Gut Healing Strategies I Use to Help Manage Axial Spondyloarthritis
Last updated: July 2022
Working as a health coach, I often find myself talking with people about improving the health of their gut.
What isn’t always so clear is what we should do about it
I’ve been focussed on healing my gut for about 8 years now. There was definitely some trial and error in the early days, but fast forward to today and I consider it the single most important thing I’ve done to improve my health and reduce my symptoms of AS.
While it may feel overwhelming to know where to start with your own gut health, I’m happy to report it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. Basic principles of good digestion have been practiced around the world for generations, they’ve just gotten lost in our modern lives.
This is what worked for me
Gut-healing foods go right back to the basics that made up our diet for the majority of human existence. For some people, it might remind you of how your grandparents used to cook and eat.
I like to eat lots of fresh vegetables and pasture-raised animal products. Broths, soups and stews made with meat bones and simmered slowly to extract collagen, gelatin and bone marrow with their rich, healing properties. Organ meats like liver and kidney from healthy animals and eggs from pastured chickens. Fermented foods like natural yogurt and sauerkraut, originally made for preservation purposes but full of beneficial living organisms that support healthy gut flora and aid in my digestion.
I find it delicious and satisfying
A pleasant surprise for me was discovering how delicious and satisfying eating this way can be. A traditional diet relied on salt, fat, herbs and spices for flavor. When I began cooking this way and removing processed foods I found that this simple, real food tasted amazing.
Replicating these old-fashioned food principals gave me my blueprint for eating well and continues to guide how I eat the majority of the time. I had noticed for years that most grains, legumes, refined sugar and processed fats would flare up my pain and upset my digestion, so I decided to limit them as much as possible.
I’ve also learned it’s not just food that impacts my gut health. Staying hydrated, managing my stress, getting regular exercise, and fitting in enough sleep are also crucial strategies that I can’t afford to let slide.
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is claimed to have uttered those now famous words “All disease begins in the gut” around 2,500 years ago. For me, supporting my digestive system has proved a valuable way to help minimize my symptoms, rely less on medication and feel better generally.
Has changing your diet helped manage your pain and flares?