Listen to your body talk

Heed the call while seeking to improve your gut bacteria

By Deb Dittner

yogaToday, I hear many women complain of fatigue, poor sleep, moodiness, bloating, brain fog, and holding onto belly fat.

You pay a visit to your health care provider and blood work shows everything to be normal. But you don’t feel normal.

These symptoms are quite common but the solutions don’t seem to be easily found.

This is where listening to your own body comes in as it tells you a lot of information. You just need to really listen and then make changes accordingly in regards to nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Finding the answer can sometimes be hit or miss and trial and error, but in time and with determination, these changes can make all the difference in the world.

You can transform your health through nutrition, healing remedies of the past, and knowledge of today.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

This was true then and is even more so today. He also said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

Let’s explore these quotes from a modern standpoint.

Sugar is everywhere today. Not just from doughnuts (11 grams), soda (39 grams in 12 ounces), and ice cream (14 grams in ½-cup vanilla) but from fruit juice (23 grams in 1 cup), pasta (12 grams in 2 ounces) and bread (1.4-2.1 grams per slice).

To calculate: 4 grams = 1 teaspoon. All in all, that’s a heck of a lot of sugar!

Sugar increases inflammation, effects levels of estrogen and testosterone and play a large role in insulin resistance and how well we burn fat.

In listening to your body and its needs, consider sugar in all forms as an occasional treat.

A whole food nutrient-dense diet consisting of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, arugula, and collard greens, will bind with excess hormones in the gut and help to flush it out improving the microbiome of the gut.

Veggie out!

In listening to your body and its needs, consider adding in 3 to 5 cups of these veggies daily. I know that sounds like a lot but the end result may be well worth it. Start slow as these veggies can cause initial bloating.

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your hormones. The emotional stress of everyday life, the stress of a poor diet, lack of sleep, and even exercising too much can all play a role in your hormones.

Reducing stress, both emotionally and bodily, with whole nutrient-dense foods and physical exercise, is often forgotten during any kind of treatment you may seek.

In listening to your body and its needs, consider adding yoga (“Down Dog” is a great app), meditation (“Calm” and “Simple Habit” are great apps), an early morning walk in nature, or being mindful a few minutes throughout your day.

If you are eating a whole foods nutrient-dense diet, exercising, and managing stress but still not feeling quite right, you may want to consider adaptogens such as ashwagandha, maca root, or rhodiola.

In listening to your body and its needs, consider these powerful and highly effective herbs; however, they should be discussed with a knowledgeable health professional before delving straight in.

Improving the gut may actually be the best thing you can do for your overall health. Research is showing that a healthy gut microbiome can work wonders for hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, other autoimmune issues, and more.

Healthy gut bacteria are improved by avoiding preservatives and harsh chemicals that can be ingested from foods or from skin care products and cleaners.

In listening to your body and its needs, consider improving your gut bacteria by eliminating antibacterial products, avoiding the overuse of antibiotics, by “getting dirty” in the garden, and walking barefoot (grounding).

• Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at or contact her at 518-596-8565.