Your Inner Village – The Microbiome

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meet the colony inside you

Most people do not realize that they have a colony of bacteria living inside of them. This colony, called the microbiome is about two and a half pounds and is responsible for up to 80 percent of your immune system. Since our intestines are inside our bodies, it forms a protective barrier between our bloodstream and the external world around us.

Aside from serious autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis – just to name a few, a strong immune system reduces the number of colds and flu and other infections that plague us. Think of this as your protective village.

When your microbiome gets out of balance and compromised, it can lead to what is referred to as a “leaky gut”. A leaky gut means that the body is no longer protected against invaders like undigested food, gluten and gangster bacteria which have passed through the holes in the gut lining. This is no Bueno. Who wants a bunch of gangsters in their village?

One of my favorite books, The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health by Emeran A. Mayer, MD  speaks to the full impact of how the brain, gut, and microbiome— the village or colony that resides inside the digestive tract—communicate. As Dr. Mayer explains, when this communication channel is out of whack, major health problems can crop up, including food sensitivities and allergies, digestive disorders, obesity, depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

There is a fantastic post by Dr. Kelly Brogan that speaks to this game changing science that shows that our destinies are not written in our genes but, rather in our gut. It is becoming more evident that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil) and Escitalopram (Lexapro) don’t work and create terrible side effects. I am not a doctor and I am not professing to give any kind of medical advice but, I find it curious that the suicide rate of folks using SSRIs have gone way up. Think Chris Cornell, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Chester Bennington, just to name a few. There’s is a ton of research that has debunked the deterministic serotonin model of depression. What these studies are uncovering is that depression is often a symptom of chronic inflammation which begins in the gut.
You have a vagus nerve. What is it? It is the longest and largest nerve in your body starting at your brain and meandering its way through several parts of the gut, including your stomach and intestines. Think of the vagus nerve an eight-lane super information highway that connects 200-600 million nerve cells between our intestines and brain. Have you ever been too stressed to eat, felt so much anxiety that you had to poop or even felt butterflies in your stomach? This perceived stress, anxiety, and nervousness isn’t just in your head; it emanates from your village.

While it’s best to manage stressors to reduce stress-related symptoms, like depression, Dr. Kelly Brogan suggests that one of the most direct and quick ways to calm the vagus nerve is through dietary change. Just as emotions send messages to your gut, what’s in your gut sends messages to your brain.

Here are some steps to improve your gut health.

  • Switch to a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods will encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut, helping to establish a strong immune system.
  • Watch your stress levels. Stress can freak out the good villagers and encourage the growth of gangster bacteria.
  • Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt and kefir. These probiotic foods contain Acidophilus, L. casei and L. rhamnosus which promote a healthy gut.
  • Increasing fiber intake. You good bacteria feed on fiber. The gangsters prefer sugar. So get plenty of fiber like inulin.
  • Get some exercise. Your good bacteria enjoy the increased blood flow as well and increased metabolic rate.
  • Get a good night’s rest. This lowers stress and helps support your good gut bacteria.
  • Make your own probiotic drink. I drink this every-day it’s super easy to make and keep my villagers happy. I even give this to my co-workers and they seem to love it.

Vegan Probiotic Kefer
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ferment Time: 100 hours +/-
Total Servings: 96
Serving Size: 1 ounce

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Add one cup of PreBiotica inulin (https://www.steviva.com/steviva-products/prebiotica/) to a 96 ounce Mason jar, Add 11 strain probiotic bacteria available at (https://www.customprobiotics.com/) or any probiotic that you want to grow.
  2. Fill 96 ounce Mason jar within a ½ inch to then top.
  3. Stir with a clean spoon until solids are dissolved.
  4. Put Mason jar airlock https://www.amazon.com/Fermentation-Kit-Wide-Mouth-Jars/dp/B075LRMRDQ/ref=asc_df_B075LRMRDQ/ on the top and secure tightly.
  5. Put the mason jar in a big pot. Fill the pot with warm water. Not too hot because the bacteria will die if it gets too hot. So keep it under 104 degree F.
  6. Put the Sous-vide https://www.amazon.com/Chefman-Sous-Vide-Temperature-Programmable/dp/B077P73F2V/ref=sr_1_4 in the water and set it for 100 degrees F for 100 hundred hours.
  7. After it is complete put a lid on it and stick it in the refrigerator and enjoy and ounce in the morning. Watch your villagers prosper.

In a final note, a recent study by Oregon State University, they concluded that the role of gut microbes in the immune system “may hold the key to dealing with one of the more significant health problems facing people in the world today”. Think of your microbiome as your village. Feed the good ones and starve out the gangsters. The rest of your body will thank you.


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