Are you eating healthy, exercising consistently, and taking the right nutrients… but your weight refuses to budge?
The problem could lie in your gut.
More specifically, the trillions of bacteria that your gut houses collectively called the microbiome may be out of balance.
Your gut has a lot more say about your weight – and your overall health – than you think.
“When I say it all starts in your gut, I mean almost everything!” says my pal Vincent Pedre, MD, in Happy Gut. “Headaches, migraines, allergies, autoimmunity, weight gain, acne, skin rashes, yeast infections, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, immune challenges, even the way you sense pain—they all relate to the condition and health of your gut.”
Gut problems can show up in so many ways.
Their signs include digestive issues including indigestion, bloating, gas, and cramping. Gut problems can also create weight loss resistance.
We’re still learning how the microbiome impacts weight. What we’ve found is that the microbiome can determine things like:
- How you store fat
- How much of the hunger hormone ghrelin you produce
- Your ability to lose weight
Balance is the keyword when it comes to these trillions of bacteria. You want a balance of good bacteria, but you also want diversity among these bacteria.
When gut bacteria fall out of balance – either because the bad guys overtake the good ones, or you lack diversity – a condition called dysbiosis can result.
Dysbiosis rarely results from just one culprit. Instead, multiple factors play a role, including:
- Inflammatory foods
- Too much sugar
Eventually, these offenders can go on to create other problems in the gut and beyond, including leaky gut.
“Between the antibiotics, eating the wrong foods that feed the bad organisms, the toxins you are exposed to in your environment, and the resulting dysbiosis, over a period of days to months you develop a leaky gut,” says Pedre.
Speed-Heal Your Gut: Start with Your Fork
The good news is that you can speed-heal your gut.
First, you’ve got to swap out the foods that are causing the trouble.
When I talk about the foods that are causing trouble, I’m referring to high food intolerances that create inflammation to your body.
These foods include gluten, dairy, peanuts, eggs, soy, corn, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.
You can learn more about how these highly reactive foods damage your gut in The Virgin Diet.
These food intolerances inflame your gut and make it leaky. That’s why your body holds onto weight.
You’ll swap these seven foods out for anti-inflammatory, gut-healing foods for three weeks.
Swapping them out will help you figure out if you have any food intolerances.
Plus, this is a super fast and easy way to detox and let your gut begin to heal.
Some of these foods will need to permanently go. Others, you may discover you can occasionally tolerate.
Beyond nixing the problem foods, you’ll want to focus on these 10 strategies to speed-heal your gut.
Speed-Heal Strategy #1: Bump Up Your Fiber
Optimal amounts of fiber help stabilize your digestion, allow your body to remove waste, support those healthy gut bacteria, and keep you full longer.
That’s why I want you to get 50 grams of fiber every day.
Please don’t do that all at once. Start slowly, increasing by 5 grams or so daily… and drink sufficient water as you increase your fiber intake.
To get more fiber, pile on the non-starchy veggies. Also incorporate other fiber rock stars like avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Focus too on foods that are rich in prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the good bugs. Onions, garlic, and Jerusalem artichokes are good sources of prebiotics.
You’re probably not eating those foods regularly, and getting enough fiber from your diet alone can be a challenge.
That’s why we created Extra Fiber. Each serving packs 12 types of fiber, including a prebiotic that supports the growth of friendly bacteria.* This is the Rolls Royce of fiber products… and you can only get it here.
Speed-Heal Strategy #2: Eat More Healthy Fats
The low-fat craze in the 80s and 90s was really bad for our gut (among other things).
The more we understand about gut health, the more we know how critical the right fats are to reduce inflammation and heal your GI tract.
When it comes to gut healing, not all fats make the grade.
Coconut is one of my favorites. It contains a fat called caprylic acid that can help with gut inflammation. So add unsweetened coconut milk to your loaded smoothies.
Omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish are another gut-healing fat. They create more bacterial diversity in the gut.
Don’t consistently eat wild-caught fish? Omega Plus contains a highly potent, non-GMO fish oil, derived from fish oils in their natural triglyceride (TG) form (the same way they naturally occur in fish), sourced from certified sustainable U.S.-caught wild Alaskan Pollock. Every softgel provides an impressive 662 mg of EPA and 250 mg of DHA. That’s almost one gram of omega-3 fatty acids… in just one softgel! Most supplements demand multiple softgels to get anywhere near that amount.
Speed-Heal Strategy #3: Bring In Fermented Foods
Foods like kimchi, pickles, and fermented veggies are packed with probiotics, or beneficial bacteria.
Probiotics stimulate your microbiome’s diversity, nourish your gut, cool inflammation, and strengthen your immune system.
Let’s be honest: Most of us aren’t eating many (or any) of these foods.
That’s why we created Flora Harmony. With 50 billion CFU per serving and 10 highly researched probiotic strains in each capsule, this formula stands out from almost every other probiotic supplement on the market. You won’t find this cutting-edge supplement anywhere else. Learn more here.*
Speed-Heal Strategy #4: Sip on Bone Broth
My friend Dr. Kellyann Petrucci calls bone broth “liquid gold.”
Bone broth is literally a meal in a cup, providing collagen and gelatin to reinforce the integrity of your intestinal lining and reduce inflammation.
I've got a super yummy bone broth recipe here.
As an alternative, the protein profile in our Paleo-Inspired All-in-One Shake matches what you find in immune-boosting bone broth.
We’ve made this truly “all-in-one” with vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, and organic juice powders.
Speed-Heal Strategy #5: Take the Right Supplements
Protein First Enzymes combines digestive enzymes and select botanicals to help promote efficient digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins (even problem proteins like gluten).*
For therapeutic, focused gut support, I’ve combined many science-supported nutrients in Healthy Gut Support to support gut healing.*
Among them include:
- L-glutamine: an essential amino acid huge for protecting the integrity of the gut and supporting the immune system, especially if you’re under stress *
- DGL: a form of licorice that supports stress hormones and digestive health *
- Slippery Elm and Marshmallow: Plants that can help support your stomach lining *
- Chamomile: Reduces inflammation *
- Quercetin; An antioxidant that also cools inflammation *
Simply mix one tablespoon of Healthy Gut Support into the drink of your choice and feel confident that you’re prioritizing gut health.
Speed-Heal Strategy #6: Try Some Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting gives your hardworking gut a break and shifts the balance of gut bacteria.
Fasting also helps protect you against metabolic syndrome, which could be why you’re hanging onto fat.
If you’re a fasting newbie, try an overnight, 12 – 14 hour fast for three weeks.
That means you stop eating after dinner, sleep for at least eight hours, and push breakfast forward the following morning.
After that, try shortening your eating window one day a week to just one hour.
We call that one meal a day or OMAD, where you eat one healthy meal and fast the other 23 hours.
Doing that sends your gut healing into overdrive and helps balance your blood sugar.
Learn more about intermittent fasting and how to do it correctly in this blog.
Speed-Heal Strategy #7: Get Great Exercise
The right kind of exercise helps increase the diversity and health of your gut bacteria.
The good news is that you don’t need hours at the gym to get those benefits, but you’ll want to do the right kind of exercise.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of my favorite ways to get an intense, full-body workout in less time than it takes to find a parking space at your gym.
Learn how you can get a complete workout in just eight minutes here.
Speed-Heal Strategy #8: Boost Your Polyphenols
Polyphenols are plant compounds that act as antioxidants.
Research shows that polyphenols can also support intestinal barrier function, your immune response, and healthy gut bacteria. (1)
Foods and beverages like berries, red wine, dark chocolate, coffee, and tea contain good amounts of gut-supporting polyphenols.
Some of these – coffee, dark chocolate, and red wine – are dose-dependent: A little bit can support gut health, but too much can be unhealthy.
Speed-Heal Strategy #9: Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are all-around bad news for your waistline and overall health. But their worst impact may be on your microbiome.
One study found that the equivalent of just two cans of diet soda can turn healthy gut bacteria into disease-causing bacteria.
When the once healthy bacteria went rogue, they attached themselves to and destroyed cells that line the intestinal wall. (2)
Artificial sweeteners can also change your gut so that it becomes more glucose intolerant. That flat out increases your risk of diabetes.
Speed-Heal Strategy #10: Manage Stress
You know that stress isn’t doing your gut any favors, but its effects are even worse than you might imagine.
The major cause of leaky gut is stress, because it causes your gut to become more permeable.
Stress can also disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to weight gain and other issues.
Yoga, meditation, and walks with your dog are great stress-crushers. Find what works for you and prioritize it.
“What Do You Do About Stress?” Learn about my favorite de-stress strategies in this podcast.
Sometimes, healing your gut demands working with a functional medicine doctor, who can pinpoint specific issues and address your unique situation.
But these 10 strategies can go a long way toward healing leaky gut and other issues that can hold your weight and overall health hostage.
My Ultimate Health Roadmap is a short, actionable guide that shows you how easy it can be to take small but important steps every day toward staying fit, healthy, and positive. Grab your FREE guide here.
- Wan MLY, Co VA, El-Nezami H. Dietary polyphenol impact on gut health and microbiota. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021;61(4):690-711. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1744512. Epub 2020 Mar 25. PMID: 32208932.
- Shil A, Chichger H. Artificial Sweeteners Negatively Regulate Pathogenic Characteristics of Two Model Gut Bacteria, E. coli and E. faecalis. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 15;22(10):5228. doi: 10.3390/ijms22105228. PMID: 34063332; PMCID: PMC8156656.
The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.