Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health
by Alejandro Junger, M.D.
Dr. Alejandro Junger is a cardiologist and a practitioner of functional medicine who concludes that gut dysfunction is the root cause of “most of the chronic diseases affecting people today as well as many acute problems.” Doctors will often treat symptoms rather than the root cause. Dr. Junger’s approach is to put the patient on a detoxification diet first. This often solves the problem; other times it unmasks problems, such as parasites and yeast overgrowth.
“The gut has four main parts: the digestive tube, the gut-associated lymphatic tissue [GALT], the intestinal flora [good bacteria], and the gut’s nervous system.” The author notes that 80% of the body’s immune system is in the gut. He also refers to “the brain in the gut… Amazingly, if you were to isolate these neurons and clump them all together, they would form a mass of neurons larger than the ones in your head.”
A healthy gut can make you happier. “Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of happiness and well-being, is primarily manufactured in the gut—90 percent of it, in fact… A lack of it is linked to depression… During gut dysfunction, the second brain has to dedicate energy and resources to coordinate survival mechanisms, diverting its attention from the production of healthy levels of serotonin.” A lack of serotonin can also cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
“The Clean Gut diet focuses on eating easily digestible, low sugar foods while avoiding the kinds of food that lead to gut dysfunction… The goal here isn’t to be a purist. The goal is to become clearer on the connection between what you eat and how you feel… Think of it this way: the basic template for your long-term health is whole foods minus your toxic triggers.”
“Toxic triggers are foods that may taste great but more often than not leave you feeling terrible. They can cause mood swings, indigestion, bloating, and fatigue. They may also trigger an autoimmune reaction…. The most common toxic triggers are gluten, dairy, processed sugar, caffeine, and alcohol… I can’t stress enough how important it is to identify your toxic triggers. It really is the foundation of building a clean gut and living clean for life.”
The combination of food we consume affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. “Each type of food requires different enzymes in order to be digested, so mixing too many together at once causes poor digestion and creates fatigue.” Dr. Junger also advises to “stop eating when you are 80 percent full. This will help your body digest more easily. Absorption and digestions are just as important as the types of food you eat… We are not really what we eat. We are what we absorb.”
The first 150 pages explain how the gut works, how symptoms in other parts of the body may be caused by gut dysfunction, and Dr. Junger’s Clean Gut program. The following 63 pages include recipes for shakes, soups, fish entrees, poultry entrees, lamb and beef entrees, vegetarian dishes, salads, salad dressings, and sauces.
Junger, Alejandro. Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health. New York: HarperOne, 2013. Buy from Amazon.com