Weight loss: The Optimal Intestinal Health Way, Part 3
There are many weight loss books we have at home. In fact, most of them were my husband’s books. I was very surprised to see there were so many different approaches to losing weight. It was overwhelming to go through them all to see which ones are good for my husband. As I looked through them, I eliminated books that I couldn’t agree with; some are too difficult to follow, some are too extreme, and some are too complicated…
Then, I picked two books that I liked.
One is “The Gabriel Method” by Jon Gabriel. My husband has been a fan of him and had read this book a while ago. He understood this method and liked the ideas but never seriously followed them completely. Jon Gabriel himself was very obese at one point and developed this unique method (he emphasizes this is Not a diet) to lose weight. The book cover states “The revolutionary DIET-FREE way to totally transform your body”. As it states, this is not just about diet, but also more about focusing on psychological approaches. He encourages one to ADD good stuff into one’s diet and lifestyle, rather than CUT out something (which may cause emotional stress).
The other book is “The Good Gut Diet” by Gerard E. Mullin, MD. I picked this book, because I liked the idea of improving the digestive system, in order to not only lose weight but also to gain health. The book cover states: “Turn your digestive system into a fat-burning machine”. Dr. Mullin was obese when he was a young man, and had a hard time losing weight. He explains this program by using the metaphor: “weed, seed, and feed your inner garden”. Obesity could be a result of insufficient digestive function, especially due to an imbalance in good and bad gut bacteria (dysbiosis).
According to Dr. Mullin, rebalancing gut bacteria requires three phases;
Phase 1: Reboot – weed your inner garden (minimize bad bacteria from the digestive system)
Phase 2: Rebalance – reseed and fertilize your inner garden (feed good bacteria to grow more)
Phase 3: Renew – keep your friendly flora (maintain optimal number of good bacteria)
As I mentioned in my last blog (weight loss, part 2), I suspect that my husband may have an insufficient ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria in his digestive system. It could be from many years of bad eating habits that contain many baked goods and sweets (my husband has a sweet tooth!). Cutting down white stuff (processed carbs; bread, pasta, rice, and sugar) was a good start for him and we are continuing this way of life.
However, carbohydrates (fiber and sugar) feed both good and bad bacteria and are a very important part of good gut health. All vegetables and fruits contain fiber and naturally occurring sugars and they feed gut bacteria. Only if you have a sufficient number of good bacteria in your digestive system, are you most likely feeding friendly flora to grow. Therefore, if you have more bad bacteria than good bacteria, then first thing you need to do is to minimize bad bacteria (weed your inner garden!).
So, how can we do this?
Dr. Mullin is suggesting to follow a “low FODMAPs diet” to rebalance gut bacteria. FODMAPs stands for F(fermentable), O(oligosaccharides), D(disaccharides), M(monosaccharides), And P(polyols). He emphasizes that the importance of reducing the intake of these foods is the key to the success of his program. To add, this diet is not intended to be followed in the long term. Eventually, you need a wide variety of foods to nourish gut flora. As a matter of fact, gut bacteria love FODMAPs food! Eliminating these foods to starve bad bacteria, this is how to “weed your inner garden”.
All is well and all the best!