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Simple Diet for a Leaky Gut

Introduction

Your gut is a mess, the brain fog is intense and honestly, who needs a complicated diet plan to follow, right? The Mental Wellness Dietitian is all about keeping it simple and today, I am dishing up an easy-to-follow diet for a leaky gut to get your gut back on track.

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My Story

Several years ago, around the time that I received my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis diagnosis, I was in the throes of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. I didn’t even want to get up for work, much less cook dinner, so I understand! I’ve got you, friend!

At that time, I needed something to pull me out of the depths of despair before I could focus on eating healthy or exercising. I needed sleep. I needed peace. I needed my anxiety to go away. 

After a few weeks focusing on gut health and specific supplementation, I started feeling more motivated to participate in life again, and at that point, was able to start focusing on nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle. The rest is history.

This transformation is what has made me so passionate about helping YOU. So let’s get started. 

Step 1: Anti-Inflammatory Diet for a Leaky Gut

A great first step is to follow a simple anti-inflammatory diet. This diet simply decreases foods that cause inflammation, while increasing foods that are known to decrease inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of leaky gut.

Foods that cause inflammation are listed below. These foods should be limited or removed from your diet.  

  • Soda & sugary beverages (Ex. fruit punch, sweet tea)
  • Sweets & sugar (Ex. table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cookies, cakes, candy)
  • Refined Carbohydrates (Ex. white bread, white rice, pizza, waffles, pastries, donuts)
  • Processed Meat (Ex. deli meat, hot dogs, pepperoni, beef jerky)
  • Convenience foods (Ex. fast food, chips, crackers, junk food)
  • Margarine, trans fats, vegetable oils 
  • Excessive alcohol

Shows a list of Inflammatory Foods

 

Inflammatory Foods

Foods that decrease inflammation are listed below. These foods should be added to your diet.

  • Non-starchy vegetables (Ex. tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, broccoli)
  • Nuts (Ex. almonds, walnuts)
  • Fatty Fish (Ex. salmon, mackerel, sardines)
  • Berries (Ex. Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries)
  • Healthy Fats (olive oil, avocados)
  • Dark Chocolate (70% or greater)

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

 

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Sample Diet for a Leaky Gut

Create your own menu using the provided food lists and this free menu builder template!

Breakfast: Gut healthy smoothie (2 scoops *plant-based protein, 2 scoops *seed fiber, 1 cup nut milk, ½ banana, handful spinach, ½ cup frozen riced cauliflower. Blend well. Add more liquid as needed) 

Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled chicken strips, ½ avocado, tomato, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, and black beans. Top with balsamic vinaigrette or oil & vinegar.

Snack: Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries (can use dairy free yogurt if needed)

Dinner: 4-6 oz. Baked salmon, steamed broccoli, 1 cup brown rice or quinoa

Snack: Dark chocolate chia pudding


Anti-Inflammatory Salad

Click on image for a printable PDF of recipe

 

Download & Print

This massaged kale salad always delivers. It’s simple, fresh, and full of so many nutrients. Serves: approximately 8.

Ingredients:

2 bunches fresh kale

¼ onion, thinly shaved

2 cloves garlic, minced

Extra virgin olive oil

Apple cider vinegar (or vinegar of choice)

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

Grape tomatoes, sliced in half

Pumpkin seeds, toasted (optional)

Goat or Feta cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Wash and trim fresh kale leaves, remove stems.
  2. Tear into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl
  3. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper (if you are making ahead of time, hold the apple cider vinegar until just prior to serving)
  4. Gently massage the kale leaves until the olive oil is coating each leaf
  5. Top with thinly shaved onions, minced garlic, and sliced grape tomatoes
  6. Optional: Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and goat or feta cheese


Step 2: Elimination Diet

If you have been following an anti-inflammatory diet for leaky gut and still have not found relief from your symptoms, it may be time to try a simple elimination diet.

Track your intake and symptoms

Start by recording anything that you eat or drink, the time of day you eat or drink it and any unpleasant symptoms that you experience. You can do this for as little as a few days or up to a few weeks. Click on image below to download this free food and symptom journal to help you with this step.  

Clickable link to download food and symptom journal tracker

Eliminate items that cause negative symptoms

Using the food and symptom tracker, begin eliminating foods or beverages that caused unpleasant symptoms, such as bloating, fatigue, gas, headache, body aches and skin rashes. Continue doing this for a minimum of four weeks but no longer than eight weeks.

Reintroduce items back into your diet slowly

Now you are ready to start adding one new food or drink item Use your food and symptom tracker to monitor any symptoms as you add each food back into your diet. If you find an item that causes unpleasant symptoms, you should consume it less frequently or consider eliminating it all together.

Step 3: Next Steps

So, what do you do if you have tried the anti-inflammatory diet for leaky gut as well as the simple elimination diet, and possibly a gut healing supplement regimen and you still have not found relief from your symptoms?

At this point, I recommend making an appointment with a Registered Dietitian to have help getting to the root cause of the problem and developing an individualized nutrition plan. Attempting more restrictive diet regimens on your own may lead to nutrient deficiencies or cause further harm to your body.

The purpose of this information is to inform and empower the reader to make positive lifestyle changes. The intent is not to replace medical advice or instructions given by your doctor or healthcare provider.

Conclusion

Sometimes when you can’t figure out which way is up and where to start, just focus on taking the next right step. One step at a time. One positive change at a time. Make it doable. Keep it simple. I hope this simple diet for a leaky gut plan brings you one step closer to hope and healing.

Recipe Image

Anti-Inflammatory Salad

Angela Lago MS, RDN, LDN
This recipe is simple, fresh and full of anti-inflammatory nutrients!
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 8

Equipment

  • 1 Bowl
  • 1 Knife
  • 1 Cutting Board

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Bunches kale Fresh
  • 1/4 Onion Thinly shaved
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil Drizzle
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Drizzle
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Ground Pepper To Taste
  • Grape Tomatoes Cut In Half
  • Pumpin Seeds Toasted, Optional
  • Goat or Feta Cheese Optional

Instructions
 

  • Wash and trim fresh kale leaves, remove stems.
  • Tear into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl
  • Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper (if you are making ahead of time, hold the apple cider vinegar until just prior to serving)
  • Gently massage the kale leaves until the olive oil is coating each leaf
  • Top with thinly shaved onions, minced garlic, and sliced grape tomatoes
  • Optional: Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and goat or feta cheese
Keyword anti-inflammatory salad

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