Food Combining + Gut Health

Food combining? Sounds complicated right? I thought the same when I first started studying it a few years ago, but I can assure you it's much simpler than it sounds. Food combining is a great way to improve gut health dramatically. It helps to combat bloating and fatigue post-meal as well. 

Back when I "thought" I was eating healthy (insert muscle head diet of chicken and brown rice constantly) I was still experiencing daily bloat. I can recall this one day that I was so bloated that I felt like I weighed 1,000 pounds. My stomach was sticking out further than a 8 month pregnant lady. And it was so uncomfortable. I didn't even want to leave the house.  I was so confused because again, I thought what I was eating was "clean."

At that point, my daily diet consisted of some type of egg breakfast with gf toast, lunch was chicken and brown rice, and dinner (if I even felt like eating by then, was some type of animal protein and steamed broccoli. I was so strong and so lean, yet I felt TERRIBLE everyday. Something had to change.

This is when I started to research how food actually breaks down in our intestines and what I found was astounding.

Each type of macro nutrient (protein, fats, carbohydrates) digest at different speeds. In addition, each type requires different enzymes and body solutions to break the food down. 

Acid vs. Alkaline

Let's take the example of my chicken and brown rice go-to lunch. Chicken, a protein, requires an acidic environment in which a digestive enzyme known as pepsin releases. An acidic environment  Pepsin is an endopeptidase (enzyme) that breaks down proteins into smaller peptides (that is, a protease). It is produced in the stomach and is one of the main digestive enzymes in the digestive systems of humans and many other animals, where it helps digest the proteins in food.

Brown rice, a complex carbohydrate, requires an alkaline environment to digest that releases an enzyme known as ptyalin. Ptyalin is an amylase (another word for saliva enzyme) found chiefly in saliva and pancreatic fluid, that converts starch and glycogen into simple sugars.

Since you can see that these two foods require very different environment's to completely digest, the result is that the food confuses the body and releases too many enzymes at once. This, in turn, slows down the digestive process. (Insert "aha moment")

What happens then? Bloating, fatigue, post-meal sluggishness. (Ahaaaaaaaa!)

If your food digestion is slowed down then it makes it easier for food particles to get stuck in the intestines and villi. (For more info on the gut, see Gut Health 101)  The longer those food particles linger in your intestines, the more they are inclined to ferment and cause bacteria. This is what the bacteria Candida, an overgrowth of yeast, lives for. Fermented starchy food hanging out in the gut is a breeding ground for bacteria. (I know, so gross!)

Food combining 101

Let's dig into the "rules" of food combining so you can make smarter choices to improve your overall gut health and digestion. 

1. Pair protein with non-starchy vegetables

Since non-starchy vegetables are rich in their own digestive enzymes, they do not need an alkaline environment to break down. Combining them with high-quality proteins is an easy way to break down and absorb you meal quickly, leaving you full of nutrients and a boat load of energy. 

Examples:

Wild salmon + Broccoli
Organic Chicken + Bell Peppers
Organic Turkey + Mashed Cauliflower

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2. Pair starches with healthy fats and vegetables

Keeping foods together that require an alkaline environment will help boost digestion of starches and help you absorb the nutrients more readily. I've had many clients call me and say they get bloated from quinoa or legumes and my number one response is, "What did you eat it with?"

9 times out of 10, they combined it with a protein, because that is what they thought they should do, and I don't blame them because I thought that too! Keep the starches together like a little starch family and you shouldn't have a problem. 

Disclaimer: soaking your grains, beans, and legumes overnight helps release phytic acid making them easier to digest as well. Might as well take all precautions!

Examples: 

Quinoa + Chopped Cabbage + Avocado
Swiss Chard Salad + Sweet Potato + Olive Oil
Brown Rice + Carrots + Toasted Sesame Oil

3. Eat fruit alone (sad sigh) 

This one can be tough, especially because there are 100 delicious smoothies out there that have been known to help gut health. It's important to remember that this may or may not be ok for you considering that every one is different. Keep a journal and track when you get bloated from meals. If everyday after your fruit filled breakfast smoothie you are experiencing discomfort, then it may be time to switch it up a bit. 

Fruit is the fastest digesting food with an average of 20-30 minutes. If you combine it with any other food, it will develop a traffic jam in the gut since most other foods take at least 3-4 hours to break down. The best thing to do is simply eat them as a snack in between meals on an empty stomach. Then you can absorb the fiber without all the discomfort.

However, combining leafy greens or celery with fruit does not usually cause a problem since these veggies are mostly made from water. This is where the Liver Detox Smoothie comes in and saves the day!!

4. Drink water away from meals 

Gulping large sips of cold water during eating dilutes the digestive enzymes and slows the process. Rule of thumb is room temperature water is way better for the gut but in general it’s better to finish eating before you sip some water. 

You can assist the digestive process by drinking the room temp or warm water with lemon 20 minutes before meals or after you meals. Lemon contains natural absorbic acid which will stimulate and activate your digestive juices. (Oh yea baby!)

5. Keep it simple stupid

My mom has been saying that to me since I was a little girl (in the nicest, most playful way possible.) I kept that saying in the back of my head for my entire life. Anytime anything wasn't working out for me I would hear her saying it while laughing and pointing her finger. 

As a society, we tend to overthink and overdo EVERYTHING! This stands true for digestive health too. Keep your meals as simple as possible to avoid food gut bombs and traffic jams. 

Remember, gut health is the root of total body wellness. Happy gut, happy life. 

As a recommendation to understand your bio-individuality more, keep a journal when changing things around. Your body is your best guide. Keeping notes will help you become your own investigator and realize what does and does not work for you. 

In addition, if you’ve been struggling with bloating and giesting food for awhile, you can try a digestive enzyme to help your body break down food. My favorite digestve enzyme is the GI-ZYME by Mannatech. My clients experience less discomfort after meals and reported barely any bloating after taking for 1 week. Purchase here.

If you have been trying to break free from bloating for far too long and you can't seem to get a handle on it, sign up for my newsletter and receive my FREE 5-day Fix to BEAT THE BLOAT! My tips will help you break free from bloat and chronic inflammation of the gut for good.

I love hearing from you. Please leave your comments and concerns below! Got a friend who could use this info? Feel free to share!

Happy healing!

XO Jaclyn Renee

 

Should you be gluten-free?

With all the fuss about gluten-free it can be quite overwhelming to understand right from wrong.  First, it is important to know what gluten actually is! Gluten is a yellowish-gray, powdery mixture of plant proteins occurring in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. It’s sticky-like texture acts as a glue, holding foods together.  It is used in flours as an adhesive to make baking or cooking easier. Barley and wheat gluten are also used as the base of beer to provide it with the flavor and depth. 

Although these grains, or gluten, have been around for years, people weren’t always “allergic” to them. It is important to understand that these crops used to be abundant and very healthy for us to consume. In fact, in some countries, it was there only source of food and provided many families with inexpensive nourishment. Over time as wheat began to be mass produced, as everything else has become in America, the farmers had to spray and inject crops with chemicals to keep up. Along with the crops being sprayed, changes to the way that bread and baked goods are made has changed. Water, flour, and salt were the only ingredients in bread back in the day. Investigate for yourself and turn over your bread at home and read the label. Chances are you won't even know what half of the ingredients are. Mixing all of these preservatives together with the wheat, whether it has been farmed properly or not, is almost impossible to digest. This would put it under the category of genetically modified foods, and even people without an actual gluten allergy, or Celiac, can have a reaction.  

Typically, becoming bloated or having a stomach ache is the most common symptom of a gluten allergy. However, sensitivities can show up many other ways. Below is a list of symptoms that have been tested as the highest forms that a gluten allergy comes through the body. If you are experiencing one or more of these issues, I would highly consider reading on to see how to proceed with elimination.

  • Anemia

  • Psoriasis, or eczema

  • Mouth sores

  • Dental disorders

  • Tingling or numbness in hands/feet

  • Mucus in stool

  • Diarrhea

  • Bloating

  • Constipation

  • Nauseous after eating

  • Muscle cramps

  • Arthritis

  • Brain fog

  • Always tired or hungover feeling

  • Joint pain

  • ADD or ADHD

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Weight loss or gain

  • Acne (face or body)

  • Allergies

If you are reading on, then I'm guessing you had one or more of these symptoms. From here, there are a few steps you can take moving forward.

You can get a food sensitivity blood test.

I perform one for my clients through the company KBMO Diagnostics. It's a simple finger prick test and the results are back in 2 weeks. You can book your Initial Session plus FIT Test here. The KBMO test checks 22 foods for sensitivities. You do not need to be in the State of Michigan to be my client. I can drop ship the test and Skype for your appt.

You can also try an elimination diet.

There are a ton of different ways to try that, but I have a few simple steps listed below that you can follow to see how you feel. 

Step 1

Eliminate all wheat, flour, and gluten containing products for 4 weeks. This includes other items besides flour and cereals. Check the label or ask questions. 

Step 2

Journal how you feel on a daily basis. Note, you may start to feel a little worse for the first few days. This is just the wheat addiction leaving your body. It may be best to start over a weekend so you can get plenty of rest for your body to eliminate properly. 

Step 3

Stick with whole foods, fruits, and veggies. If you reach for the same old snacks but just gluten-free it is not helping the cause. Many of those products sneak in corn or potato starch which can wreak havoc the same way on the body, not to mention they have the same caloric value.

Step 4

On the last day of the 30 days, choose one meal to have some wheat. Don’t overindulge, but maybe have some whole grain pasta for dinner or bread on a sandwich for lunch.

Step 5

Continue to journal through throughout the day and the next couple days. How are you feeling? Did your symptoms come back? Did you feel fine? Did new symptoms come about?

It is also important to know what happens to your body when you eat gluten?

Upon consumption, those with a sensitivity experience a deterioration, or flattening, of the villi in your small intestine. Villi are hair-like projections that help to absorb vitamins and nutrients to nourish our bodies and sustain energy for our everyday activities. Malabsorption can occur when these villi start to flatten from the reoccurring consumption and as a result your body will experience one or more of the symptoms listed above. The more you experience these symptoms the more your body will start to attack itself, as it cannot keep up with the deterioration. This can lead to more serious issues like some of these auto-immune diseases and preventative diseases listed below.

  • Chrohns

  • Ulcerative Colitis

  • Sebo (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)

  • Candida (yeast overgrowth)

  • Infertility

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you. If you do in fact have a sensitivity, not only does it make you feel bad in the moment, but overtime can really break down your body. Take care and nourish your body. Heal the damage that has resulted over the years.

It is also important that when embarking on a new lifestyle that you do have some professional help. You want to make sure that you are making the right choices and feeding your body enough vitamins and nutrients. 

When I went gluten-free it changed my life. It wasn't just the obvious breads and pastas that were causing the upset. Gluten sneaks its way into many common household foods and products. However, I also know how overwhelming it can be to embark on such a new lifestyle. 

That is why I created the STRESS-FREE GLUTEN-FREE GUIDE. 

A 74 page ebook that will help you master the art of gluten-free and feel good about it. 

This guide includes: 

  • my 5 best tips to success

  • the most important pillars of food quality

  • a guide to understanding cross-contamination

  • my favorite JRW-Approved GF products and brands

  • 30 days of meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes!!

WARNING: Following this guide will lead to the following positive changes:

  • more energy

  • less bloat and digestive distress

  • reduced chronic inflammation

  • clear skin and clarity

  • no more brain fog

Who is this guide for?

Anyone experiencing the following: 

  • digestive issues

  • constant bloating

  • joint pain and inflammation

  • chronic fatigue and low energy

  • acne, psoriasis, or ezcema

  • mood swings and depression

  • anxiety or feeling overwhelmed

Get your copy of the STRESS-FREE GLUTEN-FREE GUIDE today for only $35.

Get the stress-free gluten-free guide here. $35

Get the stress-free gluten-free guide here. $35

 

If you need support or have questions, you can email me at jaclyn@jaclynreneewellness.com. For additional support on what to eat and how to cook gluten-free you can visit my favorite recipe blogs:

Gluten Free Goddess

Elana's Pantry

XO Jaclyn Renee

** A core principle of the Jaclyn Renee Wellness program is to choose organic whenever possible. This includes all fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, flours, nuts, and even spices. Reducing your exposure to pesticides and chemicals is a major part in healing your body and preventing disease.


5-DAY FIX: Beat the Bloat

A 5-day guide to reducing bloat and healing gut inflammation significantly.

Almost all of my dry ingredients come from Thrive Market and I get them at a fraction of the cost of what I'd pay at other stores. If you want to save money and score some of the great things you see on this blog, check them out! 

Want to save 20% off your first 3 orders? Use the link below! 

 

 

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

This is one of my favorite dinner recipes to make. Every time I make it, my husband says he could eat it everyday. With limited ingredients and quick prep, this dinner is a weekly go-to for me and I always have a little left over for lunch the next day. I'll take the leftover meat and throw it over some quinoa and add some avocado. No warm-up needed!

Turkey Lettuce Wraps (printable PDF)

Ingredients:

1 lbs. organic ground white turkey
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup any additional veggies
2 Tbsp. organic coconut oil
3 Tbsp. liquids aminos or organic gluten free tamari
1 cup chopped raw organic cashews
½ tsp crushed red pepper
Organic romaine leaves for making wraps

1)      Chop all vegetables

2)      Slowly heat up coconut oil in a pan to medium heat

3)      Sauté vegetables until slightly soft and onion is translucent and place on the side

4)      Return pan to heat and brown the turkey

5)      Once your turkey is cooked through, put the vegetables back into that pan with a little more coconut oil, liquid aminos, crushed red pepper, and cashews

6)      Reduce heat to low and simmer for a few minutes

7)      Serve in a bowl with romaine leaves on the side

XO Jaclyn Renee

** A core principle of the Jaclyn Renee Wellness program is to choose organic whenever possible. This includes all fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, flours, nuts, and even spices. Reducing your exposure to pesticides and chemicals is a major part in healing your body and preventing disease.

P.S. I'd love to hear from you! Let me know how you liked them. Did you add anything or try a different spin? Is there something you'd like me to post? Share the love! If you post your healthy creation make sure to tag me in it on Instagram @jaclynreneewellness and #jrwapproved

Almost all of my dry ingredients come from Thrive Market and I get them at a fraction of the cost of what I'd pay at other stores. If you want to save money and score some of the great things you see on this blog, check them out! 

Want to save 20% off your first 3 orders? Use the link below! 

granolaberries.jpg

5-DAY FIX: Beat the Bloat

A 5-day guide to reducing bloat and healing gut inflammation significantly.

Do you have food sensitivities?

Food sensitivities and related diseases affect nearly 100 million people worldwide. These sensitivities can cause a wide variety of illnesses ranging from skin rashes and headaches to chronic intestinal disease. 

The first thing that is the most important thing to understand is the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity. A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. Most of the time these reactions can be life-threatening or take the person down for days. This is common in allergies to things like nuts or gluten. A food sensitivity is much less problematic but more of a chronic annoyance. It causes smaller reactions and is usually connected to digestive issues. These are the most common symptoms that people experience with sensitivities:

  • Anxiety - Depression
  • Bloating - Stomach pain
  • Headaches - Sinus issues
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Impotence - Low libido
  • Fatigue - Insomnia
  • Joint Pain
  • Constipation - Diarrhea
  • Poor concentration - Brain fog
  • Craving Sugar

It is very important to understand that symptoms from sensitivities can often be delayed. One may not experience any issues until a day or two later making it difficult to pinpoint the culprit. Also, it is not only toxic triggers such as gluten or dairy that cause such a response. In fact, even healthy foods like fish, grains, and vegetables can bring on inflammation.

Often times, food intolerance can occur because of inflammation in the digestive track and or Leaky Gut. Leaky Gut is when you have experienced digestive issues chronically and the lining of the colon becomes weak, letting food particles and toxins leak into the bloodstream. This can be remedied with diet and lifestyle changes. Before you start to get tested for sensitivities, join my private Facebook Group JRW Crew to get access to me free 5-day fix to Beat the Bloat. Try to focus on these specifics for at least a couple weeks to see if symptoms subside first.

If you have tried eliminating toxic triggers or followed my guide for a bit and are still experiencing issues, then it is time to get tested. The test I turn to for all my clients is from the fully-integrated medical diagnostics company KBMO. Testing involves a simple finger prink and placement of blood on a small card. Then, the sample is sent to the lab with results arriving within 10-14 business days. This test measures sensitivity to over 132 foods, coloring, and additives spanning all the major food groups. If you suspect that you have problems with certain foods, this test will help you get to the bottom of it once and for all. Book a free consultation below to see if this test is right for you and have one sent right to your front door. 

Want additional guidance before, during, and after your test? I can help! Sign up for a 3-month mentorship with me, which will include an initial 90-minute session with me where we'll conduct the diagnostic test, and five follow-up sessions to work through the elimination of foods, personalized healing protocol, supplement strategy, and health lifestyle changes. 

To start your journey with me, sign up for a FREE Consultation todayOr you can shoot me an email at jaclyn@jaclynreneewellness.com

Living in constant pain is not a way to live, and technology has made it possible for us to understand our bodies and take action for our health. If given the opportunity, the body has an incredible ability to heal itself. 

XO Jaclyn Renee

** A core principle of the Jaclyn Renee Wellness program is to choose organic whenever possible. This includes all fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, flours, nuts, and even spices. Reducing your exposure to pesticides and chemicals is a major part in healing your body and preventing disease. 


granolaberries.jpg

5-DAY FIX: Beat the Bloat

A 5-day guide to reducing bloat and healing gut inflammation significantly.

Almost all of my dry ingredients come from Thrive Market and I get them at a fraction of the cost of what I'd pay at other stores. If you want to save money and score some of the great things you see on this blog, check them out! 

Want to save 20% off your first 3 orders? Use the link below!