Hello, 2020! And thank you 2019 for a year of memories! It’s been fun putting the finishing touches on the 2010s, celebrating the holidays and entering into a new decade with optimism and enthusiasm. But what if you’re someone who celebrated a little too hard, and are feeling the rundown of flogging your gut with sweets, fatty foods, and ultraprocessed treats? It’s time for a detox, my friends. We need to jump start our gut health and then reorient to a better lifestyle so we can get the 2020s off to a roaring start. As a gastroenterologist, here are my top tips to detox your gut after the holidays:
START WITH A FAST
It’s amazing how the body can heal itself when we simply get out of the way and allow it to function in it’s natural state. Fasting is an example of an intervention that heals by allowing our body to recenter. It has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol, reductions in inflammation, loss of abdominal fat, and improvement of the gut microbiota. For the purposes of a gut reset, it’s rather simple to do a 24-hour water only fast before introducing food again. But for long term benefits, consider starting with a daily 12 hour fast and slowly progressing towards 16 or 18 hours of fasting per day. Caloric restriction is part of (but not all that) makes fasting work. This is why the Eimele sachets can be powerful tools for human health – because they offer nutrient density with a minimal number of calories.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
For the life of me, I’ll never understand why we pay money to drink beverages that are unhealthy – soda, alcohol, or sugary juices – when the healthiest beverage on the planet – water – will usually be offered to us for free. Why??? Okay, I get it. Water isn’t exactly wild and fun. It’s pretty mundane. But we should learn to appreciate the health benefits. Adequate hydration has been connected to better physical performance, better cognitive performance, and improvements in digestive, kidney and heart function.
WORK YOUR BODY
Is there anyone who would dispute that exercise is good for our health? Study after study have shown the benefits – weight loss, improved mood and cognitive function, stronger bones and muscles (duh!), deeper sleep, lower risk of heart disease/cancer, sex that’s just off the charts HOT! Sorry, couldn’t help myself on that last one, but it’s true! Point being that exercise yields so many benefits. But could it possibly relate back to gut health? YES! Endurance training has been shown to alter the gut microbiome in a way that promotes human health. So when you’re trying to fix your gut, I’m important to break a sweat.
COMMIT TO A PLANT PROGRESSION
Time and again, we’ve seen the benefits of fiber for supporting a healthy gut microbiota. The single greatest determinant of a healthy gut microbiome is the diversity of plants in your diet. So when we are looking to heal our gut, it’s important to include fiber and plant diversity. At first we should be gentle with plant foods that are easy on the stomach, like bananas, blueberries, raspberries, spinach, potatoes (including sweet), green beans and tofu. Oatmeal with berries and walnuts would make a great first meal. Over time, we can ramp up our plant diversity and our fiber content to build our gut back up. One easy way to do this is using an Eimele sachet as a base and then adding some fresh fruits or veggies on top.
Once we have your gut health back on track, you’ll be ready to start crushing your 2020s and make this the best decade of your life. Happy New Year, y’all!
 Rafael de Cabo and Mark P. Mattson, “Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease,” New England Journal of Medicine 381, no. 26 (December 26, 2019): 2541–51, https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMra1905136.
 Barry M. Popkin, Kristen E. D’Anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg, “Water, Hydration and Health,” Nutrition Reviews 68, no. 8 (August 2010): 439–58, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x.
 Jacob M. Allen et al., “Exercise Alters Gut Microbiota Composition and Function in Lean and Obese Humans,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 50, no. 4 (2018): 747–57, https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001495.
 Erica D. Sonnenburg and Justin L. Sonnenburg, “Starving Our Microbial Self: The Deleterious Consequences of a Diet Deficient in Microbiota-Accessible Carbohydrates,” Cell Metabolism 20, no. 5 (November 4, 2014): 779–86, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2014.07.003.
 Daniel McDonald et al., “American Gut: An Open Platform for Citizen Science Microbiome Research,” MSystems 3, no. 3 (June 2018), https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00031-18.