High quality ingredients are vital to maintaining optimal gut health. Research shows that the health of the gut, which is made up of trillions of bacteria, directly impacts overall well-being and mental clarity. The majority of digestive microbes are found in the large intestine. They are collectively referred to as the gut microbiome.
Over the past several years, science has discovered a direct correlation between the health of our gut and that of our brain. The stomach (gut) and brain communicate with one another through the gut-brain axis. A study in 2021 shows how dysregulated gut homeostasis closely influences brain function. As much as 95 percent of serotonin is made in our gut and about 50 percent of dopamine. These neurotransmitters impact cognition and brainwave signaling capacity. If the gut is not producing optimal serotonin and dopamine, mental capacity will be impacted.
A Personal Journey
On a personal note, I’ve made dietary lifestyle changes that made significant impacts to my overall health. About six years ago, I started to drink smoothies in the morning, eat more fruits and vegetables, consume non-dairy alternatives, eat less meat, and curtail my gluten intake. I also began taking gut boosting supplements on a daily basis. The neuroprotective effects of probiotic bacterial supplements is well-worth the investment. Eating a primarily plant-based diet plus incorporating probiotics into my wellness routine has resulted in positive changes.
Three Positive Changes
First, there was an immediate change in the quality and frequency of bowel movements. They became more frequent and detoxification is essential for health. As we age, our body’s metabolism tends to slow down. As a consequence, dietary choices become more relevant in order to keep the body clean.
Second, my sugar cravings have all but disappeared. The nutrient dense meals keep my energy levels sustained throughout the day. Eating junk food sets off a chain reaction that makes the body want more and more sugary food because it is made of empty, non-nutrient calories.
Special Note: The sugar cravings began to diminish BEFORE I made any dietary changes. The first step I took when I became serious about my health was to experience a brainwave entrainment technique. I thoroughly enjoyed this audio program and much to my surprise, I noticed a 75% decline in my sugar craving during that first week. This positive change has sustained itself even better since I’ve adjusted my diet.
Third, inflammation in my body decreased substantially when I curtailed gluten from my diet. I decreased my gluten intake after hearing inspiring stories from people who had challenges with Celiac disease. For me, it was all about curiousity. A month after I made this adjustment, I noticed an improvement.
I was getting ready to donate a sweater to Good Will because it was ALWAYS too tight around my chest area from the first day of purchase two years ago. Before donating, I decided to give it one more try. I was extremely surprised that it fit comfortably, especially around my chest where I now had breathing room. I was the same weight and made no other changes except decreasing gluten from my diet.
This might not sound like a big deal, but this change was astounding. I didn’t realize that I was experiencing breast swelling all those years until I adjusted my nutritional intake.
I learned a lesson from these outcomes. Sometimes positive changes are occurring without our awareness because they are subtle with incremental alterations being made over time. It’s smart to be patient and let the body heal on its own accord.
Smart Decisions to Begin Your Day
Making a morning smoothie is one of the best health decisions I’ve made in my entire life. This act alone changed the trajectory of my well-being for the better. When you make a smoothie filled with nutrient-dense food choices, your hunger will be satisfied for many hours. Your body, stomach, and brain will thank you!
8-12 oz nut, soy, or oat milk
Handful mixed berries
1 Tbsp pumpkin seed butter
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Enjoy!
Please note that you can add other natural ingredients, nuts, or seed butters. We all have our favorites.
I’ve listed mine below to get you started:
- Oat Milk – No gum thickeners, dairy-free, gluten-free
- Pumpkin Seed Butter – Great protein, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free
- Maple Syrup – Best value, organic, Grade A dark color
To supercharge your smoothie with supplements and protein powder, please visit Tips for Making a Spectacular Smoothie.
Implementing dietary lifestyle changes can feel inspiring and overwhelming at the same time. I suggest implementing one product or process change at a time. This is what I did. It took a few years to figure out what products and food choices worked best for my body and taste preferences. If you have any questions, please reach out and we will be glad to assist you!
Authored by Susan Kapatoes, founder of Inspire Your Journey. As an Amazon Associate, Susan earns from qualifying purchases.
Last Updated: October 18, 2023
Gwak, M. G., & Chang, S. Y. (2021). Gut-Brain Connection: Microbiome, Gut Barrier, and Environmental Sensors. Immune network, 21(3), e20. https://doi.org/10.4110/in.2021.21.e20
Terry, N., & Margolis, K. G. (2017). Serotonergic Mechanisms Regulating the GI Tract: Experimental Evidence and Therapeutic Relevance. Handbook of experimental pharmacology, 239, 319–342. https://doi.org/10.1007/164_2016_103
University of Iowa, Health Care (2020) ‘Study pinpoints brain cells that trigger sugar cravings and consumption’, Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200710140722.htm