As I sat down for lunch with my very hungry five-year-old twins, I noticed they accidentally put mayo on my son’s turkey sandwich.  I thought, “he is not going to eat this.” I kindly asked them to make another sandwich and I enjoyed the turkey sandwich with mayo on white bread.

I would have never imagined this would be me six years ago. 

I’ve struggled with diet my whole entire life.  When I was young, I would break out with acne on the back of my arms.  My stomach would bloat out and my digestion was terrible.

In college, I would turn bright red after a few drinks and would never know what foods would upset my stomach.

As I got older, I began avoiding foods.  I avoided meat, dairy, and then eventually discovered the gluten-free diet worked for me.

My stomach felt better, but I still never felt “right”, I was always confused with what are the best foods for me.

In 2009, I finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel.  I met an Ayurvedic doctor who helped guide me toward an Ayurvedic Vata diet which consisted of eating warm, cooked foods, along with teas to aid digestion and soothe anxiety.

During my pregnancy, I was able to eat anything I wanted.  I happily added gluten and dairy back into my life.  I fondly remember sitting down to eat two pieces of pizza-alone-when I was seven months pregnant.  I practically cried at how wonderful it tasted.

As the years passed and I was able to take care of my health again, I noticed I had to return to the gluten-free lifestyle I had before having children, but this time it was much harder to accommodate as I now had an instant family of four to feed.

When I began searching for courses to help me heal my postpartum depression, I found Dr. Aviva Romm’s Women’s Herbal Educator certification.  With shaking hands, I enrolled in her online course hoping she could guide me out of this fog I entered after having twins.

What I received was so much more than I ever imagined.

Dr. Aviva Romm taught me why I was experiencing so much pain and anxiety.  Too many doses of antibiotics as a child and young adult, along with my monthly Advil was taking a toll on my gut health and, in turn, my anxiety.

Antibiotics and medications change our gut microbiome, making it difficult to digest certain foods like dairy and gluten. When you heal your gut and reduce medications, you may be able to add gluten back into your life again.  Or you may choose to never eat it again.

Are you struggling with what foods to eat as well?

The root of your problem may not be the environment, your genetics or all in your head, it may, in fact, be in your gut.

If that rings true to you.  Read on.  

Our “second brain, the gut, contains some 100 million neurons; when this system is compromised or “inflamed” disease sets in. As a women’s herbal educator, I always ask you to send me your diet first.  What you are eating (or avoiding), can be an indication of what supplements you may need to heal your gut. 

10 Signs You May Have “Leaky Gut Syndrome”

  1. Digestion problems-bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea
  2. Food intolerance-avoid meat, dairy, and/or gluten
  3. Seasonal allergies
  4. Skin complaints; acne, skin rash etc.- your back, your tush, and the back of your arms included
  5. Autoimmune disorder
  6. Tired/ poor concentration
  7. Anxiety & depression
  8. Candida overgrowth
  9. Cannot lose weight
  10. Your joints ache

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What is the 4R approach?

This method addresses the underlying causes of gut imbalances and restores harmony, helping to alleviate symptoms and maybe even disease.

The program suggests you: Remove> Reinoculate> Repair> Reintroduce

heal your gut

How do you heal your gut?

  • Remove all triggers: i.e. all allergens and cross reactors like gluten and dairy.
  • Get off medications (with Dr.’s approval and replace with natural remedies ).
  • Reduce your stress with meditation, exercise, and botanicals.
  • Heal your gut lining with the 4R approach below.

1. Remove

Take out what ails you.  The top allergens are wheat, corn, eggs, dairy, peanuts, and soybeans. Add in whole grains (like quinoa and rice), organic vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. Remove all allergens for 4-6 weeks or it may take up to a year to heal your gut with an auto-immune disease.

Encourage whole, organic foods if able and consider shopping the perimeter of the grocery store.

2. Replace

After 2-4 weeks on the Elimination diet, Introduce a good quality digestive enzyme containing protease, lipase, amylase, and pepsin.  This is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, too. I like Enzymedica, you can buy it here. 

Adding bitters, like  Urban Moonshine Bitters will trigger the digestive system to produce digestive enzymes, secrete bile and balance HCI levels in the stomach.  Take bitters 10-15 minutes before your meal.
If you have a lot of nausea with meals or when you take supplements, you might also need some additional stomach acid in the form of a supplement called Betaine HCl, or try 1 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar in water with your meals. 
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3.  Reinoculate

Wait 2 weeks for the elimination diet or up to 6 weeks.  Adding in a probiotic can give you gas and bloating if you do not remove the allergens first.

Add a good quality probiotic to restore your gut flora.  I like Klair probiotics.

You want it to have a minimum of 5 billion CFU in each dose, and a good range of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter species.
Fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, and kimchee can also be a helpful advantage to your gut, add it into your diet 3-4x week. Although very delicious, kombucha can be high in sugar so consider using sparingly. 

4. Repair

Include the following supplement for 6-weeks or more to repair your gut. The following supplements can be taken for up to 6 months to help to heal the intestinal lining:

  • Tumeric- I personally like to take turmeric in a blended tincture like Adrena nourish
  • Aloe vera
  • Marshmallow root powder
  • DGL licorice (aloe and licorice are not for internal use during pregnancy; these are fine for children) are some of the most effective herbs for healing the gut lining.
    • They are best taken in capsule or extract form, though turmeric can also be added to foods.

Do you get heartburn?

  • DGL or diglyceride licorice is a great alternative to tums and does not raise your blood pressure. DGL licorice is available as chewable lozenges and thus may be the simplest one to give to kids. Klair labs has one here or Pure encapsulation combines aloe, slippery elm, and marshmallow root together!

Zinc.

  • 5-10 mg/day for children 4-7 years, 10-20 mg/day for children to age 12, 25-40 mg/day for older children and adults.

An antioxidant supplement

  • Look for one containing vitamins A and carotenoids, C, E, and selenium. 
  • These are often found in a multivitamin.
  • Pregnant women should get these from their prenatal vitamin only.

Fish oil:
I prefer Carlson’s Lemon fish oil.  

  • My kids like the Nordic Natural berries for kids.
    • Fish oil is important for general health in pregnancy and breastfeeding, too.
  • L-Glutamine Powder
    5-10 gm of powder twice daily for one month. (Much less for kids but talk with your child’s doctor before using and don’t supplement in pregnancy).

Here are examples of other practitioners using the 4R approach for healing

Conclusion

If your struggling with digestive concerns and find you’re avoiding foods, there is hope.  The 4R approach is more than an elimination diet.  It can heal your digestive tract and reduce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation for years to come.

Warmly~

Tara

{Keep in mind, I am not a doctor.  Please consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.}


References:

{1} https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/digestive-diseases-statistics-for-the-united-states.aspx

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