EATING WELL IN KANSAS CITY - February 2020
Holistic Keto for Gut Health
By Kristin Grayce McGary
Excerpt from Chapter 1: An Epidemic of Autoimmunity and the Unhealthy Gut
You’ve probably heard the maxim: you are what you eat. The truth is closer to this: You are what you digest and absorb. Most people in developed nations consume grains, gluten, milk, eggs, processed foods, trans-fats, preservatives, food colorings, non-organics, soy, corn, buckets of sugar, and increasing amounts of genetically modified foods. We’re exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, paints, sealers, glues, and heavy metals through our air, water, food, and body care products. We endure incredible burdens of stress in a culture ever more obsessed with speed and consumption. We don’t just want fast food, but also instant medical treatments, get-rich-quick business deals, rapid promotions, turbo-charged cars, hyper-passionate relationships, dramatic detoxification programs, power yoga, and even instant enlightenment!
All these factors impact your overall health and well-being, especially your gastrointestinal health, where the gut’s capacity to absorb nutrients becomes impaired, resulting in malnourishment (even as you overeat) which contributes even more stress.
The gut is the throne of immune function. The complex enteric nervous system (often referred to as the second brain) located in your gut is a vital organ that affects every aspect of your physical, emotional, and psychological health. If there’s any imbalance, your body is compromised, and you will suffer in some way . . . eventually.
Bottom line, if you’re alive on the planet today, your gut is under attack, and the epidemic of autoimmunity and autoimmune disease, cancer, and allergies in the United States today is proof. These are all symptoms of immune dysfunction. Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system is misdirected and attacks your body by making antibodies against your own tissues.
Symptoms of immune and gut dysfunction are ubiquitous and rarely identified as what they really are. Hypersensitivities to foods or to environmental allergens such as pollen, perfumes, toxins and cleaning products often appear prior to a full-blown autoimmune disease. Digestive disorders including constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, excess weight, abdominal or stomach pain or discomfort, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or acid reflux), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or irritable bowel disease (IBD), and blood or mucus in your stools are so common few doctors relate them to autoimmunity. Recurrent infections, joint and muscle pain and swelling, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, lupus, scleroderma, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, immune dysfunction disorder (also known as chronic fatigue), and Epstein Barr virus are also autoimmunity and gut problem indicators that usually end up not being treated at the level of gut function. Which means the number of people affected in the U.S. is realistically closer to 72 million--nearly a quarter of the population.
From Chapter 5: Functional Ketogenic Gut Repair Basics
First off, please note that when I talk about diet I’m not talking about the modern concept of the word--a fad or weird formula of eating you painfully embrace for a few weeks in order to lose weight on some crash program. The functional ketogenic gut repair program is the exact opposite of a fad diet. It might be better and more accurate to call it the Functional Ketogenic Lifestyle, because this is about making an overall nutritional, lifestyle, and attitudinal change about your food and health. S
Secondly, please note that ketosis is not the same thing as ketoacidosis. Sometimes people misunderstand and confuse these two terms. Ketoacidosis is a dangerous metabolic state that can even be fatal, most often occurring in untreated type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetics. There is some debate as to whether a ketogenic diet is healthy for people with any type of diabetes. The literature points to positive benefits in preventing, halting, and even reversing diabetes symptoms by lowering blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels. This is especially effective for type 2 (non-insulin-dependent, that is, “adult onset”) diabetes and is effective in type 1 diabetes with the guidance of a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner.
Ketosis is the metabolic state in which the body relies primarily on fats rather than carbohydrates for fuel. It’s the natural (and desirable) state to evoke, because over millions of years we’ve evolved to store fat when food is abundant and to burn fat when food is scarce. This is the essential formula for a true ketogenic-type nutritional plan. After all, most of us aren't going without food for extended periods as our ancestors once did. And Paleo diets that feature high-carbohydrate foods (e.g., starchy root vegetables) that appeal to sugar/carb addicts, fail to deliver the metabolic benefits of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, true ketogenic-type diet.
Unlike other diets, the functional ketogenic gut repair program is:
1) high in healthy fat--approximately 60-75 percent of calories (gasp!)
2) adequate in protein (2 to 4 ounces twice per day depending on your weight and exercise or 20% of calories)
3) low in carbohydrates (1 ounce or less per day or 5 percent of calories)
4) free of grain-based and starchy vegetable carbs
5) high in a wide variety of vegetables
6) focuses on gut repair (unlike any other ketogenic type diet which includes gut-damaging foods like dairy and eggs)
7) empowers you with the info you need to have appropriate functional testing
8) addresses stress, hydration, exercise, and sleep
9) acknowledges the emotional aspects of the gut, offering guided introspective exercises.
Holsitic Keto for Gut Health: A Program for Resetting Your Metabolism by Kristin Grayce McGary, L.Ac., M.Ac., CFMP, CSTcert, CLP © 2020 Findhorn Press. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. www.InnerTraditions.com
Price: $16.99. To purchase this book visit B&N.com, Amazon.com, InnerTraditions.com, or your local bookstore.
Kristin Grayce McGary, L.Ac., M.Ac., CFMP, CSTcert, CLP, is an internationally recognized authority on autoimmunity, functional blood chemistry analysis, thyroid and gut health, food as medicine, and integrating mind, body, and spirit in health care. A health and lifestyle teacher, she weaves together more than 22 years of experience, education, and wisdom to empower you to heal on all levels. She lives in Boulder, Colorado. https://www.kristingraycemcgary.com/