In this guest post, author Natalie Sulimani from BamBamBroth talks about her journey to health, and how she noticed massive changes once she realized how powerful it can be to focus on nurturing your digestive health.
"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill -- the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill -- you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." Morpheus in The Matrix
What if I told you that everything you have learned about nutrition is all wrong? What if I told you that fat doesn’t make you fat and the REASON that you are fat is that your body is actually starving of nutrients?
What if I told you that calories don't matter, that it's the quality of ingredients you need to focus on?
Take a moment, let that sink in. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar does. Calories don't matter. Quality does.
Our bodies are born with a natural tendency to maintain a healthy weight. We are born to crave things that are good for us. About 50 years ago, with the best of intentions, our nutritional advice took us down a path that led to obesity, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, eczema… the list goes on.
When your body is not in balance, it fights back and sends signals of "HEY! I’m not healthy, what are you doing to me?!"
These signals are weight gain, bad skin, bad digestion, and allergic reactions. They are clear when you know what to look for. They are unpleasant. They are reversible.
I have been battling my weight for a long time, but when stress led me to rashes and wheezing no one could explain, I researched and researched and researched. 5 years ago, keto, paleo, and bone broth were not cool and hip things people were doing, but there was a growing number of believers in them, and I read all I could about these "fad" diets.
Keto, paleo, and bone broth were things that people (like me) turned to when modern medicine and nutritionists let them down by feeding them the advice that was adopted when Ancel Keys convinced the world that saturated fat is the enemy in the 1950s.
The general nutrition community led us down a path of eschewing our normal evolutionarily appropriate diet and leaning towards highly processed low fat, high sugar, high carbohydrate diets.
They used scare tactics when it came to fat, and adopted the phrase, "You are what you eat." Of course, when it came to the high sugar and highly processed piece of their recommendations they were strangely quiet about that same phrase.
This diet (high carb, low fat, low fiber, and highly processed) has been termed the "SAD" diet, for Standard American Diet, and boy, is it sad.
Heart disease went up (although mortality went down, probably due to better treatments being available), obesity rates went up and Type 2 diabetes went up. Nothing was solved, it just got worse. Childhood obesity became a reality and all because people thought they were doing the right thing.
Let’s get something straight, no one wants to see their child overweight or be overweight themselves. For a person that is struggling, it almost isn’t a choice. Certainly, no one wants their joints to ache and to feel like they have no energy.
We were doing what we were told and made to feel bad when it didn’t work. Who remembers their doctor telling them to eat cottage cheese and salad (barf)? To only dip your fork into the salad dressing so you don’t have too much… tsk tsk tsk.
Like you, I followed that advice, and it didn't work for me.
Flash forward to 2010, and by no means is my journey over. After reading and reading and reading everything I could get my hands on regarding nutrition, I threw all conventional advice about diet out the window.
Here is what I've found to work for me: Saturated fat, yes please, but only from grass-fed or grass-finished animals and coconut oil. I added in other fats like olives, avocados, quality butter, the list goes on. I drank bone broth to heal the damage in my gut from all the carbohydrates and oh my goodness the antibiotics!!!
The last piece fell into place when I learned that not all probiotics are created equal. I was looking at my two sons. One was born prematurely, the other normal birth. The preemie has a tendency towards being overweight. They live in the same house! I feed them the same things but for sure their ‘cravings’ are different.
The preemie favors carbs and it dawned on me: He was blasted with antibiotics when he was born. His natural flora was decimated. No wonder the poor kid couldn’t control his cravings. No wonder he has a tendency towards weight gain and brain fog; instead of having a healthy gut, he had a blank slate, and the carb loving bacteria grew out of control!
That realization was the last piece of the puzzle for me, to understand your gut biome (the bacteria in the digestive tract) can be wildly different from person to person depending on genetics AND the environment.
In order to heal my gut and rebuild a healthy biome, I was taking probiotics and supplementing with kimchi, kefir and other fermented products. I took A LOT of probiotics.
It was only when I realized that based on your symptoms, you lack a certain strain and there are a lot of different strains that BOOM! I started looking for and then taking the right probiotic. The symptoms disappeared, cravings diminished, I even had less mood swings.
I’m not saying there is a one size fits all, and my journey is in its infancy, but the right probiotic, healthy fats, and bone broth has become my prescription for health. Everyone's genetics, biome, and nurture are different, but for all of us our health is strongly controlled by our diet and our digestive health.
If you're reading this, it's probably because you've had the same problem as me. What do I suggest you do? Take a good look at your past. Realize when things took a turn for the worse for you. What was happening? What were you doing?
Pay attention to your diet and how you feel, experiment with increased healthy fats and decreased carbohydrates. Learn to make the right choice for yourself and let your body guide you. After all, we are the expert of ourselves, and decide at any time which pill to take. So, blue pill or red pill? You decide.
Natalie Sulimani is co-founder of Bam Bam Broth, a bone broth company in New Jersey selling local sourced Beef and Chicken bone broth. Through Bam, Natalie and her partner Scott help educate people on emerging health trends like Paleo, Whole30 and Keto lifestyles. Natalie is the mother of two boys and Max, her boxer hound mix.
Too much reading...
How about dessert?