AUTHOR: DR. JASON GRANZOTTO
There is no bad-time to start living a healthy lifestyle. However, in my opinion there is an ideal time, that being the Spring. With roots in Asian or Traditional medicine, the spring season has proven to be the optimal time for us to shed some weight, eat cleaner, improve organ function and cleanse ourselves overall.
In colder climates, the fall and winter months prove to be a time of retention and preparation for the dip in temperatures. Sure, we have heating in our homes and weather-proof clothing, but our body constitution feels the change. The cold and the dampness is a challenge to our immune system and vitality. Therefore, I encourage my patients to avoid any aggressive cleansing during the cold of winter and wait until the ground thaws. It is at this point when I encourage all my patients to adopt some form of spring cleaning. It is prudent for our homes, why not for our bodies?
A simple step into a healthy lifestyle change is dietary awareness. Take-out, desserts, deep-fried – whatever your weakness, perhaps it is time for a break from those indulgences. With 2-3 sugars in your coffee at 2-3 (or more) coffees per day, maybe your adrenals need a little love. If you really don’t know where to start, start with what you know: If it’s not healthy, maybe it’s more harm than good.
If you are ready to go a few more steps forward, then focus on our body systems. Sleep – aim for 8 hours and earlier the better. Bedtimes after 12am greatly reduce your melatonin production, a key hormone in all aspects of health. Immunity – if you had a rough flu season, consider an immune supportive formula with elderberry, vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D. Digestion – the biggie. Bowel habits should be daily, not explosive and not excruciating. They should be routine and predictable. Prebiotics and probiotics are ideal for regulating and stabilizing the gut microflora. But these benefits don’t always come easy. I’ve had many patients say “I’ve taken probiotics for ages and I still have issues” or “Once I stop my probiotics, my problems return.”
This common rhetoric points to a few possible problems: a) Their gut health still needs to improve. There is the possibly that their diet is still contributing to bad bacterial overgrowth and the probiotics are just acting as a band-aid. b) Their gut bacteria are unable to flourish due to dietary restrictions and/or a lack of natural fibre, which acts as fuel for the probiotics. This is a key benefit of prebiotics. c) Patients have a lack of motility that causes slow transit time, leading to altered fermentation and bloating of the abdomen. This is a major complaint for gut health patients.
The bloating, swelling, inflammation and pain associated with an unhealthy gut is a massive contributor to excess weight gain. But Spring is a great time to address these issues. Eat better and you’ll feel better. Reduce inflammation, eliminate bloating, improve regularity and your abdomen will shrink. Tying your shoes will no longer be a chore. The microbiome is a checkpoint for all organ systems, including the liver, the stomach, the immune & nervous systems. Nurture all these systems through the gut microbiome. Prebiotics for the win.