Monday, December 21, 2015

Your health starts in your gut

This little blurb probably isn't going to super charge anyone's libido or get you jacked to get to the gym simply because of the content matter in itself isn't very "sexy".  However the more I've read on this topic, the more I've come to realize just how important it really is in regards to health, training, well being, and literally your quality of life.

Talking about vegetables and gut health is not sexy. I get it. No one salivates over some steamed broccoli like they do a big piece of steak. There are no broccoli equivalents to the "she squats" memes you see on social media. 

I've yet to come across a "she veggies" anywhere on social media with a large male following posting up pics of flowers and offering marriage proposals or invitations to sex.

Best I could do to make veggies sexy

At the same time, I've never met a single obese person that hired a trainer to lose fat that said their salad and broccoli portions had just gotten way out of control.

If you've been eating like shit, there's a good chance your digestion is probably pretty poor. And you need to be aware of a simple fact. The better your digestion is, the better you can absorb and shuttle nutrients into the body. Not to mention that about 70-80% of your immune system is contained within the digestive tract.

Does that sound important? I think it does.

Studies suggest that the foods you continually eat are the ones your gut bacteria will make you crave, which means consistently eating nutritious food isn't just good for your waistline, it's good for your gut. It's also insurance for keeping your appetite in check. People who crave shit food happen to eat it a lot.

This is often why you read that eating lots of vegetables "makes you healthy". At a very basic level, this is a truth, and apparently mom had it right.

If your immune system sucks, then your recovery rate is going to suck. Your body composition is going to suck, and then your nutrient partitioning is going to suck. You're probably going to be sick a lot, and will be well on your way to unlocking life threatening achievements like Type II diabeetus grandmaster and cancer grandmaster.

This isn't just about fiber, either. So for the guy that says "I take a fiber supplement, so I'm ok", well you're wrong.

Probiotics are important, water is important, and gut bacteria is important. It's not as simple as taking some Metamucil and calling it a fucking day.

If you read anything on the "red and processed meats cause cancer" news a while back, then ultimately you may have read that eating green vegetables along with said meats can potentially reduce the cancer causing factors involved in eating said meats.

Here, in case you needed a study....

Green veggies fight with cows and shit in your stomach

Yes the study was done on rats. But I still don't think it should be dismissed as being unimportant.

For people who complain that veggies bloat them, and give them more gas than Exxon, then slowing down and crewing your veggies for longer can help. As can not drinking water when you eat.

Yes, don't drink fluids when you eat.

A while back, John Meadows brought this up in a discussion and it was debated by people claiming it was baseless. However, he used some "trial and error" on himself, and I did as well. And I found that sure enough, drinking about half an hour before eating, and then not drinking again for an hour after made me less bloated and my digestion seemed to improve. Your digestive tract needs to be hydrated in order to function optimally. However drinking water or fluids during eating can impede proper digestion, especially if the fluids are too cold. Sipping (not guzzling) something warm is a better option if you are going to drink while eating.

I could probably write a multiple part series on this however I don't want to. So let's just high level overview this shit.

1. Use probiotics - Make sure you get the kind that has to be kept in the fridge. The kind sitting out on the counter are useless. Probiotics help move food food through your gut, and restore balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut. It's possible you may not need them, but it's a good start in regards to covering your bases.

2. Eat a variety of vegetables - There's a lot of debate in regards to things like grains, dairy, sugars, etc in regards to gut health. However there is zero debate on the fact that vegetables improve your gut health. Lots of greens will feed the good bacteria in your gut. If you haven't been eating veggies then add them in slowly unless you want to expel gas with such severe stank that it causes birds to fall dead from the sky or your significant other to leave you. If you are trying to achieve the latter, then you're welcome for the solution.

3. Hydrate the digestive tract - Drink your water half an hour before eating, then not until an hour after. If you are going to drink while eating, sip a warm beverage like tea or warm water. But sip it. Don't chug it.

Improved digestion will play a major role in how you look, feel, and function. Do not avoid taking care of proper digestive ability or everything else will suffer.

Thanks to Dani Shugart for contributing to this piece.  

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