Supplements that help the gut to heal
Vitamin A, omega 3s, zinc, glutamine, liposomal GSH, phosphidatylcholine and vitamin C. There is also Seavive, silymarin, GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) and licorice
Foods that help the gut to heal
Fermented cod liver oil (vitamin A with cofactors plus omega 3s), bone broths (glucosamine and gelatine), sardines (and other fish high in omega 3s), coconut oil (which contains very high levels of MCTs) and butter (which contains butyric acid).
Supplements that can aid digestion
Betaine HCl, probiotics, digestive enzymes, apple cider vinegar, Swedish bitters, ox bile tablets, unrefined sea salt and B vitamins.
Foods that can aid digestion
Raw cultured vegetables, bone broth or stock or foods such as soups and sauces made from them, kefir, yogurt with high levels of probiotics, apple cider vinegar, Swedish bitters, coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil and unrefined sea salt.
Food that are easy to digest
Vegetable soups made with stock, bone broths, slow cooked vegetable and meat dishes (cooked in stock), soaked and dried nuts and seeds, lightly cooked egg yolks, pureed cooked vegetable dishes, raw cultured vegetables, high probiotic (homemade using raw milk or coconut milk) coconut oil, yogurt, raw milk or coconut or water kefir, beet kvass and freshly made vegetable juices.
Potentially difficult to digest foods
Unsoaked nuts with their skins on, raw fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes (especially when they are unsoaked or unsprouted), overcooked meats or eggs, dairy products containing lactose and that have been homogenised, foods containing certain sugars and very high fibre foods such as grains and legumes. Foods you are allergic to should also be avoided.
Foods which may aggravate a leaky gut
Coffee, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, foods containing lectins (grains, legumes, dairy and nightshades) foods containing saponins, gliadin or glycoalkaloids, food additives and processed foods.
Improving digestion through proper food combining
Fruit should be eaten alone on an empty stomach, meat and eggs (proteins) should be eaten with non-starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables and grains should be eaten with non-starchy vegetables.
Drinking large amounts of water with meals should be avoided. Do not drink for at least 15 minutes before you eat or 1 hour after a meal.
Eat when relaxed and chew your food slowly. To digest well, your body needs to be in parasympathetic nervous system mode and not hyped up on adrenaline. Digestive enzymes should be taken when eating protein and fat containing foods and also betaine HCl if needed. Fermented drinks such as kefir or a serve of cultured vegetables are a great idea to take with each meal to aid digestion.
Other issues to look into for better gut health
Candida, parasitic infections, leaky gut, dysbiosis, food intolerances, too fast or too slow food transit time (diarrhoea or constipation) and detoxification enemas.
Other types of detoxification programs which may be useful in healing
FIR sauna use, high dose vitamin C, body brushing or salt scrubs, gallbladder and liver cleanses, castor oil packs, magnesium/salt/ACV or clay baths, neti pot use, colonics and lymphatic drainage massage.
Digestive enzymes may greatly aid digestion and also help to support the pancreas, and a supplement called Betaine HCl may also help digestion if stomach acid is low. Raw apple cider vinegar has some of the same benefits of Betaine HCl, but is milder. It can very much help you to digest meals that are high in fat.
Probiotics are also essential as is vitamin A and the gut-healing saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil and butter.
Certain fats are essential for good health and for healing the gut. An oil change is an essential part of healing. Make sure you get some coconut oil, olive oil, fermented cod liver oil, vitamins E, D, K and A, butter, organic free-range eggs, organic pastured meats and soaked and dried nuts and seeds. Strictly avoid trans fats and processed vegetable oils.
Some groups claim that the more foods we eat raw the healthier we will be, while other dispute this, and explain that humans have been heating for a very long time and that in fact cooking food makes many of the vitamins etc. more available to the body and so all vegetables we eat should be cooked. What we know for sure is that raw vegetables will often be very difficult for M.E. patients and others to digest and may need to be avoided completely or almost completely until and unless digestion improves. Even then, eating most of your daily vegetable intake in a cooked form makes more sense than following a strict raw food regimen. Sometimes just lightly steaming vegetables will be enough, while others may need more moderate cooking to be digested well. Fruit may also be better tolerated if it is lightly cooked or even stewed first.
Fruits and vegetables that are juiced are FAR easier to absorb the nutrients from than fruits and vegetables eaten whole.
To make meats more digestible, they can be marinated in lemon, lime or tomato juice or raw apple cider vinegar before being cooked. Soaking meats in these acid mediums pre-cooks them slightly and denatures them and makes them more digestible. (This is why marinated meats are more tender.) Cooking meat or eggs for too long or at a very high heat can also make them hard to digest. Meats should be cooked slowly until they are ‘medium.’
Other ways to improve digestion include waiting to eat until you are hungry and avoiding or minimising raw fruits and vegetables, unless they are cultured.
Eating a largely raw food diet can be very painful and counter-productive for the M.E. patient or other very ill patient as it requires so much more effort from the body to break down the food. Food can sit in the stomach undigested and cause pain and other symptoms.
During a severe relapse or period of very severe illness, it can be helpful to give your stomach a digestion ‘holiday’ by eating well-cooked pureed foods such as pureed meat and vegetable soups, cooked vegetable and fruit purees, vegetable and fruit juices and chicken and vegetable congee. Some of these foods can be prepared using a slow cooker (NOT a pressure cooker). This can make cooking easier too as the slow cooker makes meat fall apart when it is cooked and makes vegetables very soft, so foods don’t need so much chopping before being cooked. Foods slow cooked in this way are also much less work to chew and swallow.
‘The road to health is paved with good intestines.’ Dr Sherry Rogers
2. GAPS Diet by Natasha Campbell-McBride (plus to a lesser extent Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elaine Gloria Gottschall.)
This book explains the importance of eating good-quality animal foods, eating cooked foods exclusively while the gut heals, having vegetables juices, having ample healthy fats including saturated fats and eating lots of traditional foods including organ meats, bone broths and raw cultured vegetables.
This book also explains that avoiding certain fibrous foods and sticking to certain types of carbohydrates can help heal the gut and prevent fermentation in the gut leading to digestive and Candida problems.
3. Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon, Deep Nutrition: Why Our Genes Need Real Food by Catherine Shanahan, Know Your Fats by Mary Enig PhD and Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig PhD.
These books explain the importance of eating good-quality animal foods, avoiding soy foods and processed foods, ample healthy fats including saturated fats and eating lots of traditional foods including organ meats, bone broths and raw cultured vegetables.
The first book describes a high fat, moderate protein and limited carbohydrate diet. The books by Sally Fallon also talk about the importance of soaking and drying seeds and nuts and of similarly properly preparing all grains and legumes. Unfortunately these books talk little about food allergies, the importance of supplements or gut issues or the fact that many do better avoiding grains and dairy - at the very least until a lot of healing of the gut has taken place.
Note that the aim of this site is to provide a starting point for health and healing research for ill people; especially very overwhelmed and disabled ill people. This site provides recommendations, summaries and reviews of books but is not meant to be a replacement for actually reading some of these wonderful health books if the reader is at all well enough to do so. (Plus getting individualised advice from a doctor that is also an orthomolecular medicine expert if possible). There is no substitute for reading as many of these books as you can. The HHH site can only really hint at their full brilliance. The amount of insight, scientific references, logic, intelligence, compassion and experience in the recommended books will most likely amaze you. HHH aims to encourage people to do their own reading and learning, and to always make up their own minds. All content copyright Jodi Bassett 2006 - 2014.