We at Romilly Wilde have always been fascinated by the gut and have explored the topic in the past, highlighting our gut’s integral role in keeping our bodies healthy and balanced. In fact, the gut is one of the most researched areas of the body, deemed to be the formidable epicentre that has far-reaching effects on our overall health, including our immune system, skin health, certain autoimmune diseases, cancer and mental health.
Clinical nutritionist Dr. Josh Axe, author of Eat Dirt, and a certified doctor of natural medicine, is a pioneer in the study of leaky gut syndrome. He emphasizes that in our quest to rid ourselves of germs and illnesses, we have in fact become too clean, resulting in an imbalance in our gut. He explains, “we’ve waged a war on dirt and germs and gone too far, and it’s backfired, especially due to our dependence on antibiotics.” Unbeknownst to many, antibiotics can be found in our drugs, hand sanitizer, lotions, shampoos, cleaning products, and artificial sweeteners. Through this dependence Dr. Josh Axe explains that we are killing off the “good bacteria” in our gut that helps with nutrient absorption, immunity, and the regulation of our overall health, resulting in an unbalanced, unhealthy system.
According to Dr. Axe, Leaky Gut Syndrome is the root cause of a long list of ailments that plague over 80% of the population; from chronic inflammation, allergies/food sensitivities, skin conditions, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, diabetes, and even arthritis. He stresses that the key to a healthy gut is maintaining a balance in our gut microbiome. Axe explains, “When our digestive system is out of balance, serious health problems can manifest and our intestinal walls can develop microscopic holes, allowing undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins to seep into the bloodstream, triggering an immune response.”
On his quest to solve the problem of this imbalance, Dr. Axe goes on to identify the five main types of leaky gut and offers customised dietary plans to heal the affects that an imbalanced gut can have on your health. These five types are: Toxic, Stressed, Candida, Gastric and Immune. He stresses that the key is to identify which category you fall into, due to your symptoms, and then apply changes with diet, exercise and supplements. For example, from a dietary standpoint, remedies for a toxic gut would be sprouted or sour foods that nourish liver/gall bladder, whereas for an immune gut, he suggests consuming foods with a strong pungency such as cauliflower, garlic/onions. Someone suffering from candida, he suggests consuming foods that are warming and drying such as herbs like cinnamon and ginger, as well as foods like pumpkin, squash, lamb and bison and staying away from cold smoothies or veggie juices.
So, how do we actually Eat Dirt? For starters, Dr. Axe suggests increasing our exposure to actual dirt, or more specifically nutrients found in the soil by eating fruit and veg from farmer’s markets that hasn’t been stripped or covered in pesticides. He also encourages that we find alternatives to chemical-based store bought cleaning and personal care products (rife with antibiotics) and replacing them with homemade products dependent on essential oils. He recommends tea tree oil/lavender and as effective and natural antimicrobials, lemon or cinnamon oil to add to your cleaning products, frankincense as great for arthritis and boosting immunity, chamomile for relation and peppermint to support digestion and for treating headaches. Dr. Axe also insists his patients reconnect with the earth however they can, from swimming in the ocean to walking barefoot on the ground.
Other suggestions he notes for a more balanced gut biome:
– Taking spirulina/chlorella supplements
– Taking a soil-based probiotic daily
– Avoiding gluten, refined grains, cow’s milk and farm raised fish
– Eating more cultured/fermented foods
– Making bone broth, rich in collagen or taking a collagen supplement
The overall message of Eat Dirt is an emphasis on listening to your own body and what it needs, specifically how it responds to certain things, positively or negatively and we at Romilly Wilde, couldn’t agree more. We have always emphasized mindful choices and listening to one’s body, mind and spirit when it comes to our overall health.