How is your gut health affecting your energy levels?
In this episode of the Love Your Gut Podcast, I talk about the connection between gut health and energy, the five kryptonites that are keeping you unwell, how to change your mindset to improve your overall health, and why you should be looking at the root cause rather than individual symptoms.
Topics Covered in This Episode:
- [08:14] The first kryptonite: Caffeine
- [09:31] The second kryptonite: Restrictive diets.
- [10:49] The third kryptonite: Taking hormone balancing supplements
- [11:51] The fourth kryptonite: Unnecessary testing.
- [13:16] The fifth kryptonite: Waiting until you’re less busy.
- [15:31] Finding the root of all your symptoms.
- [17:12] The connection between the gut and energy levels.
- [19:27] Look at your minerals.
- [25:16] Optimize your gut bacteria to balance your hormones.
If this episode has been helpful, hit me up on Instagram, and tell me about your experience!
- Instead of caffeine, make a mineral mocktail (sparkling water, lime juice, mineral-rich salt, and coconut water).
- Instead of restricting foods, increase prebiotic fibers, polyphenols, and resistant starch (berries, cherries, green tea, onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas, and cooked and cooled rice and potatoes).
- Stay hydrated.
- Ground chia seeds, magnesium, and ginger tea to assist with bowel movements.
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- “The best investment you can make in yourself or in your future is in your health.”
- “You can’t address your hormones without addressing your gut.”
- “You’re never less busy.”
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Dr. Heather Finley
Dr. Heather Finley 00:30
Hey, welcome to the love your gut podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Heather Finley, I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to love my gut when all it does is hold me back. I thought the same thing before I found my own relief from my own gut health issues. I dedicated my life to getting to the bottom of my own gut issues, so I can help women just like you transform theirs. Now I’m here to guide you through your own gut health journey. We do this through identifying your root causes and making sustainable and transformational changes. As a result, you can unleash your true potential. My goal is to empower you with the information and tools you need to love your guts. So it loves you back right here on this podcast.
Dr. Heather Finley 01:13
Hello, hello, and welcome back to the next episode of the love your gut podcast. Thanks so much for joining today. I’m really excited to talk about the connection between gut health and energy. I know one of the most common questions that I get over on Instagram is about hormones, and gut health and the connection. And why do I just feel so dang tired all the time. So this episode is going to break all of that down and give you some good tips to implement if you are looking to not only improve your gut health, but also improve your energy levels, which I think probably everybody is these days as a busy woman, as an entrepreneur, potentially, as you have tons of things going on in your life, you want to feel healthy, and in command. Maybe you want to feel like Wonder Woman, the title of this episode is your gut is your superpower. So I’ll be making some references.
Dr. Heather Finley 02:11
So you want to wake up every day jumping out of bed feeling like Wonder Woman. But unfortunately, maybe you don’t always feel your best. I think some of us rarely feel our best, you know, you have GI symptoms, you’ve got brain fog, you have low energy, maybe you don’t just feel burned out, but you actually are burned out, you’re begging yourself for a vacation, but you have so much going on in your life, you don’t even know when you would have a 10 minute break to just step away from things. These are things that we commonly hear from the women we work with in the gutTogether program. So many of them are busy working moms that have tons of things going on. And they’re like, I feel like my life is just happening to me, instead of me actually living in the present moment. And I’m here to tell you that it is possible to live the life that you want, without feeling like everything is just piling on top of you. Because when you have GI symptoms or you have brain fog, you probably feel like you are just reacting to things all the time. You know, your symptoms are unpredictable, you never know if you’re going to feel well enough to work at your full potential. Or if ever, you know, maybe you’ve felt really crappy for a while. I know we tend to see a lot of women in the postpartum phase that feel like they just never get out of that which I know a lot of people will say once you are postpartum you always are. But once you’re out of that, you know newborn fog or haze that they call it, you’re expecting your energy to come back and it just never does. And so every day it just feels like a new adventure and not in the fun. Like I’m going to Disneyland kind of way. It’s okay, why do I just feel so dang tired? What’s going on. And I’m here to tell you that the best investment you can make in yourself or in your future is in your own health. Because if you don’t feel well, then you can’t do all the things that you want to be able to do. And if you’re constantly held back by your energy levels and the digestive symptoms that you’re having, I challenge you to think about how that’s impacting your career, and your family and even your relationships. So what if your superpower was actually your gut health?
Dr. Heather Finley 04:29
I have met many of you over on my Instagram, DMS, but if we have not formally met, my name is Dr. Heather Finley. I’m a registered dietitian and gut health specialist and I have my own story with this. So many years ago, I was working in a brick and mortar private practice, and I loved what I did. I saw clients I loved being able to see my clients on a day to day but I was so burnt out. I had a packed schedule I had no whitespace on my calendar. And to be honest, I think for a while, I really thrived on that. I was like addicted to the stress almost. And I think a lot of us live our lives that way just so addicted to, you know, the adrenaline of like, I saw this many clients that week, or I achieved this many things at work, and don’t take the time to pour into ourselves so that we can pour into others. And I found myself just feeling more and more tired. So, so exhausted. And, you know, on the outside, if anyone looked at me, they would have said, like, oh, yeah, Heather, she’s one of the healthiest people that I know, she, you know, exercises every day, she, you know, prioritizes her sleep, she, you know, eats really healthy etc. Like I was the quote, unquote, the pinnacle of health. But, you know, to be honest, I felt like such an impostor, because I’m like, I am not the pinnacle of health, I’m dragging myself out of bed every morning, and I feel exhausted at 2pm Every single day. My sugar cravings are really high right now. And I just don’t feel like myself, I felt like I was having mood swings and just couldn’t focus. Like I used to be able to, and I also was forgetting a lot of things. The brain fog started to get so bad. I was forgetting to do things or forgetting to, you know, call people back or forgetting, you know, even simple things, which aren’t very simple, but that, like I had something in the oven and, you know, just kind of burning the candle at both ends, and finally realized, like, Okay, I’ve something has got to change and took a deeper dive into what was actually going on with my own health and realized, wow, there are so many underlying issues that are going on, that I haven’t addressed. There were mineral deficiencies that I hadn’t addressed. There were some gut infections that I had probably contracted, you know, over the years. And I was like, okay, now’s the time, I’m going to practice what I preach. And I have to get a hold of this. So I can continue helping people. And I’m so glad that I did, because it helped me not only to have a clearer mind, but it helped me to become an even better practitioner because I could be fully present for the clients that I was seeing. And I just felt better, I had more energy for things outside of work, I had more energy for relationships, I had more energy for travel, I had more energy for my husband, and so it just paid off dividends in my life.
Dr. Heather Finley 07:41
So today, I want to talk a little bit about just the five types of kryptonite that are keeping you on well, they may not be what you think, some mindset shifts that will help unlock the key to gut health and overall health no matter how busy you are, and some specific ways to improve your gut health this week. So I think a lot of times we think, Oh, I’m super busy, I will just fix my gut health later. And I’m here to tell you, you can’t wait till later because later will never come.
Dr. Heather Finley 08:14
So the first kryptonite that I want to talk about is it caffeine. So caffeine is something that we probably rely on a bit too much. But I want to talk about why that affects your gut health and how that actually creates more of an energy problem, even though you think you’re drinking it to create more energy. So caffeine is going to burn up your adrenal glands. Those are the little glands that sit on top of your kidneys. And as they get exhausted, it will make you feel exhausted and tired. Your tolerance to caffeine will diminish. You might feel anxious, you might feel jittery. And this is where you may if your adrenals are burnout, you may feel exhausted in the morning, you may feel like you are taking forever to get going like it just takes you a couple hours to really wake up. Maybe you are like living on caffeine all day long. But then maybe you get this burst of energy before bed even though you swore that you would go to bed earlier. You end up staying up way too late. You never get enough sleep and you really wonder you know why you’re dragging all day long, and the cycle keeps repeating and it’s really hard to interrupt this cycle because you’re just so flat out exhausted. So that’s, that’s number one.
Dr. Heather Finley 09:31
Number two is maybe you’re on a really rigid or restrictive diet. We see a lot of women that have resorted to doing this because they just don’t know what else to do. They are so bloated, they’re having skin rashes, they’re getting migraines and they just know okay, if I just eat the same things every single day, then I will feel better. But the issue here is that this actually starves your good gut bacteria and you need diverse amounts of bacteria to produce something called short chain fatty acids. And we’ll talk about this more later. But short chain fatty acids are really important for your brain, they’re anti inflammatory, for your gut health and just for overall inflammation in the body. If you just feel generally inflamed, or you struggle with any kind of inflammatory disorder, short chain fatty acids are your superpower. When you fail, this elimination diet that you’ve started, you know, maybe for the fourth, fifth, sixth time, you probably feel like you’ll never find relief, because you couldn’t do it perfectly. So then that further feeds the this idea of I don’t have time to do this, I, I can’t do this elimination diet perfectly, so I’m never going to feel better. And I’ll share with you why that’s not true.
Dr. Heather Finley 10:49
The next thing is maybe you have struggled with other hormone issues, and you’ve been on maybe even bioidentical hormones or hormone balancing supplements, or even, you’ve gone to see different hormone specialists, but you still feel exhausted and tired all day long. And what I want to share with you is, you can’t address your hormones without addressing your gut, one of the ways that we detox hormones is actually through our stool. And so if you’re not having regular bowel movements every single day, you can’t detox your hormones, you need to be going to the bathroom multiple times a day, if not just at least one time every single day. And eliminating, because that’s how we partially keep our hormones in check. So if you’re taking all these hormone balancing supplements, and yet you still feel really exhausted, but you’re really constipated, or vice versa, it would be really important to look at your gut health.
Dr. Heather Finley 11:36
The next kryptonite that I often see is, maybe you have spent a fortune on tests, maybe you have done a GI map, or you’ve done food sensitivity testing, that’s a really common one. Or you’ve ordered, you know, one of the Instagram tests that you see people talking about, and you’re like, Okay, this is the magic ticket, this test is going to solve my problems. And I just need to know what foods I can’t eat. And then I will feel better. And so you’re really hopeful about these results. And you get really excited when the results come in. And then maybe what comes back is it’s all the foods that you typically eat every day. So you feel super defeated. Again, how are you going to do this? What am I supposed to eat. Or maybe if you did gut testing, or like I have no idea what this means or how to interpret it, there’s really no sense in buying testing off the internet, if you don’t know how to interpret it, you would be better off spending that money elsewhere, whether it’s investing in someone to help you or investing in things that are going to support your health long term. But this these tests, especially food sensitivity tests, they still perpetuate this need to be perfect. versus you know, working with someone who’s going to actually test the right things. And who’s going to show you exactly what you need to do to start feeling better.
Dr. Heather Finley 13:16
And then the last kryptonite I already mentioned, but I want to reiterate is you’re gonna wait to address these things until you are less busy, and you’re never less busy. The goal is actually to know how to feel good, even when you are busy. Because that’s actually when you need to be at your best, right? When you’re in a busy season for work, or you’re in a busy season with your kids. You want to be able to thrive you want to be on your A game, so that you can push and pull at the right times. And so if you’re waiting for the perfect time to address your gut issues or your hormone issues, there never will be. And honestly if the plan is so restrictive that you feel like you can’t stick with it, then you need a new plan. Because the goal is not to just feel great for two weeks. The goal is to actually feel great for the long term. So you need to find something that’s going to help you navigate your life and
Dr. Heather Finley 14:16
your specific needs for the long term as symptoms and circumstances come up. So really, what we want to do here is instead of band aiding our symptoms, you know, relying on caffeine, because we’re so exhausted, just continuing to cut out foods, so we’re not bloated, taking hormone balancing supplements that we don’t know what they do, or spending a fortune on tests or just really not doing anything. We want to address them at the true source really regardless of how busy you are. And that’s what I want to show you that you can do today and show you some simple things that you can implement in just potentially look at.
Dr. Heather Finley 14:55
Hey there, I know you’re absolutely loving this episode on gut health but I have to interrupt to ask you a favor. If you haven’t enjoyed the love your gut podcast, the best way that you can support us is by leaving a rating and review on your favorite podcast platform. Your ratings and reviews help us reach so many more people and spread the word about the importance of gut health. So go on over, hit a five star rating and leave a review, letting others know how much you love the show and what your favorite episode was, I truly appreciate your support and can’t wait to bring you more gut loving content.
Dr. Heather Finley 15:30
Another just mindset shifts that I have to share with you is you really don’t need separate doctors for every single issue, you need to understand how all the things that you’re struggling with are rooted in the same problem. So instead of like looking at your body as like, Oh, I’m in a patch, treat these symptoms, we want to look at how its functioning together. So to just give an analogy that potentially you can relate to the team that you work on at work, or maybe you’ve been a part of a project before only works if everyone’s on board, right? Like you maybe have these new goals for your quarter or for your team. And these goals are only going to be accomplished. If everyone understands the goals, they understand the direction that you’re going, and they understand the plan. If you never communicated that to the rest of the team, you’re not going to get anywhere. Similarly, you know, on an entrepreneur standpoint, a lot of people think like, Oh, when I get new branding or colors, I’ll just attract all my dream clients. But new branding or colors or even a website won’t work if you haven’t considered your marketing your copy your sales or even how you’re helping people and what your program looks like. So we want to look at the root of the issue and how it all works together, just like we would water a tree and tried to nourish the entire tree versus just watering individual leaves on the tree.
Dr. Heather Finley 17:06
So hopefully those analogies kind of help just bring that point home to you. But what I want you to understand here is that gut health and energy levels are really closely connected. Because the gut plays a crucial role in our overall health and well being. We’re now finding research showing how the gut is really connected to everything in the body.
Dr. Heather Finley 17:29
Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria, known as the gut microbiota, which are really responsible for so many of our bodily functions, including the production of neurotransmitters, also hormones, and then other just metabolic processes that impact our energy levels. The gut brain access, which you may have heard of is the axis in which the gut and the brain communicate with each other is the connection between our gut our central nervous system, this is also a factor in the relationship between gut health and energy. Because when the gut is balanced, it supports the production of energy boosting things, such as vitamin B, 12, serotonin, norepinephrine, and an imbalanced microbiome can lead to fatigue, mood swings, decrease in energy, we know that there’s specific strains of gut bacteria that can impact to this. And that can have a positive impact on our overall energy levels and our hormones, which I won’t get into today. Because there’s, it’s not as simple as just taking a probiotic, like you’re not going to just go to the store and take a probiotic, and all your issues are going to be fixed. We’ve got to look at what are the underlying issues in your gut, that are disrupting your gut health and your energy, for example, maybe you have dysbiosis, or an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, or maybe you have Candida, this is going to disrupt your gut health and your energy production will be reduced unless you address that. So that’s where proper testing can come in with obviously a qualified professional who understands the test and can help you decide what to do you know, as a result. So looking at some of these sources of kryptonite, I want to give you some action steps that you can address.
Dr. Heather Finley 19:26
So the first that I think is really important, and very easy, is if you’re relying on caffeine all day, every day to get through the day. I want you to take a look at your minerals. There are so many minerals that are really important for energy, and as well as gut health. We need minerals, they are the sparkplugs of our body. They help us to create energy. So when we don’t have an adequate amount of minerals, we will struggle on the inner energy production. So if we understand from a mineral standpoint that that’s kind of the foundation of energy in the body, we can start supporting our mineral status, even just by the foods that we eat or the things that we drink.
Dr. Heather Finley 20:12
So one of the things that I love to do in the afternoon is instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, even though that’s probably what I want at the time, I’ll make a mineral mocktail, so I will use I have tons of recipes saved on my Instagram highlights, you can go check them out. But I will make a mineral mocktail, usually with like some sparkling water. And if you can’t tolerate sparkling water, because of the bloating that it causes, you can use regular water, I’ll add a little bit of lime juice, I’ll add a quarter teaspoon of mineral rich salt, like Celtic salt, or even just sea salt. And then I will add some coconut water as well for some potassium, potassium and sodium and magnesium are some of the key minerals that we’re looking at here. Potassium, we’re going to get from the coconut water, sodium we’re getting from the salt. And then if you wanted to add some magnesium, magnesium glycinate, or magnesium three and eight can be good options. Three and eight is really good for brain health. So you can add that, mix it all up and drink. It tastes like a little Margarita in the afternoon. Except it’s not. So it will support your mineral levels. And it will help you to feel more energized. And it’s going to support your gut health because we need minerals to create things like stomach acid, which starts the entire digestive process. So without stomach acid, everything else digestive wise suffers. So we can support our minerals and indirectly support our stomach acid levels, we can fix your brain fog, we can improve your bloating, and we can improve your energy.
Dr. Heather Finley 21:53
The next thing that I want to talk about is instead of a restrictive diet, and continuing to just cut foods out, what you can do is look at supporting your good levels of gut bacteria. And what I mean by this is, there are specific strains of bacteria that we know as Keystone strains. So bifidobacteria akkermansia, and Pakala bacterium are three of the Keystone strain bacterias. And we can support these by the foods that we eat. So specifically, poly phenols, and resistant starch are amazing for these types of bacteria. poly phenols are found in a lot of bright colored foods. So like berries, cherries, even actually, green tea has poly phenols in it. So many different foods. But focusing on adding in some of these poly phenol rich foods will help to promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut, which will then help your energy. The other food or food category to add in is resistant starch. And resistant starch is really simple to make. So if you enjoy rice, or potatoes, or any kind of starchy food, even like goons, you can create resistant starch on your own by cooking the rice or potatoes and cooling them. And then even if you reheat them, they maintain the resistant starch. And this acts just like a prebiotic to help feed your good gut bacteria. Typically, for those of you that struggle a lot with bloating, or other underlying gut issues, resistant starch is actually very well tolerated by most people. So you can go really slow, even a tablespoon at a time can really help support the growth of your good gut bacteria. Similarly, with the poly phenols, these tend to be better tolerated than like a prebiotic, which I’ll talk about in a second. So lots of poly phenols, lots of resistant starch to help feed your good gut bacteria help to increase diversity to help increase that short chain fatty acid production that we’re looking for. And then lastly, a food that you want to add in is prebiotic fiber. So not all fiber is prebiotic, meaning that it is the type of fiber that actually fuels your good gut bacteria. So prebiotic fiber we find in things like onions and garlic and asparagus, bananas, et cetera. And so these foods help to also promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut. So eating poly phenols resistant starch and prebiotic fiber is the priority. And if you’re thinking oh my gosh, there’s no way I can tolerate onions then stick with the resistant starch and the poly phenols for now, and you know, you can always work with someone to help you I understand why it is that you can’t tolerate those foods. Because if you’re really limited on what you can eat, and adding new things in just causes a cascade of symptoms, there likely is an underlying gut issue. And once you address the underlying gut issue, those symptoms go away.
Dr. Heather Finley 25:16
And then the last piece of advice that I will give you, is related to hormones. So if you really struggle with any type of hormone issue, endometriosis, PCOS, even just imbalanced blood sugar levels, where you have really heavy periods or painful periods, I would encourage you to stop wasting your money on hormone balancing supplements until you get your gut bacteria optimized. And until you are having regular bowel movements. Every single day, when your gut is imbalanced, or you’re not having regular bowel movements, it makes it really hard to balance your hormones. So you want to get to the root of that first. And you can work on having regular bowel movements each day by number one, focusing on minerals like I like the first tip, getting mineral rich beverages in throughout the day and lots of minerals in your food is really helpful. I actually have a whole other episode on minerals, I think it’s, it’s in the first five episodes of the podcast if you go back and look. So if you want to dig more into minerals, and how they help and some specific ways to add them in, go check out that episode. But minerals are very helpful, and they are going to be foundational here. So first thing work on your minerals to get your bowels moving. Second thing is making sure just in general that you’re drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated, which kind of goes along with the mineral thing. The second is actually adding in fiber.
Dr. Heather Finley 26:53
So point number two, making sure you’re getting plenty of fiber, poly phenols resistant starch in your diet. If you can tolerate a prebiotic fiber, like a sun fiber or an Acacia fiber, then you can add that in. Even like ground chia seeds can be really great if you need to get your bowels moving, and you can’t quite tolerate to seeds, ground chia seed powder can be good. And then using magnesium if needed. So you can take magnesium, you know check with your provider to work with you on a dose but magnesium can definitely be helpful. And then one of my other tricks for regular bowel movements is ginger tea so you can’t get your bowels moving ginger tea can be great at getting things to move a bit more completely. So when we do this, the success here is more energy, more stamina, you’re actually enjoying food again, you’re having better bowel movements, you’re having less bloating, a balanced mood, and then you have a clear head for really high level decisions.
Dr. Heather Finley 27:55
So just as kind of a recap of what we spoke about today, just to break it down into some action steps. Number one is I want you to include one source of a either prebiotic resistant starch or, or poly phenol rich food at each meal. So essentially just pick one and try to include one at each meal. Number two is work on your minerals so hot instead of having that second cup of coffee in the afternoon. Make yourself a mineral mocktail. Reach out to me if you have questions about it or need some ideas but make a mineral mocktail and enjoy it in the afternoon for a boost of energy and to support your cellular hydration.
Dr. Heather Finley 28:41
And then number three is find a health care professional who can really get in the weeds with you run advanced testing and give you a custom plan. Because if you need help really getting to the root of this likely you need help from somebody who can help you do that. So if you need help figuring that out, you can obviously send me a DM with any questions that you have about this.
Dr. Heather Finley 29:04
Thanks so much for joining this episode today. I hope that it was helpful and just gave you some insight as to how your energy levels are connected to your gut health and how improving your gut health will actually help you improve your energy levels help you to feel more clear headed, decrease that brain fog that you might be experiencing. And just remember, you know, instead of band-aiding your symptoms, we really want to address them at the true source because regardless of how busy you are, the best investment that you can make is in your health because when you make that investment in yourself, your life is so much more full. You have the clear head to make the hard decisions, you have the stable mood to maintain healthy relationships and you have just the overall energy to do all the things that you want to do so send me a message if this was helpful. tag me on Instagram when you are listening to this And I will see you next time on the next episode of The Love Your Gut podcast.
Dr. Heather Finley 30:05
As always, please note that this episode or anything discussed on this podcast is not a substitution for medical advice and you should always consult your health practitioner before trying anything new.
Dr. Heather Finley 30:17
Thanks so much for tuning in to today’s episode of the love your gut podcast. I have a new quiz that I’m so excited for you to take it is called which popular song describes your gut health issues? So if you’re ready to find out if you’re a slowdown by Lennon Stella or Don’t Stop Believin by journey in the world of gut health, it’s time to head over to DrHeatherfinley.co/quiz to take this new quiz and find out if your gut is rockin and rollin or more of a slow jam. And until next time, remember to love your gut so it will love you back
Please note that this episode is not a substitute for medical advice. And you should always consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes.
I’m giving your gut a thumbs up because you just finished another episode of the love your gut podcast. Thanks so much for listening in to this episode. I hope it was helpful.