Ok… let’s dive in…
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This diet step is optional. I’ve said that a few times now, and it probably makes it sound like the advantages of changing your diet may not be worth it if it’s so ‘optional’.
But actually the diet step can be extremely impactful. It’s just that it’s not absolutely essential for success – in most people.
In other words, if you absolutely don’t want to change your diet at all, then that’s OK.
But, bear in mind, that the diet suggestions I will make, can greatly speed up the resolution of your symptoms.
To put it simply: If you modify your diet, you can superficially silence most of your symptoms, for the duration that the ultra high strength probiotic gets to work fixing the underlying problem (in the gut).
It’s like giving yourself a break from the symptoms while the probiotic course is busy working away backstage.
I’ll be including some less strict diet suggestions for those who wish to make some small changes but aren’t ready to make large ones.
I am aware that diet is a key source of happiness for people.
As far as day-to-day quality of life goes, the variety and sensory quality of your diet ranks very highly.
Although eating varied and tasty food is not a big, one-off source of happiness… like going on holiday or getting a promotion — it is certainly one of those many little things that accumulate throughout the day and make all the difference to how happy we are.
Looking forward to your morning coffee.
Looking forward to the ice cream you have at night when you watch an episode of your favourite show on Netflix.
Looking forward to that great sushi place you go to for lunch.
You get the picture.
I get so many questions about this topic via email that I am acutely familiar with this fact of life.
Sometimes I get emails from people who say how they’ve tried ‘EVERYTHING’, and they’ve suffered for ‘YEARS’, and they type this entire laundry list of symptoms.
I might then reply with a suggestion so trivial as: ‘have you tried cutting out gluten for a short while’?
And they’ll reply that they couldn’t possibly cut out bread!!? ‘What would I eat??’ they respond…. as if a diet without gluten means you’d be eating lettuce and drinking water…
I don’t doubt that they have truly suffered, or that it has been going on for years.
But, it’s clear that some people do baulk at the idea of changing their diet at all.
So here’s the good news: the diet suggestions I propose are all SHORT-TERM.
Just like with Elixa Probiotic, the intervention only needs to be temporary.
If you begin a few days before starting the Elixa course, and continue for a few days after you complete the Elixa course, that will suffice.
(In fact…. any number of days that you can stick to the diet during the Elixa course will be of benefit.)
If the diet intervention needed to be maintained forever, then it would imply it wasn’t really fixing the root problem. OR it would imply that your previous diet was so unnatural that the new diet intervention was actually just you starting to eat what humans are design to eat.
I do not believe that last point necessarily applies to the diet suggestions below. My suggestions are all about RESULTS, not evolutionary theory.
Eating this way may even be very unnatural…. but, whether it is or isn’t, does not matter. This diet intervention is to deal with an unnatural situation (a gut dysbiosis), thus justifying taking (possibly) unnatural short-term measures to succeed.
As you can see from my video (Link here) I believe the main mechanism via which diet can benefit you, is by reducing the residue left for the gut microbes to ‘eat’.
If you are familiar with the Low-FODMAP diet then you may be thinking: ‘This sounds like the same thing as the low-FODMAP diet’.
Well…. while in principal the low-FODMAP concept is good, the actual advice and guidelines floating around on the internet are absolutely terrible. All of the legal/illegal food lists that I’ve seen look like they’ve been pulled out of a hat by someone with no understanding of the science.
The simplest way to reduce FODMAPs (aka. residue/fiber) is by avoiding all plant material.
Hence…. The Carnivore Diet. (which you may have seen doing the rounds on social media lately)
This diet is mostly self-explanatory insofar as it consists of mainly eating meat. Most followers of this diet find that beef steak is the best go-to staple food in the diet.
Two additional points I want to make add to the Carnivore Diet recommendations online:
1. You can also eat cheese and eggs. These are mostly protein and fat, just like meat.
2. Some people make the mistake of thinking this is purely about cutting down on starch and sugar. And so they will add low starch, low sugar veg to the diet (e.g. broccoli) in order to get their ‘fiber requirements’.
Well that’s a mistake, because non-starchy veg (while mostly indigestible by human enzymes) will definitely feed gut microbes.
Remember that the Carnivore Diet does not work due to a reduction in glucose entering the blood.
It’s all about what happens inside the gut, before the food enters the bloodstream.
Hence, reducing residue/fiber from the diet is the real aim (and both starch and sugar can act as residue/fiber).
Despite the age old wisdom, most people do NOT find that lack of fiber constipates them after all. Many people have the best bowel movements of their life, while following a strict carnivore diet.
Levels of strictness
If you want to be most strict, then you’d eat mainly meat (especially beef steak), eggs, and cheese.
Typical meals would include: omelette with cheese, ribeye steak, chicken legs, pork belly, scrambled eggs, fish, etc..
If you’re struggling for inspiration, just go online and google ‘Carnivore Diet’. You’ll see that most people are simply eating beef steak – and enjoying it.
This may not sound like an entertaining diet, but that’s not the purpose here. It only needs to be done short term.
In reality, most people don’t care about the limitations once they begin, because they feel so great (energetic and happy).
Less strict alternatives:
If you want to add anything to this diet, then consider the residue/fiber that will feed bad microbes in the gut when you are making your decision.
For example: Well-cooked rice is rapidly absorbed and is therefore not so bad to include in moderate amounts.
Whereas, fried rice is not. It is less thoroughly cooked and has an oil coating. This means, prior to being absorbed, it will persist further along the gut and reach more and more microbes as it does – feeding the ones that can break down starch.
Having given this example, I’d still recommend avoiding rice and other starches. White starches are actually better, in this case. But I’d avoid both white starches and any other kind of starch.
So are simple sugars OK then?
No. You may think that simple sugars absorb very rapidly (mostly true) and therefore will be absorbed long before they reach the parts of the guts with high microbial concentrations.
However this is not the case, if you have a dysbiosis in your small intestine. And the fact that they are also available as simple sugars in the small intestine before they are absorbed means more microbes will have an easier time consuming them for energy.
Starch, on the other hand, is not available as simple sugar in the gut (where the microbes are). It only becomes converted to simple sugar right on the lining of the gut, just as it is being absorbed into the blood.
This means no simple sugar is readily available for microbes when you are eating starch.
But starch is available to any starch degrading bacteria AND starch will persist much longer in the gut and reach places of higher microbial concentration. Ergo, both starch and sugar are bad in their own unique way.
Very light (airy) bread is also OK in my opinion. Many people may think I have gone mad to suggest that eating gluten (a natural component of bread) is ok for people with a gut dysbiosis.
But the reality is that a light, airy bread roll (not one of those dense, chunky rolls) will deliver such a low amount of fermentable starch to the gut microbes, in comparison to what a substantial culinary addition to the carnivore diet it can make: in the way of allowing meat sandwiches and burgers to be back on the menu. Or egg on toast.
I would still strongly advise keeping bread to a minimum.
And definitely do not bother eating other gluten sources, such as pasta.
Veg: There really is no point in eating this kind of veg during this short diet. It’s all bad and no good. It provides such little benefit other than fulfilling our desire for culinary variety in terms of aesthetics and mouth-feel (and the misinformed feel-good factor of veg being healthy), while it provides a huge potential to feed up microbes in your gut.
Fruit is great for adding a dessert to your meals. In a healthy human, I think that huge amounts of fruit is perfectly healthy. And that means huge amounts of sugar. Nothing wrong with that; when received from fruit. (The explanation is quite technical. It relates to the intestinal brush border limitations to convert fructose, not just transport it.).
But unfortunately, when you have a dysbiosis, this sugar is at risk of feeding microbes in your small intestine.
Remember! – When you have a dysbiosis, the rule of eating ‘the natural human diet’ no longer applies, regardless of what you think the natural human diet is.
It’s like telling someone with a leg muscle tear, that walking around and occasionally sprinting is completely natural for humans to do and therefore must be the best way to recover.
Of course it’s not! That would just tear the leg muscle again.
Natural circumstances are great for maintaining health, not necessarily for CORRECTING it, once it goes awry.
Anyway, having said that bit about fruit…. a small serving of fruit with 1 or 2 of your daily meals is totally acceptable.
In my opinion, the most practical ‘less strict’ version of the carnivore diet is to eat meat or eggs at every meal, with a single serving of fruit with each of those meals, and some of those meals can be on bread, i.e. a sandwich or burger.
And if you want starch (e.g. rice or potatoes) then it is best to keep it very low volume and consume them at night. Because then you will at least avoid the fatigue-inducing and mood-lowering nature of these foods during the day.
The strict carnivore diet is still better though.
Spend some time googling ‘carnivore diet’ and see what others are saying about their health transformations while on the diet.
This brings me on to my final point:
Intermittent fasting is a style of eating where you eat meals in a more restricted window of time than you usually would.
The aim is to spend a longer time in a fasted state than you normally would.
The norm is that people will eat some time in the evening, then go to sleep, then wake up and eat breakfast. After breakfast they have lunch and then eat again in the evening.
Meaning that the longest period where they are fasting is during the night while they sleep. And this can equate to around 10 hours from their evening meal to their breakfast.
Extending this 10 hour fasting period is the aim of intermittent fasting.
E.g. If your first meal is at 3pm and you stop eating by 9pm, you will have eaten within a 6 hour window, meaning for 18 hours of the day you will have been fasting (not eating).
But as with all diets, the theories behind why it works are incorrect. It’s nothing to do with getting the body into a fasted state (whatever definition they may be using there).
In my opinion, intermittent fasting holds benefit for two reasons. The first reason (that you will inadvertently eat less food in the day because of your restricted eating window) is not of interest to me because it is simply about calorie restriction and not about health improvement.
The interesting part comes from the improvement to health (not simply restricting calories) and that is caused by the small intestine ’emptying’ as much as possible and for as long as possible.
That is what takes place during the fasting window. And that is what gets interrupted when you start eating again (or drinking a beverage with nutritional content).
The longer the fasting window, the smaller the populations of microbes in the small intestine will become.
Because they are not getting food supply and they are exhausting the food supply that is currently being broken up by themselves and their fellow bacteria from the last meal.
When that runs low, their numbers will start to decrease.
This may be the answer for many of you who don’t want to exclude things from your diet, but are willing to change eating times.
To keep this brief: I believe that if you avoid eating until later on in the day (mid afternoon or late afternoon) then there will be much more time for the small intestinal bacterial load to reduce (because they won’t be getting residue/fiber so regularly).
This will also amplify the effects of Elixa, which is taken in the morning on an empty stomach.
It will have all that time to work, without the enemy (bad microbes) being re-fed by a new wave of residue/fiber from a meal.
A practical way to implement this is not to cut out ALL food in the day, but instead to either eat very light OR, even better, to eat strict carnivore during the fasting window.
Then in the late afternoon (e.g. when you get home from work) you can go back to eating whatever you want.
So there you have it:
1st place: The Carnivore Diet.
2nd place: The less-strict Carnivore Diet.
(meat, fish, or eggs at every meal, with a single serving of fruit with each of those meals, and some of those meals can be on light, white bread, to create a sandwich or burger.)
3rd place: Intermittent fasting.
4th place: Less-strict intermittent fasting.
(During the ‘fasting’ window, you eat very light or you eat strictly carnivore)
Whichever one you pick, try it for a 2 full days before making a judgement. You can start it before you begin Elixa, or after you begin Elixa. And you can continue it for the entire Elixa course or just for a few days of your Elixa course.
The point is this: The more days you maintain it, the better. Simple.
The ideal would be to start it when you begin Elixa, and then maintain it throughout the whole Elixa course, (to varying degrees of strictness) and for a few days after your Elixa course is complete.
Starting strict and gradually decreasing the strictness is better than doing the converse (starting lax and increasing strictness over time).
This is because the initial few days on the strict version will give you so much motivation (from the positive results) that you’ll likely enjoy keeping it stricter for longer.
That’s all from me for now!