10 Ways To Support Your Gut And Improve Your Diet At The End Of Summer
Summer is filled with joyous memories and tasty food galore (hot dogs! tasty sides! ice cream!). While there's nothing wrong enjoying all the tasty treats summer has to offer, you may notice your body feels a little...off afterward.
mbg believes in a life filled with balance, rather than restrictive detoxes or a deprivation-based mindset. That said, it can be an act of self-care to gently nourish your body after a weekend of not-so-healthy food. To help you support your body, some of the country's best health experts share simple ways they like to promote a healthy gut and diet, particularly at the end of summer:
1. Focus on fluid and fiber.
"If I'm feeling sluggish after an indulgent holiday weekend or like I could have taken it a little easier on some of the summer treats, I generally focus on fluid and fiber to help get my digestion back on track. I drink plenty of water and incorporate high-fiber foods, including vegetables, fruits (especially berries), nuts, seeds, and avocado. The transition of late summer into early fall is also a great time to throw out anything not-so-healthy in your fridge, freezer, and cabinets or to weed out any expired items. I like to restock with healthy staples that will help make it easy to stay on track with good habits come fall."
—Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN mbg Collective member and author of The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress & Anxiety
2. Incorporate a probiotic.
Four targeted strains to beat bloating and support regularity.*
"If you're experiencing digestion or bloat issues, consider taking a high-quality probiotic each morning with [a] breakfast smoothie, and consider rotating your probiotic every six weeks to maintain some bacterial diversity. Choose a supplement with at least 50 billion CFU (colony-forming units), to help regulate your digestion and build a healthier gut microbiome."
—Taz Bhatia, M.D., mbg Collective member and board-certified physician
3. Drink more water.
"I always try to make sure we're drinking enough water. We often mistake dehydration for hunger, so staying adequately hydrated can actually curb excess food intake. Not only that, but it also flushes out the system, getting rid of unwanted materials. I aim for 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. The best way to drink that much is to keep a large refillable canteen on me at all times to sip throughout the day. I aim to refill it as many times as it takes to hit my water intake goal."
—Allison (Aaron) Gross, M.S., RDN, CDN, founder of Nutrition Curator
4. Listen to your body's changing needs.
"The transition to fall is a beautiful opportunity to tune in to your body's needs, which change with the seasons. I always see if I'm craving warmer foods or fewer raw vegetables or cold foods. I see if my body starts wanting more substantial, grounding foods. I sometimes find that as the weather gets cooler, my body starts wanting heavy foods, almost like a squirrel stocking up on acorns as winter approaches."
5. Make a cleansing drink.
"My favorite thing right now is bubbly cleansing mineral water. Make or buy sparkling water, and put a dropper-full each of chlorophyll and trace minerals in there. It's a really easy way to get your minerals in, support the liver, and get hydrated! I love to sip mine throughout the day for a gentle cleansing effect."
—Courtney Swan, M.S., and founder of Realfoodology
6. Cut back on sugar and focus on mindfulness.
"As the seasons change, I love to energize and revitalize my system with a gentle cleanse, by abstaining from sugar and processed foods. During my cleanse, I stock my kitchen with everything I need and make sure I'm prepared whenever I leave the house, and practice daily mindfulness. Two minutes of meditation a day can aid in making rational choices, being more in touch with your feelings, and will improve your willpower."
7. Cook at home.
"If I am feeling like I need to get back on track after some summer indulgence, I keep a few fundamental tactics in mind: hydration; more home-cooked meals; low-inflammatory, whole foods; and blood sugar balance. That involves healthy fats, moderate protein, high-quality carbohydrates. As long as I stay nutritionally aligned with these principles, I know I can't go wrong. A question I have also started to ask myself before eating is, 'Will my body be grateful for what I am about to put into it?' Not only does this help me look at food through the lens of nourishment, rather than restriction, but bringing more intention and mindfulness to my meals helps prevent the cycle mentality."
8. Clean out your pantry.
"My favorite way to reset for fall is to do a pantry and/or fridge clean-out at the end of the summer season. Toss that cereal that's been sitting in the back of your cabinet, and make room for new healthy foods. Setting yourself up with the right products is half the battle. After all, if you don't have healthy foods readily available, you're not going to eat them!"
9. Take a break from not-so-healthy foods.
"Because fresh produce is always at its most swoon-worthy in the summertime, I usually stay pretty healthy with my weeknight eating. Weekend or holiday drinks and dessert, on the other hand...not so much. My favorite way to reset is by giving my liver a little break by removing its three biggest vices—sugar, alcohol, and caffeine—for a week. This is something I do every fall with my clients, and they always see incredibly quick results—clearer skin, calmer tummies, and after the initial hump, lots more energy."
10. Sip bone broth.
"Since your gut is the foundation of your health, I try to work on boosting my microbiome health, so I'm prepared for before fall and cold season hits. While healing your gut is a journey, I jump-start it with a bone broth cleanse. By sipping on bone broth or doing a period of bone broth fasting, otherwise known as brothing, I give my gut a break from irritating foods and provide it with super-healing nutrients like collagen, which works to repair the gut lining. When I'm done with the bone broth fast, I sip a cup of bone broth with every meal and up my intake of probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut to get in more good immune-boosting bacteria."