This month is Digestion Month at The Pure Life and I couldn’t be more excited to share my favourite tips with you!
5 years ago, I struggled with intense digestive issues. I saw a gastrointestinal doctor once a week to determine what was “wrong with me” – we tried everything from blood tests to acid pills, and I even went in for a colonoscopy. I was exhausted, I was frustrated and I was fed up with not understanding my body. What it simply came down to was educating myself on the body and how different foods can affect not only our digestion, but also our mood, hormones, and so much more. It wasn’t until I put myself on a strict gluten and dairy free diet that I began to see results. I was giving my body a break from foods I had become intolerant to over the years. I started educating myself, mostly through google, youtube videos and nutrition books I picked up from thrift stores or the library. The more I learned, the smarter choice I could make, and therefore, the better I felt.
I now coach clients in my The Pure Life Nutritional Consulting practice to bring them back to good, healthy digestion. Together we create a diet, lifestyle and supplement plan that encourages healing and feeling amazing. So far, I have had success with every single one of my clients.
Supplements played a huge role in my healing.
These are my favourite supplements for healthy digestion. There is definitely a time and a place for supplements. When you are healing, I believe supplements can be a beautiful addition to your lifestyle.
Do your research, and/or consult with a naturopath before taking any supplements. Always choose quality over quantity, shop in health food stores versus grocery stores. Look for third-party tested, well-respected brands.
These are the ones that worked for me:
It’s 2017 – fermented things are all the rage, and that’s how it should be! Over time, we’ve lost traditional cooking practices which (in every culture) have included fermented foods (sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, yogurt, cheeses, etc.). We are now at the point where we are no longer consuming healthy, essential amounts of probiotic-rich foods. Probiotics are the basis of essentially everything in the body, from our digestion to our immune system and even our minds! I recommend taking a good quality, third-party tested, human-strain probiotic. The one I like is Genuine Health 15 Billion because it is relatively affordable, amazing quality, shelf-stable, time-released, plant and human-strain and available at almost any health food store! Probiotics are a great way to re-establish a healthy gut flora (beneficial bacteria in the gut) to assist in breaking down food and making you feel amazing!
Note: you can get probiotics from naturally fermented foods, too. So if you don’t want to take a probiotic supplement, opt for healthy fermented foods like raw sauerkraut/kimchi, refrigerated miso paste, coconut water kefir, coconut milk yogurt or cashew “cheese”.
Your best friend. Digestive enzymes help to break down food, as they contain the enzymes your body already produces, such as amylase, lipase, and protease, which break down starch, fat, and protein. When we consume a high-acidic diet full of poor quality animal products, refined foods, and oils, our body is overworked and therefore depleted of these naturally-occurring enzymes. Look for a good quality digestive enzyme that contains bromelain and papain, enzymes derived from pineapple and papaya, which are both incredible digestive enzymes. I recommend keeping these in your purse at all times, and using them before you eat a heavy meal. You can also take the enzymes after a meal, but they won’t be as effective as taking them before/during. Some brands I recommend are Natural Factors and Genestra.
This was the one supplement that truly did wonders for me. I took this supplement every day for 2 years to heal my leaky gut and IBS. I started with 1 tsp in my smoothies in the morning and eventually went up to 1 tbsp per day. Aloe vera is naturally anti-inflammatory, lubricating and packed with minerals essential for healing. This can be used for feelings of heartburn and to ease inflammation in the stomach/intestinal tract. I recommend the brand Lily of the Dessert. Choose the inner fillet if you have full/regular bowel movements, or opt for the whole leaf option if you struggle with constipation.
Apple Cider Vinegar
A beautiful digestion booster! If you are feeling constipated or having difficulty digesting your food, I recommend a mixture of 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, luke-warm water and a squeeze of lemon. This helps to promote the secretion of digestive enzymes and juices, rather than acting as an enzyme itself.
A supplement that I have personally never tried, but I often recommend this to clients. L-Glutamine is incredibly healing, especially for people who are struggling with leaky gut or IBS. It helps to soothe the digestive tract and help repair the lining. I recommend this if you are seriously struggling with your digestion.
Ginger is a favourite of mine. In all forms, ginger can have incredible digestion benefits, as well as roles in reducing inflammation, fighting harmful bacteria and supporting the immune system. I prefer using fresh ginger root in tea, smoothies, and soups but it is also great in a supplement, tincture or tea form.
There are so many incredible herbal teas available that will assist in creating a healthy digestive tract. Although teas won’t be as powerful as most supplements, they are a great way to support you during healing times, and they taste great! I personally love the brands Yogi Teas and Traditional Medicinals.
If you are struggling with irregular bowel movements, this is the supplement for you! Psyllium husk is a great affordable alternative to Metamucil, which helps to bulk up your stool. If you are struggling with irregular bowel movements, this will help to reduce constipation and bloat. You can find psyllium husk in bulk sections or at health food stores – I recommend starting with 1 tsp. of psyllium husk and mixing that with 3/4 cup hot water, and drinking once per day to help regulate bowel movements.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your favourite digestive supplements?