How Digestive Problems Are Linked to Eating Disorders

December 3, 2016

Two women who have recovered from eating disorders are sharing their stories and how gut health was so important for their success.

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MARCIE: Good morning and welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I am Marcie Vaske, licensed nutritionist. Dishing Up Nutrition is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness, a company providing life changing nutrition, education, and counseling. Today we're going to have a conversation on a topic that is really near and dear to my heart, a topic actually that I lived through and want to share my experience and what I learned through it, really in the hopes of helping others out there like me. Our discussion today is on how digestive problems are linked to eating disorders. Think about that for a moment. Is that a new thought for you? Before we dig in, I would like to introduce my cohost and first in studio today we have JoAnn Ridout. JoAnn is a registered and licensed dietician who has a very busy schedule seeing clients in our Maple Grove office and in our Wayzata office. You know, JoAnn also teaches many, many of our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes as well as corporate and various community classes and we're lucky to have her. She's a wealth of knowledge, so welcome JoAnn.

JOANN:Thank you, Marcie. It's good to be here today with you. I'm looking forward to discussing the topic of how our gut health or intestinal health can be interconnected with eating disorders. The gut and brain connection is a topic that is continually being researched. New findings are emerging on just how the health of our gut can affect our brain.

MARCIE: There is such good research coming out and it's really exciting information, I think. And personally, it really has helped me now actually understand how biochemically I was more predisposed to struggle with disordered eating. It was really interesting and it's kind of a validation that it wasn't all in my head. It may have just been all in my belly. So, I want to introduce our second cohost today and, who like myself, has walked this ugly eating disordered road. So, let me introduce Jennifer Schmidt. Jennifer is one of our Nutritional Weight & Wellness health educators. Jennifer initially came to Nutritional Weight & Wellness after two intestinal surgeries and a diagnosis of osteoporosis and I'm very thankful to have her in studio with us today to discuss this truly life changing information. So, welcome Jennifer.

JENNIFER:  Thank you, Marcie. I'm really happy to be here because I want to share my experience to help spread the word that we really can heal from eating disorders. We can completely heal. That there is a light at the end of that dark tunnel and there is a root cause of the problem.

JOANN:  That's right. This is going to be a fascinating story. I told you earlier, Jennifer, I'm very excited to be here to hear more details about your story. So, can you share that with our listeners?

JENNIFER: I would be happy to. I've struggled with digestive health since birth. I was a colicky baby and that was followed by years and years of IBS symptoms into my late thirties. In the late 90’s I developed an eating disorder. I actually first developed an exercise addiction and that led to an eating disorder. I was in and out of hospitals and residential facilities. I was even featured in the PBS Nova documentary Dying to Be Thin in 2000 and even though I was able to kind of learn those coping skills and restore the weight, I was never able to shake that addiction to exercise.

Some of our listeners might be wondering, “How does one become addicted to exercise?” For me it did two things. It helped ease my digestive distress because every time I ate I would be very uncomfortable. Exercise would help that. But two, I’d get that endorphin rush, that runner's high, if you will, because it was the only way I could feel “normal.” And I started listening to Dishing Up Nutrition right around the first time it started to air about 11 years ago. And at first I was really resistant to make changes in what I was eating.

I was eating a lot of sugar and processed carbohydrates and I was afraid to change that, but something really resonated with me so I continued to listen. And over the years I started to reduce my sugar intake, reduce my gluten intake, I even quit drinking diet soda, but it wasn't until 2012 after having two emergency intestinal surgeries, followed by a diagnosis of osteoporosis that I really hit rock bottom. I stopped absorbing food. And I was feeling hopeless and the Lord really put it on my heart to come to Nutritional Weight & Wellness.

And I made an appointment with the nutritionist and after just a month of eating the weight and wellness way, real foods in balance, I noticed a tremendous change in my health. But what was even more profound than that was how quickly my thoughts and behaviors started to change. I'll never forget, it was a week and a half, just a week and a half after meeting with my dietician, I was driving home from work, headed to the gym and I thought to myself, “I'm feeling kind of tired. I'm not really feeling good today.” So I started to drive home and as I'm driving home I am sobbing because I used to work out twice a day every day, four to six hours a day of intense cardiovascular exercise. And this is the first feeling of freedom I had had in 20 years. Like getting out of prison. I discovered the most powerful drug on the planet. That's just eating real food. So, I was able to go on to really help heal my intestinal tract, got rid of my aches and pains, my skin trouble went away and I was able to reverse my osteoporosis within two years just eating real food. And for me the big key was discovering that this was a biochemical problem and because of my poor digestive health. So I was able to get rid of that guilt and shame that just kind of left me stagnant that I wasn't able to progress and heal.

MARCIE:  Wow, Jennifer that really is a profound story. Thank you so much for sharing it with the audience. And it just goes to show the power of food. And so what was some of the first things that were changing for you? You kind of said after a week and a half you were feeling so much better mood wise even.

How Your Gut Health Affects Your Neurotransmitters and Mood

JENNIFER: Mood wise, I had lot less anxiety. It was kinda like a light went on, like I had been living in darkness and suddenly there was this light in my life, joy restored. I was like seeing things for the first time. It was, it really felt like it was the first time I really had a healthy brain in my whole life.

MARCIE:  And how long do you think it took for your bloating and gas to kind of just calm down?

JENNIFER: That was surprisingly quick too. I'd say within three to four days I noticed a significant difference with my digestion.

MARCIE:  That's great. I mean, it really is, once you start eating those real foods, you just, it's like your whole body becomes less inflamed and we're always trying to tell our audience and our clients that. And I know for me as soon as I took out those offending foods that I was consuming that my body did not want me to eat, and taking some probiotics really helped along with that gut healing l-glutamine, it really made a big difference.

JOANN:  That's right. And so, Jennifer, you talked about your anxiety kind of leveling off and can you expand on that a little bit? Did you begin to diminish that right away? You said about a week and a half.

JENNIFER: Yeah, it took about a week and a half because I had a lot of gut healing to do first. But yes, it was quite extraordinary how quickly that anxiety did go away in perspective to how long I had struggled with it.

MARCIE: Oh, for sure, what I noticed too, as I was going through my recovery is that as I ate more protein, I could really feel the anxiety lessening and just the more calmness I had around that. And also just eating those good animal proteins. As we're eating those animal proteins, what it does is it creates and builds those neurotransmitters in our brains. Those are those good, feel-good chemicals and then the help with good bacteria and some good b vitamins.

So I think it's time for a break. Well, let's get to it. So, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and today we are discussing how our digestive problems are linked to eating disorders. We know eating disorders do not discriminate and they affect both genders, although rates among women and girls are two and a half times greater than men and boys. As we go along in the show today, we are going to learn how nutrition plays a vital role in the health of our gut and our brain. We're going to learn what vitamins and minerals are critical to healing the digestive tract. So stay tuned because after our break we're going to discuss how the breakdown of the digestive tract can be a breakdown of our brain health too.


JOANN:  Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm JoAnn Ridout, registered and licensed dietitian. And I'm here with Marcie and Jennifer today. We're explaining how digestive problems can be linked to eating disorders. Many people suffer with poor digestion. In fact, 60 to 70 million people complain of digestive problems. So if you are one of those 60 to 70 million, you may want to look at what you're putting in your mouth. If you're eating processed foods: muffins, cookies, chips, crackers, all the crap. Lots of people are eating that still. Drinking soda. I challenge you to take out the sugar for three weeks, just three weeks, and listen to what your digestion tells you. You will be very happily surprised.

MARCIE:  Yes, you will definitely. I know it's hard at the holiday time, but even maybe more reason you should do it.

JENNIFER:   Well, before we went to break, Marcie was talking about how eating adequate amounts of that animal protein will really help our digestive system make those neurotransmitters or those feel-good brain chemicals. And we know we teach in all of our nutrition classes that 90 percent of our neurotransmitters like serotonin are in our small intestinal tract. Serotonin is like our natural antidepressant. So if we have poor digestion or poor gut health, we're going to have poor brain health.

JOANN: You're right. We do teach that every day. And so how is that connected then to an eating disorder?

MARCIE: Well, looking back on my gut health all the way into my childhood, which was years ago, I never had a good tummy. I always had a stomach ache. I was always constipated and very often I complained of those tummy aches and just feeling yucky. But I had no idea that it was initially dairy causing me to feel so rotten. So, as my gut health deteriorated, so did my brain health. But we never put that connection together, which looked like for me, anxiety. And because remember my gut wasn't making those neuro transmitters I needed, right? So as my anxiety grew, I became obsessive with my foods, sticking to a rigid meal plan and exercising compulsively, which really then deteriorated my gut health even more.

JENNIFER:  Right. And there lies the root cause. It's critical that we have certain nutrients like b vitamins. Those really help us with stress. Amino acids from good animal protein and zinc to maintain a healthy brain. So where are we going to find those nutrients? That's the question.

Where to Find Mood-supporting Nutrients in Foods

MARCIE: Well we're going to find those nutrients in some good animal protein. If we don't consume enough of that protein we’ll become low in those nutrients. And in the case of zinc, when you're deficient in zinc, it can look like a decrease in appetite that can contribute to a vicious cycle of that restrictive or chaotic eating. And of course it's going to lead to other nutritional deficiencies, things looking like exacerbating that anxiety piece, maybe depression, that perfectionism. We always talk about people who are perfectionists, but it really can bring that out more. And then of course what come with that is going to be that obsessive compulsive personality.

JOANN: And so Jennifer, do you feel that the less and less food you ate, can you relate to that? Did you feel more anxious and compulsive as time went on?

JENNIFER:  I certainly did. And a big part of that, too, is low blood sugar. I was getting hangry. My cure all at the time was compulsive exercise. That seemed to really help me temporarily. Well, it feels like you said earlier, those endorphins, that serotonin starts coming out and you're feeling good.

MARCIE:  So if you're a listener out there today hearing our stories and wondering where in the world should I begin? Because it really does feel so overwhelming. Jennifer, when you began this, you said earlier you were scared.

JENNIFER:  I was scared. I was hopeless. Yes, very much so. As a starting place, there are some key supplements and of course proper nutrition. We would never talk about supplements without the good food there, too. But because eating disorders are so complex, we really encourage you to come into Nutritional Weight & Wellness locations to see Marcie or another of our talented, knowledgeable nutritionists that can help you through this process. And that was really key for me. Really key for me for healing. I'll never forget, it was November 11th of 2012 when I came in for my first nutrition consultation. It was on a Saturday at the St Paul office and I sat down with my Dietitian, and she told me, okay, we need to heal your gut. You're not absorbing your food. We need to get rid of the foods that are harming your gut and start to feed it foods that will heal your gut and proper supplementation. She also talked about how eating animal protein would help me build those neurotransmitters. So there sitting in her office was the first time I had that aha! moment. There really is a root cause. I can really let go of this shame and guilt. It gives you a bit of peace.

MARCIE:   And what were you feeling when you left?

JENNIFER: I was shaking. I was shaking with anticipation because I had to get to the grocery store. For some people taking a slower approach works well. I really had to jump in. I really needed to get rid of the those offending foods. I went home and cleared my cupboards out and started eating those healing foods immediately.

MARCIE:   Wow. Fantastic. That's great. And as a nutritionist, I really understand that healing takes time. We all do it. You don't have to be a nutritionist to know that it takes a lot of support. And there is some research that says patients who are in standard eating disorder treatment will relapse within one year. I really feel that that is powerful research to me because if after all this time, years and years, it really means we have to start looking somewhere else. We have to find that.

JENNIFER:  Absolutely. And that was certainly true for me. Sadly, every time I went into the hospital I would see the same faces and it would just break my heart and I started seeing people younger and younger, men and women, older and older, but let's talk about what does actually work.

Already time for our next break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. If you're experiencing muscle weakness, maybe you pick up every virus going around work. Maybe you've got some joint or back pain, depression, hair loss or bone loss, you may be low in vitamin D. A study conducted in 2011 reported nearly 42 percent of adults are deficient in vitamin D and especially those of us who live in the northern hemisphere are at higher risk due to shortened days and less sunlight.

Are you experiencing muscle weakness, joint or back pain, depression or hair loss? Make an appointment with one of our nutritionists or dietitians to determine if a vitamin D deficiency could be the cause! 

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So what can you do? Well, again, as nutritionists and dietitians, we recommend food first. You can find vitamin D in foods such as eggs, salmon, herring, sardines, tuna and oysters, but you can also supplement with 3.000 to 5,000 international units of Vitamin D3.


MARCIE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm here today with Jennifer Schmidt and JoAnn Ridout discussing how digestive problems are linked to eating disorders.

Supplements to Help With Gut Health

JOANN:  So if you're motivated to get started, please call one of our offices and make an appointment for a consultation. Also, one of the very first ways to get started is with Bifido Balance.

MARCIE:  That's right, JoAnn. It's a great gentle way to start. Bifido Balance is a probiotic that just helps repopulate our intestinal tract with that healthy bacteria. Bifido bacterium actually makes up 70 percent of our intestinal bacteria. And like I already said, it's just a nice gentle way to begin the healing process of your intestinal tract.

JENNIFER:  Yeah. It was really key in my healing for sure. And when I began taking the bifido bacteria, we have both a powder form and a capsule form. Because my digestive tract had deteriorated over so many years, I started to take that powdered form for better absorption. And I started with just about a quarter of a teaspoon before meals and water, about 20 to 30 minutes before a meal. And then slowly started graduating to a half of a teaspoon as my body started to get more and more used to it.

JOANN:  That's great. And another fantastic supplement to help out the bifido bacteria to work better is L-glutamine. So, L-glutamine is an amino acid that will help the intestinal lining heal and when taken with bifido bacteria can greatly reduce sugar cravings. So, that's really helpful. So Jennifer, how much L-glutamine did you begin with and when did you add that in?

JENNIFER: Actually right away. With that bifido bacteria and I take both of these still today because they are so healing to the digestive tract. So again, I take about a quarter or a half a teaspoon of the L-glutamine powder and water at the same time as the Bifido 20 to 30 minutes before a meal. What I really like about L-glutamine is it contains the neurotransmitter Gaba, which was a very calming neurotransmitter. For me it’s key to be very calm when I eat. I don’t want to be stressed out, I want to be able to absorb the food that I'm eating. And the other thing I learned was I was not chewing my food well enough. So I started to consciously start to chew my food longer and that really helped with that food absorption and being able to utilize those digestive enzymes in my saliva.

MARCIE: And you felt like you digested the food a lot better. And let’s not forget about zinc. We kind of talked about that a little earlier and zinc is another very critical mineral that if depleted will look like lack of appetite, it'll look like that lack of taste even or smell. I mean, who would ever think that if you're low in zinc, you're not going to smell. It's kind of remarkable. And as zinc deficiency becomes more pronounced, it's going to lead to nausea, bloating, gas, mood disturbances, even like apathy, anxiety, and depression. Jennifer, did you ever take zinc? Did you start zinc at all at the beginning?

JENNIFER:  I did. In fact, what's interesting is the research on this has been done many, many years ago. In fact, when I was in the hospital, we were all given zinc. So, I started out with two capsules of zinc. I like to take my minerals at night. And I started with two and then I slowly went down to one and I also started eating more foods rich in zinc, like beef and lamb, pumpkin seeds, things like that. That all bumped my zinc levels and I've noticed a better appetite.

JOANN: So, of course we know supplements can certainly assist someone in getting back to health. But let's face it, we're nutritionists, we talk about food all day long, yes we do. The power of nutrition is remarkable. So Marcie, what did you begin to eat to help your gut and brain heal?

MARCIE:  Well, in the beginning I began eating a lot more animal protein because I quickly learned that I felt so much more calm and free of that anxiety after eating protein. So even today, if I don't eat enough, I can feel that anxiety come back and just kind of starts sneaking back in. Did you notice a difference, Jennifer, when you began eating more fats or those green leafy vegetables?

JENNIFER: Oh yes. Food became a lot more nourishing to me. I started to feel satisfied after I ate. And what's interesting about those healthy fats are I used to be fat phobic.

MARCIE:  Oh for sure. There’d be no fat and going through my lips.

JENNIFER:  And our brains are made up of 60 to 70 percent fat, so it would certainly help with good brain health and thinking more clearly. It makes up all of our cells. And what's interesting about this fat phobia is that message we got for so many years, but also what's interesting to me is in the English language, the body fat and our dietary fat, the word fat is the same. In a lot of other languages there’s a different word for dietary fat and the fat that we eat.

MARCIE: That's a great point. I don't think people probably put that correlation together. It’s just subconscious. It's really interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

JOANN: Yeah, that's really important. And it Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we are always talking about eating real foods in balance. So it's no different for someone struggling to overcome an eating disorder. So you talked about fat, but what does eating foods in balanced mean?

Eating Foods in Balance: Protein, Fat, Healthy Carbs

MARCIE: Right. What does food eating or eating foods in balance mean? We always talk about it at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Protein, carb, fat, right? PFC. It's our favorite thing to say. What does that look like? Jennifer, can you give us an idea what you kind of started eating in the beginning and maybe even what you're eating now?

JENNIFER:  So, the way it started was I started with some coconut oil in the pan with some spinach and I would cook that down and I add two to three eggs and maybe cook a sweet potato, maybe half a sweet potato, like a half cups worth with some butter.

MARCIE:  Well, how did you feel when you started eating that way? I mean, as you were cooking in a pan for the first time, were you just like, “I can't believe this is me right now doing this?”

JENNIFER:  Part of me was just thrilled and excited because I believed so strongly that this is the food, this is what's going to help me. Getting that message for 11 years, too, listening to Dishing Up Nutrition really, really helped.

MARCIE:  Yes. That's great. And so what do you eat now? Is it similar?

JENNIFER:  I mix it up. Sometimes I'll even have leftovers from the night before. Oh, maybe I'll have, I made a shepherd's pie recently, which is one of my favorites. And also maybe I'll heat up a piece of the shepherd's pie. Perfectly balanced. And so often, I say this with clients too, but you don't think about eating dinner for breakfast. Breakfast for me was oftentimes ground Turkey, maybe sautéed in some of that healing coconut oil, which is so gentle on the intestinal tract. And I'd have some of that sweet potato, too, and butter. It's coming down to just feeling comforted, nourished, like Jennifer said, and healing. That's right.

JOANN:  So it's time for this last break. For those of you who are taking our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss class, onsite or online, we have a great supportive community on Facebook. You are welcome to access this private group during the entire 12 weeks you're taking the class where you can share ideas, inspirations, get questions answered, and find support. This group is moderated by our Nutritional Weight & Wellness nutritionists, and all you need to do is search N4WL community and click “join group.” So if you have a question, you are welcome to call any one of our locations 651-699-3438.


Are you struggling with an eating disorder? Our nutritionists and dietitians can help determine the root cause to help you improve gut health!

Nutrition Counseling

JENNIFER: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Jennifer Schmidt. We are discussing a very important topic today that can change lives and even save lives. I know it has saved mine. One important piece of my recovery was the support and knowledge I got from my nutritionist. If you're struggling with an eating disorder, I can't urge you enough to come in and sit down one on one with a nutritionist.

What Nutrition Counseling is Like

MARCIE: Jennifer, can you talk a little bit about what you felt you learned from sitting down with the nutritionist and go into that?

JENNIFER: Sure. The key thing for me was to find out there's actually a root cause and it was a biochemistry problem, not a willpower problem that I couldn't face alone and that really helped free me from that guilt and shame, which was key for my healing.

MARCIE:  I think that is so important for our listeners and even our clients when they come in to understand that it's not willpower, it's more than that. It’s that biochemistry piece.

JOANN:  If someone is struggling with even compulsive eating or a different type of eating disorder, all of those are related back to the gut and related back to the biochemistry. Well, I think we have a caller. So Liz, you have a question for us today?

CALLER: Hi. Yes. Greg Peterson was on and he talked about acidophilus. Can you give us anything on that? And I tried to call him when he was on and you couldn't get through the line was constantly busy. I hope he comes back. And I enjoyed your program today. I would like to know about this acidophilus.

MARCIE: Well, thanks for your call. Acidophilus is typically taken in the evening and the, you would take maybe one to two capsules right before you go to bed.

CALLER: Okay. Now I use the other bifido and the L-glutamine. I use that in the morning.

MARCIE:  Fantastic. Well thanks for your call. All right, good. That was a very good question.

JOANN:  And so, what did you eat for lunch? We're talking about healing and recovery from eating disorders, but what examples can you give us for lunch ideas?

JENNIFER:  Sure. I like to do a lot of pre-made meals at the beginning of the week, maybe two weeks’ worth just for variety. So for instance, the Thai chicken curry is one of my favorites from the Weight & Wellness Cookbook and Nutrition Guide. And so I'll have some of that leftover. It's really delicious with maybe a half of an avocado for lunch.

MARCIE: Perfect. And a lot of times I would have leftovers too, so maybe it would be chili with some veggies and a half an avocado because I love Avocados and it's a wonderful way to heal and nourish our digestive tract, too. So, it's very important for those with some poor digestion.

JOANN: Yes. And they sound a lot like my dinners and my lunches. I think all of us make some of these wonderful recipes. So Jennifer, what did your dinners look like?

JENNIFER:  Well, my dinners I would have like maybe a rotisserie chicken and then I would divvy up in portion it and freeze it. And what I would do is before I did that I'd use a meat scale and I still use it today because I want to make sure I'm getting enough animal protein.

MARCIE:  That’s a perfect point because so many people, especially women, under-eat protein and I just think it's really important that we know what we're eating.

JENNIFER:   Absolutely. And then I would have maybe some butternut squash and then I'd steam some broccoli and put some olive oil, some good fats on that. And last night for dinner actually I had some leftover Turkey, so I still have some leftover Turkey, which is great. And during the day I soaked it in bone broth with some sprouted quinoa and bone broth. And then I had some sautéed Brussel's sprouts last night in butter.

MARCIE:  That sounds good. Sounds really good. And I really like just simple foods, something like fresh salmon with a little rice, maybe some steamed Broccoli or cauliflower and of course, as much butter as I want. Just makes it so much better. And actually what's interesting is that if you put butter on Broccoli or any veggie really it helps your body metabolize those minerals and vitamins much better. So it's kind of a fun fact and it's a win-win.

JOANN:It is. That's right. All of these ideas are fantastic. They sound great. So what do we do for snacks?

JENNIFER:  Sometimes that can be tricky because again, I want to make sure I'm chewing that food, absorbing it well, so protein shakes work really well for me. So I'll do maybe a half a cup of fruit with a half a cup of full fat coconut milk from the can, a scoop of protein powder and a half a cup of water. And then if I have more time, I really liked the epic bars. Those are made of meat, and then maybe blueberries with some full-fat coconut milk.

MARCIE: Right. So, when you make your shakes, have you ever made them the night before and frozen them and taken them to work? That's such a great tip for people who are just so busy I think.

JENNIFER: And you can make several at a time and put them in the freezer, like you said, and it makes it so much easier.

MARCIE: Right. I agree. I've enjoyed the protein smoothies or even kind of bringing a bag lunch and then maybe eating half the lunch and then the other half I could eat for my snack later. I think that's always kind of an idea to do that. But of course I think the shake’s just kind of, in the afternoons, maybe you're not so hungry, but if you need a little something, we haven't talked a lot about blood sugar, but we need to keep that blood sugar moving throughout the day and, and keeping steady.

JOANN: Exactly. So we have a couple more callers. Linny, do you have a question for us today?

CALLER:  Good morning. Hi. Yes, I do. I'm wondering if wellness effects someone who has some issues with bipolar. You’re talking about all these supplements and vitamins that might help with gut health, but it's maybe related to emotional or mental issues.

MARCIE:  Definitely brain health connection.

JENNIFER:  I find that, I've known people who have bipolar and were able to greatly improve that through eating real foods. And again, it’s that biochemistry issue and again we want to have healthy guts to be able to make those neurotransmitters to work for our brains and for that good brain health. So I definitely think that's very beneficial.

CALLER: Could you recommend any specific supplements?

JENNIFER:  I think it's very individual. I would certainly encourage you to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist to really figure out what would work best.

CALLER: Thank you.

JOANN:  Thank you. Okay. So, we're just getting back to our food here. So, it's so important when you're healing your body to keep it nourished throughout the day. Those snacks sound really good. A few supplements. So Jennifer, how long have you been healing and what is the state of your gut now? How do you feel today?

JENNIFER:  I feel fantastic. It's been four years and it's very freeing to not have to worry about that piece and having that poor gut health and I have to remind myself too, if I'm having a bad day, it's like, wait a minute, think about your health, how good do you feel and how lucky and how blessed are you? So, that's great.

MARCIE:  That is great. So we could do a little bit of a wrap up here for those of you who may have come in a little bit late. First of all, I want to thank Jennifer for sharing her personal story. Every time we share those stories there's the potential to help one more person, right, Jennifer? So thank you so much for doing that.

JENNIFER: Yeah, this is my mission, how I would just want to get the word out there. Now, I think before we go today, it's important to highlight some key points we spoke about today. New research is finding the state of health of our intestinal tract is then linked to those eating disorders, healing the intestinal tract with the help of a good probiotic like bifido bacteria and the tissue repairing L-glutamine is so important. Eating animal protein multiple times a day helps our intestinal tract make those neurotransmitters, which are those fields of chemicals for our brain to decrease anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

MARCIE:   And JoAnn, what’s another one that we talked about?

JOANN:  The other key mineral that we talked about was zinc. So, with zinc, often we're deficient. That creates appetite issues, bloating, nausea issues, and even taste and smell. And with the complexity in an eating disorder, it's very important to have a lot of support with the reintroduction of foods. So, we do strongly recommend, if you're struggling, to make an appointment with one of our Nutritional Weight & Wellness nutritionists or Dietitians. That can be really helpful.

MARCIE:  And I mean, just using Jennifer's story, she says it all. Jennifer, you had to do the work, you had to go home and you had to cook that food. So, it's just having someone to support you. But, yet at the same time you're doing it all.

So, thank you for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you found this show interesting, please share it with a friend or a family member. Our message each week is how eating real food supports your health. It's a simple, but powerful life-changing message, especially today. Thank you so much everybody and have a great weekend.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, make an appointment with one of our nutritionists or dietitians to uncover the root cause and learn how real foods can help heal your gut for healthier living. 

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