Category: Gut Health
Today we have a special guest author, Primal Kitchen® cofounder Morgan Zanotti. She’s sharing her experience trying a personalized microbiome program, which includes eating scientific muffins, pricking herself with needles, and tracking her lifestyle, all for the goal of an optimized gut. Take it away, Morgan! A few weeks ago, I had the chance to interview microbiome expert Dr. Tim Spector for the Primal Kitchen® Podcast. Dr. Tim founded Zoe, a microbiome program that personalizes an optimal eating pattern just for you using at-home testing, paired with information about your lifestyle and how you experience your day-to-day. The plan and app bring it all together to determine how your body responds to foods, and makes recommendations to help you live your best life. When I do these interviews, my intention is to learn more about the person sitting across from me. But the truth is, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about myself after talking to Dr. Tim and going through the Zoe process! As soon as Dr. Tim gave me the rundown of Zoe and what it does, I knew I had to give it a go. Here’s how it works. The Zoe Process First, I took a quiz, which covered the usual age range and gender questions, but also digs into details on how many plants I eat in a typical day, where my energy levels were, things like that. That information generates a rough idea of your inflammation profile, but that’s not enough to put you on a plan. From there, you get into testing your actual biology. With at-home kits, you do a gut microbiome test, a blood fat test, and you wear a blood sugar sensor to see blood sugar response to certain foods. No lab visits— you do it all yourself and it’s pretty goof-proof. I’ll admit, I was a little scared to apply the continuous blood sugar monitor on my arm, but it was easy to place, I barely felt it (seriously) and more importantly, it was easy to forget about once it was secured with medical tape. Meanwhile, you’re eating “standardized test meals,” which are essentially gluten-free fancy science muffins. These contain specific macronutrients that you eat at specific times so that you can test how your body responds to certain foods and eating patterns over time. The blood sugar data was especially interesting, because I could read it on my phone in real-time. And unlike pricking your finger, the continuous glucose monitor shows the full curve of your blood sugar response. If you rely on a finger prick you’re getting one piece of data at a specific time, but you really don’t get the full picture. Sometimes, my blood sugar responded before I was done eating! I’ve done a lot of self-experiments historically where I’ve gone full keto (total 20g carbs/day), I’ve gone pescetarian for a few months while I was getting my yoga teaching certification, but this felt way more precise, informative and awesomely geeky. How Did … Continue reading “Primal Kitchen Cofounder Morgan Tried Zoe and Here’s What Happened”
Gut health is an enormous topic that just got even bigger.
You know about probiotics: bacteria that provide benefits to our gut, metabolic, and/or overall health when eaten. Some probiotic bacteria colonize our guts—they take up residence in our digestive tract and provide lasting effects. Some probiotic bacteria are transients—they visit and impart benefits and interact with our guts and its inhabitants, but do not stay.
You also know about prebiotics: non-digestible food components that nourish and provide food for the bacteria living in our guts. Prebiotics include fermentable plant fibers, resistant starch, “animal fiber,” and certain polyphenols.
This is standard stuff. Entire store shelves are devoted to fermented dairy, pickles, sauerkraut, supplements, kombucha, and other sources of probiotics. You’ve probably got all sorts of strange gums and fibers and powders that serve as prebiotic substrate for gut bugs. Gut health is mainstream.
But you probably don’t know about postbiotics.
You could be having a fairly routine conversation about health and nutrition where everything discussed is familiar. You hear things like “carbs” and “medium chain triglycerides” and “fructose” and “macros” and “gluten” and “PUFAs,” thinking nothing of it. Like I said, routine. Then someone mentions FODMAPs. Huh? What the heck is that? Quite possibly one of the strangest, seemingly contrived acronyms in existence, FODMAPs represents a collection of foods to which a surprisingly large number of people are highly sensitive. To them, paying attention to the FODMAPs in their diets is very real and very serious if they hope to avoid debilitating, embarrassing, and painful digestive issues.
What is a FODMAP?
FODMAPs are carbohydrates and fibers that gut bacteria can ferment in the gut and cause excessive gas, intestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and/or constipation. In other words, FODMAPs are a potential source of digestive distress in susceptible people.
Just how important is the gut microbiome — you know, the “critters” who live in your gut? Well, it plays a key role in digestion, metabolism, the immune and endocrine systems, and neurological functioning. Gut microbiota synthesize key nutrients like B vitamins and vitamin K, and neurochemicals like GABA and serotonin. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by gut microbes promote glucose regulation and insulin sensitivity. The microbiome “talks” to the brain via the gut-microbiome-brain axis, and the actions of gut microbes affect things the permeability of the blood-brain barrier and development of glial cells in the brain. The integrity of the gut lining also depends on a healthy microbiome. When that integrity is compromised and the gut becomes “leaky,” systemic inflammation, autoimmune illnesses, and central nervous system disorders ensue.
If you’ve been a part of the Primal, keto, or clean-eating community for a while, you’re likely well aware of all the various reasons to add collagen into your daily routine. It contains glycine, it may improve your sleep and skin elasticity, and it might even been beneficial to healing joints and injuries.
Whether you take collagen to support your hair, skin, and nails or to aid in your post-workout recovery, supplementing your diet with collagen peptides is easy and effective.
We tend to associate supplement powders with adding a scoop or two into your blender to make a midday shake or early AM smoothie, but collagen peptides can mix into virtually anything. Taking collagen can become a culinary pursuit: this versatile supplement sneaks into coffee, baked goods, savory dishes, and so much more.
Here are 12 ways to use collagen that you may not have thought of yet.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a reader question about beans. But it’s not just about beans. It’s about something called the Bean Protocol, a rather new dietary approach that many of my readers have expressed interest in. The Bean Protocol is supposed to improve the liver’s ability to clear out toxins, thereby preventing them from recirculating throughout the body in perpetuity. Today, I’m going to discuss where it fits in a Primal eating plan. Let’s go: Hi Mark, Have you heard about this “Bean Protocol”? From what I can tell people are eating tons of beans and getting great results. It’s supposed to remove toxins from the liver or something else that only beans can do. What do you think? Thanks, Matt I did some digging around. I read the Bean Protocol coverage over at PaleOMG, where Juli has been following the bean protocol for several months now and seeing great results. There’s a Bean Protocol E-course that I did not sign up for, but I think I have a decent handle on the topic. How to Do the Bean Protocol Here’s the gist: No caffeine No sugar No dairy No gluten No processed food No factory-farmed meats; no fatty meats Eat 3 half-cup servings of beans or lentils a day (varies by person) Fill the rest of the food with lean meat, leafy green vegetables, alliums (onion, garlic, leek, etc), and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower). What’s Supposed to Happen on the Bean Protocol The soluble and insoluble fiber in the beans binds to toxins which the body can then flush out more easily. Without the fiber from the beans, your body can’t process and excrete the toxins, so they simply recirculate, stay in the body, and sometimes express themselves in the form of acne and other diseases. Adherents credit the bean protocol for fixing longstanding issues like acne, Crohn’s, and many other conditions. Bored with beans? We have 41 ways to make them more fun. Is this true? Is there any evidence of this in the scientific literature? Well, there isn’t much direct evidence for beans improving liver clearance of toxins, but there is circumstantial evidence. For one, prebiotic fiber is good for liver health. There are plenty of studies to support this. Synbiotics (a combination of probiotics and prebiotics) and BCAAs taken together improve hepatic encephalopathy, a feature of liver failure where the liver fails to detoxify excess ammonia. However, it does not do so directly. The fiber isn’t necessarily “binding” to the lead and excreting it. Instead, it does so by increasing levels of lead-binding gut bacteria which in turn bind and excrete it, shoring up the gut lining so that lead can’t make it into circulation, increasing bile acid flow, and increasing the utilization of healthy essential metals (like zinc and iron). The bacteria are essential for the effect; pre-treatment with antibiotics abolishes the benefits. So we can’t say for sure that the fiber itself is “binding” to the toxins. Allium, Inulin … Continue reading “Dear Mark: What’s With The Bean Protocol?”