A Nutrition Coach’s Take on Gut Health and Nutrition

Group 413@3x
Digest
Haley being sporty
In Chinese medicine, there’s an old saying: “when you don’t know what’s wrong, start with the gut.”

Where do you go for up-to-date information on health? WebMD? Reddit forums? With the advent of the great and mighty Internet, we have every piece of information on gut health at our fingertips.

However, it can often feel like there’s too much information out there, and it can be hard to know if your source is credible.

That’s why we teamed up with Haley Fountain. Haley is a holistic Health Coach based in Houston, Texas who focuses on gut health and balancing hormones. She answered some of our most burning questions on gut health and diet.

Why You Can Trust Haley

Health coach cooking in her kitchen

Before we jump into our interview, here’s a little info about Haley and why you can trust her with your gut health woes:

  • She has 2 health coaching certifications and she’s a member of the International Association for Health Coaches. (TLDR: she knows what she’s talking about)
  • Major gut issues plagued her growing up, manifesting through horrible acid reflux. In high school, she was taking more pills than her 75 year old grandma.
  • Haley decided to make lifestyle changes (focusing on diet, stress, and sleep) that helped improve her symptoms and get off the medications she was taking.
  • Now, she dedicates her life to educating, motivating, and inspiring others to live their happiest, healthiest lives. 
  • Firsthand experience taught her small habits are incredibly impactful on overall health.

Let’s get into our chat with Haley!

Q: In what ways does a healthy gut change your everyday life?

A: A healthy gut can, quite literally, change your life! Science is still uncovering all of the ways that our gut health impacts our overall health. Having a healthy gut can improve:

  • Immune function
  • Sleep
  • Skin issues (like acne)
  • Energy levels
  • Cognitive function
  • Mood and mood disorders
  • Hormonal function
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Weight issues
  • And more!

Q: You often talk about gut health on your Instagram. Why do you choose to speak about this so often?

A: Our gut health is connected to every other function in our body! In Chinese medicine, there’s an old saying: “when you don’t know what’s wrong, start with the gut.”

Q: What even is gut health?

A: Gut health is really referring to a healthy, balanced gut microbiome, a.k.a. the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract that break down your food. 

Q: How is gut health connected to overall health and wellness?

A: Scientists now refer to the gut as the “second brain” because of how much the gut impacts every other function in our body.

Food we eat is broken down in our digestive tract, and those nutrients are used to make every cell in our body. The majority of our immune system is in our gut, and we also have more neurons in our gut than in our spinal cord! 

Q: What are probiotics and prebiotics?

  • Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that reside in the gut.
  • Prebiotics are compounds that help that beneficial bacteria grow and thrive.

I like to think of prebiotics as “food” for my probiotics. 

Q: What are the three most important things people should know if they’re new to gut health and want to get started on healing their gut?

  1. Your gut is linked to every other function in your body. If your gut is off, everything else will be off, too.
  2. If you’re having uncomfortable symptoms in your gut, there’s tons of resources out there (including my blog!) that can help you figure them out.
  3. Some of the best things you can do to support a healthy gut: drink lots of water, get lots of fiber (25g+ per day) and eat balanced meals. 

Q: What are two good ways to incorporate prebiotics into your diet?

A: Drinking Mayawell, of course! Also, there are many prebiotic-rich foods like honey, green tea, asparagus, artichokes, and more. 

Q: What are two good ways to incorporate probiotics into your diet?

A: FERMENTED FOODS! I want to shout this from the rooftops. 

Try to get at least one serving of fermented foods in your diet per day. Some of my favorites are:

  • Kimchee (common in Korean dishes)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Raw pickled vegetables
  • Kombucha 

Also, I’m a big fan of taking a daily probiotic. We all have unique gut flora, so everyone will need a different blend.

Q: What are more important — prebiotics or probiotics?

A: Honestly, you need both. They are like yin and yang. Eating a diet rich in pre- and probiotics will set you up for a happy, healthy gut.

Q: Honestly, would you recommend Mayawell to any of your clients?

A: 100% yes! I’ve tried other prebiotic drinks out there and Mayawell is definitely my top choice for myself and my clients. They are sweet and refreshing, but not too sweet (some others I have tried are way too sweet for my palette).

Mayawell has just enough fiber so that you get the benefits without the bloating. They have so many unique flavors, too! And if that weren’t enough, they are a cause-driven company which really matters to me as a consumer.

Raspberry cucumber Mayawell

Q: Is there anything else you want to say or speak to regarding gut health or overall nutrition?

A: I am constantly talking about this with my clients and social media audience: Manage. Your. Stress.

You can eat all the kale, take your probiotics, and exercise daily… but if you are stressed out every day, it’s like two steps forward and one step back. Stress also wreaks HAVOC on your gut! 

Practice mindfulness, research embodiment practices, cultivate a gratitude practice and put your phone away sometimes. Taking care of yourself mentally must always be a priority. Namaste!