Updated: Dec 18, 2019
As a practitioner who focuses on microbiome health I am still astonished at how much of our health is contingent upon the health of those little critters inside our gut. Earlier this year I brought patients through my first rendition of a microbiome reset and the results were impressive! Everyone who went through the program lost significant weight, improved their energy, mood, and resilience, and eliminated pain. And guess what, it didn't include calorie counting, portion control, or long hours in the gym! Let me give you a synopsis of how we did it so that you can start implementing the necessary lifestyle changes as the new year approaches.
Eliminate Damaging Microbes
The first part of the reset involved using a special diet, herbs, and special probiotics to remove any bacteria, yeast (like candida), fungi, viruses and parasites. Particularly the most fermentable carbohydrates, sugars, and starches that are promoting an imbalanced microbiome are eliminated in order to starve out the problematic species. There are many species of microbes that cause increased inflammation in the body, damage our gut lining leading to leaky gut, hijack our neurochemistry to cause cravings and addictions, and suppress parts of our immune system necessary to fight off foreign invaders. By knocking these out our body is given a chance to regain a hold on its own physiology and start correcting its metabolism.
Eliminate Damaging Foods
The first part of the reset also includes removing any foods that are damaging the intestines and causing inflammation throughout the body. System wide inflammation affects the many mechanisms that control weight and is a common cause of mood disorders like depression and anxiety. It is also a major contributor to pain. By following an elimination diet we are able to identify which foods are causing symptoms in our body so that we can cut off the inflammatory process and start to heal. The most common offenders are grains, night shades, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs.
We live in an extremely toxic world due to our industrialized culture. Various solvents, chemicals, plastics, fumes, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, and other health damaging substances are a major cause of many health issues today. The herbicide ingredient glyphosate, for example, is very damaging to the bacteria in our gut and can be responsible for throwing off the many bodily systems regulated by our microbiome. Participants learn about how to avoid toxins as much as possible and what supplement protocol they need to follow to clean up their liver (the main detox organ), restore insulin sensitivity (a common driver of obesity), and heal their mitochondria (our main metabolic cellular organelles). All of these changes are absolutely essential to obtain easy, sustained weight loss. Furthermore, these toxins can hijack any part of our body's systems and cause them to function poorly. Detox is one of the few therapeutics that will have an impact on any disease.
Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Measures
Throughout the program participants are encouraged to work on adding more exercise, especially walking and resistance training. Movement in its many forms is essential for good blood and lymphatic circulation, which are both essential for overall health. It has been shown to improve mood, sleep, and help with weight loss. What's more interesting is exercise actually changes your microbiome! Yup, the critters that live in your gut respond to exercise and the populations will change to healthier species with daily movement!
Stress reduction is another important area to address throughout the program. From eliminating sources of stress to adding activities that decrease stress (exercise, meditation, deep breathing, vagal nerve stimulation, etc.), participants learn to control the hormones that are impacting their digestive health and causing them to hold onto weight (especially that excess fat around the mid-section). Stress is a primary cause of excess cortisol, the hormone directly responsible for weight gain, sleep disruption, irritability, mood changes, and suppression of the immune system.
Sleep is extremely important for weight loss, brain health, mood, and has an impact on the microbiome. Participants learn strategies to maximize their quality of sleep and eliminate sleep disorders. Sleep hygiene includes eliminating all things that disrupt sleep from the bedroom (electronic devices, pets, snoring or restless partners, any sources of light, and electromagnetic frequencies), engaging in daytime habits to set yourself up for good sleep (exercise, sun exposure, keeping a regular schedule), and avoiding bad habits that disrupt sleep before bed (large meals, alcohol consumption, screen use or bright lights an hour before bed).
Also, changing our lifestyles can be hard! Learning ways to stay motivated and keep continuing with healthy changes is important. Participants are given tools and encouraged to seek support from friends, family, or other program participants to stay on track and get back with it when they are struggling to stick with changes. Get really clear on why you want to lose weight, write it down, and put reminders in places you will see it regularly. Do you want to have a great body to attract a mate? Do you want to reduce your risk of dying young from heart disease or stroke? Do you want to be able to play with your kids or grand-kids? Figure out your motivation and never lose sight of it.
Blood Sugar Balance is Essential
An increase in glucose circulating in the blood is an indication of diabetes mellitus. This disease involves a desensitization of the receptors for insulin, the hormone responsible for moving glucose from your blood stream into the cells (where it is used for energy production). When this process starts to breakdown, glucose accumulates in the blood and the liver starts turning it into fat (glucose damages the blood vessels and fat is much safer). As a result, people start to gain weight. Improving insulin receptor sensitivity is essential to weight loss. It involves changing the diet in a way that avoids blood sugar spikes (eating low glycemic foods and using smart food combinations, more fiber, fat, and protein), detoxing chemicals that are blocking insulin receptors, and providing the nutrients essential for insulin receptor function (chromium in particular). There are also a number of herbs that are great for improving insulin resistance (such as berberine). For a comprehensive assessment of blood sugar function you should request: fasting glucose, HbA1C, fasting insulin, and chromium levels.
Sex Hormone Balance is Essential
I mentioned the stress hormone cortisol and blood sugar regulating hormone insulin as essential aspects of restoring metabolism and losing weight, but we also need to consider our sex hormones: androgens, testosterone, estrogens, progesterone, and DHEA. These hormones are actually linked to cortisol, which is why stress management can improve your sex hormones. There are also many environmental toxins that destroy the production of some of these or mimic the effects of others so that our body has an impossible time regulating many of its functions. Low testosterone, for example, causes weight gain, depression, and poor quality of life in men; it can be lowered substantially just by carrying a cellphone in your pants pocket! Estrogen being either too high or too low in women can cause weight gain, mood changes, and various problems throughout the body; consuming foods out of plastic and getting exposed to BPA will make your body act as if it has high estrogen levels. Getting your hormones tested to see where you are at is a great idea. Remember, these hormones impact much more than just our male and female body parts!
Thyroid health is discussed in detail so that participants can learn how to identify if they have a thyroid problem. Often poor thyroid function is missed by standard tests (TSH and free T4) and patients can go years before ever figuring out that it's their thyroid behind their weight gain, poor memory, and lack of motivation. Hypothyroidism, as it's called, can be due to an autoimmune disease (which is very responsive to healing the microbiome), deficiencies in nutrients (like Tyrosine, Iodine, Zinc, or Selenium), or from chronic viral infections. Learning to accurately diagnose thyroid health is essential to restoring metabolism. Start by requesting a full panel of tests to assess your thyroid: TSH, free T4, Total T4, free T3, Total T3, reverse T3, TPO, thyroglobulin Abs, and Iodine.
Building a Healthy Microbiome
After eliminating the things that are damaging the microbiome and inhibiting our efforts at good health, it is time to seed the gut with healthy microbes that will improve health and help us maintain our gains. We discuss the best probiotic and prebiotic supplements and foods so that you have control over regulating your microbiome and thus overall health. Most probiotics simply die in the digestive juices of our stomach and proximal intestines. It is more important to have healthy digestion and add high quality prebiotic foods (especially fiber) to encourage the growth of the helpful species. Great digestion is dependent on something we call "food hygiene." This includes things such as thorough chewing of food, eating in a calm/relaxed atmosphere (no TV or stressful conversation), eating with others (not alone), and giving gratitude before each meal.
Additional Strategies and Diets
The program also discusses some of the hottest diet trends right now, such as ketogenic and intermittent fasting. Participants are then empowered to discover if any of these diets are right for them and if they will actually work for them (drawbacks and limitations of these diets are also discussed). For example, neither of these diets should be tried if you are toxic, have blood sugar regulation problems, are on insulin, are on a low calorie diet, if you have thyroid problems, or adrenal gland issues. These conditions will make you feel awful when trying these diets.
Past traumas, subconscious beliefs, and old stories that are preventing us from making changes, losing weight, and keeping it off are also discussed. Many people who identify as "yo-yo" dieters (those who lose weight and then put it back on) often have a subconscious belief that they need to stay heavy or it's dangerous to be thin. This can be from past abuse or values taught at a young age. Identifying our psychological impediments is crucial to long term success and finding your way to the healthy mind and body you desire. I find that Sahaja meditation is a great place to work on releasing traumas stuck in our body (and it's taught for free around the world).
So does this sound totally overwhelming to you yet?
Here's a diagram I made to try and capture how all of these parts interact with each other.
As you can see, restoring the microbiome and metabolic function to lose weight and resolve chronic health issues can be quite complex. Use this article as a guide to start investigating and putting together the pieces of your individual metabolism puzzle. If you get stuck and are not seeing the results you want, I highly encourage you to join my Metabolic Transformation Program. This is really my Microbiome Reset 2.0 program, however I have altered the name to be more inclusive of the many other areas that impact our health and the true end result, which is a completely restored metabolism. I am also upgrading the program to a better format with more information to make it easier and more powerful. If you seriously want to change your life and are ready to commit to what it takes, this program is for you.
The latest version of the program is being released in the new year, January 2020! Stay tuned in with your e-mail to catch my announcements for when it is ready. If you're not on my e-mail list yet just drop your information below. I promise I will never spam you or share your information with anyone!
Also, you can take the quiz below. I will tabulate your responses and email you my assessment with direction on how you will best lose weight permanently (for free)!
Want to see more about the program and pricing?
Head to the webpage: https://www.reclaimmybrain.com/metabolic-transformation-program
Yours in health,