Gut Health 300

At long last, the practical final installment of the gut health series! This post is to help provide practical tips to increase probiotics and prebiotics in ya life to increase your gut/ overall health! Before you get started you may want to recap the previous posts in the Gut Health series. 



Here are some of the easiest ways to add healthy bacteria into your gut! 

  1. The easiest way to get more probiotics in your life is to take a probiotic supplement. For more info on how to pick the right one - read Gut Health 200. However, they are expensive, and if your gut is already in good shape, it may not be necessary to continue long term. I always advocate to try to get the bulk of your nutrients from whole foods, and here is no different. 
  2. Lean in and switch to the 'booch instead of soda. Kombucha - you've probably heard of this bubbly, magical drink. It is actually fermented tea, and is an awesome way to get more good bacteria in your life. Make sure you find brands that keep the sugar to no more than 4gs per serving. Bonus, if you are hooked on soda- it is a great substitute!
  3. Add more fermented foods into your life! Fermented foods such as kimchi (the national food of Korea! A spicy pickled cabbage dish) or sauerkraut (European origin pickled cabbage dish) are #shedapproved and are loaded with the good stuff. This is particularly good in the winter when fresh produce is less available (or historically was less available! That is how people would stay healthy all year round!). While Kimchi is not available everywhere, you can opt to go to a Korean mart and they are typically sold there. Many grocery stores sell sauerkraut. If those aren't in your neighborhood you can always make it yourself (Links: How to make easy kimchi at homeHow to make sauerkraut in a mason jar).  
  4. Greek yogurt (or Siggi's Icelandic style) and kefir are Month 1 #shedapproved and a great source of good bacteria. You know that watery stuff that sits on the top of yogurt? Don't pour it out or avoid it- that's where the healthy bacteria live! Be sure to mix it in fully! My one warning here is to avoid added sugar in your yogurt/kefir. Better to get the plain, full fat versions and add your own berries and honey! 
  5. Beer and Wine! Whaaaaat? Alcohol? Yep. The catch? Commercial beer is rigorously filtered and won't have the health benefits. Just another reason to try home brew! Also, don't overdo it. It negates the health benefits! Stick to one beer or glass of wine at a time (2 tops!) to maximize the benefits and prevent weight gain!  


Prebiotics keep the good gut bacteria happy and healthy! Because they need food too! The key to making gut bacteria happy? FIBER!!

  1. Freeze pre-ripe (lightly green still) bananas to add to your smoothies. You don't notice the flavor/texture difference as much as if you just ate them outright. Bonus - there is less sugar in these nanners so they are better on the waistline!
  2. Raw dandelion greens salad with raw asparagus (see recipe below!). Refreshing, light, crunchy, and yummy!
  3. Jicama chips (I mean fries. I swear I don't know where these Britishism are coming from)! So refreshing in the heat of summer. Check out the recipe below! 
  4. GG crisps/crackers. Month 1 Shed approved and LOADED UP with fiber. Be sure to look for the ones with psyllium husks (pumpkin and sunflower seed versions have this) on the ingredients list for gut friendly bonus!
  5. Any other fruits and veggies you like. The key here is the fiber, so leave the skins on (where you can - ie cucumbers, apples, etc) and eat up all the pulp you can! 

Here is a list of some of the top prebiotic foods not included above: 

  • Raw chicory root - the top source, with almost 60% fiber
  • Raw Jerusalem artichoke 
  • Raw garlic
  • Raw leeks
  • Raw onions 
  • Cooked onions
  • Whole wheat 
  • Legumes

This is by no means an exhaustive list, it's more of a prompting to get some new healthy eats in your routine! I hope you found the Gut Health series educational and beneficial. What are you going to do to add more gut friendly foods into your routine? Leave me a comment here or on Instagram! - AHS

Mexican style raw Jicama fries 

jicama fries chips mexican style tajin gut health prebiotics


  • 1 jicama
  • Extra virgin olive oil (start with a tbsp, add as necessary)
  • Tajin* or other chili lime seasoning blend to taste


Peel jicama with a vegetable peeler. Cut into "fry" shape. I made mine a bit thicker. Coat lightly with olive oil and Tajin. Eat immediately for a filling snack and/or appy!

*Tajin is a Mexican spice blend that is amazing on fruit- it's incredible on watermelon too! You can order off amazon or get it at your local Mexican store if there is one close to you! You can also make this gringo style with paprika, onion powder, and chili powder.  

Dandelion Greens Salad

(adapted from the SHED program) (serves 1) 

This salad is an amazing summer detox salad and gut health booster! 


  • 1⁄2 apple, chopped (skin on!)
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 cups dandelion greens
  • 3 spears of raw asparagus, chopped into 4 bites pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1⁄2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle of parmesan (optional)


Mix ingredients in a bowl and enjoy a crunchy gut healthy lunch! 

Gut Health 200

Time to LEVEL UP friends! 

Part two on our gut health journey will walk through: 

  • how to tackle leaky gut and digestive issues
  • how to pick a probiotic supplement

I hope you find part two informative and useful! 

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Y'all ready for some more education? 

Have you ever heard of leaky gut syndrome? It's more common than you think. If you have more than one food sensitivity you more than likely have leaky gut.

The cells that line the intestine are supposed to be connected tightly together. Leaky gut occurs when the "glue" that keeps them together has been destroyed and spaces open up between the cells. Toxins, microbes and even pieces of food can get into the body - no bueno. This can create many problems in the body, and can even cause auto-immune diseases. 

Image courtesy of Dr. Axe. 

Image courtesy of Dr. Axe. 

According to Dr. Leo Galland, director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine these are some of the top symptoms you could be experiencing if you have a leaky gut:

  1. Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
  2. Nutritional deficiencies
  3. Poor immune system
  4. Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
  5. Excessive fatigue
  6. Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
  7. Cravings for sugar or carbs
  8. Arthritis or joint pain
  9. Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
  10. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn's

So what do you do if you suspect you have leaky gut? Well first, we get down to what could be offending foods in your diet. We tackle this with (step 1:) an elimination diet.* 

For 3 weeks eliminate the following foods from your diet: gluten (and any grains that could be cross-contaminated by gluten), dairy, corn, soy, and eggs. Some advise to also eliminate shellfish and peanuts.  After the three weeks reintroduce one category at a time (every 4 days) to observe your body's response. Eat the food several times a day for 2-3 days and observe. If you have a reaction right away, you do not need to keep eating it. 

Step 2: If you identify trigger foods- keep them out of your diet for 6 months. The body is remarkable and can remember! Give it time to forget and most likely you will be able to add those bad boys back into your diet eventually.**

Step 3: Add in foods to heal the intestinal lining! Hello, probiotic beauties! See last week's post for a for an in-depth look at probiotic rich foods. More below as well. In addition to probiotics and prebiotics, coconut oil, ghee, and foods rich in glutamine (animal proteins, beans, spinach, cabbage, parsley, etc) are great for this step as well. 

Step 4: Bask in your healed, glorious body! 

Add a probiotic supplement

vitamins and probiotics

Let's talk about adding a probiotic supplement into your life. Eating probiotic rich foods is not the easiest so unless you plan on making it a priority – supplementing is your best bet! Additionally, if you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above - you can target specific issues by what imbalance you are trying to recover from.  I won't go too depth here, but this article breaks it down by symptom. 

Buying a probiotic is notoriously difficult because there are so many out there, and its hard to be informed about every option out there. Here is what you should look for: 

What to look for in a probiotic supplement

Identify the best bacteria strains

You want to make sure you are getting diverse strains of bacteria- because we are all about well rounded gut flora! There is some debate on if "more is better", but some advise for CFUs” (colony forming units) in the billions. Instead focus on a variety of strains. A good brand will list them out. Some of the best strains to keep an eye out for are below:

B. longum

  • Benefits: maintaining the integrity of the gut wall, decreasing stress, memory improvement, helping relieve constipation

B. bifidum

  • Benefits: improves digestion of dairy foods, breaks down carbs, fat, and protein into smaller components so the body can use them more efficiently, boosts immune response, reduction in IBS symptoms and ulcerative colitis

L. acidophilus 

  • Benefits: supports a healthy balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria, immune function, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, supports nutrient absorption, improves digestion of dairy foods


An expiration date

An expiration date ensures that you are getting live strains of bacteria. Probiotics are not going to do you any good if the strains are dead. Without an expiration date listed, there is no way to tell if you are buying living strains or if they are already dead! Probiotics are not cheap, so don't skip this advice! 


Smart packaging

Moisture and heat can kill off microbes so it is important to make sure that the packaging will protect them!  You should store supplements in a cool, dark place but refrigeration is best. Some brands have developed amazing delivery systems that are shelf stable, but to be safe, opt for the fridge. 

Guys, this post was longer than anticipated, so I decided this is now a 3 part series! Our last section will tackle ways to get whole food probiotic and prebiotics into your normal routine! I hope you have enjoyed the series so far. Please leave me a comment here or on instagram if you have learned something new! Cheers! AHS

*As a reminder, I am not a doctor. I only play one on TV. Please consult with a healthcare provider when you undergo lifestyle changes.

** This is for food sensitivities. If you suspect you may have celiac disease or other autoimmune diseases, please consult a healthcare provider. 

Gut Health 101

Gut health is quite buzzy these days and it's actually one of my favorite topics. There is a whole world that lives inside of us, and many of us didn't even know existed! I am breaking this topic into two parts so that this post isn't completely overwhelming. Part one (below) focuses on giving you a general understanding gut health. Happy reading! 

What is the microbiome?

The human microbiota consists of the 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harbored by each person, primarily bacteria in the gut; the human microbiome consists of the genes these cells harbor. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells. 

"Woah, that is wild. We are really more bacteria than we are human. But I thought that bacteria was bad?"

Well yes, there are "bad" bacteria. But there are also "good" bacteria. 

Good bacteria can: 

  • Improve digestion
  • Strengthen our immune systems
  • Manufacture the vitamins our bodies need

Bad bacteria can cause:

  • Digestion problems
  • Mental issues
  • Skin conditions
  • Illness (more rare than you think)

"What about antibiotics? They kill bacteria when we are sick- they are good for us right?"

This screenshot from the Quartz app, yesterday 3/28. Very timely.

This screenshot from the Quartz app, yesterday 3/28. Very timely.

Hmmm interesting you should bring that up! Antibiotics do kill bad bacteria – BUT they also kill good bacteria along with the bad. They often destroy healthy colonies of good bacteria. This can lead to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut and can cause digestive and other health issues.

    Additionally, overuse/misuse has led to antibiotic resistance. Essentially, you should only take antibiotics if you are suffering from a bacterial infection. Very often, we call our doctors asking for medicine when we are sick. However, it may take time to know whether you are suffering from a viral infection (not helped by antibiotics) or a bacterial infection (helped by antibiotics). Some doctors will give you an antibiotic if you ask for it, regardless of whether they are certain if it is bacterial. The over prescription of antibiotics has caused a global health emergency. By taking antibiotics frequently, we are raising our resistance to the medicine - which means when we are really sick and need them, they may not work.

    Moral of the story: only take antibiotics when your health care provider is certain you require them (and please don't push for them).

    Additionally, the meat industry is infamous for giving animals antibiotics to "keep them healthy" often in terrible living conditions. The hormones fed to them are passed on to us. That is why if you eat dairy products it is important to look for added hormone free products (the best way to do this is purchase organic when possible) as well as purchase high quality meat products. Shopping ethically could be a whole additional post, so will table this for now. (If you are interested in learning more, leave me a comment below!)

    "How do I know if my gut bacteria are out of whack?"

    Well, there are quite a few ways. If you experience any of the following, your gut bacteria may not be in balance:

    • Digestive Issues
      • Gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, Inflammatory Bowel Disease ([IBD] including Crohn’s, and Ulcerative colitis)
    • Mental Issues
      • Depression and anxiety, brain fog, OCD, autism
    • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies (check with your doctor for the lab work)
      • Vitamin D, K, B12, B7, Magnesium
    • Using antibiotics
    • Chronic, unmanaged stress (keep it calm brides!)
    • Skin Conditions 
      • Acne, Rosacea, Psoriasis, Eczema
    • Autoimmune diseases
      • Hashimoto’s,  Rheumatoid arthritis,  IBD

    Note that these range from serious health issues to very minor issues like gas or brain fog. One round of antibiotics can completely mess up your gut. There are lots of ways to tackle an unbalanced gut. The next section will outline some tips for eating right for good gut health - which is a great place to start. Stay tuned for part two for a more in depth feature on how to take it on more serious issues. 

    "What should I eat for a healthy gut?"

    The good news is that if you are health conscious at all you are probably well on your way to a healthy gut. The foundation for a healthy gut is the same as most other healthy living principles: 

    • Eat “real” or “whole” Foods
      • Did it exist when your grandparents (or great grandparents) were growing up?
      • Could you make it in your own kitchen or at least buy the ingredients to do so?
      • Will it eventually rot?
    • Eat a rainbow of foods (mostly plants)
      • The bright colors in fruits and veggies come from phytonutrients which protect against cancer, heart disease and more.
      • Generally speaking the more brightly colored the food is the healthier it is 
      • Any sustainable strategy for long term health grounded in emphasizing (and increasing) the “good” in your diet
      • FIBER! The microbiome’s BFF

    "But wait, that's not why I wanted to learn about gut health at all. What about kombucha?" 

    A perfect breakfast or snack loaded with prebiotics - underripe banana served on Pumpkin Seed GG crisps and peanut butter. GG crisps are whole wheat and many varieties use psyllium husks as an ingredient. Another great prebiotic!

    A perfect breakfast or snack loaded with prebiotics - underripe banana served on Pumpkin Seed GG crisps and peanut butter. GG crisps are whole wheat and many varieties use psyllium husks as an ingredient. Another great prebiotic!

    Oh eating a healthy diet isn't up your alley? JK, jk. There are two types of foods that you should work on incorporating into your gut friendly diet: probiotics and prebiotics. 

    Probiotics are actual live, good bacteria. They come in supplement form, or you can get them naturally in the following foods: 

    • Yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk 
    • Aged cheese such as cheddar, Gouda, or Parmesan (not the processed kind that comes in a bag)
    • Sauerkraut, kimchi and other pickled vegetables
    • Sourdough bread 
    • Miso (fermented barley or soy or rice)
    • Tempeh - fermented soy  
    • Kombucha - fermented tea
    • Beer and wine (all in moderation!)

    Prebiotics are foods that feed the good bacteria already present in the intestine. If your curious about how they work, check out this article. Here are some great sources to add into your diet: 

    • Raw chicory root - the top source, with almost 60% fiber
    • Raw Jerusalem artichoke 
    • Raw garlic
    • Raw leeks
    • Raw asparagus
    • Raw dandelion greens
    • Raw onions 
    • Cooked onions
    • Whole wheat 
    • Underripe bananas
    • Raw jicama
    • Legumes
    • Psyllium Husks
    • Other fruits and vegetables

    Whether you are in good health or not, making sure you add in probiotic and prebiotic foods into your normal routine will be very beneficial. 

    This is the end of part one. Stay tuned for the next installment! Part two will lay out the groundwork for tackling bacteria imbalances in the gut as well as more actionable steps to conquer healthy gut living!

    Please let me know if you found this to be helpful! I'm excited to share more with you soon! - AHS