Last night my friend’s 40th birthday party marked the end of a chocolate and alcohol abundant, sleep and exercise poor summer.  I’m feeling sluggish, heavier and getting out of bed for a morning ride has turned into pulling up the doona.  But from this morning and for the entire month of February I am embarking on a journey back to health using Gut Goddess – Dr Grace’s7 Steps to cure SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) as my template.

I’ve been following Grace Liu’s chaotic but fascinating gut blog animalpharm for a few years now.  Grace is a pharmacologist and is one of those rare people who enjoy reading scientific papers in their spare time.  With geek-grade enthusiasm Grace shares her discoveries; everything from the great potato starch debate to the beneficial effects of chitin fibre found in cricket flour.  Grace advocates what she calls microbiome-hacking using the information she finds in scientific studies as a guide to self-experimentation.  She encourages others to share their gut journeys along the way.

It’s been empowering to apply Grace’s hacking approach to our own health – for the pastyear Grace’s blog has helped our family heal a can’t-leave-the-house level eczema problem that mainstream and alternative therapies failed to treat for many miserable and itchy years.  Here I’m going to be a bit more systematic and follow Grace’s 7 step protocol which goes like this:

Step One – Eat Fermented Foods
Step Two – Eat Resistant-Starch-Rich Tubers, Grains, Legumes and Pulses
Step Three – Eat Soil-Based Probiotics
Step Four – Eat Diverse Fibre
Step Five – Exercise low-moderate intensity one hour daily continuously (10,000 steps)
Step Six – Avoid allergenic foods  (corn, soy, gluten/wheat, dairy, nuts, egg whites, etc),  GMO products and livestock/poultry fed GMO crops
Step Seven – Heal hormones and immunity — take adrenal support, liver support, antioxidants etc

It all seems simple enough though I’m not sure what I’d eat if I had to go without dairy, eggs and corn (ours is almost ready to harvest).  But first, before I head up Grace’s steps, I have bought a uBiome 5 site test to find out what’s happening in my gut after the recent Summer assault.

The uBiome kit will tell me what state my microbiome is in by collecting bacteria from my skin (rubbing a swab behind my ears), my mouth (swab inside the cheek), my nose (a cotton bud up a nostril) and my genitals (well you get the picture – it’s all swabbing and rubbing).  What about the poo you ask? (everybody always wants to know about the poo). I too, was worried about the mechanics of poo collection – the high probability of an accidental spillage and/or accompanying family ridicule.  However, I was comforted to discover the instructions telling me all I have to do was,  “Swab your toilet paper… just enough to change the color of the swab.”
The results come back from uBiome in 4-6 weeks and at the end of February I’ll do the 5 site test again and see if anything’s changed.  If you’re on your own Unglut Your Gut journey let us know how you’ve gone about it and how you’re feeling now.  We’ll give our favourite story a Generous Cook’s Box – email us at more … 


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