New Year, New Commitment to Gut Health

New Year, New Commitment to Gut Health

This past year has taken a toll on not only individuals’ physical health, but their mental health and well-being as well. Something that is in our control that can benefit both of these facets of health lies in our digestive tract.

I’m Erin Kenney, registered dietitian, and part of the team at Spyce. I specialize in digestive health and consult 1:1 with individuals at my private practice in Boston. 

The team at Spyce consulted my expertise to help further personalize the menu to accommodate individuals with a broad range of dietary preferences so that they can enjoy the same culinary experience when dining out. 

One of the biggest challenges my clients face when dining out is finding items that they know won’t make them feel sick. It’s common to find vegan and paleo options nowadays, but Spyce has taken it to another level. Their menu accommodates more challenging dietary preferences such as low FODMAP, keto, Whole 30, and more, without sacrificing taste! 

Why You Should Prioritize Your Gut Health in 2021 

This past year has taken a toll on not only individuals’ physical health, but their mental health and well-being as well. Something that is in our control that can benefit both of these facets of health lies in our digestive tract. The gut microbiome plays a very important role in our health from helping control digestion and absorption of nutrients, to being a central regulator of our immune system and mental health. 

More than 70% of the entire immune system is located in the gut and about 95% of the body’s supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and speed of digestion, is produced by the bacteria that live there.  

An imbalance of unhealthy microbes in the intestines may also contribute to inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer

In addition to poor dietary choices, lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, sleep, and too much stress have been shown to negatively impact the gut. Practicing regular meditation, joyful movement, and establishing a healthy sleep routine can do wonders for your gut. 

To help support the growth of healthy diverse microbes in the gut, the food we put in our bodies becomes incredibly important. Research has found several dietary strategies that can benefit your gut health including consuming probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods, limiting sugar intake, and eating plenty of plant-based foods. 

How to Sustain Your New Year’s Resolution 

After the most recent year with the pandemic, some people are feeling motivated to take charge of their health more than ever. Making sustainable change is the key to supporting both our physical and mental health. 

Know Yourself.

If you’ve tried to set goals in the past, you should have a good idea of what does or doesn’t work for you. Don’t try to fit your goals into someone else’s idea of success. 

Master the Basics.

It can be tempting to skip the steps that seem small, like drinking enough water, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep, and consuming meals in regular intervals, but these changes make a profound difference. These factors will help keep your appetite, mood, and energy levels balanced, all of which can support continued lifestyle change.

Ditch the ‘All or Nothing’ Mindset’.

When you start training for a marathon, you don’t go out on the first day of training and complete 26.2 miles, you work your way up and let your body and mind adjust. Dietary and lifestyle changes are no different.
A simple small change can be buying a refillable water bottle and setting a goal for how many you will complete by the end of the day. It might seem like a small goal, but drinking more water can help with appetite, digestion, mood, and energy, all of which are important no matter how big your goals are. 

Find Support.

The pandemic has opened up even more avenues for different types of connections. Rather than focusing on the fact that you don’t see your typical gym buddies or lunch with your friends, try setting up weekly check-ins with your accountability partners or joining an online group of people who share the same goals as you. 

Measure Your Success.

Use a health tracker or food diary to note changes in sleep, digestion, mood, and hormones. Sometimes focusing on one data point can become a distraction from the small wins along the way. 

Be Flexible.

If there is anything that this past year has taught us, it’s that life can be unpredictable. Visualize a scenario where barriers such as time, money, and motivation come into play. Write down what you would do in those circumstances in order to keep the momentum going when life gets in the way. 

Have Fun With It.

If you are enjoying the process along the way, the goal you reach will be the icing on the cake. Try new recipes, dance to a fun YouTube video, and get your friends or family involved. The best part? You won’t look back with dread and it’s a good sign that the goals you have set are now part of your new lifestyle, rather than a temporary quick fix. 

I hope this year brings you abundance, health, and happiness. 

In great health,

Erin

Erin Kenney

Erin Kenney I help individuals achieve their healthiest selves through highly personalized food and nutrition coaching. With conflicting messages about health that are constantly flooding our daily lives, I am here to provide you with evidence-based tools to help you stop dieting, heal your gut, and rewire the way you view health.

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