I have spent two years, studying the work of experts in the field of autoimmunity and have combined what I’ve learned, in 24 steps. I’ll be sharing one step every week for the next 24 weeks, on my website and social media platforms (starting Monday 18 May 2020). This is step 14 of 24.
Facebook: Autoimmune Way
Instagram: Autoimmune Way
STEP 14: HEALING THE GUT BY REBALANCING
We know that 80% of the immune system is located in the gut. This means that if you don’t have a healthy gut, you won’t have a healthy immune system. Gut health is a critical step in reclaiming your health from autoimmunity.
Functional medicine has developed a very effective method of healing and protecting your gut. The method is called the 5R’s and consists of the following steps:
- Remove the bad (see step 10)
- Replace with the good (see step 11)
- Reinoculate with healthy bacteria (see step 12)
- Repair the gut (see step 13)
- Rebalance (this step)
In this step we’re exploring the fifth and last R of healing the gut: Rebalancing.
- The first step was to remove anything and everything that negatively affects your gut or contributes to your leaky gut. The main culprits are foods, infections, toxins and stress.
- The second step was to replace with the good by restoring the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption and by replacing inflammatory food with nutrient dense, gut healing, real food.
- The third step was to reinoculate with healthy bacteria in the form of pre- and probiotics.
- The fourth step was to repair the gut through gut healing supplements.
Which brings us to step 5: Rebalancing. Healing your gut is not just about the food you eat or the supplements you take. Lifestyle choices matter. Consider the following:
- Do you get enough good quality sleep?
- Do you have a gentle exercise regime?
- Are you managing your stress?
- Do you live a happy and fulfilled life?
- Do you have loving relationships?
- Do you love your job?
All of the above influence your stress levels and it’s a known fact that there is a direct link between stress, inflammation and various lifestyle diseases.
The way you think, feel, and respond to situations doesn’t only affect your stress level, it also affects your immune system. Emotional, mental and physical stress play a huge role in your overall health. Whether you are stressed from undergoing surgery, training for a marathon, eating poorly or constant exposure to toxins or whether you worry about finances, have a difficult relationship with a loved one or have a stressful career, your body responds to stress in the same way.
It is critical to understand the impact chronic stress has on your health. Stress contributes to the development of all disease. From increasing susceptibility, to the common cold, to being a major contributor in stimulating the immune system in autoimmune disease.
When it comes to the stressors in your life, you have two options. You can either remove the stressor from your life or change the way you respond to the stressor. Ending a toxic relationship or changing jobs can have a huge positive impact on your health. But what do you do when it’s impossible to remove the stressor from your life?
For example, when your child is going through a rebellious teenager phase or you have a difficult relationship with a close family member, you can’t simply “remove” the stressor. All you can do is to change the way you respond to the stressor.
Now this is not something that magically happens overnight. Changing the way you respond to stressors takes hard work and dedication. Experiment with different stress management tools and when you find something that works for you, practice it every single day.
- Start a gratitude journal
- Do breathing exercises
- Spend time in nature
- Speak to a therapist
- Be physically active
- Do what you love
- Be creative….paint, draw, write, cook, knit etc.
- Find purpose
- Give, give give….a smile, a hug, your money, your time.
When is the best time to start implementing step 5? Now! Even if you haven’t started or are about to start working through the 5R’s of healing the gut, now is the best time to re-evaluate your life and find balance. If you’ve already worked through the first 4 R’s but you are not satisfied with the progress you’ve made, step 5 could be the one thing that prevents you from healing.
Not sure where to start? I invite you to join the Autoimmune Way program. It is a 6-month course that gently guides and supports you through each step in your healing journey.