Remove medications, practices, & foods that are damaging to your microbiome; replace the essential bacteria that you’ve lost with a robust probiotic, and restore the health of your gut with appropriate nutrients, supplements, & medicinal foods.”
“Rewilding” means the reintroduction of species into areas where they’ve become extinct, with the goal of returning to a more natural and balanced existence. It’s an important part of repairing and restoring our relationship with the natural world—not just the one we live in but also the one that lives inside us.
Just as conservation efforts of reforestation, protecting wildlife, and replenishing the oceans are essential to life on the planet, so re-creating a balanced microbial habitat in our bodies might be the single most important step in improving our individual and collective health. But how exactly do we rewild ourselves? What do we need to do to restore and maintain a densely populated, healthy microbiome, with the right mix of species all working together?
Dr. Chutkan’s Live Dirty, Eat Clean Plan embraces this “rewilding” effort within us and is a way of living that encourages optimal digestive and overall health by restoring the microbiome, both balance and diversity. The cornerstone of the Live Dirty, Eat Clean Plan is removing medications, practices, and foods that are damaging to your microbiome; replacing the essential bacteria that you’ve lost with a robust probiotic; and restoring the health of your gut with appropriate nutrients, supplements, and medicinal foods.
The Live Dirty, Eat Clean Diet is a whole new way of looking at food that emphasizes the nutrients you need to grow a good gut garden. It combines the best of how our Paleolithic ancestors ate with microbe-boosting, plant-based strategies, and it has helped thousands of Gutbliss patients with dysbiosis and autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis recover and heal. Using food as the nourishing medicine that it’s meant to be will optimize your microbiome, help you achieve and maintain your ideal weight, boost your energy levels, and improve your overall health.
The Live Dirty, Eat Clean Diet combines the best aspects of veganism and Paleo:
- Lots of high-fiber plant matter in the form of fresh vegetables and fruits
- Microbe-boosting whole grains and legumes that contain food for our microbes to eat
- The option of a small amount of high-quality protein and fat from animal sources
and focuses on ten success secrets:
- Success Secret #1: Choose your carbs carefully; focus on resistant starches and inulin
- Success Secret #2: Ferment your food
- Success Secret #3: Manage your meat intake
- Success Secret #4: Eat more plants
- Success Secret #5: Choose food with dirt on it
- Success Secret #6: Say no to sugar
- Success Secret #7: Focus on adding in healthy foods to crowd out unhealthy foods.
- Success Secret #8: Retrain your taste buds to go for more bitter vegetables in place of sugary desserts
- Success Secret #9: Eliminate Franken foods and friends; eat whole foods
- Success Secret #10: Follow the 1-2-3 Rule; consume one vegetable for breakfast, two for lunch, and three for dinner
For detailed information on how to accomplish these success secrets, as well as a list of specific foods to eat and what foods to avoid, meal plans, and recipes, check out Dr. Chutkan’s bestseller, The Microbiome Solution.
If we want to invigorate our lackluster microbiome and improve our health, we need to figure out how to escape the microbial discord of our modern existence and get back to a slightly dirtier, healthier way of life. Here are some ways to embrace a little grime and grow some microbes at the same time.
It’s OK To Be A Little Dirty
The dirt on your body doesn’t need cleansing any more than the microbes inside you do. Most of us aren’t rolling around in the mud (which might not actually be such a bad idea), so we hardly need to be washing our skin and hair every day, stripping away the oils and bacteria that keep them healthy, and replacing them with inferior storebought versions. Just as formula can never be as good as breast milk, so there’s no synthetic product you can apply to your skin or hair that can improve on what your own body can produce.
It’s OK To Be A Little Sweaty
You probably know that exercise is good for you, but it turns out it’s also really good for your microbes. A 2014 British study compared stool samples from professional rugby players in the midst of their training season to those of healthy men of the same age who weren’t avid exercisers. The athletes’ stool samples had more bacteria, greater species diversity, and significantly higher levels of the species that are associated with low rates of obesity and obesity-related diseases.
Exercise also stimulates peristalsis in your gut, which keeps the products of digestion moving and can help prevent small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). You don’t need to be a professional rugby player to benefit from the microbe-boosting effects of exercise. Simply elevating your heart rate to 20 percent above baseline with a brisk walk for thirty minutes three to five times a week is enough to stimulate peristalsis. And try not bathing afterward to enhance the effect!
It’s OK To Have A Little B.O.
A Belgian study confirmed what we’ve long suspected: the more antiperspirant you use, the more you need. Aluminum salts in antiperspirants have a greater impact on Staph, disproportionately depleting their numbers, which leads to an increase in the population of smelly Corynebacterium. So, when you use these products, you’re actually altering the microbiome of your armpit—and not for the better.
If quitting antiperspirants cold turkey seems a bit too drastic, then consider using less and try going without on days when you’re not working closely alongside others, or dab a few drops of lavender essential oil under your armpits.
For a complete list of Dr. Chutkan’s Live Dirty Lifestyle Do’s & Don’ts and her Rewilding Approach To Illness, purchase your copy of her bestselling book, The Microbiome Solution.