Donna Gates, the author of The Body Ecology Diet, is a nutrition and gut health expert. Her new book teaches you all about the importance of the food we eat on our mental, physical, and emotional health.
This book takes you through the basics of a sugar, gluten, and casein-free diet, rich in probiotics. It is advised that you look at it as a lifestyle change, rather than just a diet. There are 4 aspects to her process: creating energy, correcting digestion, cleansing toxins, and conquering infections.
The delicate balance of bacteria in your gut (also known as a microbiome) has a huge impact on the way you feel overall. It is vital to mend your gut health if you want to feel better.
A full day of optimal gut health
As soon as you wake up
This will not come as new information, but it is recommended that you drink a large glass of water as soon as you wake up. Many people, Donna included, choose to add in a large pinch of sea salt. This helps the body to absorb water, meaning that you become more hydrated. It also helps with water retention, so you stay hydrated for longer.
We recommend that you also take a probiotic drink. This contains many cultures of ‘good’ bacteria that will help to keep your gut microbiome in optimal condition. The label should say the words ‘live and active cultures’ to ensure you are getting the full benefits.
Our top 3 options for breakfast are a green smoothie, scrambled eggs, or a protein shake.
If you opt for a green smoothie, we recommend incorporating apples, celery, lettuce, half an avocado, cilantro, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and water. This gives you a huge nutrient and fiber hit, as well as being full of healthy fats to keep you satisfied.
If you choose scrambled eggs we advise incorporating some fresh or frozen vegetables for vitamins. It is also a good idea to add in some cultured foods, such as sauerkraut.
Body Ecology makes their own fermented protein shake powder, available to purchase from their website. Each serving offers 15g protein and contains a probiotic blend to start your day off on a good foot.
Donna recommends a variety of supplements that would benefit your overall health. These include holy basil tea and L-theanine. These will both help you to relax and reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
We recommend including some Bifidus probiotic capsules. These have been said to reduce anxiety and help to balance your gut microbiome. Other supplements to consider are fish oil and Vitamin D.
Aside from the holy basil tea, there are other good hot drinks for your body. Matcha green tea is classed as a superfood and contains the compound theanine. This helps to reduce overall stress levels in your body.
Another favorite of ours is hibiscus tea. It helps to naturally lower your blood pressure and can be sipped on all through the day. If it is not sweet enough for you, add in a few drops of stevia. Infusing the tea in the refrigerator with fresh mint leaves is a summer time favorite.
Particularly during the warmer months, we love reaching for a protein-packed salad for lunch. The salad can be customized to suit your taste preferences, but the core components should remain the same.
There should be a main protein source, some dark leafy greens, salad leaves, and cultured vegetables. If you eat fish, salmon and broccoli make a great pairing. If you do not, how about some tofu combined with a kale salad?
We advise continually sipping on water throughout the day. To add in a little extra flavor, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon or lime. If this is too sour for you, we advise adding in a few drops of a natural sweetener, such as stevia.
You will often appear fatigued if you are dehydrated. Upkeep a good water intake to keep you feeling energized and to promote the flushing out of toxins from your body.
Dinner is the time for starchy vegetables and healthy carbohydrates. Consider a base of leafy vegetables, such as collard greens, seasoned with a little lemon juice and salt. Top this with a healthy grain like quinoa or millet. Add on some starchy and root vegetables. We love butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Top with some seaweed for iodine and flavor.
It is recommended that you avoid consuming meat in the evening. This is because it is harder to digest and can weigh down your body overnight. The nutrients and chemical compounds found in grains can have a calming impact on your body, helping you to get a good night’s sleep.
To help you get into the right zone for sleep, we recommend establishing a bedtime ritual or routine. We love taking a hot shower and spending some time massaging hydrating oils into our skin. If you prefer a bath, consider adding in a few drops of calming lavender oil to help your troubles melt away.
You can also drink a cup of chamomile tea to help you relax before bed. We advise listening to a podcast as you go to sleep, instead of watching something. This is because screens emit blue light, which halts the secretion of melatonin. This is the hormone that helps you to sleep, so you can understand why it is best avoided.
What should I avoid?
We recommend steering clear of refined oils such as canola, corn, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. Instead, look for avocado, coconut, and olive oil. Other oils from nuts and seeds will always be a better choice.
Sugar and flour are other substances recommended to avoid to rebalance your gut microbiome. Donna also recommends avoiding a herbicide known as glyphosate. This is a commercial substance sprayed onto crops to prevent weeds, ripen plants, and regulate plant growth.