In today’s society poor health is far too common. I believe we need a holistic approach to health. Like anything, there are factors that we can change and some that we cannot. We do live in a broken world and illness is unfortunately part of life for many people. However, there are some definite factors that we can address to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to live in vitality in both mind and body, prevent and fight physical illness and look after our health. In this article I discuss diet and what I have been learning about the importance of gut health. In my next article I will look at other factors we can also address for positive change in health.
One aspect we can change is our nutrition; that is what we physically put into our bodies. Diet can affect our mood, energy levels, ability to cope and feeling of physical wellbeing. Are you getting enough nutrients in your diet for your body and mind to be operating at optimal level?
You may wonder why so many people are going ‘gluten free’ and this is not always from a serious intolerance, but is more likely from the knowledge that is being shared about today’s wheat farming techniques now having harmful consequences for our bodies.
Wheat farming techniques today is something I would like to know more about after hearing that Grain Producers Australia is trying to legalise the use of spraying wheat with chemical glyphosate (sold as ‘Roundup’) which our bodies cannot break down, according to what I have read. An article on the ABC news website says ‘a large percentage of grain growers are already using the herbicide Glyphosate illegally.’
I am also wondering how much genetic modification happens to crops these day which we consume without thinking. Wheat products are now problematic for many people with intolerances on the rise. Gluten in wheat has led to many people suffering serious digestive issues leading to holes forming in their gut lining. Gluten has also been linked to mood swings, fatigue and even fertility issues. Bone broth is one of the solutions against this so called ‘leaky gut’ problem as the collagen heals the gut lining and reduces inflammation in our intestines.
This issue is dividing farmers across Australia according to the article, and has worried Livestock farmers due to the sprayed grain being used as feed for livestock, and potentially affecting the safety of meat sold for consumers. This along with the current issues around hormones found in meat and even how humanely animals are killed (they can release stress hormones at time of slaughter if killed inhumanely), is why when possible my husband and I buy grass fed organic beef from local organic farmers.
In the case of healing the gut and re-balancing the gut, many people choose to go paleo – and eliminate grains, processed foods and sugar from their diet, and instead eat a more ancient diet of vegetables, meat proteins including fish and nutrient rich wholefoods. One paleo website says this: ‘Today, wheat, soy, sugar, and highly processed foods continue to drive up rates of autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes and obesity.’
I believe we have a responsibility to look after our bodies and we can prevent many illnesses through improving our nutrition. I believe there is scope today for more education around diet and nutrition as a preventative measure against illness in our society. With the internet today we have recipes and information readily at our fingertips however many people do not know another way, other foods to eat or that some foods are even problematic.
Several weeks ago I started transitioning to a paleo diet and have already noticed improved digestion and energy levels in my body. I am reading two gut health books simultaneously and learning a holistic approach to my health. Both authors have urged me to completely change how I see and approach food. Through reading I have become less ignorant of consequences about unhealthy foods, and have learnt about how our health starts in the gut. I am learning to listen to my body and what it needs and follow the rule of 5 to help digestion, which basically is a rule where you only give your body five main ingredients to digest at once, rather than eating out of habit what your body may not want. For example, sometimes our body wants a light meal of fish for omega 3 easy to digest and sometimes it wants a heavier casserole with red meat for iron to give us an energy boost. I encourage you to read and become more informed about great nutrition, digestion and gut health.
I have taken a ‘change one thing at a time’ approach which is working well for me. I now start each day with a paleo smoothie with avocado, coconut oil, maca powder (regulates hormones), cacao powder (potassium and magnesium), organic almond milk and a healthy protein powder. I then fry vegetables and eggs in coconut oil with garlic and ginger for breakfast.
I am learning to eat alkalising foods, avoid inflammatory foods, gently detox my body and try and find organic or well grown produce, and by that I mean produce grown in nutrient rich soils. Soil nutrient depletion seems to be an issue these days. Interestingly if all farmers did what God had said all those years ago and rotated crops and rested the land every seven years, I wonder if we would have such a lack of nutrients from everyday vegetables we buy, especially from the supermarket.
If we really believe Jesus wanted us to look after the gift he gave us with these bodies we have, then we will take care of our bodies. After all our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and we can honour God through how we look after our bodies and what we eat. We can’t always be asking God to heal us without doing our part to partner with him.
Liana is a 31-year-old writer from Port Willunga, South Australia. Married for 9 years, she enjoys writing songs, working with children, being amongst nature and coming in worship and prayer into the presence of God.
 Brock, Kale, The Gut Healing Protocol: an 8 week, holistic guide to rebalancing your gut, 2016.
 Youkilis, Robyn, Go with your gut: the insider’s guide to banishing the bloat with 75 digestion friendly recipes, 2016.
Liana is a passionate and creative soul, living in South Australia and married to her artist husband of 12 years, Justin. Liana is an early childhood educator and also writes, sings, occasionally dances, loves nature, is a psalmist and runs a women's ministry.