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Harmony With Food Radio Show #229: Meat Substitutes & Leaky Gut

This week on the Harmony with Food Radio Show I talked about what you need to know about meat substitutes, leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and how our gut health affects our brain health!

Meat Substitutes

Kim Kardashian has become the new "taste consultant" for Beyond Meats. You may have heard of Beyond Meat or Impossible Burger before because they've been making waves as an alternative to ground beef that actually tastes like meat.

While I'm all for a plant-rich diet, I want you to be eating real food. These meat substitutes are highly processed and marketed as plant-based. While that may be true, they are far removed from whole plant foods.

They are made with things like pea protein, which can cause digestive issues for many people, processed ingredients, and GMO crops that are heavily sprayed with herbicides like glyphosphate, which harms our microbiome and can have impacts on our health from immunity to digestion, skin health, and brain function.

So, now you may be wondering: what's the alternative? Well, if you want a plant-based burger, I recommend making your own! You can use ingredients like vegetables, whole grains, and beans to create a delicious and nutrient-dense burger.

Leaky Gut & SIBO

When it comes to gut health, we want to focus on treating the entire gut microbiome, not just the actual digestive organs. There are about 3 pounds of bacteria that live in our gut, and we have about 10 times as many bacterial DNA cells as our own DNA.

When our gut bacteria is out of balance, it causes issues like bloating, distention, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.


SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, occurs when the bacteria that normally live in the large intestine are present in the small intestine in abnormal quantities. Usually, peristalsis (or, the contractions of the stomach and small intestine) will move food through the upper digestive tract to the large intestine. When this function is impaired, the bacteria are allowed to overgrown in the small intestine, which disturbs digestion and absorption.

SIBO can also damage the intestinal lining and create mild to severe intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut, which can lead to the development of food allergies, food sensitivities, and chronic inflammatory processes.

SIBO Risk Factors

Risk factors include intestinal obstruction, anatomical blockages, poor HCL (hydrochloric acid) production, insufficient pancreatic enzyme function (meaning you don't have the enzymes to digest your food correctly), sluggish peristalsis, dysfunction of the migrating motor complex, intestinal neuropathy, diverticulitis, and failure of sphincter valve function.

SIBO Treatment

There are two types of SIBO - hydrogen-predominant and methane-predominant. In hydrogen predominant, you'd likely have diarrhea or a mix of diarrhea and constipation. With methane SIBO, you'd most likely have constipation.

Traditional conventional medicine treats SIBO with antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Hydrogen SIBO is treated with Rifaximin, while methane SIBO is treated with a combination of Rifaximin and Neomycin.

However, there are also herbal antibiotics you can use, like peppermint oil, garlic, oil of oregano, clove, eucalyptus, cat's claw, cinnamon, berberine, tannins, and grapeseed extract.

The first thing we want to do with someone with SIBO is kill the bad bacteria. Ideally, you want your numbers to be under 20 when we do the testing. Then, we will work on your nutrition and reinoculating the gut with good bacteria through pro- and prebiotics.

Gut Health Affects Brain Health

There used to be a misconception that IBS was all in patient's heads, and that anxiety was the real cause of digestive distress. While we know that isn't true now, research shows that there is an undeniable link between the brain and gut. They say, "fix the brain, fix the gut."

There is a very strong relationship between IBS and psychiatric disorders. A recent study showed that there is a very high risk within the first year of diagnosis of IBS and psychiatric issues.

If you want to get to the root of your fatigue, anxiousness, or depression, we can do microbiome testing to determine if your gut needs to be rebalanced with pre- and probiotics. We can also do micronutrient testing and see if there are certain micronutrients that help with anxiety and depression.

In general, having digestive problems can have an impact on your mental health. It can affect your sleep, your work, and your ability to socialize when you're constantly worried about finding a bathroom or are in pain.

Gut Health Testing

The testing I do isn't available in most conventional doctor's offices, because it isn't covered by insurance. I'm a firm believer that we need to be proactive with our health instead of just following what the insurance companies want us to do.

If you're ready to feel better, you can book a free 45-minute consultation call to discuss which tests are right for you!

Episode #230 Transcript


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