Is Your Gut Healthy and How To Fix It

April 19, 2021

Listen in to learn what’s behind common signs of poor gut health and suggest simple health habits and foods to relieve the gas, bloating and pain. Even if you don’t struggle with those issues, did you know that having good gut health plays an important role in every part of your health, from your mood to your immune function and pretty much everything in between? Listen in!

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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. As many of you are aware, every week on Dishing Up Nutrition, we like to discuss health problems that are related to your diet. Or I could also say that as we like to discuss health problems that are related to the food you're choosing to put in your mouth day in and day out. Today, our topic is one that I am passionate about. We've titled it “Gut Health and How to Fix It”. And before we dive into our topic, I just want to give you a little background on my own gut health and also the struggles I've had with my son's digestive health, really from the time he was a newborn. And boy, I remember those sleepless nights all too well. Many of them were spent entirely in the rocking chair with my son on my chest trying to keep him as upright as possible so that his acid reflux was manageable. I was just trying to soothe him enough so that he could get a little sleep. And I'm sure there are moms and dads out there who can relate to my story. Now, the upside to the four years of unpleasant memories that are cascading through my brain right now is that we did finally find solutions. And today my cohost and I will be sharing the gut solutions that worked for my family with all of you, as well as some additional solutions to poor digestive health as we go throughout the upcoming hour. And speaking of cohost, I think I'd better introduce both her and myself before we go any further. My name is Cassie Weness. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. I have been for the last 23 years. And joining me in studio today is Registered and Licensed Dietitian, Melanie Beasley. Today, Melanie and I will be sharing with you some common signs and symptoms of poor gut health so that you know what to look for. And then we'll also be giving you simple health habits and some specific foods that can relieve those symptoms of poor digestive health. But before we do that, I know Melanie has her own story of sort of digestive woes to share with us. So welcome, Melanie. I'll hand the mic over to you.

MELANIE: Well, yes, indeed. I have had in the past challenges to get my stomach, small intestine, large intestine healthy and cooperating so that it's working well and I feel good and got my health back. So my challenge has started with long-term antibiotic use and proton pump inhibitors, which are acid blocker use for my chronic heartburn.

So my intestinal tract had not just one insult, but two big medications that were really destroying the microbiome. And not only did I take many antibiotics, I also took Aciphex, which is an old drug that dates me a little that was used to quell my heartburn. I was having breakthrough pain and when they were going to double the dose and that's when I sort of took my health in my hands.

CASSIE: Yeah. And that Aciphex, you know, just to give listeners an idea, there's so many other drugs within that class, right? So what; Prevasid, Prilosec, Nexium.

MELANIE: Omeprazole.

CASSIE: Omeprazole: those all can do that damage to the gut. Oh.

MELANIE: But you want relief, you know, when you're in that much pain for relief.

CASSIE: That burns. That is true. Yeah. And Mel, you shared your experience with antibiotics and acid blockers with me just yesterday. And until then, I didn't realize how many similar scenarios we've both suffered through. You know, thinking back for myself, I think I got my first urinary tract infection when I was just seven or eight years old. So of course back then, well, anytime, right, when you get a UTI you're prescribed antibiotics, but then those urinary tract infections became chronic for me for a couple of years. So it was more antibiotics. And we should stop here. I want listeners to visualize what those antibiotics that were prescribed over and over did to the health of our intestines. So before you can get a good visualization, you first need to know that ideally, we all should have a lot of good bacteria in our intestines. Sometimes I call them good bugs.

We want a lot of those living in our intestines. And we'll be talking more about this as the hour goes on. But back to our visualization. Antibiotics by their design are meant to kill bacteria, whether it's good bacteria or bad bacteria, antibiotics don't discriminate. They just kill bacteria. Are you starting to visualize how the health of my gut and Mel's gut were really harmed by those frequent rounds of antibiotics? So all of this talk of bacteria in the gut brings me to the next concept I'd like us to spend a little time talking about. As our longtime listeners are aware on this program, we like to take pretty complex concepts and break them down so that everyone can understand, even if you're not a biochemistry major, even if you really dislike science, we just want everyone to understand the point that we're, that we're sending. So the next concept we're going to simplify is how the microbiome dictates many aspects of our health. Now, if you're thinking yourself, “What the heck is a microbiome?” Don't feel bad. I don't think I knew what a microbiome was until, I don't know, maybe the last five, six, seven years. And I've been a dietitian for over two decades. Now, while the underlying concept of what we're talking about here with the microbiome is not new, I think the term is relatively new. And certainly the popularity of this word microbiome is relatively new. It seems whenever I'm reading an article now on intestinal health or a research study, that word microbiome pops up.

MELANIE: Pops up.

CASSIE: Yeah. It's it seems to be everywhere right now. And I am getting a little long-winded and I think Mel, you're better at giving short and sweet definitions that everyone can grasp. So why don't you describe to listeners: what is the microbiome?

MELANIE: Well, I think it's important for listeners to understand everybody has one, right? It's kind of like a left arm or right arm or your brain. Everybody has one. And so understanding it's really understanding yourself and what's going on. And this for me, the simplest way to think of a microbiome is you have a garden that lives in your intestinal track. And so we have to take care of the garden and we have a variety of species in there. And circling back to the antibiotic, “anti” means against and “biotic” means life. So when we need those antibiotics sometimes for infections, it's against all life and we want to keep that garden healthy. So your microbiome is part of your gut.

And it's made up of a combination of a variety of microbes, or like Cassie said, good bugs, like bacteria, fungi, yeast, and mold, protozoa and viruses. It's very complex. So if you picture this, in your intestinal track, tens of billions, and yes, I said, tens of billions of microbes are swimming around in your entire digestive system trying to keep you balanced and healthy. They have a variety, a great complex variety of functions. So we've got to take care of that garden.

CASSIE: Yes. Well, I love that garden analogy, Mel, because then if you think about taking an antibiotic, which is against life, right, and kills some of your garden, it's not just going to regrow on its own; just like when you dig up your garden at the end of the growing season, it doesn't just automatically grow back the next year. You have to replant. And we'll be talking about how to replant if you do need some antibiotics in your, in your lifetime.

MELANIE: And you know, Cassie it's, you know, I love that analogy about your garden. And, but if you had weed killer and you sprayed it all over the garden, right, then you're destroying your beautiful flowers.

CASSIE: Right.

MELANIE: So that's what we need to repopulate and replant those flowers.

CASSIE: Good point. So as you just alluded to Mel, the majority of our microbiome resides in our gut. Although some of those microorganisms live on our skin. Some live in our mouth. But most microbes, the bacteria, the viruses, the fungi, most live in our gut. And like you said, we have tens of billions. We have a lot of bugs. It's like its own little world down there in our gut. And what I find just as fascinating is that scientists have found over a thousand different species. So we have tens of billions in total, but in there, there are over a thousand different types or different species of bacteria in the average human intestinal tract. And if we consider the question, why do we even have these bugs in our gut? Hopefully some of you are wondering that if you have a curious mind, well, the answer to that is plentiful. We need these microbes because they help us digest our food. These microbes or little bugs in our gut help us produce our B vitamins. They help support a strong immune system. And I have a few other jobs that those microbes do too. But first we're going to go to a quick commercial break. If you're just joining us, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And today my cohost and I are asking the question, do you have a healthy gut? Do you have a healthy intestinal tract? Or are you experiencing digestive problems? If you answered yes to the latter, you're not alone. The statistics show that over 70% of the United States population has some sort of digestive issue, whether that's heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation. Over 70% have digestive issues. The good news is Mel and I have solutions for you today. So if you're struggling with digestive issues, stay with us. We'll have more great information that you won't want to miss on the other side of this break.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're experiencing heartburn, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation, a straightforward solution for you is to simply eliminate all processed food; all fast food. Maybe tell your Grub hub delivery person you're going to miss them and just keep driving past my house. But giving up those high sugar processed foods may actually be the answer. Just try it for two weeks. You can do anything for two weeks. And if you need more help, you can call us at (651) 699-3438. You can set up on one-on-one nutritional consult with one of our wonderful nutritionists, registered dietitians, because constant heartburn is a serious health problem, and it should be addressed nutritionally. Ongoing diarrhea and constipation are both serious health problems as well and they should also be addressed nutritionally. Don't let it go on. And before we went to break, Cassie was talking about how our human health is so complex and complicated and how everyone's microbiome or garden is very, very unique.

Your intestinal track contains both bad bacteria and good bacteria. They kind of keep each other in check, in balance. So you want to eat in a way that will keep your good bacteria flourishing and your bad bacteria in check. Some of you may be asking, “Why do I want a healthy gut?” I don't see it. I don't really want to talk about it.

CASSIE: Right.

MELANIE: So this may be surprising to some of you, but the real reason or importance of having good gut health is that your gut health plays an important, crucial role in every part of your health, from your mood to your immune function, and pretty much everything in between. Some important steps to have a better healthy gut are to simply clean up your diet and reducing the amount of sugar you eat or eliminating it. And also eliminating those processed, high sugar carbs and letting go of the fast food and pizza that is loaded with bad fats that come from a factory and refined oils like soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil. Right, Cassie?

CASSIE: Well, and maybe even just look in your cupboard. Are you cooking with canola oil, soybean oil or corn oil? It's not just in the fast food. Sometimes it's lurking in our cupboards too. So those are all good strategies to help improve intestinal health. Mel, I'm glad you brought those up. And I really want listeners to take a minute right now and think about your own health. If you feel down or sort of like you have the blues a lot of the time, maybe it's a gut problem. If you have skin problems like acne or eczema, maybe it's a gut problem. If you're gaining weight for no reason; you haven't started eating more and you haven't been exercising less, but you're gaining weight. Maybe it's a gut problem. Or if you wake up each morning and feel like you ache all over, this could be because of poor gut health. Or do you feel really tired most days, like it's just a struggle to put one foot in front of the other? It could be a gut problem. And let me ask you this. How has your memory working for you? Do you feel like it's not that great? Do you have problems trying to think of certain words when you're having a casual conversation? That definitely can be related to poor gut health. I guess to sum it up, what I'm trying to get across is the gut is the mother of all health.

MELANIE: Good way to say it, Cassie. I love that. So if you think back to when you were born, maybe that was 30 or 45 years ago. For some of our clients, it may be 60 to 80 years ago. But regardless of how many years it has been since came into this world, when you pass through the birth canal, you got your first dose of microbes and then your microbiome changed from the microbes in your mother's breast milk. So your microbiome may have changed if you had an ear infection and needed to be on a round of antibiotics. Your microbiome was also influenced by the diet your mother fed you. Then by about the age of three, your microbiome begins to sort of stabilize. That early development of the good beneficial bacteria is critical because it sets up your gut health, your intestinal health for life. You get one kit. You get it through the birth canal and you get it through breastfeeding. That's your kit. So remember, your gut microbiome is connected to almost everything in your body and also in your brain. It even has an impact on your weight, your mood and on your energy. And like Cassie said, your memory.

CASSIE: And it doesn't stop there, does it? When your gut bacteria is out of balance, meaning you have more bad bacteria than you have good bacteria, you can develop food sensitivities or even food allergies. Now, there are ways you can get your gut back into balance and again, stay with us because we'll be talking about that. But if you don't reestablish that balance in your good to bad bacteria, a lot of people can become sensitive to more and more foods. And suddenly they're on a really limited eating plan. I think yesterday, Mel, you were sharing with me a client you have that is down to like four foods they can eat.

MELANIE: Yes, it's terrible. She's down to four foods and working on the microbiome to get her back on track. But, you know, you can develop something called leaky gut. And so that's where you, large particles of food that are normally broken down can slip into your bloodstream. And your body says, well, this is foreign because it's not broken down properly. And then the body begins to attack it because it's a foreign invader. So the next time you eat that food, guess what? Your body sets up that cascading reaction to that food. I was eating, when I had leaky gut, I was eating whole grain wheat and yogurt and hummus and flax and corn tortillas.

CASSIE: And you didn't realize you had a leaky gut.

MELANIE: Didn't know it. And just trying to eat like I thought was a healthy way to eat. And when I was finally tested, I was allergic to whole grains, wheat, gluten, hummus; the sesame in the hummus and the flax in the corn tortillas. So, interesting enough, I had lost those foods to intolerance.


MELANIE: And when there is an imbalance in your gut flora, which is when there is not enough good bacteria to balance the excessive amounts of bad bacteria, people start to experience bloating, gas, constipation, heartburn, or diarrhea and fatigue sets in. It's not normal and it can be corrected.

CASSIE: Yes. And we want to talk about ways to correct that when we get back from this commercial break. If you've just tuned in, we are talking digestive health and how to fix it. But before we break, I'd like to give listeners something to think about as I often do. As many of you listening will likely remember from past Dishing Up Nutrition programs, my family members and I are certainly not strangers to digestive problems. Over 10 years ago, after much doctoring and some detective work on my part, we discovered that both of my kids have celiac disease and that I have a gluten sensitivity. If you're not familiar with the definition of celiac disease, in a nutshell, it's a severe genetic autoimmune condition where the body attacks itself anytime the person eats wheat, barley, rye, or oats. Specifically, the body attacks the small intestine. So think about what that means. If you or someone, you know, has celiac or a gluten sensitivity, and you're still eating foods like bread, pasta, foods that contain gluten, then you're damaging your small intestine. And what that means is over time, you won't be able to absorb nutrients from your food. And this can cause many additional problems, sometimes very serious problems. If you'd like to learn more, I encourage you to go to our website, and click on classes. There you'll find an information packed pre-recorded class titled Going Gluten Free the Healthy Way. I was privileged to be asked to record this class along with my colleague, Mary Hauge. And it really has been a very helpful and enlightening class for many. So if you think you could learn from this class, it's only $25. And again, you can sign up for it by going to our website at Oh, and by the way, my two kids are now 13 and 15 years old. And they are very healthy, very tall teenagers who are athletic and growing like weeds. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you have digestive problems, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, or bloating, we often recommend a probiotic supplement to help support your gut health by adding beneficial bacteria back to your gut microbiome. We also know that not all probiotics are the same. The wrong strains can sometimes cause more bloating. So for your small intestinal track, we recommend starting with Bifido Balance, which is a mild single strain form of the beneficial bacteria, bifidobacterium. It's a miracle working probiotic.

CASSIE: It is. And while I’m thinking about it, you mentioned heartburn. And I talked about earlier in the show, my now 15 year old son had terrible heartburn from day one until the age of four, when we discovered he has celiac disease. The two things that eliminated his heartburn were of course going 100% gluten free, but also adding the right probiotic. And what worked so well for him as a toddler was a probiotic called HLC Mindlinx. And I gave this to Riley two times a day. It's a powder probiotic. So it really works well for toddlers. I just mixed it in an ounce of water plus an ounce of apple juice. Riley loved it. He would ask for his juice vitamin. And I just put a quarter of a teaspoon. Again, two times a day was all it took. And I just can't say enough great things about this HLC Mindlinx, because it really was that final piece of the puzzle we needed to get rid of his heartburn. And then both he and I could finally sleep through the night.

MELANIE: Oh, that's the best.

CASSIE: That was a godsend. All right, so I mentioned before we went to that last commercial break that we are going to start talking solutions here soon. So I think at this point we should explain how the balance, well revisit how the balance of good to bad bacteria can get out of whack. And then we'll get into some more solutions in addition to that bifidobacteria and the HLC Mindlinx that we just mentioned. But I really want listeners to connect the dots between their own body and any ill health effects that they might be experiencing and what they're eating. And honestly, I think if I just take a minute here and describe my life before I found Nutritional Weight and Wellness, that's a great depiction of unhealthy habits that can cause an unhealthy gut. So if we go back, well, really let's just go back to the first days of my life. I was not breastfed. So I kind of started out behind the eight ball. I missed out on that first shot of good bacteria that a mother's breast milk can provide. Then, as I mentioned earlier, I had many urinary tract infections as a grade schooler. So that meant many rounds of antibiotics. And remember antibiotics are a big factor in upsetting that balance of good to bad bacteria in the gut. As a teenager, I was put on low dose antibiotics for my acne. And I took those low dose antibiotics for more than 10 years chronically, which just makes me shudder. I mean, I can't imagine all the harm that did to my intestinal health. And then there was the typical college eating when I went off to school; a lot of high carb foods like bagels and cold breakfast cereal. And I'll admit I had my fair share of soda and beer during those college years. And I'm sure you won't be surprised when I say I wasn't eating enough vegetables when I was in my early twenties. You know, vegetables are so important because the good bacteria in our gut love to feed on the fiber, but I wasn't getting those. So and longtime listeners, I'm sure remember, because we've said this on past shows: sugar feeds yeast in our gut. So just thinking of my past life, those high carb foods: the pop, the beer: those all turn to sugar once I ate and drank them. And then that sugar fed the yeast, the yeast starts to overgrow and that crowds out good bacteria. And then you get to a place where the bad bacteria and the yeast are dominating and you have poor digestive health. So there you have it; just giving you a sneak peek into my former life gives you many unhealthy habits that can lead to poor gut health. And if you're wondering, those unhealthy habits did catch up to me. I, back then I had low energy. I had some unexplained anxiety. I had acne and now I can look back and connect the dots.

MELANIE: Yeah, definitely. I can remember those years living on Diet Dr. Pepper and low-fat Snack Well’s.

CASSIE: Oh, Snack Well’s. I remember those because they were low fat. Yes.

MELANIE: And we, we paid the toll didn't we? We definitely paid the toll. So as you look at your diet, are you eating the Weight and Wellness way of eating real food? Or are you feeding the bad bacteria with sugar and processed carbs? Think cereal bars, donuts, cookies, buns, chips. Any food that you can't pluck or chase is probably not going to help your microbiome. Your body wants to heal itself. And I'm sure that you want that healing. So why not give the Weight and Wellness way of eating real food a try?

CASSIE: Anything you can't pluck or chase. You always throw a new one out there when I'm with you. I love it. I will remember that. And if you didn't get a chance, I just want to bring up because they sort of talked about this last week. If you didn't get a chance to listen to last week's Dishing Up Nutrition program when it was on live, I do hope you listen to the podcast when you have time, because last week, Dar, Leah and Dr. Leslie Korn talked about supporting good mental health with good food. And I know for some of you, it's new information to hear that mental health, energy and immune function are all a result of good digestion or good gut health. Your gut microbiome is responsible for helping to break down your food. And we need to break down our food in full in order to turn it into energy. So there's the connection there. And if we have a healthy gut microbiome, a lot of our brain chemicals are made in our gut. That's why, right, some people call it the second brain.

MELANIE: The second brain. And so if, think about, are you ever humming with anxiety and everything's fine in your world, but you cannot figure out why you're sort of humming with anxiety or maybe low grade depression. Maybe your body is just not having the fuel that it needs to make those neurotransmitters or those brain chemicals that help us to feel good, calm, relaxed, high self-esteem, and so forth. So you may be wondering “What are some signs of an unhealthy gut?” There's your starting place. While a little gas and bloating may be normal, a lot of gas and bloating…. Let's say you have that, an excess strain of bad bacteria, and you need to replace it with the good bacteria or the good strains from probiotics. Are you someone that has to unbuckle or unzip your pants by 6:00 PM because you're miserable? This can be corrected.

CASSIE: Yes. This is a gut problem. And I'm glad you brought up that word probiotics. So let's transition into solutions for your gut problems. And to do that, I want to give a real life example from back when I was seeing clients. I clearly remember a particular client who came to see me because she had had diarrhea every day, many times a day for over a year. She'd been to her conventional doctor. They had run some tests and they'd tried a variety of different over the counter and prescription medications. But none of that worked. Now, before I tell you the plan I put her on, I just want listeners to know that diarrhea is not an uncommon reason for clients to make an appointment with us. And it can be for a myriad of different reasons, right? Some people get diarrhea from an infection called C. difficile after several rounds of antibiotics. Some people get diarrhea because they have a dairy or a gluten sensitivity that they haven't diagnosed yet. Some people ruin that intestinal flora, or that balance of intestinal flora in their gut from chronic use of certain prescription medications. And this can lead to loose stools or diarrhea. But no matter the cause, at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we work with you to figure out the solution that will work for your own unique microbiome. So back to this client of mine that had really stopped going out. She'd stopped going out when her girlfriends invited her. She was afraid to travel because she just never knew when the urgency to get to the bathroom was going to hit. I made a few changes in her diet and I got her eating real food; not food from a box that needed to be microwaved. And I put her on a probiotic supplement that I felt was right for her body. And in just a few weeks, she went from having diarrhea five to seven times a day to having one or two formed stools. So, you know, we, we can help you if you're struggling. But I can't stress enough because each client has their own unique microbiome. The answer to some of these digestive problems takes careful thought and problem solving with a skilled nutritionist or registered dietitian.

MELANIE: Because it's important to say, some people need certain medications. They need those medications. But if you work in tandem with a dietitian to help you overcome some of the side effects, it can improve. It definitely can improve.


MELANIE: And you may not be someone who experiences diarrhea. Or the other extreme is constipation. So hopefully we didn't lose them because that constipation can be just as devastating. And a third of Americans ages 60 and older struggle with constipation. I was really surprised to learn that constipation in children is also a serious health concern. 30% of kids in the U.S. struggle with constipation. And research tells us that kids and adults who suffer from constipation typically have lower levels of a certain type of good bacteria called bifidobacteria. And breast milk's main beneficial bacteria is bifidobacteria. So we didn't get that benefit, Cassie. When kids and adults are deficient in bifidobacteria, they often crave sugar and processed carbs.

CASSIE: Interesting. We're going to talk more about those cravings on the other side of this break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I do want to let you know, though, that next Tuesday, April 20th, as well as the following Thursday, April 29th, we're offering our Nutrition for Weight Loss, 12 class series live, but not in-person live. It's going to be live via Zoom. This is a program that can help you make the commitment to following a real food eating plan. And I personally believe a big reason why people find success with this series is that being part of a group that is like-minded and heading towards the same goals helps hold you accountable. I mean, it makes it a lot harder to say, “Oh, I'm just going to start my diet next Monday, or I'll start my diet next month,” when you know, you have to check in with your class each week. You don't want to let them down. So that group accountability and the support that the members of the group offer you can really help you accomplish your health goals. And think of it this way: if you sign up for this series that starts next week, by July 14th, you'll be feeling healthy, energetic, and likely you'll have lost that weight that you've been meaning to shed for quite a while now. If you're interested, you can call the office at 651-699-3438, or you can go to and sign up there. We'll be right back.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Having ongoing digestive problems can be really hard, but I think we would all agree that having ongoing diarrhea is harder. It can be hard to go for a walk, hard to go shopping, hard to work, hard to go anywhere really for that matter, because you're always in need of the nearest bathroom. By the way, have you noticed how many bathrooms are closed these days? That's not good for some of our clients. I want to share a great success story, though. One of my sweetest clients had experienced ongoing diarrhea for over a year. And after only the fourth appointment diarrhea was gone and she was, I swear she could have kissed me on the mouth. She was so happy.

CASSIE: I bet.

MELANIE: She said that it had been from the changes she had made from the recommendations I gave her. Just four appointments and the diarrhea was gone. I hear it time and time again in clinic. Cassie, maybe it's time for some of you listeners to make four appointments. So call (651) 699-3438 and tell us your need so that we can help.

CASSIE: Four appointments. That is so worth it.

MELANIE: Yeah, and quick, quick, quick turnaround.

CASSIE: Yeah, really. So before we went to break, you mentioned cravings. And so I'm trying to remember what we were talking about. So, you had been talking about constipation, right? Constipation can be a sign of poor digestive health. And then you mentioned before we went to break, when kids and/or adults are low in this bifidobacteria, they often crave sugar. So I'm wondering if anybody listening is sort of having a light bulb moment right now.

MELANIE: Are we craving sugar out there?

CASSIE: Craving sugar and maybe struggling with some constipation at the same time. I mean, if the answer is yes to both of those, then your gut is really trying to tell you it needs fixing. And if you're a new listener, you are probably a bit surprised that very often sugar and carb cravings are coming from poor intestinal health. And it goes back to that yeast that I was talking about earlier in the show. If you have too much yeast in your intestinal tract, whether it's from years of poor eating or many rounds of antibiotics, if you have too much yeast in your intestinal tract, you know, it's just like when you bake bread; you add sugar to feed the yeast. That yeast in our gut needs to feed and it feeds on sugar. So your cravings can become pretty intense.

MELANIE: Yeah. They're sending those messages up to the brain for survival.

CASSIE: Right.

MELANIE: Feed me sugar.

CASSIE: Feed me, feed me. Yeah. So we've heard it time and again. If we have a client that has a lot of cravings and we get them eating real food, so get them eating the Weight and Wellness way and start them on Bifido Balance, that probiotic that you mentioned earlier, Mel. Time and again, they come back to us in a week or two and say my sugar and carb cravings have disappeared. So if you want to try that Bifido Balance, what we typically start people out on is two or three capsules before each meal. So you'd be taking two or three Bifido Balance before breakfast, two or three before lunch, and then two or three again, before dinner.

MELANIE: You know, Cassie, your gut health affects so many health conditions, including like we mentioned, your mood, your skin and acne. Think dandruff; this can be a gut health situation; auto-immune diseases. And even your weight is affected by your microbiome. Of course, there are going to be several other factors that contribute to weight gain, but here are just a few of them: lack of sleep, insulin resistance, medications, alcohol, and additionally, your gut microbiome influences your weight. I, it brings me back to one twin study found that overweight twins had reduced bacterial diversity or in simpler terms, fewer strains or types of bacteria in their gut.

CASSIE: Isn't that interesting? And that's not the only research study out there linking a lack of certain types of good bacteria in the gut to unwanted weight gain. You know, as we close in here on the end of the hour, I just want to circle back around to that very important question. What is causing my poor gut health or what is causing my digestive issues? We've talked about a couple of different answers to that question today, but I want to emphasize that a poor diet is most often a big piece of the puzzle to gut problems. Remember good bacteria: the good bugs we want a lot of, thrive on real food; real food that you could theoretically grow in your garden, or pick from a tree. And good bugs, especially love to feed on the fiber in vegetables. And we should be getting at least five servings of vegetables a day for our best digestive health. So right now I want you to stop and count how many servings of vegetables you had yesterday. Maybe you only had one or two. Maybe you had five, but if you're not at that level of five or more, that's where you need to start as you begin the road to healing your gut health. And remember too, the bad bacteria, the bad gut bugs that we don't want too much of, they grow on processed foods and high sugar foods. So I think the message that Mel and I are conveying is clear. For the best gut health, we encourage you to start eating the Weight and Wellness way if you haven't already. To eat the Weight and Wellness way, you simply have to focus on real food. And remember that the magic number is three. Every time you stop to eat, you want three things: some real protein, some real carbs, preferably vegetable carbs, and some real fat.

MELANIE: Some good fat to make it all delicious. To help bring your microbiome back into balance, besides eating real food, we also encourage you to add probiotics in a supplement form or eat foods like sauerkraut or miso or kimchi that have natural strains of probiotics in them.

CASSIE: Right. Because we know both from the research and from clinical experience that the use of probiotic supplements, even for a short time can support good digestive health. But there are so many different types of probiotics and so many different strains of probiotics. So I really feel it's best to work with a dietitian or a licensed nutritionist at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, who knows the complexity of digestive problems. And who also knows the complexity of probiotic supplements because at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we're really skilled in this area. And we can help choose the right probiotic and we can tailor a diet that's right for you for your unique microbiome.

MELANIE: Yes. And some of our, our clients only have a few digestive or intestinal problems; maybe just a little gas or a little bloating, while others have, like we've mentioned, very serious digestive problems, such as acid reflux, cramps, fatigue, weight gain, the chronic diarrhea or constipation. And with these clients, we also start with real food, right? And then we add the probiotic supplement and that will help to balance that intestinal track and heal the intestinal lining. So healing the intestinal lining is a process. It can take time. You want to do it gently so you're not derailed with bloating or cramping. But from a health perspective, it is so critical. Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” And if that is true, which I believe it is, then it only makes sense that all health begins in the gut.

CASSIE: I love that. Flip it to the positive side. And I love that Hippocrates quote, you know, that was over what over 2,000 years ago, that Hippocrates lived, but he was spot on. So when you think about that, all disease begins in the gut or all health begins in the gut. That means every time we eat or drink or expose ourselves to chemicals, we're either feeding disease or we're fighting disease.

MELANIE: Right. So ask yourself every bite you take, am I harming or healing?

CASSIE: That's a good one. You know, because a huge foundation of your body's health comes from the strength of your digestion. I mean, think about it. We need to break down our food fully so that we can nourish our body so that we can, you know, turn that food into energy. And like we mentioned earlier, Mel, when we break down our food fully, our body then takes some of those smallest components, specifically of the protein we eat, and makes our brain chemicals. I cannot believe we're already at the end of this program. It's been a good show. And I want all of our listeners to remember our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. Yes, it's a simple message, but it's a powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today. Be safe and be well.

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