Compulsive Eating and Intestinal Health

March 4, 2017

Learn about the causes of compulsive eating and some solutions. Compulsive eating is a very complex problem, with many causes and many solutions. Today we’re sharing how some digestive problems and food sensitivities may be to blame.

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JENNIFER: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I am Jennifer Schmid, nutrition educator. Dishing Up Nutrition is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness, a company providing life changing education and life changing nutrition counseling.

In my case it was lifesaving. Let me tell you something. This show has changed the course of my life. It's frightening to think about how my life would have turned out if I hadn't started listening to this show 12 years ago. Some of you may recognize my voice and have heard my story before of how I overcame an addiction to compulsive exercise and an eating disorder by changing my nutrition. Do you or someone you know struggle with compulsive eating and poor digestion? If so this is a great show for you. Although I never struggled with compulsive eating, I had other compulsive behaviors. I also had a lot of guilt, shame, and that stigma around compulsive behaviors? I had that too. I also had intense cravings for sugar and processed carbs. So I know what it feels like to be thinking about food all the time.

I remember when I would wake up at 3:00 a.m. because my blood sugar was so low I would crave something sweet. Really anything to get my blood sugar up. So peanut butter and toast worked for me. Not healthy, but it worked for me. It's even happened to me when I was in treatment for my eating disorder. And I would ask the nurses for graham crackers or juice in the middle of the night. Both full of sugar, but it was a quick fix for me. In fact, I was eating all the time in treatment. The dietician I worked with couldn't believe how much I was eating. In fact I have the biggest meal plan they had ever seen in the program. So you might ask how was I able to overcome my addiction to exercise.

And some listeners may be wondering, “What was the root cause of my exercise addiction?” The root cause I discovered was my poor got health and it may surprise you that once I eliminated the foods that were causing my digestive problems, I was able to overcome my exercise addiction. It's difficult to understand how the foods I was eating and terrible digestive problems caused me to compulsively exercise. Even for me it was difficult to understand. But once I made that connection, all I've ever wanted to do since then is share my story of recovery to help others that are struggling in the same way.

Joining me in the studio today is Marcie Vaske, who is a licensed nutritionist who sees clients out of our Wayzata and Eden Prairie offices and teaches many classes. Marcie has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this topic as she has also struggled with an eating disorder and compulsive exercise. Welcome Marcie.

MARCIE: Welcome and thank you. I’m happy to be back in studio with you, Jennifer, and discussing again what is a very important topic of compulsive eating disorders. And I think a lot of people out there can relate to this compulsive eating that we're going to talk about today. And it isn't that they don't have enough willpower or they don't have enough control. It's really more of a biochemical and maybe underlying gut health problem. That's really the problem.

My disordered eating started out at a young age and it turned out that little did I know that dairy products were causing me a problem. Milk and maybe cheese and yogurt-- those things just made me feel gassy and bloated and puffed up and at the end of the day feeling fat. So, after experiencing that eating disorder for years I came to realize that for many people it starts with that poor intestinal health. It’s starting with those foods that they might be sensitive to that's breaking down their gut health- like the dairy products. I used to eat cereal and milk for breakfast. And by the time I got to school, low and behold, I'd have that upset stomach every day and feel bloated.

JENNIFER: Yes, Marcie, I can also relate to that too and it's such a struggle-- especially when you're a kid. When I was a kid I didn't really realize that my poor gut health was abnormal. I didn't really know what you were supposed to feel like after you ate. Especially when you see these commercials in ads on TV for over-the-counter digestive aids and you're thinking “Well sure, I mean everybody feels that way.”

Moms and dads who are listening, do you have a first grader who maybe doesn't want to go to school because their tummy is hurting? Maybe it's the cereal and milk causing the problem.  I remember I got bloated and felt miserable after eating things like cereal and milk. And I also felt the same way after eating toast and jelly. Then I would exercise a lot, really over-exercising, to control the bloating and pain. Some people might be wondering, “Well, what do you mean, Jennifer, when you say over-exercising? What does that constitute?” Well, it was certainly every day, twice a day, with a total of about four to six hours a day. And it wasn't that I wanted to do it, it was that I felt that I had to do it; and that was the difference. I can remember waking up early in the morning looking at the ceiling like, “Gosh, I just can't go through with this another day.” But again it wasn't a choice. It was like a compulsion that I had to do this in order to feel normal.

MARCIE: Right. And so, for those people who might be feeling like “I don't want to eat that much. Why can't I stop this compulsive eating?” It’s the same thing. They don't want to do it. So, let's get to the root cause of why they're doing this. For many, that's how an eating disorder gets started. It's that gut health. And for me, it wasn't so much a psychological problem; it was a gut problem. So, is that a new thought for you? Is that a new thing for our listeners out there, that maybe this eating disorder, or disordered eating, this compulsive eating, is really a gut problem. And that can be how it gets started for sure.

JENNIFER: It's such a relief when you do get to the root cause of the problem because it really frees you again from that guilt and shame and you're not putting that blame on yourself. Also joining us in the studio today is Shelby Hummel, who is a licensed nutritionist who sees clients out of our Wayzata office as well as teaches many classes. Shelby, you have a lot of food sensitivities that have caused you gut problems, which you were able to overcome by eliminating the foods you are sensitive to. Shelby can now help her clients that have food sensitivities, cravings, and those who struggle with compulsive eating. Welcome to the show, Shelby.

SHELBY: Well, thank you! Good morning to both of you. And good morning to our listeners. It's great to be back in the studio this morning.

It is kind of interesting to make that connection between disordered eating, compulsive eating, and gut health. So, when we're talking about intestinal problems, you're right Jennifer. I've been there and I can definitely relate to how freeing it can be to feel great when you remove those foods. So, one of the things that I can relate to is the dairy sensitivity and I know that you said you're sensitive to things like milk and yogurt and cheese. So, what were some other things that you may have been sensitive to?

JENNIFER: I was actually really sensitive to things like bread and pasta. And, even though those were the foods I love the most, I discovered it was causing many of my intestinal symptoms. It was the gluten grains in these foods that kind of made me feel bloated and uncomfortable. It made me want to exercise, because again, exercise helped ease the bloating, the cramping, the pain. In fact, listeners, can you imagine your fourth grader feeling like this after eating? And how would they be able to function in school?

SHELBY: Well that's pretty interesting. We talk about two common foods that a lot of people eat for breakfast. The dairy, the cereal, the toast and jam really could be a direct route to disordered eating for a lot of people if their intestinal health is impaired. So, Marcie, what foods would you say were causing your digestive distresses?

MARCIE: I think definitely it started out with the dairy in my life, creating a lot of that bloating, gas; constipation was huge for me as a child, and as an adult, and forever. So I definitely know that that's where that started. But also glutens played its own role and once I eliminated those things I felt so much better. And again, freeing of just “Wow, I can feel like a normal person. This is wonderful!” So, definitely those two were my big ones.

SHELBY: And I think it's very interesting, and maybe as a listener you're thinking, “Gosh, dairy and gluten and those grains? How can those affect what I want to eat?” So, eating disorders and compulsive exercise disorders, those could be related to the foods that you’re sensitive to. So, again, those are the dairy products; maybe the processed foods like toast and cereal.

MARCIE: That's right. So, as a nutritionist, when I'm working with people with an eating disorder, I immediately look to remove foods that they're sensitive to.

SHELBY: And I do the same thing. It's really hard to convince people to think about your gut health.

MARCIE: Well, yeah. Number one is their gut health; but then to take out more food. And not everyone with an eating disorder has a food sensitivity because they could be relied on other things. They can just have poor gut health because they have poor gut health. And it's creating less neurotransmitters and all that kind of thing. But it's definitely something to take seriously. And people just want to jump on the thought that it's more psychological in nature first. So, when you look at them and say “It might be something in your gut.” They're like, “OK I thought I came in crazy but now I know you're crazy.”

JENNIFER: It's important for them to make that connection, Marcie. It looks like we're ready for our first break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today we are discussing compulsive eating the intestinal health connection. Robert Crayhon, in his book Nutrition Made Simple, talks about that, often, foods you crave the most are the ones you're allergic or intolerant to, which seems really unfair, doesn't it? I used to crave bread, pasta, and dairy, but when I found out that I had to eliminate those foods, I was really bummed out. After healing my intestinal tract with healthy fats, proteins, and vegetable carbohydrates, I no longer crave these foods. And to tell you the truth I enjoy the food I eat now more than I enjoy the foods I had to eliminate, which I never thought would happen.


MARCIE: Welcome back to dishing out nutrition. I am Marcie Vaske, licensed nutritionist. And now, before we went to break Jennifer talked about how food sensitivities can cause us to crave the very foods we are sensitive to. The best way to discover what those are is maybe to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist like myself or Shelby, or any one of our other fantastic nutritionists and dietitians on staff. We can help you, we can sit down with you and help you figure out what those foods are. Is it gluten? Is it dairy? And there are many clues that we look for in helping you find that. So, to schedule an appointment with one of us give our offices a call at 651-699-3438.

JENNIFER: That's right, Marcie. That was key in my healing and it's not a one size fits all approach. Sitting down with someone one on one is really key. Now it looks like we have a caller.

MARCIE: We do. We have Jill. Welcome to Dishing up Nutrition! What can we answer for you today?

CALLER: Hi. I'm wondering, how do you know if you have a food sensitivity?

MARCIE: Well, I would say what we just talked about is maybe making an appointment with one of the nutritionists or dietitians on our staff. That would be my first, number one thing. Number two I would start being more mindful about the foods that you're eating and paying attention to how your body responds to that. That would be a way for you to kind of figure that out.

CALLER: Maybe keep a journal?

MARCIE: That would be fantastic! Write down what you eat and then write down how you feel next to it maybe for a couple of weeks.

CALLER: Is there a good place to start as far as reading a good article or a book about some of this?

MARCIE: I think if you go to our web site,, there's a lot of fantastic information-- articles, past podcasts that you can listen to that would give you a lot of information on that.

SHELBY: And just one other thing that we talked a lot about is digestive complaints. So, if you sit down after meals and you think “Gosh, my pants are feeling tight” or “I'm feeling bloated” or even if you have any other thing that just feels like it's not normal, such as headaches, rashes, or things like that-- that's really where that food journal can come in and be really helpful in saying “Gosh, this is what I ate and this is how I feel.” So hopefully that gives you some good insight to get started. But otherwise I know we have lots of information on our website.

JENNIFER: When we put together today's show, we thought it was important to make you aware of digestive problems and food sensitivities that can often lead to an eating disorder. As co-host Marcie and I have lived through this experience, we want to share how removing these foods has aided in our recovery. Because we've been in traditional treatments, we realize that this is a different approach that has helped both of us in recovery.

MARCIE: That's right, Jennifer. We truly believe that this is a biochemical problem and not a psychological problem.

JENNIFER: Yes, and this is the very belief that has really helped me. Marcie, would you be willing to take phone calls from a mom or dad or grandmother who has questions about the nutritional approach to eating disorders?

MARCIE: Oh, of course. Yes, definitely call in to our Wayzata office or even our Eden Prairie office; I'm also there. I really do encourage it. It's always great to talk to the mom or the dad or even the client before they come in with the eating disorder. You need to understand them a little bit better. And also they need to know your approach. And I think it's really important. Did you find that, Jennifer, to be really important?

JENNIFER: I really did and I had listened to Dishing Up Nutrition for seven years prior to coming in. And so, I kind of had that base knowledge, but I was able to be at that comfort level of calling in and kind of finding out, “How does this process work for me?” before I came in and I think that's great.

SHELBY: Well, and I'm sure, Marcie, that you can really relate with those clients who might have a little bit of guilt or some shame around how they're eating and that can be a really great way for mom or dad or any concerned person to really see what we can do for them; see how you can help them out.

MARCIE: Definitely. You’re right.

JENNIFER: Thanks, Marcie. Let's get back to the topic of today's show, Compulsive Eating: The Intestinal Health Connection. Compulsive eating is also an eating disorder and is often treated nutritionally in a very similar way.

SHELBY: So, maybe you've come home from work feeling a little hungry and you open up a box of Girl Scout cookies with the intention of just having one and then suddenly you look back over and they're all gone. Maybe you’re stopping and thinking, “What happened? Did someone else come in and help me finish this off? What's going on there?”

JENNIFER: That sounds like a blood sugar problem to me and we’re going to talk more about that later in the show.

MARCIE: But it could look like this: it could look like you stopped at McDonald's for an ice cream cone and after eating half of it you're like “Well I think I'm going to need another one after this. So, you drive to the next McDonald's. You end up getting another ice cream cone. After you eat about half of that, you're still thinking, “I could really go for another one.” So pretty soon you've had six ice cream cones and you have no idea how you even got there. How much of your compulsive eating isn't a decision? It's just happening.

JENNIFER: Exactly. And that out of control feeling can be debilitating. So, now this is starting to get more complicated. It could be a blood sugar problem or it could be all the chemicals in the ice cream. How many of you have realized that the chemicals in the food, especially MSG, drive your compulsive eating behavior?

SHELBY: Well, that's an interesting thought, those chemicals. So, we've talked earlier in the show about intestinal health and how foods are digested and how that makes us feel. But maybe you're thinking, “OK, well what about these sinus infections?” That used to be me. Sinus infections, ear infections, and I would always think you take the antibiotics and then maybe you don't really think much about wanting the ice cream or wanting the cookies or craving the sweets after you have those antibiotics.

MARCIE: It’s a hard connection to put together for people. Until we learn it we don't really put that together.

SHELBY: So, when we're talking about gut health, maybe you hadn't thought that that little bowl of popcorn before bed was going to disappear. You put a bag of popcorn on the microwave and now all of a sudden you have four bowls of popcorn to eat and then maybe after those four bowls are gone it doesn't feel like enough. So you tossed another bag in the microwave. And here we go again.

JENNIFER: And you're left wondering why, all of a sudden, am I having all of these cravings? Antibiotics for a sinus infection did kill off the bad bacteria causing it but it also killed off all the good bacteria and suddenly cravings occur for mostly sugar and processed carbs.

SHELBY: Absolutely, and compulsive eating, just like all eating disorders, are very complex problems. They can have many causes and many solutions, so let's address the first one that we talked about, Jennifer-- the blood sugar problem. We talked about the compulsive eater that ate through that whole box of Girl Scout cookies, and that's pretty easy to do if you've skipped a meal or you come home without that afternoon snack and all of a sudden you have to make a thought about, “Gosh, what am I going to have for dinner?”

MARCIE: You just want to eat the first thing you see. You're starving and your brain is starving. 

JENNIFER: We have another caller. Would you guys like to take one?

MARCIE: That'd be great. Hey Stella. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. What can we answer for you today?

CALLER: My stomach hurts all the time so then I need to cover up that pain. And I know I shouldn’t have dairy anymore. I really try not to. But I still eat kefir, which they said was a probiotic. I’m trying to fix the gut health, but if I use the kefir instead of milk, then I'm sick even more so.

MARCIE: Right. So, I would not do that.

SHELBY: There are definitely better ways to get the probiotics and there are dairy-free options from food, but I think sitting down with a nutritionist would probably help uncover what's causing all these digestive complaints and get you on to a path of healing your intestinal health.

CALLER: Is it going to be difficult because I'm a vegetarian? And breads make me really sick as well as dairy. And I just fill everything up with bread because once you fill your stomach up then it doesn’t feel quite as bad. But then afterwards it feels worse. But meat is definitely not an option for me.

MARCIE: Well then, I think it's even more important that you come in and sit down with one of us. We just get really creative with your meal plan and there are ways that you can feel better.


SHELBY: So, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and today we are discussing compulsive eating and its connection to intestinal health.

MARCIE: One of the things that we talk a lot about all the time on the radio show and in the series, is keeping that blood sugar balance right. We've said it a million times and all of our longtime listeners can say it with me. Eat food in balance five times a day. So, what does that mean? It means eating protein. So mostly in the form of animal proteins with those good healthy fats like coconut oil, butter, and nuts. And then when we talk about carbohydrates, we talk about vegetable carbohydrates and making sure we're getting that. So, it's protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

JENNIFER: Yes, the magic of three. Eating three that Cassie and Kate talked about last week too. So I have to eat frequently throughout the day. And here are some ideas if you have shut down that urge to compulsively eat. Here's an example of a snack I often have at work, especially before going into a long surgery: I'm a dental assistant and I work in a dental surgery practice and I need a snack that will keep my blood sugars balanced to get me through the surgeries, which can last up to four to five hours. So, I have a protein shake that consists of one scoop of UCAN powder, one scoop of protein powder, a half a cup of full fat coconut milk, the one you find in a can, and about a cup of water. UCAN was designed to help balance blood sugars for several hours. And I think all the nurses listening could benefit from my Ucan shake. It works really well for me. If you have more questions about UCAN, Shelby, would you be willing to take calls maybe at the Wayzata office to answer questions about UCAN?

SHEL BY: Oh, absolutely! And I imagine, Jennifer, just like you said, that UCAN can be really important to keep your blood sugar balanced. So, if anyone does have any questions you can reach me at the Wayzata office at 952-345-0766 and I would be more than willing to answer any questions about that product.

JENNIFER: Years ago, I would set myself up for low blood sugar crashes because my lunch most days in the past would consist of things like fat free pretzels, licorice, and diet soda. And years ago, I would observe some of my coworkers eating things like microwave popcorn and Diet Coke for lunch every day.  Sadly, about 80 percent of the food available to us in the grocery stores is processed. That leaves 20 percent of real foods to choose from.

MARCIE: That's a big difference there.  No wonder people get confused. It’s so easy.

JENNNIFER: Exactly. So actually, we have our grocery store tours coming up starting Tuesday, March 7th. So, if you want to learn about how to find healthier foods if grocery shopping seems overwhelming to you, this is a great solution. It's going to help you navigate the never-ending aisles of food products and finally make sense of those food labels.

SHELBY: I mean it's such a fun time! I can say that because I've done a grocery store tour and I know that it's a small group. So, you're definitely able to get your questions answered and we take about an hour to an hour and a half to go through a grocery store throughout the Twin Cities area and it's really fun. You get practical tips and can find brands that are going to have high quality ingredients in them.

JENNIFER: Yeah, I think that's really important because we want to avoid things like trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG, and we're going to be talking a little bit more about MSG a little bit later. But I think it's a great option for people.

So, here's what I eat for lunch now. Usually over the weekends I make a meal in advance and have the leftovers during the week. And people who know me well know that I love anything with curry. So, some of my favorites are in the Weight and Wellness Cookbook and Nutrition Guide like the Thai chicken curry or the Indian curry. And I also like to add a half of an avocado with my lunch because I really need that extra fat to keep my blood sugar stable throughout the day and we know low blood sugars can lead to compulsive eating. And now we've talked about some solutions.

SHELBY: Yeah, and remember Marcie was talking about that person who drove from one McDonald's to another to another. Maybe they're going for that ice cream cone or this time of year maybe they're looking for that Shamrock Shake. So, we mentioned that the cause might be low blood sugar. Something that's very addictive in the ice cream cone could be another cause. So, what are some of the chemicals that we find in processed foods? Well what about the MSG?

MARCIE: Jennifer, didn't you have a friend who had a Shamrock Shake and she got sick?

JENNIFER: So, I had a friend last week who contacted me and she had a pretty bad reaction to the shamrock shake that she had never had before. So, I looked up the ingredients online and I discovered there's two pages of ingredients. So, of course, there’s the MSG but there was also carrageenan, which is a derivative of seaweed that can be hard to digest, and a lot of food dyes, and they've added some crystalline dyes to it. And I imagine any one of those is what made her sick. Shelby, didn't you have a friend, too?

SHELBY: I actually just had a client yesterday who said that it was kind of one of those treats. She and her husband just shared a small one and she was ill for two days. She said her stomach just didn't feel right. So, I don't know what's in there or if it's the MSG that's changed or the food dyes. But there's something around those shamrock shakes. They are not lucky.

Well stay tuned to listeners because we just developed a Shamrock Shake with real food. So, stay tuned if you see that on our website or if you get that through our newsletter.

MARCIE: I think we'll take a caller quick before we go to break here. Norm, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition! How can we answer your questions today?

CALLER: Good morning. I just want to relate something that happened to my wife as far as food sensitivities. For a number of years, she’s had AFib. And we found that MSG was definitely a cause. She would have AFib attacks during the night. And almost within 12 to 24 hours after MSG, so we were very careful about that. But after she avoided that she still had attacks and we've gone to doctors and heart specialists and they don't really know what was causing it. But a while back I read a book by the Wheat Belly author. And he did a recall about a woman who had AFib attacks and went off gluten. Well, my wife went off gluten seventy-three days ago and she hasn't had one attack. And she was having at least one a week. And so, gluten has definitely been a solution to her problems.

SHELBY: Oh, thank you. So those processed foods come back and get us. You're exactly right.

CALLER: Right. And so of course we're thankful that a lot of stores around here have gluten free items and restaurants are now all having menus with gluten free items.

SHELBY: Well, stay tuned because we're going to be talking about one of our favorite gluten free restaurants at the end of the show.

MARCIE: Yes. Also, that's a great point to bring up to listeners, too, that it's not just gut health that can be one of your symptoms or it be expressed that way. Sensitivities are expressed in a lot of different ways.

Well, you guys, it's time for our third break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I am Marcy Vaske, license nutritionist, and I'm here with my co-host Jennifer Schmid, nutrition educator and Shelby Hummel, who is also a licensed nutritionist. This past week I've had phone appointments with clients that live in Texas, North Carolina, and even Australia.

So, we can really work with anyone around the world by phone or by Skype appointments. So please call in to schedule an appointment with one of us our office number is 651-699-3438.


SHELBY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition! So, some of you listeners may be interested to hear that insurance companies can cover nutrition counseling for chronic disease so if that's something that you're interested in I would call your insurance provider and see if that's something that they would offer.

Well, before we get back into our topic, I want to give you a little bit of information about some of the legislation around mental health reform. So, on December 7th 2016, the Senate passed the mental health reform. So, that 21st century cures act marks the first time Congress passed legislation specifically designed to help get coverage for those with eating disorders. So call our office or check with your insurance company to see if they provide this service. You can reach your offices if you have more specific questions. 651-699-3438.

JENNIFER: And it looks like we have a caller on the line.

MARCIE: We do have a caller. Welcome, Jerry, to Dishing Up Nutrition!

CALLER: Hi. A quick question. Wondering about healthy fats and if you eat a lot of lean meat and want to maybe supplement with some healthy fats like coconut oil, how much are we talking that you would be consuming a day? Are we talking like a teaspoon with every meal or a tablespoon with every meal or three tablespoons or what?

MARCIE: What we teach and talk about at Nutritional Weight and Wellness to add to your meals is one to two tablespoons and to add your snacks about one tablespoon of healthy fat.

CALLER: OK. So one to two and then one. So, if you do like five of those little small meals kind of like I do every day, you'd be really pounding that coconut oil then, right? I mean like ten tablespoons maybe throughout the day.

MARCIE: Possibly, yes definitely.

CALLER: OK. And are coconut oil and avocado kind of equivalent? Avocado have pretty healthy fats, right?

SHELBY: Oh yeah those are great healthy fats! So, Jerry, if you're doing like half of an avocado at lunchtime or even with your eggs in the morning that would be a great way to get those healthy fats. So, depending on that, if you're doing nuts or seeds, it would be more like a quarter of a cup. So, each one is a little bit different.

MARCIE: That's right. And the variety of healthy fats is important, too, to keep in your meal plan during the day. Don't just eat coconut oil all day long.

SHELBY: All the different fats have different benefits so variety is great. Thanks for your call this morning.

MARCIE: So, let's just get back to topic here quick. We've already mentioned that the cause of compulsive eating can be really complicated. But we've talked a lot about how it can be really seen from gut health. So how can we improve our gut health? We haven't talked about that yet. So, what we want to do is maybe start out by using a product or a probiotic. The one that we recommend very often for our clients is something called bifido bacteria. It's one of the most beneficial bacteria we have in our intestinal tract. We actually get it right away from our mother's breast milk and it is 70 percent of what our good bacteria is made up of in our intestinal tract. So, when we suggest this to our clients, what we do is tell you to take it about 10 to 15 minutes before you eat on an empty stomach. That way it gives your intestinal tract time to get ready for food and kind of help you digest things a lot more quickly.

Another one that we talk a lot about, too, is that L-Glutamine. So, L-Glutamine is an amino acid and that is fantastic for tissue healing. Also, when it's combined with that bifido bacteria it really can decrease those sugar cravings. So, if you're a sugar craver, run in and get some bifido and glutamine. At the end of the day what we're talking about is it really just helps decrease that compulsive eating because you're not having that sugar craving; you're eating all day long with your bifido and glutamine and your blood sugars balanced.

SHELBY: And it's definitely going to help with some of those digestive complaints.

JENNIFER: And those are the very supplements that I take every day and they’re so healing for my digestive tract. And I also enjoy incorporating some fermented vegetables in my diet for some more beneficial bacteria. I really like the traditional sauerkraut like the Bubbies brand. And I also enjoy flavor varieties. One of my favorites is the beet ginger. I find them at my co-op or maybe at the farmer's market.

SHELBY: What about pickles? Have either of you tried the Bubbies pickles? Those are my favorite to wrap that up around a little piece of ham and some cream cheese or I will typically do guacamole and have a little deli roll up with a nice crunch inside for my probiotics.

JENNIFER: You want to focus on always getting those fermented vegetables in the refrigerated section. You never want to buy them off of a store shelf or ones that have vinegar in the ingredients because they don't contain that beneficial bacteria.

SHELBY: Are there any other probiotic-rich foods that you ladies like? What about the gut shot? Have either of you tested the gut shot? I haven't been brave enough to try that yet.

JENNIFER: It's really good. It comes in different flavors and I think that again it comes in that ginger beet flavor. And I also like coconut kefir as well.

SHELBY: So, something that's not dairy but also has some other benefits, too.

MARCIE: It’s always good to keep those fermented foods going in addition to your probiotic because we can't actually get enough good bacteria out of those fermented foods.

SHELBY: We’ve got a lot going against our gut.

Well, we talked about so much today. Should we give our listeners an opportunity to kind of wrap their head around everything we have talked about?

JENNIFER: That sounds great, Shelby. We've talked about how poor digestion can lead to an eating disorder and also to compulsive eating. Both of these are very complex and complicated health conditions. Most people need ongoing weekly support to learn how to eat in order to heal your intestinal tract. That was key for me. If you were to look inside the intestinal tract, it's so complex. We have over 500 different species of bacteria-- some good, some bad. The intestinal tract is about 26 feet long altogether and contains about three and a half pounds of bacteria. Think about that. That's amazing. If we were to spread out the surface area of the intestines it would cover a tennis court. That's pretty amazing, isn't it? Which is why it's so important that we do what we can to keep our gut healthy.

MARCIE: That’s right. So again, like we I talked about just a bit ago, is taking a good probiotic, taking some good L-Glutamine to help break down those sugar cravings that you might be having. And it also helps us use and make some good B-vitamins.

SHELBY: Absolutely. A lot of things happen in that digestive tract. So, not only do we break down our food, but we also make our B-vitamins. Why do we care about vitamins? Well, they help us manage stress and we know that B-12 is also important for energy and well-being. So, we definitely want those B vitamins. They also make our brain chemicals like serotonin. So, 90% of our serotonin is made in our intestinal tract.

MARCIE: Right, and that's usually an interesting fact for people. They think it's just made in your brain.

JENNIFER: So, tune in next week to hear Joanne and Tina discuss fats and oils for healing with special guest Tamara Brown, owner of Sassy Spoon. Sassy Spoon is one of the only restaurants I can safely eat at without fear of cross-contamination with gluten. And the food there is fantastic. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.


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