Bring up mastication, acid reflux, constipation or irritable bowel syndrome over lunch and you’ll probably find yourself dining solo. Not the case at StoneArch where the topic of gut health pulled a large crowd at a recent lunch seminar (aka, STRETCH Bite).
Gut Check, presented by certified clinical nutritionist and functional medicine consultant Todd Stebleton, focused on the relationship between the digestive tract and every system in the body.
According to Stebleton, gut health isn’t just about what we eat. It’s also what we digest, what we eliminate and how we live, an approach he sums up in The Super Six—half a dozen actionable steps to restore and maintain a healthy gut.
- Eat right. Stick with organic as much as possible—and food with only one ingredient. His other rule of thumb: if it wasn’t around 100 years ago (e.g., Hot Pockets, Cheerios, Velveeta), it’s probably not all that healthy.
- Drink right. Guzzle water—at least half your body weight in ounces every day. Add a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt. Why? For a host of reasons, like helping the intestines absorb nutrients, reducing acid reflux, removing toxins and preventing muscle cramps.
- Poop right. Which Stebleton defines as 6–12 inches, every day. Besides eating high-fiber foods, drinking plenty of water and staying active, Stebleton is big on mastication—chewing food 40–50 times per bite until it’s nearly liquid.
- Move right. And by “right,” Stebleton means frequently and with lots of variety—yoga, running, swimming, walking, Pilates, biking. Mix it up to keep your body from going on auto-pilot. Efficiency may be good for business, but it doesn’t do much for our health.
- Sleep right. Aim for 10 p.m.–6 a.m.: the first few hours to restore physical health, the rest to restore mental health. And no screen time one hour before bed. Research shows that the light from e-readers, tablets, cell phones and TVs block the release of melatonin, a natural hormone that tells us when it’s time to sleep.
- Think right. Believe in the things that serve you in a positive way. And let your actions and choices reflect those beliefs.
Solid, evidence-based and practical advice. With one notable exception. If you’re really going to chew every bite of food at least 40 times, make sure you’ve got at least an hour for lunch.