Oh the demonizing of food.
So many people are saying – don’t eat gluten – it’s really bad for you.
And for gosh sakes stop eating dairy – you shouldn’t be eating it.
It is not that simple.
If you are having difficulty digesting things like bread or dairy then it is not the food’s fault. There is an issue with your gut, your microbiome.
However for some people they are celiac and definitely should never eat gluten.
And you might be missing enzymes to digest dairy, so you will always have an issue with dairy.
But if you have been eating gluten and or dairy most of your life and then developed problems, then likely you have a gut health issue.
You have developed an intolerance and your body is reacting.
So by not eating gluten or dairy, the discomfort goes away.
And you think the problem is solved.
But it does nothing to heal or repair the damage to the microbiome.
So why is that a problem?
Well because some foods that contain gluten and dairy do contain nutrients and beneficial bacteria that are not only healthy but necessary for your microbiome to function efficiently.
A healthy microbiome creates an environment that promotes health.
Allows for food to be digested, regulates the immune system, helps make nutrients like Vitamins B12 and K, is a defense against pathogenic bacteria and helps to make neurotransmitters especially ones, like GABA and serotonin, that promote sleep.
There is so much more to discover and learn about our microbiome.
Everything in our body is connected.
Eliminating certain foods can change the balance in your microbiome that can negatively affect the bacteria balance.
And of course it’s complicated.
Quality is important.
The type of dairy or gluten containing foods matter.
Eating cheap, inexpensive dairy or gluten is not likely to contain the type of healthy beneficial bacteria necessary for our microbiome.
And depending on the product, might even promote unheathly bacteria.
Which is why I think there is so many issues with these foods that leads to confusion about eating them.
For gluten containing foods, think sourdough or wholewheat.
For dairy, think plain, live culture yogurt or kefir. So interesting that some people you are missing the enzyme to break down dairy can actually eat yogurt and it is likely due to the fermentation process that makes beneficial bacteria.
And it is not just quality of food that matters.
It is also the quantity.
How much bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, pastries, cheese do you eat on a daily bases?
You could be overloading the system.
Eating a variety of food is so beneficial for a healthy microbiome.
Eating the same foods over and over again does not make for a diverse and robust microbiome.
Having a healthy microbiome also helps with sleep. One reason is because that is where the neurotransmitter serotonin is made and serotonin is the precursor to make melatonin, our sleep hormone.
Don’t let trends or misinformation sabotage your microbiome and your sleep.
Learn what works for you.