A few days ago, I put a poll out on Instagram asking if anyone would want to join me for a Whole30 this November. Why? Because after a super busy couple of weeks, during which I really let my nutrition slip, I need to focus on my gut health. I find that having sensitive Celiac guts means I'm prone to a whole lot of GI drama when I'm not super careful (read: when I eat a whole bag of chocolate covered almonds as a meal). Turns out a lot of you have been feeling the need for a little reset too, and wanted a little community Whole30.
Then I looked into the actual rules of a Whole30, and I knew there was no way I'd be up for that. No shade thrown to the actual program (Melissa Hartwig is literally my spririt animal) but I just know it's not right for me. First of all, I'm not a huge fan of "rules" when it comes to the food I eat (maybe because I have a medical diagnosis that gives me enough rules). Also, I have a pretty healthy relationship with food (and want to keep it that way) so I'm not about to cut healthy foods like raw honey or white rice out of my diet.
So after some thinking it over, I decided to create a program of my own and invite others to join in with me! The most important part is the community aspect, which is the real reason I was interested in Whole30 to begin with. The idea of #GutMonth was born because I think we could all take 30 days to show our guts some love.
Having healthy, balanced gut flora and strong gut lining is associated with lower levels of inflammation, cholesterol, diabetes risk, digestive disorders, food sensitivities, and mental illness (seriously!). Plus, having a healthy gut supports your immune system and neurotransmitters, regulates appetite, and reduces cravings.
What I'm Asking You to Do For 30 Days
1. Hit These Nutrition Targets
Vegetables: 4 per day
Lettuce, kale, collard greens, arugula, spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, microgreens/sprouts, fennel, etc.
Fruit: 2-3 per day
Berries, apples, pears, pineapple, papaya, plantain, avocado, lemons, limes, orange, grapefruit, kiwi, mango.
(Note: if you have IBS, use this chart to choose low FODMAP veggies and fruit.)
Animal Proteins: 2-4 per day (or see vegan options)
Organic chicken, grassfed beef, wild salmon, trout, haddock, cod, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, scallops, eggs, venison, bison, pork.
Vegan Proteins: at least 4 per day (if you are vegan)
1/2 cup tempeh, 1/2 cup lentils, 1/2 cup sprouted or pressure-cooked chickpeas, 1/4 cup hemp seed or pumpkin seed.
Healthy Fats: 3-5 per day
Extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, coconut oil, coconut butter, ghee, shredded coconut, avocado.
2. Eat These Special Foods Daily
- Fermented Foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir water, jun, miso, tempeh, full-fat yogurt or milk kefir (1-2 servings per day)
- Resistant Starch: cooked then cooled white potatoes or basmati rice, green-tipped banana, plantains, pressure-cooked legumes (1-2 servings per day)
- Bone Broth (1-2 cups per day)
- Herbal tea (dandelion root, hibiscus, ginger, fennel, liquorice, lemon balm, burdock, mint, nettle, anise, clove, cardamom, milk thistle etc.) (unlimited cups daily)
3. Limit Intake of Less Gut-Friendly Foods
#GutMonth is more about what we are adding in than what we are taking out of our diet. Focusing on the above foods for 30 days will naturally limit these foods.
- Most grains and legumes (except white basmati/jasmine rice and sprouted or pressure cooked legumes). Beans and lentils are optional, so if you suspect they are causing issues leave them out for the 30 days, then try reintroducing them. Vegans should not remove beans from their diet unless working with a nutrition professional to ensure adequate nutrition.
- All dairy products except ghee (and small amounts of full-fat yoghurt or milk kefir, if desired).
- Added sugars (small amounts of raw honey or dark chocolate with case sugar are okay).
- Inflammatory oils like canola, safflower, corn, and soybean.
- Un-fermented soy products (avoid soy if you have a known sensitivity or have been told to avoid it).
4. Incorporate These Tips for Better Digestion
- At mealtime, eat your protein first to let stomach acid digest protein more effectively.
- Increase digestive enzymes by taking herbal bitters or raw apple cider vinegar before a meal.
- Stay hydrated by drinking at least 2L room-temp water per day.
- Avoid super cold foods like smoothies and salads, try to focus on warm foods to keep digestion strong.
- Use warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, cloves, garam masala, and ginger.
Some supplements can help promote better digestion and faster gut healing. While these are not personalised recommendations, you can do some research (or book a consultation) to determine which supplements are right for you.
- Prebiotics (resistant starch powder or Genuine Health fermented Gut Superfood)
- Collagen powder (Bulletproof, Vital Proteins, Organika, and Great Lakes are all good brands)
- Betaine HCL
- Full-spectrum digestive enzymes
- Fish oil
Note: this information is for educational purposes only as these are supplements I often reccomend for healthy digestion and gut health. It's important to do your own research or to work with a professional to decide what supplements are right for you.
5. Join the Community + Have Fun
Join the private Facebook community so we can share wins, meal ideas, ask questions, and keep each other motivated. Join us here.
This isn't meant to be a diet, but a way to tune it your body and show your microbiome some love!
#GutMonth isn't a strict plan, but a way to bring focus to healthy habits that will keep your gut happy for life. Once the 30 days are over, you're encouraged to keep going with the elements of the program that made you feel amazing, and you can jump back in at any time!
This program can be made vegan, paleo, low FODMAP, AIP, or low carb by selecting the gut-friendly foods that fall within those guidelines.