Gut Check

As awesome as the Alaskan cruise was, it has one lingering drawback. A solid eight days of eating food that your body is not acclimated to has certain…effects. Human stomachs are rather sensitive creatures, their flora and fauna well-aclimated to our usual diets. And when you take two people that generally eat healthy and at home and transfer us to a buffet for a week? Let’s just say that even the healthier choices still weren’t quite the same.

And as the environment changes, the gut flora change as well. I swear the little bacteria throw temper tantrums like two-year-olds when they are denied their favorite foods. At least that’s what it feels like.

It takes time to undo the damage. A steady diet of the usual foods supplemented with a truckload of probiotics (seriously, we are up to our eyeballs in pills, yogurt and kefir!) slowly restores normality again.

But here’s where it gets interesting. You see, nothing in our bodies occurs in isolation. Every system is connected to and influenced by every other system.

And that includes our thoughts.

Recent studies have shown a correlation between abnormal gut flora and poor mental health. We have evolved to play host to those helpful microbes and perhaps their absence impacts much more than digestion. Eating a healthy diet impacts more than just your physical health; it improves your psychological health as well. Hmmm…I wonder if I can blame part of my end-of-the-summer grumpiness on misbehaving gut flora? 🙂

It gets even stranger. It appears as though those little gut residents can even send out neurotransmitters.

Yes, that’s right. Our gut can actually “talk” to our brain.

Are you listening?

I know when I experience anxiety, it manifests as a collection of physical symptoms before it ever registers in the brain.

I used to ignore those feelings, dismiss them as primitive and erroneous.

Now I realize that I ignored the gut at my own peril. I may have been feeding it the right nourishment, but I downplayed its cries for help.

No more.

Now I listen to my gut and trust what it tells me.

Which right now is to enjoy another pumpkin brownie before I head to bed!

Thank you for sharing!

5 thoughts on “Gut Check

  1. SoulScream – Denver, CO – I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I was the middle kid in a family of five. I was born a musician. I love the drums and electric guitar. As I grew up I found a passion for ice hockey and music. I am a product of divorce and was raised primarily by my mother. I swam competitively until college and then played ice hockey at night. I was married in Portland, Oregon and quickly moved to Denver, Colorado. In Colorado, I attended the University of Denver and graduated with a BA in Commercial Music and Composition. After I graduated I spent five years in Nashville producing a morning show on 103.3 WKDF, producing hundreds of bands, singer-songwriter demos, and commercial sound beds. We moved back to Denver after my first son Brennan was born. We ended up in Denver and struggled through fifteen years of marriage. During that time God gave me twin daughters, Ella and Amelia who are absolute blessings! My wife and I finally called it quits after twenty years. A result of my mistakes early on combined with the fact that I was married to a Masters level Marriage and Family Therapist. You have no idea! I live in Denver, Colorado and am a Dad first. I produce singer songwriters and have a deep love and respect for words. I hope to share my testimony and build a foundation of hope for all who are vulnerable, courageous and live large!
    My Testimony says:

    Love this!

  2. livebysurprise – Liv is the pseudonym reformed divorcee and single mom - now married, coparenting and working mother of three. She's been featured on ScaryMommy, HuffPost Divorce, The Mid and More at
    Liv says:

    I got really bad heartburn for years…until I left my ex. Aside from a bout when I was last pregnant, I’ve been heartburn free for six years now.

  3. 3kids2cats1divorce – Middle aged, stay at home mom to three teenagers, with two fat house cats lounging about. Estranged spouse has moved out to have a midlife crisis. I'm figuring out who I am, how to be a single mom, and looking for a job after 18 years at home raising kids. The kids and cats just want to be fed. Update January 2015: My estranged husband is now almost my ex-husband, just waiting for the judge to sign the papers. I've gone back to college and my youngest kid has started high school, which my local school board has deemed appropriate to start at 7-frickin'-o'clock in the morning. It's been almost three years since the midlife crisis blew up my family and I'm finally seeing the light at the end of that very long tunnel.
    3kids2cats1divorce says:

    This is fascinating. I had no idea there was a link between gut flora and emotions/mental health. Thx!

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