So as I continue my research for optimum health at 50, I’ve rediscovered Donna Gates. The Body Ecology Diet was the first of its kind—sugar-free, gluten-free, casein-free, and probiotic rich. In 1994, Donna introduced the latent hippie world to the natural sweetener stevia. She touted coconut oil, when everyone else thought it was an evil fat. She conveyed the value of fermented foods, and coined the phrase “inner ecosystem” to describe the network of microbes that maintains our basic physiological processes—from digestion to immunity. This is like, 25 years ago!
Donna Gates was a lone voice in a world skeptical of her use of coconut oil, fermented foods, or homemade yogurt to reclaim health. Think of all the trouble I could have saved myself if I’d just listened to her all those years ago. Donna’s groundbreaking work has been instrumental in transforming the natural foods industry!
(Actually I did try her B.E.D. protocol, and made my own kefir back in 1993, but used milk. That was before I knew I had a dairy intolerance. Talk about the opposite of a healing response, oy).
In particular, one of the cool things she is trying to bring into current awareness, is that she believes gut health can heal diabetes. Or prevent it from happening. Although diabetes may seem like a complicated illness, one factor could make or break your risk of developing the disease– is regular healthy doses of probiotics.
Apparently, the type of bacteria in your gut can influence a number of common diseases related to inflammation, high blood pressure, and obesity. Making simple changes to your diet can improve your gut health to fight autoimmune responses associated with diabetes!
According to research, your gut bacteria are the most accurate predictors for obesity compared to any other risk factors found in your genetic pool. On top of that, hormones that control blood sugar and immune response are also regulated by bacteria living in the digestive tract. What?!
Two Gut Ecology Guidelines to Remember
From the Body Ecology website:
To put it all in perspective, it helps to remember two principles about your gut ecology:
- Bacteria found in your gut can influence common diseases related to obesity, inflammation, and high blood pressure.
- The foods that you eat either nourish your gut bacteria–or kill it off. Leaving the bad bacteria. And your susceptibility to many dire health problems (I, for example, ended up with 2 mild, but IBS-activating bugs: H pylori and Candida).
You can support your inner ecology by enjoying cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages or homemade yogurt at each meal. I can’t tolerate dairy yet, so I use coconut milk and am eating rich, coconut kefir daily. Fermented foods help to inoculate the gut with friendly bacteria to keep your inner ecosystem robust and strong–maximizing its zest to effect all of your healing power.
Doesn’t it make you want to try fermented foods and kefir everyday –and see what happens?