10 simple swaps for better gut health

By Sofia Potente

When it comes to your health, are you an all or nothing kind of person? Do you think if it’s not perfect, there’s no point doing it?

It’s this black and white way of thinking that gets in our way of making positive changes – trust me, I’m a recovering perfectionist! Not only does a perfectionist mentality make changes feel less achievable and daunting, we’re also more likely to give up at the first setback or ‘slip up’.

The truth is that making simple changes to your daily habits over time ALL ADDS UP to improvement. Gradual, incremental changes are more sustainable – so you’re more likely to keep it up!

Unless you require a strict gut healing protocol like we did for my son, you can experience better gut health over time by making incremental improvements to your daily routines.

Why not choose one new habit to begin with, and then add a new one each week?

Here are 10 simple daily swaps to get you on the path towards better gut health.

1. Swap tap water for filtered water

Ever thought about how your daily 8 glasses of water affect your gut health? Hydration is critical – but the quality of your water matters too. Tap water contains chlorine – a disinfectant designed to destroy bacteria. This includes both harmful and beneficial bacteria. The same bacteria we need for a healthy gut ecosystem. Tap water is also shown to contain heavy metals, pesticides and medication residue, which all accumulates over time and needs to be filtered by our kidneys and liver.

Investing in a filter is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do for your gut health. Rid your water of chlorine, microbial pathogens and other nasties that damage your family’s gut flora and immune system.

The truth is that making simple changes to your daily habits over time ALL ADDS UP to improvement. Gradual, incremental changes are more sustainable – so you’re more likely to keep it up!

2. Swap dairy for plant-based milks

Have you considered whether dairy is causing your family’s bloating or tummy issues? Up to 70% of people are dairy intolerant by adulthood as they no longer produce the lactase needed to digest lactose. Try swapping to plant-based milks for a few weeks to see what difference it makes. Ensure the plant-based milks you’re choosing are free from harmful additives. For a list of additives to avoid, download my free Gut Health Action Plan here.

To ensure adequate calcium in your diet, include dairy-free calcium-rich options such as tahini, leafy greens, almond butter and tofu and see a health practitioner for extra guidance.

3. Swap from focusing on symptoms to the root cause

Does your health practitioner treat the symptoms alone, or focus on the underlying cause and treat you as a whole person? The way to true long-term healing is to identify and investigate the factors causing your issue in the first place. For a list of where to find holistic health practitioners that take an integrative approach, download my Gut Health Action Plan.

4. Swap the chemicals for a low-tox home

Are you overlooking the missing part of the puzzle when it comes to your gut health – the cleaning and skincare products in your home? It’s also one of the EASIEST changes you can make for your wellbeing.

We absorb and inhale toxins from household products – and they end up in our bloodstream and eventually our gut, affecting our microbiome, hormones and general health. It is estimated we expose ourselves to 168 chemicals each morning, just getting ready for the day. Our skin is our body’s largest organ and we absorb 60-70% of what we apply to it.  

For simple, low-tox household swaps, see this article on the 9 hidden toxins in your home – and how to simply switch them!

5. Swap regular sweets for quality treats

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? There’s no need to go without sweets – just choose the best quality version you can. Instead of regular supermarket chocolate, indulge in a small piece of dark organic chocolate or make your own – and savour it! Instead of a cake made from wheat flour and canola oil, make your own chocolate brownie with wholefood nourishing ingredients such as coconut oil, almond, raw honey, sweet potato and free range eggs.

For a list of cookbooks with nourishing, gut friendly treats and sweets, download my Gut Health Action Plan.

We absorb and inhale toxins from household products – and they end up in our bloodstream and eventually our gut, affecting our microbiome, hormones and general health.

6. Swaps grains for vegetables

Are you overly reliant on grains and starches to fill and fuel you? Perhaps you’re having a typical Western diet of cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner.

Think of food as nourishment for your mind and body, not just fuel. Our cells and genes respond to the foods we eat and the nutrients they contain – so always choose quality over quantity.

To fill your plate and your tummy, try swapping to vegetables, and alive, antioxidant-rich foods instead, wherever you can.

Swap that extra piece of toast for eggs and avocado or spinach.

Instead of a sandwich, go for a fresh, filling salad.

Switch the pasta for zucchini noodles, sweet potato or cauliflower rice. Or swap your regular white rice for protein-rich quinoa instead.

Notice the difference to how energised, bloated and satiated you feel.

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