Mollie Mason, holistic health nutritionist and health blogger, struggled with several chronic health symptoms for many years until being diagnosed with celiac disease. But just cutting out gluten didn’t help to heal the leaky gut and other health issues that were caused by years of eating gluten. Mollie decided to heal her leaky gut herself by creating a leaky gut diet plan that consisted of a yeast-killing protocol. She started with a sugar detox to cut out the sugars that were aggravating her symptoms, and then added in several natural remedies including collagen peptides to help repair and restore her gut. After 14 days on a strict yeast-killing protocol diet she feels healthier and more energized than ever before. Read on to find the 7 foods that helped Mollie with healing her gut and the leaky gut diet that actually works!
I’m a massive believer that gut health equals whole health, and I’ll tell anyone who will listen. And here’s a big reason why. After struggling with years with chronic health symptoms that doctors continually misdiagnosed, I eventually took my health into my own hands. After finding out that I had celiac disease, I cut out gluten. But I had done a lot of damage to my gut by then already and ended up with leaky gut. By combining yeast-killing diet with a few natural healthy remedies including collagen, I healed my leaky gut and feel better than ever!
What is yeast overgrowth and how is it related to leaky gut?
Hippocrates said years and years (and years) ago that “all disease begins in the gut” and we’re finding more and more just how right he was. Your gut (specifically GALT, gut-associated lymphoid tissue) houses 70 percent of your immune system and of course the intestinal cells that break down food. It’s where nutrients are absorbed and toxins are (supposed to be) removed. Your gut is composed of about a tennis court worth of lining all scrunched together to soak up as many nutrients as possible.
Very simply, a yeast overgrowth happens when your body’s bad bacteria outnumbers its good. Candida, the most common fungus present in your mouth and gut, can be productive in small amounts, but when it is overgrown, it breaks through your intestinal wall and leaks into the bloodstream. When this happens, toxins that are supposed to be eliminated by the gut circle back into your system. This spillage of toxins into the blood is called leaky gut, and it is the root of many of our health problems.
How do you know you have leaky gut or yeast overgrowth?
Lots of things can cause leaky gut like antibiotics, hormone treatments, stress and eating a high sugar or processed food diet. And, because of our diets and the disgusting amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates loaded into everything we eat, most of us have leaky gut.
You can go to the doctor and pay some good money to get a blood test for IgA, IgG and IgM candida antibodies or do a stool or urine sample test to confirm. But I’ve battled this for years, and never once did a doctor think to test for these. So I’ve learned on my own how to heal leaky gut through a leaky gut diet. A yeast overgrowth can cause any and all of the following symptoms:
1. Skin infections, such as eczema, rosacea, acne or dermatitis
2. Headaches and migraines
3. Digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation or IBS
4. Chronic fatigue, which is general exhaustion or any form of adrenal fatigue
5. Hormonal imbalances and side effects like anxiety or depression (Seventy percent of our serotonin is produced in the gut, so a disturbance of our flora can lead to a disturbance of our happy levels.)
6. Autoimmune diseases
7. Diabetes, both type 1 (autoimmune) and type 2
8. ADD or ADHD
9. Frequent infections, such as ear infections, UTIs or vaginal yeast infections
10.Food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity. Oftentimes, we develop food sensitivities simply because a leaky gut allows those food particles into our bloodstream and they then cause inflammation in places they shouldn’t be.
11. Thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s
12. Joint pain and arthritis
It sounds crazy, right? But in a way it makes sense. With so much of our immune system and neurotransmitter production residing in our gut, it makes sense that a disturbance of its function can cause a variety of effects.
Treating a leaky gut
Here’s what I did to kick the yeast out of my system without any drugs. I healed my leaky gut with a leaky gut diet that included an arsenal of weapons stacked with natural remedies that work wonders together.
1. Sugar detox
The first step in my leaky gut diet is to kill the yeast. And the best way to do that is to starve it with a sugar detox. Cut off its food supply by not eating any processed sugars or starches. I cut out all forms of added sugar, including honey, agave and coconut sugar—all of it. I limited my fruit consumption, too. Although rich in vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and so many good things, fruit is also packed with sugar, so it’s important to keep your diet pretty fruit-free for at least a couple weeks. I had a few berries on my chia pudding or half of a frozen banana in a smoothie, but I made sure not to have more than that in any one day.
I also cut out all starches including flour, oats and rice. I even removed starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, beans, legumes and peas. I eat a pretty low-starch diet in general (because I just feel better without too many grains), but I was pretty darn clear of all forms of starches during the first two weeks.
Supplementing with collagen was part of my daily routine long before this yeast protocol, but collagen was extra helpful during my yeast protocol. Collagen helps to strengthen the production of any new tissues and therefore reestablish the gut lining. Exactly what I needed! I can’t say how much I encourage it as part of regular routine. I’ve been using Further Food Collagen as part of my leaky gut diet, and I highly recommend it!
3. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great weapon when trying to kill the yeast and heal leaky gut. It’s hard for bacteria to grow in an acidic environment, and the acetic acid in the vinegar helps kill any yeast that is already there.
Add a tablespoon in a couple ounces of warm water with half of a squeezed lemon. I like to drink it every night before bed!
In addition to actually killing the bad bacteria, it’s important to repopulate the good bacteria with probiotics. Add in probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut. Kombucha is great too!
5. Digestive enzymes
Taking digestive enzyme supplements alleviates some stress on your gut by allowing your gut to focus on healing during the protocol. I noticed a huge difference in my bloating and general gut pain when I took the digestive enzymes. These work so well with my GI discomfort that I have made them a regular part of my diet.
Of course we are adding in good bacteria with our probiotics, but it’s also important that we feed those good bacteria to grow, establish and populate. We do that with prebiotics: food for the probiotics. There are tons of examples of prebiotics like jicama, dandelion greens, garlic and onions, but the easiest one I chose to use: resistant starches. Resistant starches serve as a natural prebiotic because they cannot be broken down by our own intestinal cells (hence the name), so they are instead digested by the healthy bacterial cells.
The simplest (and cheapest) option of a resistant starch is potato starch. Raw potato starch is different than traditional starches. It contains 8 grams of resistant starch per tablespoon and nearly no “usable” starch (none that actually feeds bad bacteria and spikes blood sugar).
Start with about half of a tablespoon dissolved in a couple ounces of water every night, and slowly work your way up to a full tablespoon. Taking this at night is said to help you sleep, but the most important thing I noticed: it helped me start my day clear (if you know what I mean).
Just like collagen, coconut was nothing new for me to introduce, but coconut helps to pack an added punch during this leaky gut diet. They contain lauric acid, which the body converts to monolaurin, which it then uses to fight pathogens. Because of this, coconuts are natural antimicrobial powerhouses and helpful in this yeast-slaying process. Cook your foods in coconut oil, put coconut milk in your coffee and add a spoonful of coconut oil to your tea.
So that’s it. No doctor bills. No scary drugs or unpronounceable medications. Just real, whole foods and some supplements. Just 7 natural sources helped my body in its amazing ability to fight for health on its own. I hope these tips help you if you’re battling leaky gut. Cheers to a happy gut!
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