Blog Post by Coach Kayli
NCI Certified Level 1 Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Woman's and Gut Health Specialist
Calculating your calorie needs can be a bit complicated because you have to factor in a number of variables, including your weight, height, age, gender and activity level. But you can get a ballpark estimate using this simple formula:
And of course, the type of calories you’ll be eating matters, too. Focus on plenty of produce and lean protein (fish and seafood, skinless chicken, lean meat, beans, and lentils), and enjoy moderate amounts of whole grains and healthy fats.
Now if you are seeking to build muscle your simple formula would look like this:
You can do this!
Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 & Certified Mindset Coach
Throughout this process, I have continuously surprised myself. Phase 3 that I thought would last 6-12 weeks, I completed in 4. My body has been responding very well to the treatments. I have eliminated all symptoms after 4 weeks of fighting SIBO with diet and supplements. I started Phase 3 on June 3rd and ended on July 3rd. When this phase began, I was to discontinue the mastic gum and the DGL encapsulations and immediately begin the 4 SIBO supplements. The 4 new supplements were: Oregano Oil, Berberine, GI Detox and BioFilm Defense. Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It has also been shown to help stabilize intestinal flora balance. Berberine is usually a natural alternative to some diabetes medications including metformin. Studies are showing that it has a benefit to gut microbiome and has shown to improve symptoms of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The BioFilm defense helps support healthy levels of biofilm and provides nutritional support for detoxing the gut. It is also an aid for bloating, gas and GI distress. Lastly, the GI Detox is exactly what it sounds like. This is a supplement that will help bind all of the harmful microbes we are trying to flush from the body and get them out of the body. I also continued the Phase 1 practices during this phase. Those steps included diet changes, starting S. Boulardii, starting colostrum, walking after meals, managing stress, getting good sleep, and keeping my workout intensity lower. These are all in place to help my body naturally detox and heal. The diet changes are to keep inflammation to a minimum. The S. Boulardii and colostrum help support the gut during the detox and die off process. Walking after meals aids with digestion and minimizes bloating and discomfort. Managing stress, getting good sleep and keep my workout intensity low are all about reserving my energy for my body’s healing and fighting the infection. It is normal to experience fatigue during this phase so keeping some energy is vital for allowing your body to recover. The typical expected symptoms associated with die off include: fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and flu like symptoms.
I did not experience any adverse symptoms during this phase. I was able to maintain consistency with the supplements and the protocol which is probably why I was able to get out of this phase within 4 weeks. Now, it’s time for Phase 4.
Phase 4 is going to be continuing most of the Phase 1 protocol things. I discontinued the 4 SIBO supplements and the colostrum. I have also started taking a probiotic called Flora Protect and a supplement called PepZin GI. These two supplements are to repopulate the gut with good bacteria and to protect the gut barrier and gut immunity. I will maintain the S. Boulardii with these two supplements and I will be continuing the peppermint oil. So far the introduction of these new supplements has gone smoothly. The first day I had some cramping, but I believe this to be caused by a 3 hour window between taking the pills and eating my first meal. The supplements are to be taken on an empty stomach however I learned that my first meal needs to be shortly after I take them. The basis of this phase is reintroduction of foods. All the items that we discontinued in Phase 1 will be added back in. This is a gradual reintroduction, we aren’t just throwing caution to the wind. We are implementing a 4 day cycle. I will be choosing one food from each category and introducing it on a 4 day cycle. Day 1 will be a half a serving. If there are no symptoms, day 2 will be the same size serving twice per day. On day 3 if there are no symptoms, I will eat a normal serving. Day 4 is a rest day to allow the gut time to rest. Day 5 starts another 4 day cycle with a different food from a different food group. As we go through this process, I will be tracking what foods I’m introducing and what symptoms I experience. By the end of this, I will have identified my trigger foods, if there are any, and can avoid them to maintain gut health. I anticipate I will be in this phase until I have cycled through all the foods that I would like to add back into my diet. After this phase, we will move to Phase 5 where I work on increasing stomach acid and titrating off Nexium. Of course, you will receive an update in 4 weeks on progress.
What you do 80% of the time…
…is more important than what you do the other 20% of the time.
Consistency > Perfection. every.single.time.
I believe the most important thing when approaching ANY holiday is to go in with a plan that you'll be happy with at the end of the day.
If you plan not to track a single thing and eat whatever for the day, that's awesome, as long as you will feel good about that choice.
If you plan to track the best you can while enjoying time with friends and family, that's great, as long as you will feel good about that choice.
The key is to be intentional with how you choose to approach a holiday (or any event, for that matter). And then define what success will look like for the day...
Because when you go in with a plan, you create awareness and ownership of your goals for the day, and you're less likely to shift into the habits you're working to change.
After the holiday celebration, I highly suggest you reflect on your day and ask yourself what worked, what didn't, and what lessons you can walk away with for the future (remember, there's no failure, only feedback).
That being said, I am ALWAYS up for sharing tips to help you succeed on your journey...
>>> Click Here For My 8 Fav Holiday Success Tips <<<
And one last thing before I go...one of the more frequent questions I'm asked around the holidays is how to track alcohol.
If that's a question you've also wondered, check out the free guide I created that will show you how to log your alcohol intake! Click the button below to grab it.
Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 & Certified Mindset Coach
I have now begun Phase 3 of my journey to gut health. Phase 3 is the SIBO kill/die off phase. When this phase began, I was to discontinue the mastic gum and the DGL encapsulations and immediately begin the 4 SIBO supplements. The 4 new supplements are: Oregano Oil, Berberine, GI Detox and BioFilm Defense. Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It has also been shown to help stabilize intestinal flora balance. Berberine is usually a natural alternative to some diabetes medications including metformin. Studies are showing that it has a benefit to gut microbiome and has shown to improve symptoms of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The BioFilm defense helps support healthy levels of biofilm and provides nutritional support for detoxing the gut. It is also an aid for bloating, gas and GI distress. Lastly, the GI Detox is exactly what it sounds like. This is a supplement that will help bind all of the harmful microbes we are trying to flush from the body and get them out of the body. I will also be continuing the Phase 1 practices during this phase. Those steps included diet changes, starting S. Boulardii, starting colostrum, walking after meals, managing stress, getting good sleep, and keeping my workout intensity lower. These are all in place to help my body naturally detox and heal. The diet changes will keep inflammation to a minimum. The S. Boulardii and colostrum help support the gut during the detox and die off process. Walking after meals aids with digestion and minimizes bloating and discomfort. Managing stress, getting good sleep and keep my workout intensity low are all about reserving my energy for my body’s healing and fighting the infection. It is normal to experience fatigue during this phase so keeping some energy is vital for allowing your body to recover. The typical expected symptoms associated with die off include: fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and flu like symptoms.
I began the Phase 3 protocol on June 3rd. This phase could last anywhere from 4 weeks to 12 weeks, however based on the length of time I’ve been experiencing discomfort, it’s more likely going to be closer to 12 weeks for me. So far I am 2 weeks in and I am experiencing some discomfort. Nothing has been intolerable at this point. I have noticed some nausea and some heartburn, which I suspect to be from the Oregano Oil. I haven’t noticed a huge change in bowel habits as of yet. The biggest challenge has been the medication schedule. The GI Detox has to be taken in the morning with a full glass of water and has to be kept an hour away from other medications, supplements and food. So I have to wake up earlier to take this pill, then an hour after I can take my BioFilm Defense and my other supplements and medications, but I can’t eat until 20 minutes after my BioFilm Defense, so my morning routine, I have to make sure I have an hour and 20 minutes plus whatever time it will take for me to eat my breakfast before I need to be somewhere. This makes things a bit challenging sometimes and I have to make sure I am planning ahead.
All in all, things are going smoothly considering how long I’ve been sick. I have been much more ill in the past when I tried to correct my gut with the Western medicine approaches. The symptoms I’m experiencing are mild and I still feel better than my previous “normal” state.
I will do another update in 4 weeks. At that point, I should be at the halfway point so it will be interesting to see how I am at that point.
Lots of people looking to improve their eating think meal plans are the answer. The only problem? Meal plans usually suck… and they rarely last. So, instead, check out these 6 ways to transform any diet in a sustainable way.
“Do I get a meal plan?”This is the most common question we get from folks who are considering, or just started out in, our nutrition coaching programs.
The answer: No, we don’t do meal plans.
But we can’t blame people for asking.
Sure, meal plans have long been a staple of the fitness and nutrition industry. Coaches are taught to create them. Clients are taught to expect them.
Most of the time, meal plans don’t work.You see, traditional meal plans are explicit prescriptions.
Eat this exact thing, in this exact amount, at this exact time.
For example, you’ll often see:
Breakfast – 7:30am
3 eggs, scrambled
1 cup vegetables
1 piece whole grain toast
1 cup coffee
1 glass water
Morning snack – 10:00am
1 protein bar
1 handful mixed nuts
Lunch – 12:30pm
4 oz chicken
2 cups salad
1 handful seeds
1 glass water
After exercise – 4:30pm
1 scoop whey protein
1/2 cup frozen fruit
2 omega 3 capsules
12 oz water
Dinner – 7:00pm
4 oz steak
1 cup cooked veggies
1 baked potato
1 glass water
You might be thinking, “Good! I want a plan. I’m sick of trying to figure all this stuff out! Just tell me what to eat!”
Unfortunately, when we try to follow rigid prescriptions like this, lots can (and often does) go wrong.
Scenario 1: You just don’t stick to the plan.No matter how enthusiastic you are, meal plans can be tough to follow.
This is normal. Life can get in the way.
This is also normal.
Unfortunately, it means you might not get the results you hope for. For instance, a meal plan you hoped would help you lose weight could actually encourage you to gain weight instead.
Scenario 2: You follow the plan perfectly.In fact, you follow it too well and for too long.
Most meal plans are meant to be temporary.
They’re designed to help a person get to a specific short-term goal, like dropping a few extra pounds before a wedding, learning to manage blood sugar, or cutting weight for an athletic competition.
Our bodies can usually adapt to a rigid way of eating for a short period of time.
But if you’re too strict for too long, you could wind up with disordered eating habits and lasting health (mental, metabolic, hormonal, etc) consequences.
Scenario 3: You follow the plan for a little while but it sucks.It isn’t sustainable. It doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t keep you sane.
Maybe you see some short-term results (or not). But you hate living and eating this way. You never want to see another stupid piece of lettuce or 4 ounces of chicken.
Eventually, you get so turned off by the process that you regress or quit altogether. You conclude that “eating healthy” sucks.
And you miss your big chance to learn how to make healthier, more enjoyable, more lasting and real changes.
Another reason meal plans fail.One of the biggest (yet generally unacknowledged) problems with traditional meal plans is their focus on “nutrients”.
Real people don’t eat “nutrients”. We eat food.We eat meals, often with other people.
We eat meals that match our cultural background and social interests.
And we rarely measure things precisely.
Sure, sometimes an explicit prescription is necessary.For instance, professional athletes or bodybuilders (in other words, people who make money off their bodies and athletic skills) use meal plans to prepare for training and competition.
A prescribed meal for someone in that situation might look something like this:
Instead, we eat foods like:
You don’t need to weigh and measure everything, or count out your almonds.
Ask yourself: “Is someone paying me to do this?” If the answer is no, you likely don’t need this kind of approach.
You just need to think about what you’re already eating, and how you could make it a little bit better.
This means fiddling and adjusting.
Making small changes and improvements to what you already normally eat and enjoy, one small step at a time.
Think about a spectrum of food quality rather than “bad” or “good” foods.
Welcome to the meal transformation game.When you play with the idea of a food spectrum or food continuum, you get to experiment with variables like:
In which situations is that easier or harder?
When your choices are limited (for instance, when you’re traveling, or eating at a workplace cafeteria), how can you shoot for “a little bit better” while still being realistic, and without trying to be “perfect”?
Let’s transform breakfast, lunch, and dinner.Here’s how that “food spectrum” might look in daily life, with a sample day of eating.
Transforming breakfastStage 1
Let’s say that your go-to breakfast is a whipped-cream coffee drink and a chocolate croissant.
You pick it up in the drive-thru, and wolf it down on your way to work.
This is your starting point. It’s not “bad”. It’s just no longer working for you.
You’re getting indigestion from rushing, the croissant doesn’t hold you at all, and you’ve just spilled the coffee on your crotch while changing lanes.
Now your game is to improve your breakfast just a little bit, starting with what you already have or do.
Your opening moves in the meal transformation game:
But this is a solid start. Well done.
Next level of game play:
No problem. We’re keeping it real.
Now you are seriously playing like a pro.
Transforming lunchStage 1
At this point, starting out, the idea of a sit-down lunch feels flat out ridiculous.
“Eat slowly? Who has time for that during a busy workday? Grab a burger and go!”
Another “car dashboard” meal. Another stomach ache and regret.
You decide you might want to play with this meal too.
To improve this meal a little bit:
At this stage, you’re doing a little prep work:
You still grab a diet cola from the vending machine to wash it down.
You move from your desk to the lunchroom, where you socialize with co-workers. This slows you down a bit and helps you digest and relax.
You’re having the burger without the bun, alongside a nice pre-prepped salad.
Instead of staying at your desk or in the office, you take a break.
You sit outside and get some fresh air while you enjoy your meal.
For a drink, water’s all you need.
Transforming dinnerStage 1
It’s 8pm. You’ve just gotten home after an insane day at work.
All you want to do is put food into your face and zone out in front of the TV.
You can’t even imagine making anything more complicated than boxed macaroni ‘n’ cheese right now.
Ketchup and hot dogs are as fancy as it gets.
Same concept, but:
Things are getting fancy.
Again, we’re playing at pro level here.
With your meal planning and prep strategies, even a weeknight dinner looks good.
Meal transformation is not about reaching perfection.If you’re at stage 1, all you have to do is shoot for stage 2. Or stage 1.5.
If you’re in stage 2, play with getting to stage 3.
And if you’re stage 3, heck, you can stay where you are.
You might never get to stage 4. Or it might only happen at times when you’re relaxed and have a little extra time.
Stage 4 might only happen on Sunday night, whereas the rest of your week is a mix of stages 1, 2, and — if you’re super lucky — 3.
And that’s OK.
How far you progress along the continuum all depends on what YOU want, what YOU need, and what YOU can reasonably do, right now.
Over time, things can change.
Play YOUR game.
Success secret: Have a food prep ritual.You might look at these photos and think, “How can people possibly do all that?”
One success secret: Having a food prep ritual.
The idea is simple:
Practice planning and preparing healthy food in advance.
This makes healthy eating convenient and easy.
It also makes decisions easier: You don’t have to make a choice when you’re rushed and hangry.
Your food prep ritual can include:
Experiment with systems, skills and strategies that work for YOU and YOUR life.
The real goal of a meal plan is to stop using a meal plan.Fit, healthy people who have a good relationship with food don’t need other people to tell them exactly what to eat at all times.
Living a fit and healthy life doesn’t require perfection, either.
If you are using a meal plan:That’s OK.
Some people like prescription, especially if they are working towards a specific short-term goal, like cutting weight to compete in wrestling, making sure they get enough nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy, or fueling their triathlon performance.
Keep it short-lived.
Meal plans are supposed to be temporary, working towards a short-term goal.
Keep it real.
As much as possible, try to make the meal plan fit your real life, not the other way around.
If you’re a parent, a worker, a student, or anyone else living in the real world, most of your meals will fall somewhere in the stages 1 through 3 spectrum. That’s perfectly OK. Just experiment with being a little bit better, wherever you can.
Remember all goals require trade-offs.
If you want to achieve a high level of performance or exceptional body composition, understand what you are prioritizing and sacrificing.
Getting very lean, for instance, comes with costs.
Make sure it’s working for you.
If your meal plan is making you feel:
…and if you find that meal plans result in you:
What to do next1. Consider where you sit on the spectrum of meal “stages”.Where’s your food game at?
What level are you playing at?
What level would you like to play at?
Given your goals and your current situation, what is realistic?
For example, if you currently eat at stage 1, your goal might be to eat at stage 2 for most meals.
Or, if you eat at stage 3 most of the time but find yourself dipping into stage 1 or 2 meals more often than you’d like, aim to stay at stage 3 a little more consistently.
2. Start small. One step at a time.Pick one meal to transform and focus on that.
For instance, you might leave all your other meals at stage 1, and focus on getting lunch to stage 2.
Concentrate on improving that one meal each day.
Using the examples above, you might think about things like:
Try just fiddling with one or two, and see which ones work best for you.
3. Add things slowly.Once you’ve improved one meal a day, try another.
If you feel like lunch is a solid stage 2 or 3, play with moving breakfast, dinner, or snacks along the spectrum.
Or, once you’ve improved one factor in a meal (e.g. adding more protein), try another.
For instance, if you’re getting more protein, now try switching out your sugary soda for some soda water. Or adding a little more veggies.
Be patient; small steps add up.
4. Set yourself up for success.Notice what makes it easier and simpler for you to eat better.
Then figure out how to do or get more of that.
5. Enjoy your meals.Meal plans don’t usually address how you eat.
Before you change what you eat, you can also try changing how you eat. For example, you could:
Meal time is YOUR time.
6. Work towards being your own boss.Sometimes you might just want someone to tell you what to do.
That’s fine, and helpful, especially if you’re juggling a lot. But only for a while.
Over time, look for ways to help yourself intuitively and wisely make better choices, rather than just following the rules.
Think long-term. What do you want to happen over the next few months? Year? 10 years? Do you want to be on a meal plan for the next few decades?
Today, if you were to take one small step towards the “better” end of the meal spectrum, what might that look like?
How can you start playing the “meal transformation game” today?
Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 • NCI Certified Mindset Coach
I am now well into Phase 2 of my journey to gut health. Phase 2 is the H. Pylori kill phase. I started the DGL encapsulations on Friday the 22nd. I have been taking just one capsule at dinner. I tolerated the supplement well. The following week I started the mastic gum supplement. I have been taking two capsules every morning before breakfast. These are the two supplements that are specific to the H. Pylori infection and protecting the gut lining.
Keep in mind, I have to maintain the steps that were prescribed in Phase 1. Those steps included diet changes, starting S. Boulardii, starting colostrum, walking after meals, managing stress, getting good sleep, and keeping my workout intensity lower. When we moved into Phase 2, we simply added the two H. Pylori supplements.
Since starting the two supplements, I have had some side effects. These side effects are typical of any treatment of H. Pylori. When you begin a treatment to kill an H. Pylori infection, it is typical to experience some nausea, burning sensation in the gut, heartburn, and in some cases diarrhea. Diarrhea is predominantly present when utilizing prescription medication therapy to fight the infection. I have not been experiencing diarrhea. I attribute this to the supplements. Antibiotics typically disrupt the gut because they kill the good gut bacteria as well as the bad bacteria in the body. This causes diarrhea commonly.
I have been having a touch of nausea and some burning sensation. These side effects have been tolerable. I haven’t missed any work due to illness since I started the protocol. My bowel movements are becoming more complete and more regular. I will maintain the Phase 2 supplements for about 4 weeks. At that time we will proceed into Phase 3 which will be to kill the SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). When we start Phase 3, I will stop the two H. Pylori supplements and I will add in 4 more supplements. I will add in Oregeno Oil, Berberine, GI Detox and BioFilm Defense. Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic, antioxidant and anti inflammatory. It has also been show to help stabilize intestinal flora balance. Berberine is usually a natural alternative to some diabetes medications including metformin. Studies are showing that it has a benefit to gut microbiome and has shown to improve symptoms of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The BioFilm defense helps support healthy levels of biofilm and provides nutritional support for detoxing the gut. It is also an aid for bloating, gas and GI distress. Lastly, the GI Detox is exactly what it sounds like. This is a supplement that will help bind all of the harmful microbes we are trying to flush from the body and get them out of the body. The 4 week mark is Saturday May 28th. At that time I will be making the transition from Phase 2 to Phase 3.
Does this sound like you?
You’ve been crushing your workouts these last 5 days and avoiding all of those favorite high sugar snacks you love.
You’ve been led to believe that the only way to lose weight is to give up the things you love and move more.
I mean everyone has heard the phrase . . .
Eat less, move more right??
That’s how Sally lost all her weight on IG.
But, after day 5 of going to the gym everyday and starving yourself you find yourself with very little willpower to say no.
Anyone can restrict themselves for 5 days.
After a while though you find yourself battling some intense cravings! Missing all those favorite foods you thought you had to give up in order to lose weight. So Tuesday morning when Joe brings in donuts to work and you got less than 5 hours of sleep the night before, guess what happens?
That’s right you cave. You eat the donut and it’s the best tasting stale donut you’ve ever had.
So that’s right, you grab another one. Maybe you stop there or maybe you walk by after another hour and grab a third.
By lunch though you are feeling like crap. Both physically and mentally. You are having a sugar crash from the spike in blood insulin levels as well as beating yourself up for caving.
This usually leads to 1 of 2 things.
You say F it and write the whole day off and tell yourself you will start again on Monday.
You scold yourself and start restricting again and punishing yourself in the gym for the “mistake”.
Both of these lead to the exact same conclusion.
They are a never ending cycle of working your ass off to lose 10-15lbs only to gain it right back.
What if I told you there was a better way? An easier way?
A way to curb those intense sugar cravings for good?
Would you be interested in learning more? If so, keep reading.
If you want to stop this never ending cycle for good you have to send the right signals to your body and brain.
Here are the 3 Ways I help break the Sugar Addiction Cycle for my online coaching clients.
If you would like to take it a step further and have someone map out your fat loss success journey for the next 6 months then click the application for coaching below and let us show you the proven RISE method we have used with 100’s of clients that used to struggle just like you.
Kayli Montoya-Huston - NCI Certified Nutrition Coach & Personal Trainer
Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 • NCI Certified Mindset Coach
We are well into phase one of my gut health protocol. So far this has consisted of moving my diet to a gluten free, lactose free and low FODMAP diet. The purpose of this phase is to bulk up the gut, strengthen it and increase the gut immunity so that it is prepared to kill off bacteria and infection.
I am where I need to be for my diet. In the initial blog post, I was easing my way into it to clear out my pantry and finding substitutions that would still allow me to hit my ideal macros for the cycle I am in right now. I have been able to move entirely to gluten free, lactose free and the FODMAPs are kept to a minimum. Keep in mind the diet is not FODMAP free, but low FODMAP. This has been the biggest adjustment. I have previously completed this type of diet before but it has been quite awhile and there have recently been changes to the diet’s protocols. Learning where FODMAPS are hiding in foods has been quite a challenge. I was able to download a PDF of FODMAP foods and the appropriate serving sizes of select foods that can be consumed if kept to a smaller serving. I also found an app for my phone called, FIG, that allowed me to scan barcodes of products to obtain a detailed readout of what is in the product and which ingredients are not diet friendly. That has been a huge help for me in both adherence and education.
I did have to lower my protein goal now that the dietary changes have been made. I was aiming for 185g of protein per day, but without cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, it was very difficult for me to hit that number. We lowered it slightly to 170g and added 15g to my carbs. This has been much easier to adhere to my macros and the gut health dietary protocol. Lactose free cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are options, however, I have not been able to find them locally.
I did receive the colostrum supplement and I implemented it on March 26th. This was added to the current regimen of the S. Boulardii that I was taking. I am taking one capsule of each per day. So far I have not experienced any adverse effects. The colostrum is a supplement that helps repair the gut lining. This will strengthen it so that while we are fighting infection and the bacterial overgrowth, I don’t experience a leaky gut. Remember the S. Boulardii is to help increase the gut immunity to help head off the H. Pylori.
The implementation of the supplements and the diet has had a remarkable improvement on my situation. I am assuming the inflammation is dropping in my gut. There is really no hard and fast way to know this without lab testing, but judging by the way I feel, I am guessing that is a big component of the improvements. I have noticed that my scale weight does not fluctuate as much as it used to. Inflammation can cause scale fluctuations and even measurement fluctuations depending on severity. I am also experiencing more regular and less painful bowel movements. Previously I would frequently go 4 days without a bowel movement and then have super painful large bowel movements. As of now, this has been resolved. I am having bowel movements nearly daily and sometimes twice per day. Inflammation can cause constipation and vice versa. Inflammation/constipation can become cyclical for sufferers of gastrointestinal issues. I am slowly becoming more confident with my gut. Previously I would eat my lunch at work at a certain time so that I would know I would be able to leave for lunch if I got sick. Now I’ve been finding I’m more confident in eating at random times. This seems insignificant, but my life previously revolved around my stomach. Literally, the fear of being sick and not being confident with my gut determined everything. I am slowly finding freedom from my gut and we are only in phase one.
I am also completing the other necessary tasks to help with digestion. I am training at a reduced intensity, walking after meals, focusing on sleep and trying to manage stress. Because of the work I have put in and being able to be comfortable being uncomfortable, I have seen success with phase 1 of the program. We are now going to proceed with phase 2. Phase 2 will be moving on to kill the H.Pylori infection. I will be maintaining the habits of phase 1 and simply adding on 2 supplements that will kill the infection. I’ll be taking Mastic Gum twice per day with meals and DGL twice per day with meals. Mastic gum supports the gut and duodenal health as well as promoting healthy stomach acid production. DGL stands for deglycyrrhizinated licorice. See why we abbreviate? DGL is a combination of deglycyrrhizinated licorice, aloe vera, slippery elm, and marshmallow root. All of these elements are very protective of the GI tract. The combination helps support the defense mechanisms by stimulating the mass, quality and production of mucus which is a major component of the stomach’s protective lining. You will notice that a lot of the supplements I’m taking are for the gut lining. This is because H. Pylori attaches to your gut lining and can cause ulcers so we have to take care to protect the gut lining. This is why we have to kill the infection before we work on correcting my lack of stomach acid. Introducing acid into my stomach while I have an active infection can speed up the formation of ulcers. When the H. Pylori infection is gone, I will stop taking Nexium (finally) and we will work on improving my stomach acid levels. I will be ordering the supplements and as soon as I get them, phase 2 starts.
I will update you again in 2 weeks and let you know where we are. I don’t know how long phase 2 will last, but I will keep you updated as we go along.
Many of our clients lately have been mentioning thyroid issues. This seems to be a common issue among American adults. Hypothyroidism is the most common condition in the United States. The thyroid affects almost every organ and process in the body. Thyroid dysregulation can be linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, respiration, body temperature, brain development, cholesterol levels, the heart and nervous system, blood calcium levels, menstrual cycles, and skin integrity. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are wide and seem to overlap other illnesses. Symptoms include: weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and hair, and difficulty concentrating.
While doctors prescribe medications to support thyroid regulation, the impact of nutrition, fitness and lifestyle is often overlooked. In some cases, depending on the individual's thyroid levels, lifestyle changes can manage the symptoms and regulate the levels. However, always consult with your doctor on your specific levels and the appropriate action for you. Implementing these supportive actions will be helpful regardless of your medication status. Do not stop taking any medications without your doctor's advice.
I am sure you have heard Coach Kayli and I speak about the importance of macronutrients in your diet, but if you are looking at overall health and wellness, your micronutrients are just as important. The thyroid is no different. The key nutrients to focus on for thyroid regulation are: iodine, vitamin D3, zinc, selenium, and vitamin b12.
Iodine is the key cause of thyroid disease worldwide. Iodine levels in the United States have not been an issue until lately. Americans used to get sufficient iodine supplementation from salt, but most of the salt intake today is from processed foods that lack iodine, resulting in falling iodine levels. Iodine supplementation is NOT advised as it can cause flare ups for people and can stimulate autoimmune antibodies.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hypothyroidism, however it is still unclear whether it is causal or correlative. Vitamin D levels can be increased through increasing your sun exposure or eating foods rich in vitamin D such as: fatty fish, milk, dairy, eggs and mushrooms. Vitamin D can also be supplemented however it is a fat soluble vitamin so it should be taken after a meal containing fat has been consumed. Always check with your doctor before starting supplementation to ensure it will not affect any current medications or conditions. A typical supplement dose of vitamin D is 5,000 IU.
The highest levels of selenium are found in the thyroid. It has a large impact on cognitive function, fertility and mortality rates. Incorporating selenium rich foods in your diet can be helpful to support your body’s selenium levels and thyroid function. Selenium rich foods include: tuna, Brazil nuts, crab and lobster. It is not recommended to supplement with selenium without direction from a doctor.
Like selenium, zinc helps activate the thyroid hormones. If you have hypothyroidism try to focus more on foods like shellfish, beef, chicken, and oysters.
About 30% of people with thyroid issues have a vitamin B12 deficiency. A severe deficiency is irreversible so it’s important for sufferers of thyroid issues to have their levels checked. Foods that are supportive of vitamin B12 levels include: mollusks, sardines, salmon, organ meats, muscle meats and dairy. If you usually practice more of a vegan approach you can find vitamin B12 in fortified cereals and nutritional yeast.
Avoiding goitrogens is an important dietary practice for healthy thyroids. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are goitrogens. They release goitrin when they are broken down. Goitrin interferes with the synthesis of thyroid hormones. If you prefer cruciferous veggies in your diet, heating them will help eliminate the goitrogenic effect.
It is important to note that if you are taking thyroid medications, there are some foods and supplements to avoid or time appropriately so as to not disrupt the function of the medications. Calcium supplements can interfere with thyroid medications and should be separated by at least 4 hours. Coffee and fiber supplements lower the absorption of thyroid medication and should be separated by 1 hour. Chromium picolinate is often consumed for blood sugar control and weight loss, so often supplemented by thyroid patients, however this supplement needs to be kept away from your thyroid medication by 3-4 hours. Flavonoids in fruits, vegetables and tea may also suppress thyroid function and should be avoided in high doses.
This discussion would not be complete without discussing exercise. Exercise is very important for people suffering from thyroid dysregulation. It is important for hypothyroid individuals to help manage weight gain, fatigue and depression. Studies have shown that regular exercise has shown dramatic improvements in thyroid associated fatigue.
Thyroid dysregulation presents numerous challenges due to weight changes, cardiovascular risks, fatigue, mood changes and gastrointestinal upset which often prevents the formation of healthier habits. However, implementing a healthy diet that reduces processed foods, alcohol, caffeine would be helpful to supporting healthy thyroid levels. Focus should be placed on whole foods including: fruits, vegetables, dairy, lean meats, and gluten free grains. Try to limit dietary stress by reducing inflammatory foods such as high sugar foods, highly processed foods, high salt foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Try to incorporate more good fats like olive oil, avocado and healthy fats as these tend to be anti-inflammatory. Avoid eating a lot of food in one setting and try to give your body a break in digestion at night by stopping food intake at 8pm. If you can obtain more organic foods to eliminate toxins such as hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, this will help reduce stress in your immune and endocrine systems. It is also very important to keep your fiber intake at the recommended daily intake of 22-33 grams depending on your age and sex. Fiber is important for digestion, heart health, healthy bowels and helping you feel full, which helps with weight gain. Last, but definitely not least, make sure you are staying hydrated. Staying hydrated keeps your metabolism function efficiently and can reduce your appetite and bloating. Adequate water also improves digestion and combats constipation and fatigue. As a very general baseline, aim for your body weight divided by 2 for the number of ounces you should be consuming per day.
Overall, aiming for healthier nutrition and fitness practices can help with thyroid issues as well as general health and wellbeing. Oftentimes we see if you set your goals to be more healthy, you will find that your desired aesthetic changes will follow that. If you’re struggling with health or hormone issues and need some direction. Click on the link to sign up for a free coaching call with Coach Kayli and she can help you assess your goals and get you on track to a healthier, happier YOU!
Blog Post by Coach Julie
**Please Note: This is my journey. The protocol that I am following is individualized to my situation. I am not a doctor nor am I offering medical advice. Should you wish to seek coaching for your individual situation please fill out the coaching call application and Coach Kayli or I would love to help you.
This is going to be the beginning of a blog series that will also have podcast episodes and social media posts to supplement it. This series will be a case study and a documentary of my journey to better gut health. I have been on a mission since 2008 to figure out what was wrong with my gut and fix it so that I could have a better quality of life. I had not been successful finding answers regarding what was wrong with my gut so that I could start the process of healing and getting better. Now, in 2022, 14 years later, I have the answers I need, the coach to guide me and support me and the protocol that will hopefully put me in the place of healing and a normal functioning quality of life. Through this series I will outline my journey. What we are doing, why we are doing it and how I am doing with the process. At this point, not even I know if the method I have in place will work, but I’m going to document each step and any changes we make along the way.
Let me start by giving you the backstory. In 2008, I started having severe diarrhea. It was so bad, I couldn’t control my bowels. I would have diarrhea as soon as I woke up and it would continue until almost dinner time. It didn’t matter what I ate. I was always sick. My doctor at the time ran a bunch of lab tests to try and diagnose an issue. All labs were normal. I was negative for Crohns’, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac, etc. They couldn’t find anything abnormal. There was nothing they could do. I couldn’t function at a normal capacity. I couldn’t work and I had to do my college coursework via email. This persisted until around 2011.
In 2011, after a procedure by my chiropractor to close my ileocecal valve, the diarrhea stopped. The ileocecal valve is a valve in your intestinal tract that can get stuck open and cause what’s called “dumping syndrome.” After the diarrhea stopped, I began feeling a little bit better, but I had started having nausea. I returned to the doctor. The doctor had previously run abdominal sonograms and ultrasounds but found nothing of note. At the time she had mentioned a test called a HIDA scan to check the function of the gallbladder. This test requires you to lay still on a bed for an extended period of time, which I knew I would not be able to do without getting sick. Now that the diarrhea had resolved, I asked if we could discuss the HIDA scan again. We decided that would be a good course of action. The test showed that my gallbladder was only working at 7%. The gallbladder is usually removed at 50%, it should have been removed a long time ago, but since I didn’t have gallstones and I wasn’t full of sludge and uninsured, I wasn’t an emergent case.
I knew part of the key to feeling better would be removing the gallbladder. I borrowed money from my grandmother to pay for my surgery. In December 2011, I had my gallbladder removed and I asked for an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy at the same time to check for other issues. While they were removing my gallbladder, it actually ruptured. It was actually full of sludge.
Coming out of surgery, I felt much better. I had to avoid certain foods but I felt much better than I had in a long time. I was able to proceed with a better quality of life than I had the 3 years prior to. I also used this as an opportunity to stop smoking.
In 2015, I had a flare up of diarrhea again that wouldn’t stop. I was even hospitalized and given strong medications to help the condition, but instead of healing, I ended up with C. Diff, which is a horrible bacterial infection in your bowels.
I sought help from a GI specialist. Without running any tests, the doctor handed me a prescription for a very high powered anti-diarrheal medication and told me to be careful. He said some people end up with obstructive bowels after using that medication. I decided I would start with half a tablet per day and slowly increase until I found the dose that worked for me. That seemed to work ok. But I wasn’t satisfied with using a pill to mask a symptom. Something had to be causing the diarrhea. I sought the help of another GI specialist in 2016. He completed a colonoscopy and found nothing of significance. He found a had a tortuous colon, which means that I have a sharper bend in my colon than most people so things sometimes don’t move through as smoothly as they should, which can cause pain. Again, an answer but not quite the answer.
I finally was able to get into a specialist program at KU. I was pretty sure that would be my ticket to wellness. KU is supposed to be the gold standard of treatment. On the day of my appointment my doctor came in and said that I had IBS and I needed to continue to use the medication for the diarrhea but because it was causing a little bit of constipation, I needed to add a laxative to that as well. That was not an answer. Those medications counteract each other. I left very displeased.
I have been able to manage my condition so far with diet and exercise, but I still have cramping, pain, bloating, constipation, fatigue and just overall feeling of malaise. I have been living this way since 2016. I struggle with anxiety and depression which could very much be caused by this constant ill feeling.
Toward the end of 2020, I started pushing again to find the answers to my gut issues. My doctor and I ran so many tests. Finally a stool test showed that I had pancreatic insufficiency. I was elated. Finally an answer that wasn’t “it’s all in your head” or “it’s your anxiety.” They prescribed me a pancreatic enzyme to correct this issue. It seemed to work really well, I was feeling pretty good, but I started feeling more constipated than before. I decided to try and stop my anti-diarrhea medication. I was able to stop that and feel ok. No diarrhea returned and I was feeling ok, not quite great yet.
I saw another gut health specialist at KU in December 2021. This doctor hadn’t looked over my medical records that he required before he would see me. He had to ask me what lab testing had been done and after telling him what my test showed and my diagnosis he told me “that is a trash can diagnosis.” He wanted to put me under anesthesia to prove the other doctor wrong and that my pancreas was fine. He said you have IBS and I am going to give you medication for constipation but it may cause diarrhea. This time I actually spoke up for myself. I told him I wasn’t interested in taking another medication and ending up back where I was. I have been chasing my tail for over a decade now. His solution was to take peppermint oil, which I wasn’t super happy with but at least it was natural.
After this disappointing appointment, my wife and I decided to seek the help of a functional medicine doctor. I was getting nowhere so it was time to change the path. I saw the new doctor in January. She gave me a great plan of action but the testing was going to cost me around $700 out of pocket to figure out what was going on, but she thought I had a parasite. The issue is, the tests she wanted me to complete weren't for the gut. I wanted my gut addressed, I wasn’t in a place where I wanted to mess with everything else first.
I mentioned all of this stress to my nutrition and fitness coach, who, like Coach Kayli and I, is a gut health speciailst. He stated that he thought that he and I could do this together for less money and less invasive. I agreed. This is where we are now.
I ordered a GI MAP test online. The mail you the testing materials, you complete the stool test and mail it back to the lab. My results were back within 2 weeks. The results showed high inflammation, H.Pylori and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.) These are things that can be healed and treated. Brandon and I have come up with a protocol that we think will work. The protocol is coming from his experience and his wide network of other coaches and specialists that have completed this protocol before. The protocol I am following has also been reviewed by a functional medicine doctor and my primary medical provider. They approve of the protocol and are supervising me throughout this journey. This is very much a collaboration as everyone involved has been given the lab results and the protocol and knows where we are every step of the way.
The first phase of this journey that is required is the diet. Before we can do anything, we have to prepare the gut for treatment. Temporarily changing my diet will help reduce inflammation which will not only help me feel better but also make my gut more susceptible to the treatment. The diet changes I am implementing are moving toward gluten free and low FODMAP diets. We are also cutting out caffeine and alcohol, although I don’t drink. I will need to eat 3 to 4 hours apart to allow the gut time to recover and digest each meal.
I will also be reducing the amount of intensity and frequency of training. The body needs to dedicate the energy to healing the gut so I will be lifting 3 days per week and not exceeding 7 RPE/3 RIR. No high intensity cardio, only walks, yoga and mobility. I will also be taking 10 minute walks after meals to aid in digestion.
I have also started peppermint oil to help soothe the GI tract and Saccharomyces Boulardii. S. Boulardii is a good bacteria that acts as a probiotic in the gut. This is used to help boost intestinal immunity and also helps with diarrhea. I will also be starting a colostrum supplement. This will be used to help repair the gut lining and make it stronger so that it can treat the H.Pylori infection.
I have not received the colostrum supplement but I have received the S. Bouldarii. I started it on Saturday March 19th. I have tolerated it well. I am having some cramping but it isn’t terrible. No diarrhea or vomiting. My diet changes have started but I am not fully at gluten free or low FODMAP quite yet. It’s a gradual process and I had some groceries that I needed to finish so they didn’t go to waste. I seem to be doing well so far. I will start the colostrum as soon as I receive it. I will continue to move the diet toward gluten free and low FODMAP and will take the two supplements for 2 weeks. After two weeks, if I’ve handled the protocol well so far, we will progress to phase 2, but that phase will be dictated by my progress over these 2 weeks.
Kayli is a certified personal trainer and online coach that specializes in fitness, wellness, nutrition, mindset, mobility and everything in between.