Seeking to heal your intestine? The Microbiome Food plan guarantees to significantly profit your stomach—however does it work? I attempted it for 21 days to seek out out.
Over the previous few months, I’ve been on the lookout for methods to revamp my food regimen to beat fatigue, mind fog, and a basic feeling of heaviness. (TMI alert: Whereas I used to be susceptible to poobris in years previous—that’s, hubris pertaining to my poop high quality—as of late, my BMs aren’t fairly as spectacular as they was once.) That stated, I’m choosy about food regimen plans. Those I’ve tried in earnest previously are ones that permit for a modicum of freedom, together with Weight Watchers and intermittent fasting—the latter of which I’ve been training for the previous 18 months.
With that in thoughts, after I heard in regards to the Microbiome Food plan, I assumed it was very a lot up my alley given its relative flexibility, emphasis on consuming extra gut-friendly meals (versus proscribing meals consumption on the entire), and its purported means to heal my wellness woes by way of intestine restoration.
Beneath, I’ll get into the fundamentals of this gut-first food regimen plan—together with which meals are and aren’t permitted—in addition to my Microbiome Food plan evaluation.
Why Strive the Microbiome Food plan?
Given my work as a wellness author, I’m effectively conscious of the advantages of a balanced intestine microbiome. Not solely can intestine stability assist wholesome digestion, however it could possibly additionally yield enhancements in pores and skin, temper and cognition, and a lot extra. As a 2019 evaluation within the medical journal Vitamins summarizes, “The intestine microbiome performs an essential position in human well being and influences the event of continual ailments starting from metabolic illness to gastrointestinal issues.” And this solely scratches the floor of how essential intestine well being is for total well-being.
Basically, a balanced intestine is one which’s various, excessive in good (pleasant) micro organism, and low in unhealthy (pathogenic) micro organism. Naturally, food regimen is a significant component in how balanced and resilient your intestine microbiome is. “Vitamin has profound results on microbial composition, in flip affecting wide-ranging metabolic, hormonal, and neurological processes,” in accordance with a 2020 medical evaluation. On this regard, diet selections can both assist or hinder intestine well being: Whereas the likes of probiotics and fiber (amongst many different vitamins) are identified to spice up intestine well being, objects resembling sugar and processed meals—that are all too frequent within the Commonplace American Food plan—can result in points on your intestine and larger well-being.
With this in thoughts, the concept of a extra structured plan that laid out precisely how to get stomach advantages was interesting to me, so I attempted the Microbiome Food plan. Right here’s what occurred.
How the Microbiome Food plan Works
The Microbiome Food plan was created by Raphael Kellman, MD, an internist and purposeful medication doctor. His 2015 e book sharing the ins and outs of this food regimen plan has maintained a gentle following within the years since publication and boasts many five-star critiques—with praises starting from “a gem on your well being” and “fascinating science” to “nothing in need of miraculous.”
The Microbiome Food plan is predicated on what Dr. Kellman calls “the 4 R’s”:
- Take away meals that intrude with wholesome microbial stability, in addition to permit parasites and unhealthy micro organism to thrive
- Exchange the abdomen acid and enzymes you’ll want to successfully break down meals
- Reinoculate with probiotics (good micro organism) and prebiotics (which feed probiotics)
- Restore the intestine wall and intestinal lining through vitamins that cut back irritation, restore intestine integrity, and re-establish intestinal stability
The complete Microbiome Food plan entails three levels:
- A 21-day elimination food regimen
- A four-week metabolic increase plan with 90 p.c compliance and extra accepted meals
- A lifetime tune-up with 70 p.c compliance and much more flexibility
I made a decision to attempt the primary section of the food regimen, which is probably the most restrictive. Learn on to see what occurred.
Meals to Keep away from on the Microbiome Food plan
Meals to take away for the primary stage of the Microbiome Food plan embrace:
- Processed and packaged meals
- All sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, and synthetic sweeteners (besides Lakanto)
- Dried fruit, canned fruit, and juices
- Trans fat and hydrogenated fat
- All grains
- Dairy (besides butter and ghee)
- Soy (besides soy lecithin)
- Processed meat
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Canola oil and cottonseed oil
- Potatoes, candy potatoes, and yams
- All legumes (besides chickpeas and lentils)
- Iceberg lettuce
Within the e book, Dr. Kellman goes into larger element as to why every of these things will get the no-go, however frequent causes embrace the likelihood to drive irritation, feed unhealthy micro organism, and set off meals sensitivities and opposed reactivity. Don’t panic—some meals resembling eggs may be reintroduced within the food regimen’s later levels.
Meals to Prioritize on the Microbiome Food plan
Dr. Kellman advises shopping for natural each time potential to keep away from pesticide publicity and its doubtlessly damaging results in your intestine and larger well being. One of many issues that makes the Microbiome Food plan distinctive is the emphasis on consuming what Dr. Kellman calls “microbiome superfoods,” which embrace:
- Pure probiotics through fermented meals like sauerkraut and kimchi (and later kefir and sheep’s or goat’s milk yogurt)
- Pure prebiotics like asparagus, carrots, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, leeks, onions, radishes, and tomatoes
- Nutritious spices, together with blood sugar-balancing cinnamon and anti inflammatory turmeric
As well as, meals that get the inexperienced mild on the Microbiome Food plan embrace:
- Proteins: grass-fed beef, hen, low-mercury fish, shellfish, and lamb
- Greens: together with these from the listing above, and lots of others resembling beets, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, darkish leafy greens, and eggplant
- Choose fruits: apples (just one each day), avocado, berries, cherries, coconut, grapefruit, kiwi, nectarines, orange, and rhubarb
- Choose nuts and seeds: almonds, Brazil nuts, nut flours, and walnuts
- Choose fat: Butter, ghee, unsweetened coconut milk, and coconut oil
- Choose legumes: Chickpeas and lentils
A singular promoting level of this food regimen is that there aren’t any designated portion sizes. “This food regimen shouldn’t be about counting energy or measuring out parts—it’s about therapeutic your intestine, rebalancing your microbiome, and restoring your pure sense of starvation and fullness … Concentrate on pleasure, not measure,” Dr. Kellman writes. This was an instruction I used to be pleased to comply with.
Final however not least, espresso is permitted on this food regimen—which in reality will all the time be non-negotiable for me—as are wine and beer (hooray!) since they’re fermented. Nevertheless, Dr. Kellman recommends steering away from alcohol throughout the first stage to cut back irritation and enhance intestine stability from the get-go.
What I Ate on the Microbiome Food plan
One of many greatest promoting factors for me to attempt the Microbiome Food plan was its emphasis on fermented meals, which I occur to like. I fortunately stocked my fridge with bottles of kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickled veggies galore, which I snacked on all through the day and paired steadily with meals.
I don’t have a lot of an urge for food whereas I’m working throughout the day, so round lunchtime, I’d usually have almonds and unsweetened coconut chips with fruit. After I wished one thing richer, I’d make a smoothie with unsweetened coconut milk, beet powder (technically processed, however beets had been nonetheless accepted), spinach, frozen berries, parsley, chia seeds (which don’t look formally accepted or disapproved), and cinnamon. I additionally prepped chia pudding in a single day with unsweetened coconut milk, blueberries, and cinnamon.
A few of the microbiome food regimen recipes I cooked up included:
- Grass-fed beef chili with spinach
- Hen tacos on jicama wraps
- Turmeric cauliflower rice with garlic shrimp
- Sluggish cooker hen soup with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and ginger
- Hen breast sauteed with ghee and garlic
- Fattoush salad (with out pita chips)
- Spicy tomato chickpea soup with kale
My Microbiome Food plan Outcomes
All issues thought-about, I’m glad with how the food regimen went. The most important professional? It was fairly simple to stay to as long as I ate at residence, and I used to be shocked that I didn’t crave sure snacks that I usually eat usually (like tortilla chips to pair with salsa).
I used to be pleased to eat sure dupes of my favourite meals, although I made compromises as essential. As an illustration, I loved my natural hen tacos on jicama wraps—however since I couldn’t discover natural wraps, I figured jicama’s standing as a “microbiome superfood” was extra essential. Whereas I usually go for natural meals, this wasn’t all the time potential, and I think about this received’t be possible for everybody when it comes to accessibility and funds. Nevertheless, I did miss consuming sure dishes—a lot of them Asian resembling Korean soybean paste stew, ramen, and sushi—since they include soy, rice, and different no-go objects. This expertise made me interested in how accessible the Microbiome Food plan may be for these whose cultures are wealthy in these elements and others on the “keep away from” listing.
The most important profit was feeling a bit much less heavy in my thoughts and physique, which I presume is credited to consuming much less refined carbs and sugar and extra freshly ready, nutrient-dense meals. I don’t prepare dinner too usually, however because it was essential to take action on this food regimen, I positively assume I benefited from getting ready extra contemporary and wholesome meals than regular. My BMs had been a bit extra stable, although I didn’t discover any main variations in fatigue or mind fog. (The Microbiome Food plan can also be marketed as a wholesome resolution for everlasting weight reduction. Whereas my weight fluctuated by a pound or two at completely different factors, I ended up clocking in at my beginning weight on day 21.)
I ponder if my common outcomes had been on account of not following the Microbiome Food plan to a T. I attempted to go alcohol-free… which lasted till about 10 p.m. on day one. I caught to at least one beer each day “as wanted” all through the three weeks, which could have additionally impacted my last outcomes.
Dr. Kellman additionally advises taking heaps of dietary supplements I’d by no means heard of to enhance the food regimen plan—however I received overwhelmed making an attempt to analyze the proof behind these suggestions, in addition to by the hefty value tags for them altogether. Since stress can critically mess together with your intestine too, I known as it a day after shopping for oil of oregano to drop right into a each day tonic and caught to a HUM lineup of Pores and skin Squad (probiotics) and Flatter Me (digestive enzymes)—each of which match into this food regimen’s bigger complement protocol.
All issues thought-about, I loved making an attempt the Microbiome Food plan since I didn’t really feel too restricted in my meals selections and it pressured me to prepare dinner extra usually than I often do, which is an enchancment in and of itself. Did it change my life? No. Did it encourage me to make more healthy meals selections and cut back my consumption of gut-unpleasant meals going ahead? Completely. I’m proud of the expertise, and my intestine is simply too.