I want you to picture a Sunday morning. One of those mornings where you are able to sleep in and have a leisurely morning. You get up and make yourself breakfast. You know, the type of breakfast where you have time to whip out a pan and cook. Then you are able to sit down and savor the meal and, even though you might have a busy day ahead, that moment is just right.
Those luxurious Sunday mornings represent everything that the mindful gut™ is all about. It’s about taking the time to prep ourselves a meal, letting it nourish our body and gut, and feeling utterly content in that moment.
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What does a mindful gut™ even mean?
Have you ever eaten corn and then seen it pop up again a couple days later? You know what I mean. I mean your poop. That is one aspect of gut health. That’s your digestion from start to finish. Your body takes the food you eat, breaks it down into its nutrients, absorbs those nutrients, and then gets rid of wastes — aka your poop.
Gut health also goes beyond the physical aspect of digestion. It also encompasses the factors that go into our decisions about what to eat. If you had to guess how many decisions we make each day about food, what would you guess? You might have guessed 3 decisions: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The reality is that in a day we can make up to 200 decisions — just about food!
We also have to look inward when it comes to gut health. If you’ve ever gotten butterflies in your stomach when you saw your middle-school crush walk by or got a knot in your stomach when someone said something that doesn’t sound right, you’ve encountered the quieter side of our gut health. Gut health is also about honoring our inner wisdom (our gut instinct!) and it is also an important factor in gut health.
A mindful gut™ takes into account all these factors. Because it’s not just food that affects our gut.
What affects our gut health?
There are 3 aspects that affect our gut health: mind, body, heart. Each one of these things can positively or negatively affect our gut health.
Those butterflies we feel in our stomach represent the connection we have with our gut. Our thoughts and how we feel can have a direct impact on how our gut feels, too. Also, the exact opposite can also be said. Our gut can have an impact on our mood as well.
Our body is what we most often think of when it comes to gut health. It’s the physical aspect of how our gut feels. The foods we eat (or don’t eat) can impact our digestion. It’s also about moving our body in ways that feel good, like walking, dancing, or working out.
Usually we hear mind, body, spirit but it’s always been hard for me to identify with spirit. However, I understand heart. Heart is about doing things you love, listening to your gut instinct, and being surrounded by people you love.
Each of these elements are part of my approach with developing a mindful gut and they’re part of my gut health nutrition services, too.
The 5 Principles of The Mindful Gut™
Trust your gut
Trusting your gut is about listening to our gut’s signs. The gut can send many different signals like hunger, fullness, bloating, gas. These things aren’t inherently bad but it means we need to take the time to decipher what those signs mean for us at that time. Trusting your gut is also about honoring our innate intuition or our gut feelings. This means doing things that are in alignment with our values and goals.
It’s so much easier said than done, but stress plays such a huge role on the wellness of our gut, which is why stress reduction is so important. Our mind-gut connections means there is a direct connection to how we feel and how our gut feels — and vice versa. Stress will always be a part of life but it’s how we manage it that matters.
This is where the rubber really hits the road. Walking into your kitchen and being able to confidently put together foods that are gut friendly is empowering. The most important thing to remember when it comes to food is everyone’s gut is unique therefore your gut friendly foods are unique.
Eating with intention
There is so much to learn when we bring awareness to how we eat. Instead of mindlessly munching, starting to tune back into our body allows us to re-establish the natural connection we had with our bodies when we were young.
Purpose over perfection
Trying to be perfect is exhausting and the reality is there’s no such thing as a perfect gut. Focus on purpose over perfection. When we take away the idea that we have to be perfect, that it’s either yes or no, we remove the pressure to be something that isn’t attainable. What it really boils down to is our purpose, or your why.
See The Mindful Gut™ In Action
If you’ve been feeling disconnected from your gut, or like all you have are gut problems, the mind gut™approach can help you look holistically at the issue. Instead of assuming it’s one type of food or that your gut just “isn’t healthy,” look at the other factors in your life, too. Do you have no time to eat? Are you stressed out? Do you hate cooking?
All of these things impact our relationship with our gut. If you’re looking to reconnect with your gut — and your mind, body, and heart — I’d love to help.
Amanda is a pizza loving registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in mindfulness and gut health. She quickly realized that gut health goes beyond the gut; it is also about honoring our gut feelings. She is the creator of The Mindful Gut™ which uses science and strategy to help people improve their gut health.