healing the gut – DIET changes

Yesterday, I alluded to the fact that I’m going to have to make some changes to my DIET in order to heal my gut.  Like most people, I don’t like change.  And I REALLY don’t like putting any sort of restriction on my food.  I’ve been there.  It’s not a place that I care to linger and what can sometimes be healthy for other people has the possibility of turning UGLY for me.  I start to obsess.  That voice starts to whisper again.  Now I can quell it.  I have that power.  But it’s still there.

BUT….this “poo problem” needs a long term solution and I’m willing to make sacrifices if it means healing.

According to my acupuncturist (and SO many online health resources addressing the bowels), in order to help heal the gut, it’s wise to make dietary changes.  Here’s a list of the foods I’m told to AVOID (as they tend to constipate and/or put strain on the digestive system):

  • Sugar
  • White foods (processed breads, cookies, cakes, rolls, etc)
  • Dairy
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol

Yikes.  I love all of these foods (except alcohol – don’t love the taste).  I have the biggest sweet tooth you’ve ever known.  So much so, that my mother-in-law buys candy corn in bulk just for me.  I tend to have a baked good in the house at all times and when it’s gone, I bake another one.  Yes, I eat very healthy 80% of the time, but the other 20% is pure rubbish!

Well I have something to share.  Through an event that I’ll not discuss, I have been eating a VEGAN-NO SUGAR diet for the last three weeks.  No caffeine, no processed foods, no sugar, no dairy, no meat.  Let me tell you – I FEEL AMAZING!  Energized, “clean”, lean.  And FREE from all the addictive food vices that I had before.  I definitely attribute a great deal of my success in the bathroom to this change in eating.


So the question is – “Will I continue to eat a vegan-no sugar diet?”

The answer:  Kinda.


The fast is over (we broke it Sunday), but I want to continue eating a (mostly) LOW SUGAR diet but introduce lean proteins in the form of chicken, fish and eggs.  I’ll aim to focus all my meals around PLANTS – because if I don’t, I know myself and I won’t eat very many vegetables.  I also want to juice on a daily basis – I LOVE how it makes me feel (and I bought that super expensive Blendtec so I’d better make good use of it)!  I won’t be having my daily ice cream or cheese, but I also won’t be reading every single label to see if a product contains dairy.

I guess overall, I just want to be more cognizant of what goes into my body.  I want to focus on eating REAL FOODS and not PRODUCTSFocus, but not obsess.  There is a big difference there.


Let me be perfectly clear – I’m not doing this for weight loss.  In fact, my “winter weight” is long gone.  I’m making these changes because I’ve seen what they can do for my body, for my energy and for my overall health.  Will I make brownies again?  ABSOLUTELY!  I love brownies – they bring me GREAT joy!  I just won’t be baking them every.single.week.  So if you happen to see a cookie or a brownie or a cookie brownie on my Instagram feed, don’t flip out.


It’s just me being me.  A person who’s desperately seeking balance.

QUESTION:  Have you ever taken the sugar/white foods out of your diet?  Alcohol – love it/hate it?


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  1. I’m glad you’re finding a solution to your gut issues, they can be very hard to manage, speaking from experience. I’ve found that less processed foods, less sugar, and proper amounts of fruits, veggies and PROTEIN have been huge for me. I also eat Greek yogurt everyday – or close to it (the ONLY dairy this lactose intolerant can handle), and when i don’t I can feel a difference too. Weird, huh?

  2. Did your workouts change while doing the fast? I’ve been thinking about doing something similar (only 7 days and by myself) because there’s lots of things in my life now that need focused time and prayer. Just curious what to expect workout wise since I’m doing at least one race soon and lift heavy 2-3x/week as well as yoga and Crossfit workouts sprinkled in.

    1. I think it’s awesome that you want to fast! I’ll be honest – the first few days were rough on my fitness level (low energy/morale), but I did what I could. Walking and light weights. By the of the 20 days, my body was used to working out at a higher intensity (Bootcamps, running, etc). I just made sure I fueled properly!
      Good luck!

  3. I may have missed this because I just started reading your blog. But yogurt and it’s probiotics/good bacteria usually help those with constipation. Are you considering having that even if you don’t have other dairy products?
    Thanks and I’m enjoying reading through your older posts as I come up to speed with your blog. :)

  4. omg YOU AND I BOTH! sometimes i go to the bathroom once in 8 DAYS! i get so backed up that gently pressing on the abdomen results in pain :( going to the doc multiple times also has been useless…

    i have also been thinking that i should start eating more responsibly by cutting out dairy (i am lactose intolerant so should’ve cut it out a long time ago) and super rich foods…it’s so unfortunate because, aren’t those the most delicious foods ever?

    people around me seem to be concerned because they think im trying to lose weight which i’m not! i AM grateful that they are concerned and care for me, but sometimes it becomes a little annoying.

    i have also been losing some weight because of my terribly weak GI tract and people are concerned about that as well :-/ but in truth, i’d rather be 10 lbs heavier without GI tract issues than the opposite

  5. I’m not a big alcohol drinker and drink like 4-5 drinks once every 6 months or so when going out with friends.
    I typically eat a low sugar diet (apart from natural sugar like fruit) and eat minimal white goods like bread, pasta etc.

    Good luck, I’ve been wanting a dietary change myself lately but more for vanity reasons. Not to lose weight but create a tighter image. I think I need to continue to work on my mental health first though- because I won’t be happy regardless then.

  6. Oh my goodness – I’m so shocked to read this. I had no idea you were making dietary changes. I know that feeling in your tummy when you stop eating dairy and meats – it’s crazy that it really does make a difference, right? I’m glad that you’re feeling better and you’re finding the balance to what works for you. I found that adding back fish/seafood didn’t have any impact on my tummy feelings, not sure about others since I haven’t gone there. :)

  7. Welcome to the vegan (with benefits) side! We are happy to have you.

    I RARELY drink alcohol, mostly because I get bored of drinking it, and I’m over the way it makes me feel. [Why did I ever like feeling so ‘loose’ in college? Maybe it was for the pimiento cheese and chicken cravings that came the next day?]

    I mentioned in my last comment that I know my trigger foods, and dairy is one of them. EXCEPT that when I started eating Greek yogurt (Chobani specifically) I actually noticed a lot of my GI issues went away. So, I’ve continued to keep that in my diet, although I suffer the consequences (usually) if I attempt to try any other dairy. [This is partially lactose intolerance I think.] My skin cleared up amazingly when I went vegan, and basically that meant most of the changes you are making.

    I, luckily for me, don’t have the biggest sweet tooth. [It always strikes me unawares, but doesn’t linger…]

    I am so interested to see how you continue on in this!

  8. It is all about finding balance in life, love, family, and food. I am so glad that you are feeling better and you aren’t going to totally eliminate the things you love. Because honestly who can live without sweets. I too have a serious sweet tooth. As for alcohol…I typically only drink once a week and it’s usually wine. I love a delicious glass of wine!

  9. I really don’t eat any white foods anymore, and only have alcohol once in a while, maybe 1 glass of wine every 2 weeks or so. The sugar part is BY FAR the hardest for me to eliminate/reduce to a “just a treat” amount. It really is addicting!

  10. I have a lot of stomach issues, and I have sensitivities to gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, and yeast (brewers and bakers), among others (like chocolate and green tea). It’s a bummer sometimes, but I know that it keeps me eating healthy and I am so much more aware of what I eat because of these issues. I still have to remind myself to eat more veggies, drink more water, and eat less processed foods. But life’s a journey!

  11. I don’t eat ANY of those foods either, and then some! It TRULY has helped me too!!! I am stoked to hear you’re feeling better. Sadly for me, I am having a flare up day, ugh, not so much fun, but hopefully things will get back to normal in the next few days!! Positive thoughts, lol!

  12. I think it’s a great idea to at least temporarily eliminate some foods from your diet to help figure out what’s causing stomach issues. I keep telling my boyfriend to try doing so. I’m doing a bootcamp right now and part of it is not eating sugar and white flour. So far, I’ve done fine, but I’m a little worried I won’t be able to hold out the full 8 weeks! (It’s only been 2 days!)

  13. I understand completely what you’re going through. Man, it’s not fun to deal with these problems but I’m proud you took matters into your own hand and progressed in healing the gut! I’ve recently been toying with the idea of eliminating meat, since I do feel better without eggs/dairy, but have been afraid to eliminate the meat because I don’t want to be “restricting” I think trying it out for a week won’t hurt though. I just would like to feel some extra relief! I’m glad you found something to relieve you and help with the problems! I do like my wine though. Glad you’re feeling better:)

  14. I had to take “white foods” out of my diet when I developed a gluten allergy a couple years ago. It made me really look at everything I was eating more closely because my stomach was so out of whack it seemed like absolutely everything bothered me. I was very careful for months, but as I healed, I’ve re-introduced some things in small quantities. Now I know I can still have the occasional cookie or piece of bread, and while it may bother me at the time, in general my system is back to running smoothly.

  15. YES YES YES for all of the natural healing you’ve done!!! I love it!
    Giving up sugar is definitely tough- or anything you love for that matter, but if you makes you feel BETTER, it definitely makes it just a bit easier!
    I did a vegan diet for 6 weeks. I felt great- but once I started phasing meat/dairy back in, I felt the same! No matter what, I stick to a “plant central” diet- the majority of what I eat comes from the ground, and then I work around it.

  16. I really need to a “cleanse” like this – cutting out sugar and processed foods for a couple weeks. I’m all out of whack from the holidays and all my traveling. Also, how do you juice in your blendtec? I got a vitamix for Christmas and I’ve been wanting to do that, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  17. Love this post and the way you wrote it – my husband and I do a major cleanup of our diet, eliminating all those things you do, every year and we try to maintain a more sustainable version of it throughout the rest of the year. For me, it comes down to fueling my body with what it needs and what will make it strong and function well. I have hashimotos thyroid, so sugar and white processes foods are a big no for me. We try to limit meat consumption as well, just so we can get more plant based foods. But, I love my sweets, and I won’t completely eliminate them, they will just be a VERY small treat, and I don’t really want it as much when the eating is super healthy anyway. Great post, thanks for sharing!!

  18. I’ve been thinking about/wanting to take a closer look at my sugar intake. I know that I probably eat a lot more than I care to admit and I would like to reduce it. Not for weight loss reasons but more because I don’t want to feel like a slave to it and I want to see how my energy levels will change as a result. That’s the biggest thing for me – energy. So I’m trying. I’m so glad to hear that your change in diet has helped you.

  19. Good for you!!! I am also a girl that doesn’t have the most regular “poo” cycle and I am often drinking a couple of caffinated beverages in hopes of getting some movement down there. I can totally understand how uncomfortable it is…and I think that it is so inspiring that you are making these changes and seeing changes!!! I think I should look into this a little bit deeper…

  20. Love that you are feeling better! I struggled with horrible acid reflux and stomach issues for years and when I went vegan my health and life completely changed for the better. My energy is high and I rarely get sick anymore and all of my previous health issues are gone.

    I agree, however, that what you eat is about balance and though I try to stay away from refined sugar and refined grains as much as possible, I won’t stop myself from making a batch of peanut butter cookies at 10pm if I feel like it :)

  21. Awhile ago I got sick and just did not feel like eating anything – so that meant I wasn’t eating my night time snacks. After 2 weeks I didn’t even notice that I wasn’t eating them and didn’t miss them… and I felt better. Then for some reason I had a craving and had some chocolaty treat before bed – then the next night – then the next – and so on. Arg! If I can just not do it for awhile my body adjusts to it but once having that sugar in your system you just keep craving it.

  22. I cut out all added sugar on December 31 and I haven’t touched it yet (save for an accidental flatbread that was made with honey, whoops). I feel amazing, but I can’t tell you that my sugar cravings are totally gone. Seeing various baked goods while I scroll through Pinterest still makes my mouth water.

  23. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me!! I’m feeling stuck in a rut, and would love posts discussing some meals you are enjoying! I follow you on Instagram, so I already have some ideas, but maybe some inspiring grocery store lists?!? :) Pretty please? :)

  24. I always think I don’t have a sweet tooth until I try to go off sugar. Haha. Glad it’s been working so well for you!! I don’t like the taste of alcohol either. I kind of wish I did, but I just don’t. Maybe champagne. Haha.

  25. Great post, Linds. Have you seen “Hungry for Change?” Really made me realize how addictive sugar is and the power it has. Are you checking labels for everything (like sugar) right now? Or just in the previous few weeks? Because I avoid obvious sugar sources but don’t check labels all the time…just curious.

    So glad you’re feeling better! Keep it up! And I like your plan going forward – definitely sustainable!

  26. That’s awesome you’ve seen improvements! I’ve never cut out sugar or white carbs from my diet, mostly because I’ve never had a reason to. Like you said, I love my desserts too much! However, if there was a possibility it could help me solve some other health issue, then I would certainly consider it. As for alcohol, I’ve never enjoyed the taste much either. I do love a good glass of wine or a fun mixed drink from time to time, but I’ve never been a fan of straight liquor or beer.

  27. yay! So glad you’ve seen improvements. I, too, have to make a lot of the same changes. I’m not great about keeping with them because of my crazy sweet tooth, but as soon I start eating sugar again I feel not-so-good.

    I hope you continue to feel great and make progress!

  28. Okay this is ironic because I am planning a post on Thursday about the word “diet” so I’m actually glad I got this perspective. Obviously the word “diet” means the food that we eat, but outside of nutrition classes (and TRUE healthy living blogs), the word “diet” means restriction (in a bad way) to “fit into that bikini” or whatever.

    I’m so happy you are feeling better, friend! I kind of want to try vegetarian for a little while so I can force myself to try new foods. I eat A LOT of the same foods and need to mix it up!

    I’m also glad I just saw a comment about God working through fasting…now THAT is the way to do it..with HIM. Although the basic human functions still usually hold true…I did a sweets fast for lent one year, lost 5 pounds and gained it all back afterwards…so we still have to be careful. :) <3

  29. I get so excited when I see fellow health enthusiasts bringing food awareness into their lives! It’s easy to focus on the external – how we look, how much we work out, but we often ignore our internal signals. I noticed the acupuncture tag – have you written about your acu experience lately? (I must’ve missed it) I just started seeing a TCM Dr for acu but I’m not sure what to make of it yet. :)

  30. Wow–very interesting, and I’m glad you’ve had such success with the dietary changes. LIttle to no processed sugar is definitely something I think most people can benefit from if they try it. For me, the vegan part is difficult. Short term, it might be okay, but long term I seemed to struggle with my energy levels and recovery from working out. But to each their own! So, that’s awesome that you’re feeling so well!! :)

  31. I am interested in trying this out too as I have problems with “poo” too :) Did you also give up sweeteners such as Stevia/Truvia? Also, I do not typically eat diary as it upsets my stomach, but will sometimes eat Greek Yogurt. Is that a no-no too?

  32. every BODY works so differently and it’s trial and error to find it out, yes? glad this is helping. You should try sunshine burgers, those are soy free too. We love them!

    You know me and wine, it actually helps me. Red wine is good for gut flora. A glass a night, not 2 not 3, just one little 4oz love. hehe

  33. This is great. I think your body will thank you for all the changes. I’ve cut back drastically on sugar and am currently 100% gluten free and feel amazing. I try to eat mostly plants and lean proteins but I am also honest with myself and when I want a cookie or chocolate I have it! I love your 80/20 approach, I think it’s the way to go :)

  34. I try to eat a low sugar diet… mostly successfully except on cheat day. :)

    I’m suprised about alcohol. TMI, but typically *people* take a very large dump the morning after drinking mayyyybe moe than one or 2 glasss of wine. At leastr that’s what I hear.

  35. I am about 10 days into a Daniel Fast, and loving it! coming from some pretty serious food addiction issues, I was nervous about the restrictions, but God is using this time in a big way to show me how he wants to change not only my habits, but my heart.