“All disease begins in the gut.” Hippocrates
I had the pleasure of speaking with “The Fairy Gutmother” and was blown away by how much I learned about gut health. You can also hear her fascinating story on “The Dr. Oz Show” on Monday, April 30th.
Carley Smith, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Certified GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Practitioner is a gut health expert, but she hasn’t always been this interested in gut health. “If you would have told me five years ago that I could be this excited about gut health today, I would have never believed you,” chuckles Smith, “but focusing on my gut health has changed my life.”
It all began in 2013 when Smith was having some serious health complications affecting her endocrine system, hormones and female organs; including abnormal bleeding that lasted for four months. “My health got so bad, I was even starting to lose cognitive function, like one day, I was driving home and forgot where I lived. It was scary,” recalls Smith.
Eventually Smith was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2014. After many doctor’s visits and prescriptions for various medications, Smith wasn’t seeing progress. “It got to the point where I felt like I was taking medications for my medications. I knew I wanted something to change so I started doing some research and found the GAPS Diet. I learned that 80% of the immune system is in the gut. I was shocked. I started changing the way I ate and almost immediately started feeling better.”
“I went off all my medications and used food as medicine to heal,” says Smith, “I became so empowered with my healing and progress in my health, just after being on the GAPS diet for a few weeks that I changed my career, and I went back to school and became a nutritional therapist,” says Smith.
More from my interview with “The Fairy Gutmother,” Carley Smith:
What is the gut?
Our gut has a balance of good and bad bacteria and fungi; if that bacteria gets out of balance (chronic stress, sedentary lifestyle, processed foods, medications, antibiotics, artificial sugars, unhealthy diet, etc.) then our health can suffer.
Why be concerned with gut health?
Nearly 80 percent of the immune system is located in the gut, which is why any alterations in bacterial balance can lead to various health conditions. If we can heal our gut, we can help boost our immune system and help fight off whatever ailments we have going on.
How can we have a healthy gut?
I always tell people gut health is more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle. New research is showing chronic stress can be equally, if not more damaging on gut health than junk food. Exercising and having a healthy mind-body connection, such as practicing meditation and certain yoga poses, can also support a healthy gut.
What does a gut-healthy diet look like?
I always encourage my clients to eat high-quality, nutrient-dense foods. A diet high in fiber from good quality grains and greens, good quality fats, coconut oil, avocado and clean meats will help support a healthy gut. Prebiotics -essentially what probiotics (or healthy gut flora) thrives on- and probiotics are also very important to include in your diet.
Can bone broth really support gut health?
Absolutely. Bone broth helps to heal the gut lining, reduce inflammation, replenish a lot of nutrients, and it also helps with metabolism and detoxification. You can blend bone broth with soups, cook with it or even add it to your oatmeal, hot chocolate, apple cider, I like to challenge clients to be creative with bone broth because it has so many great gut healing properties.
Where should people begin?
The Fairy Gutmother has a 70/30 Plan, an easy way for anyone to transition into eating healthier. I really like the quote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” so I really emphasize meal prepping throughout the week. The 70/30 Plan is a sustainable approach to eating healthy: 70% of the time eating eating healthy with an emphasis on gut health.
With spring upon us, it’s the perfect time to enjoy fresh vegetables for gut health. Focus on spring cleaning from the inside out. Go to FairyGutMother.com to get tons of gut-healthy recipes, snack and meal ideas- even sign up for a wellness retreat or workshop. Carley Smith also works one-on-one with clients to help restore their health, mainly using food as medicine with an emphasis on gut health.
Lemon Chicken Bone Broth
“This is my most favorite bone broth to make because it is so light and versatile, it tastes great plain but also is wonderful as a base in making other soups or marinades,” says Smith, “I always tell people that are interested in making bone broth to start out with chicken broth as I feel it is the most gentle and easily tolerated broth. Plus, I think there is something so nourishing about a chicken broth, it warms the soul from the inside out so you almost instantly feel the healing benefits. I love adding a little lemon to the broth as well because I think it makes it lighter and more flavorful, making it also easier to sip on throughout the day.”
1 Free-Range, organic Chicken
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
- Place the chicken in a slow cooker and cover with sliced lemons and lemon zest. Add filtered water until it reaches about 2 inches from top of slow cooker
- Set slow cooker on low for 24 hours After about 4 hours, the chicken should be cooked (depending on slow cooker). Once chicken is cooked, take chicken out and set aside to cool.
- Peel chicken off the bone and set meat aside. Return bones and skin to slow cooker and let it cook for the remaining time
- After 24 hours, strain the broth into glass storage containers or serve immediately. You can also add sea salt to taste or any other herbs and spices you’d like.