Topic of my heart. Why ? As an endurance athlete, regardless of what sport you do, triathlon, ultra running, trail racing, alpinisme, rock climbing, arctic expeditions, we must eat, we must digest, we must recover. If your digestive system doesn’t function well, it might jeopardise your goals. When high stakes are on the line, you don’t want to do this. 6months to 5 years of preparation to a specific event should not go down on the toilette, just because you cannot acclimatise to a high altitude or because of an air-travel stress induced food poisoning.
What can you do about it ? First of all, you should look for sings and symptoms of mis-digestion during your every day life. A small skin rash, eczema, puffy eyes in the morning, farting and bloating, energy highs and lows, addiction to certain foods, lack of motivation, low recovery rates and brain fog. You must observe yourself.
Supplementation of certain stand alone nutrients are great for gut repair, but in my opinion they can work only in conjunction with whole healthy alternatives:
- Collagen Peptides
- Hydrolysed Gelatin
- Whey Protein
- BCAA and EAA (Amino Acids)
- Magnesium Citrate
- Probiotics and Prebiotics
- Spirulina and Chlorella
- Liquide Blue Green Algae
These are fantastic, but you don’t necessarily need to break the bank. In addition, whole foods based nutrition will be the key to overall gut healing and gut performance. When I say GUT, I am describing the whole digestive system and the complete digestive process, not only your intestines or stomach. It is very complex and includes your liver, kidneys, mouth and much more.
There are 3 different kind of food groups what I recommend highly to consume on a daily basis.
- Probiotic rich foods
- Gelatinous substances
- Natural antibiotiques what are often antiviral, anti-fungal and 99% of the time are adaptogens. That means that while they are harming external intruders, they actually do not disturb the human biom, if prepared and used properly, not abused.
Very basic and accessible compounds. So easy to get them, use them and enjoy them, regardless they are in a tea, soup, cake, coffee. Raw, cooked, boiled, fermented, soaked or alcohol extracted versions will result in different positive healing compounds. I preach the smart use of these foods. More is not better and the key word is enough. Just a bit every day or every other day, through out your whole life. Don’t need to purge !
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Flax Seed Oil
- Nigari (Magnesium Chloride) External and internal use
- Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulphate) Mostly external use
- Chili or other hot peppers
- Green and Black Cardamom
- Wild mint and Peppermint
- Stinging Nettle
- Basil and Oregano
- Activated charcoal
- Bentonite and montmorillonite clay (White and Green)
Please note that you must be smart about your healing. If you had IBS, drinking an infusion made from ginger, chilli, garlic and lemon juice might not be a good idea. You could end up in the ER. Know when you are ready !
For example: I drink my morning high grade coffee on a bit of an unusual way. I bring 4.5dl water to boil, add freshly ground coffee, cardamom, cloves, Ceylon cinnamon stick, and some ground nutmeg. Keep it boiling for 5 minutes, let it cool for 5 minutes. I ran the coffee through a metal strain, I blend all together with a raw egg, a slice of butter and coconut oil. Serve it with cinnamon, chilli and ginger powder. Best no-sugar healthy cappuccino you have ever tasted. Even if you didn’t like coffee, you wouldn’t need to add that much or can replace some of it with quality cacao powder. I might drink 3-4 coffees some days, but the actual 3-4 coffees contain less coffee beans than 1 single regular espresso shot ! I am looking for taste, heeling properties and the cognitive benefits. The only thing I don’t care about is caffeine content. If I was tired, I would go for an afternoon nap. Coffee is a health food if prepared properly and not abused. While coffee capsules and airport machine made coffees will damage your gut, teeth, adrenals, brain and much more, your quality home brew will bring out all good properties of coffee beans.
You can add, olive and flax oil to your salads, with freshly chopped basil and oregano leaves, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, squeezed lemon juice and serve it with chunks of pink Himalayan salt, cumin, thyme and any other fresh spices. I love rice cooked up with a lot of stingy nettle powder. You can even make your own toothpowder from clay, baking soda, charcoal. Use it after 15minutes of coconut oil pulling. Be creative. Use a bit of this and a bit of that. Research and find your style of incorporating. Do not abuse !
This should be done every single day. Your stomach lining will be thanking you.
- Coconut water
- Aloe vera
- Bone broth
- Bone gelatine
- Soaked chia seeds
- Soaked flax seeds
- Mango, papaya, durian, jackfruit
- Avocado and yes, avocado seeds
- Fish and fish bone broth
- Snails, shellfish, razorfish, clams, oysters
- Pectin is great, but in it’s whole form: Apple for instance
- Organic organ meats: Liver, heart and kidney
- Sea vegetables
I eat some quality canned sardines and chia seed pudding every day. Chop avocados and apples into my salad and every now and then, I make some bone broth, fish soup or a fruit jelly. Chia seeds not only gel up, but have enormous amounts of Omega 3s.
All organic unwashed raw fruits and vegetables have probiotics. The good bacteria. Have a garden ? Enjoy ! The rest of us will be focusing on fermented foods and digestive enhancers.
- Kim Chi
- No vinegar fermented Gherkins
- Salt water fermented cucumbers
- Real, matured and fermented milk products like cheese and yoghurts, kefir, preferably from goat and sheep, maybe camel ?
- Fermented coconut water
- Germinated seeds
- Fermented non-alcoholic seed powders (pro-biotique flax and sesame mix for instance)
- Nutritional yeast (limited quantities)
If you were able to get all of these and can create a good system, that is fantastic, but only after you got the basics down, like sleep, water, nutrition, fresh air, sunshine, emotional poise, some sport, barefoot walking and sea/lake-swimming. I would start here for my advanced gut healing journey:
- Bring up the B12
- Aloe Vera
- Chia Seeds
- Bone Broth
- Home pro-biotique fermented coconut water
- Digestive Enzymes
If you were on a zero buck budget, these things can also totally solve your problem:
- Filtered quality water, spring water, 2L for females and 3L daily for males minimum
- Fasting 24h every week
- Early nights with no alarm morning wake up
- No phone in the pockets and minimal electric pollution
- Wim Hof style breathing
- Periodised no junk, no snack eating with meals 6 to 7 hours apart
- Focus on 100% quality and simple meals with not more than 5 ingredients. Guess what, if you ate only lightly salted potatoes or rice every day for a week or even for months, your body would clear itself out and would repair a lot of the damages.
- Learn about wild herbs and collect them. They are for free. You can add stinging nettle to anything. Chop it on your salted potatoes, add it to rice and make an infusion from it.
- Get in some fat and protein, but do not mix them in high quantities with carbs. Eat a simple salad for breakfast from only veggies and soak it in quality olive oil or organic grass fed butter. Maybe add flax seeds or flax seed oil. You can use goose fat or coconut oil, but that will break the budget aspect.
- 100% avoid all rancid foods and all dry- and oil-roasted stuff too. 99% of all nuts and seeds
- When you cook legumes, soak them definitely for 24hours before cooking and add a couple of drops of vinegar or lemon juice
- Lentils, beans, some seeds are superbly cheap. Soak them for 24hours and leave them to germinate. You don’t necessarily need the expensive broccoli or alfalfa seeds. Lentils and flax germinates too.
- Avoid gluten, non fermented low quality industrial dairy and most grains.
- Light detox techniques are also very affordable, like using green clay, activated charcoal or oil pulling with a high quality cold pressed sunflower seed oil, but coconut oil is even better.
I would be able to write a book about describing practices, benefits of whole foods and supplements, wild herbs. There are so much information out there. What we have to understand, that if something is good for your gut, it is good for everything else too. A medication might heal your throat, but destroy your stomach lining and damage your kidneys. Most of real foods can be applied externally as a cataplasme too. Healing a joint ? Place a patch of lightly heated chopped red onions in coconut oil with curcuma on it. Nigari can be drank or sprayed on the stomach for better absorption. Skin problems ? Lemon juice and ginger will help you. Warts ? Garlic and clay can cure it ! Deep cuts ? Disinfect with vinegar and wash it with stingy nettle infusion. Hair problems ? Coconut or olive oil are great !
This article describes, the wholistic way I think and advise to think. When we are on a low budget, we simplify, but when some good going months come in, we do a cure of supplements during more extreme training periods. We as humans are not designed to take capsules, potions and powders as a daily practice. Nor do we meant to be driving cars, watching TV, having phones and work indoors all day. Some light supplementation can be a great periodical cure and together with whole foods and ideal life practices, real health is created