There’s little humor to find when we are talking about a pandemic, and this may be one of those cases that I have to laugh about, or I’m going to cry, but when I was on a zoom girls night date and someone referenced that they gained the COVID 15, I found it just as funny (and real!) as the infamous freshman 15! I mean, too, was far more sedentary, stressed from my business being shut down, AND my daughter had just become a self-made master baker. So the term hit home, and all I could do is laugh.
Well, TODAY is the day we open our health facility backup for outdoor workouts and one-on-one nutrition and health coaching, so TODAY is the day I’ve committed to not only talk-the-talk again, but walk the walk.
TODAY is also the day you should make a healthy, happy commitment, and improving your gut health can cover both of those goals in one…and you can start right at home! With the majority of the country still being asked to stay at home as much as possible to help flatten the curse of COVID-19, it can seem tough to manage your gut health. 
With easy access to plenty of unhealthy snacks and not being able to go to the gym, you may have noticed a negative shift in your overall health. However, there is always time to reverse the effects of poor gut health, and it starts with changing the way you see it. This is the PERFECT time to manage your gut health…while you are in control of your cooking, time, and schedule more than you have ever been.
To help you, I’m sharing three ways to manage gut health at home that will help you stay healthy and happy even during times when you’re not able to get to eat as healthy, go to the gym or stick to your normal routine.
1. Eat Foods That Are Good For Your Microbiome
Ever find yourself looking in the fridge every 5 minutes, hoping for something better to appear?! Well, you’re in luck; most gut health foods are found in the fridge. While you’re spending extra time at home, it can be tempting to go straight to the snack drawer when you’re hungry, especially if you’re not in the mood to prepare an entire meal. However, processed food and sugar have a very negative impact on your gut health and can cause significant damage to your gut health. 
Instead, consider a few of these healthy gut happy foods. They are all super easy to prepare and also have some added health benefits. Consider preparing a few of these foods beforehand, so they’re ready to grab and go when you need some quick fuel to help keep you energized.
Additionally, if you don’t want to eat it so you can be a better version of yourself, then don’t bring it home from the store and waste your money, and your gut health! Additionally, make sure to avoid more gut health disruptors like pesticides, added hormones, and GMO’s by buying organic and grass-fed whenever possible.
Top foods that help remedy leaky gut by reducing intestinal inflammation, bacterial imbalances, and digestive upset:
- Bone broth – Slow-cooked from the leftover bones and marrow of your meat dish. It helps support a healthy gut by providing amino acids, collagen, and vitamins that can help heal a leaky gut and improve mineral and vitamin deficiencies. There are so many decent brands sold now, but you owe it to yourself to see how simple and delicious it can be to make! Sign up for the free recipe!
- Raw cultured dairy – Probiotic-rich foods like kefir, amasai, and yogurt can help heal the gut by overpowering bad bacteria like candida. If you need an extra boost of probiotics and want a healthful mid-day snack, this drink is an excellent option. It’s made with fermented milk that is full of good bacteria. It’s great on its own, or you can add it to smoothies, soups, or the base for a salad dressing if you need some added probiotics in your diet. Be very careful you don’t undo the health benefits with a high sugar version though!
- Fermented vegetables – Try to add fermented foods such as coconut kefir, kvass, sauerkraut, or kimchi. These fermented foods contain probiotics essential in helping repair a leaky gut that works by balancing the pH in the stomach and small intestines.
- Steamed vegetables – Non-starchy vegetables that are cooked or steamed are easy to digest and are an essential part of the leaky gut diet.
- Healthy fats – Consuming healthy fats in moderation like egg yolks, salmon, avocados, ghee, and coconut oil are easy on the gut and promote healing.
2. Yoga At Home
This is one of the easiest ways to help manage gut health at home! Studies have shown that yoga has many positive effects directly related to both gut health and the aging process overall.  The best part about incorporating yoga into your daily routine is it can easily be done in the comfort of your home, in a park, or on the beach. Check out this playlist of awesome YouTube videos of some top-quality yoga workouts. 
If you’re an avid yogi, you can always do your own sequences. You’ll just need a mat and some floor space to get set up and to learn to link your breath with your movement. Let’s dive right into some of the key benefits of yoga and how it can help with anti-aging.
- Reduces Stress – Exercise releases endorphins that help naturally relax the body and relieve stress.  With so many unknown variables happening in the world, it’s important to find ways to clear your mind and lower your stress levels to help you age well. Yoga helps you to forget all of your problems for a few moments and to not allow outside influences to disrupt your internal peace. Stress is directly related to heart disease and poor gut health, so it’s essential to use methods like yoga to manage it and avoid harming your health.
- Provides a Youthful Glow – A good yoga breath and sweat session will increase circulation and digestion, as well as reduce tissue inflammation that is directly correlated with rapid aging. 
- Reduces Joint & Back Pain – Yoga is a great natural way to relieve any joint or back pain you may feel. It will help build up your core strength, improve your posture, increase your flexibility, strengthen your back, and be less likely to get injured.
3. Deep Breathing Exercise
I always joke that most of us breathe incorrectly based on looks alone…I mean, do you remember corsets! It aesthetically looks better to hold our tummy in and breathe through our chest, so we can keep as close to that pear-shaped figure, but it only hurts us when it comes to reducing stress!
When you have short-term or chronic pent up stress, your sympathetic nervous system is alerted, and your body will go into a flight or fight mode. You’ll feel your heart begin to race rapidly, and your breath will shorten and move to the chest, and its rate will significantly increase. During these moments, implement regular deep belly breathing to help combat the problem by activating your parasympathetic nervous system. This will help you feel more relaxed and calm.
Try one of these breathing exercises for the best results. 
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Abdominal Breathing
- Belly Breathing
- Paced Respiration
- Box Breath Breathing
- Yoga Breath
Breathe through your nose slowly, picturing air filling your belly, then your chest, then all the way to the tip of your head. Then breathe out, compressing your chest first, and then down to your belly. Place your hand on your belly so you can feel it go up and down to make sure you’re taking full breaths for the best results.
Rest assured that even though you’re not able to go out as often as you’d like, this is actually the best time to manage your gut health at home, as there are still plenty of ways to attain a healthier gut when you’re not able to get out of your house.
 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
 Breus, M. (2019, December 05). The Connection Between Sugar and Your Gut. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201912/the-connection-between-sugar-and-your-gut
January 11). How Yoga Can Help You Look Younger Than Your Years. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.health.com/fitness/yoga-workout-anti-aging
 (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=yoga+for+gut+health
 January 15, 2. (2020, March 06). Six Ways to Reduce Inflammation. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.scripps.org/news_items/4232-six-keys-to-reducing-inflammation
 Ambardekar, N. (2020, January 19). Deep Breathing Exercises & Techniques for Stress Management and Relief. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-relief-breathing-techniques