you are hungry. Chalene has a great questionnaire in this part of the book to ask yourself if the hunger you are feeling is “True Hunger or Emotional Eating”.

I use this questionnaire often and I find it so helpful!

Now To the Meal Planning!

Here is where you will be encouraged to plan your meals and buy those things from your list that you don’t already have at home. You will be given some great tips on how to plan meals and make a shopping list around those meals.

Yes, the meal planning part can seem overwhelming, but if you take it just one teeny tiny step at a time, it gets easier. I feel ya!

Food tracking will be talked about to help you figure out if any of the foods you are eating are causing you gut inflammation.

Recording Your Starting Point

Ahhhhhh! Noooo!

Taking pictures and measurements of yourself is not something many people like to do, but it is a GREAT tool to use so that you can visually and on paper, see how much your body has changed.

I only took photos, and the changes I saw after the 12 weeks were noticeable!


Before and After
This is my before and after photo.







This chapter was chock-full of great information to help get mentally and physically ready to do the 131 Method!

Chapter 5




Chalene goes into great detail about the benefits of intermittent fasting and the science behind it. Farther in the chapter she writes about the 4 different types of fasts that are practiced on the 131 Method.

The best part of this chapter? You are encouraged to fast, but it’s not something that you HAVE to do! So if the first time around you don’t want to fast…. YOU DON’T HAVE TO!

The joy of the 131 Method is that YOU are in charge and you get to decide what you do and do not want to do. If at some point, during your phases, you decide that you are ready to give fasting a try, then you can!!


You Get To Decide





So NOW Chalene has told you about everything you need to be ready for the phases of the 131 Method. Chapters 6, 7 and 8 are all about the 3 phases.

Chapter 6

Phase One Ignite Phase


The primary goal of the Ignite Phase is to recalibrate your hormones.

Here is Ignite at a glance:

“Your goals for Ignite will be:

  • Become a fat burner by tracking your macro nutrient ratio.
  • Ideal macro nutrient ratio for Ketosis is to keep the calories in these ranges: 70 to 80 percent fats, 10 to 20 percent protein, and 5 to 10 percent carbohydrates
  • Practice eating within an 8 hour window (intermittent fasting)
  • Eliminate or cut back on as many inflammatory foods as possible
  • Increase your daily water intake to 75 ounces or more” (pg.132)

The above is quoted almost 100% directly from the book (hence the quotation marks). The rest of the chapter goes into more detail about the above information.

Chapter 7


Phase Two Nourish
salad with quail eggs, pepper, olives, tomatoes and sesame seeds


Nourish phase builds on the work you have done in the Ignite Phase. This chapter focuses on quality fuel intake to enhance the performance of your body.

Here is Nourish at a glance:

“Your goals for Nourish will be:

  • Intuitively track macro nutrient
  • Eat more plant-based foods rich in micro nutrients
  • Cut back on animal protein
  • Prioritize quality ingredients and micro nutrients”(pg.150)

This phase I found the most challenging, just in finding high quality ingredients that didn’t cost an arm and a leg!

Chapter 8


Phase Three Renew
131 Method Book


main objective of the Renew Phase is to reintroduce your relationship with carbs!!!


The work you did in the previous two chapters will have prepared your body for this chapter.

Here is Renew at a glance:

“Your goals for Renew will be:

  • Master intuitive intermittent fasting
  • Increase your metabolic flexibility through macrophasing
  • 2 days of Lean Green
  • 2 days of Carb Charge
  • 3 days of Fat Burning”

After you’ve completed three weeks of each phase, you will be given the opportunity to do a longer fast. Again this will be all your choice and up to you. There is even “pre-fast self assesment checklist” (pg.177) in the book to help you guage whether you are ready to do a fast.

Chapter 9

The Lifestyle Phase
131 Method Book

This Isn’t Goodbye

This chapter congratulates you on completing all three phases of the 131 Method. The hope, by this point, is that you have ditched the dieter’s mentality, that you have gained some fantastic knowledge about how your body works, and that you will continue on and do the 3 phases again.

This is now a lifestyle for you!


After this chapter, Chalene has put a ton of recipes all organized for the phase you are in!


I know I went into quite a lot of detail about this book, but I wanted to give you a really good in-depth overview so that you could see just how informative this book is and how it can help you live a better life.


Go! Change Your Life!

Read the book and see if it can help you! I’m glad I took the chance! Next….. the 131 Method ONLINE program!






The Brains Behind The Gut Nerd

Hi and welcome!

My name is Anna and I am the “brains” behind The Gut Nerd.

How My Fascination For “All Things Gut” Began

It all began when my youngest daughter was born with Trisomy 21 aka Down Syndrome. I knew I wanted to help her in any way I could. As she grew, her immune system was very weak. She got sick very often and VERY easily.

This was all considered “normal for Down Syndrome” in the mainstream medical community. However, 2 years of battling one infection after another had me questioning this “normal for DS” mindset.

I knew there had to be something more that I could do to help my daughter’s immune system. It was suggested to me by a fellow mom who had a child with Down Syndrome, to read the book Naturally Better Kids by Kristen Morrison. Reading this book changed the whole trajectory of how I saw health and Down Syndrome.

The progression was slow, but my daughter’s diet was changed, vitamins were introduced and improvements were seen.

Around 2016, I found a doctor in the US who specializes in helping kids with Down Syndrome through vitamin therapy and diet. It was through this doctor that I learned about the importance of a healthy gut. Whatever is going on in the gut directly affects the brain. This is especially true and important to know for those individuals with Down Syndrome.

I also began doing my own research on gut health. My research led me to two books:

Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gloria Gottschall

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD

These two books explain in detail how the small and large intestines work. The books also explain how a damaged small and large intestine can’t absorb and break down food properly.

This leads to gut inflammation – hence “gut issues”

These two books made me realize that I needed to incorporate this information into a lifestyle, not just for my youngest daughter, but for my whole family.

However, I wasn’t 100% sure how to go about doing this as I didn’t want to eliminate EVERYTHING.


Then I Found the 131 Method Book

As I was doing this research for my youngest, I was also listening to podcasts for myself. One of my favorite podcast was The Chalene Show. Chalene Johnson is a well-known fitness trainer who has done multiple fitness DVDs. I started listening to her podcast because I used her videos to work out at home and I LOVED her! So when I found her podcast, I was stoked.

One day I was listening to her podcast and she began talking about her journey to discovering how much damage she had inflicted on her gut and in turn brain, from years of dieting and trying to maintain a certain look for the fitness industry.

She researched and worked with some of the best integrative experts and registered dietitians and found a way of eating that worked to help heal her gut and in turn helped her brain as well.

She was so excited about the results she got that with the help of these same expert registered dietitians and integrative doctors, Chalene created an online program and a book called the 131 Method.

Once I knew she had written a book, I went out and ordered it. I read it front to back and immediately started implementing the information given in the book.Book Review

For me, my main issue was stopping the insatiable NEED for something sweet after lunch and dinner. No matter how well I ate, I just couldn’t kick the sugar habit. I knew I was missing something, but I just didn’t know what. The 131 Method Book helped me to figure that out and I was able to stop my sugar cravings one week after I began implementing the 131 Method program into my lifestyle.

The awesome thing about this book, was that I can learn even more by signing up for the 131 Method Online Program!

It feels great to have all the tools and information to not only help me but to help my entire family!

Now I Want to Pass What I Have Learned On To You

I created The Gut Nerd to help you figure out what is healthy for your gut and what is not. Keep in mind that this will vary from person to person. I pledge to do my best to pass on all the information I have and or discover regarding gut health! Lets get gut healthy together!

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,