Gut Recovery - What to do after Digestive Infection

Returning from retreat in Morocco yesterday, I had managed to contract a Gastro bug during my time in Africa. Feeling a bit spaced out and drained as I write this, I’m slowly and gently replenishing my body of all it has lost over the last week.

As a nutritionist, I couldn’t help but feel slightly dismayed when I realised I had fallen victim to the stomach bug (along with the rest of the group), but it served as a reminder that we are only human and definitely not above all illnesses!

To rebuild my gut health, I’ve used an adapted and shortened version of Dr. J. Bland’s 4R protocol for recovery after acute infection. Longer term chronic conditions would need more extensive support under the guidance of a registered nutritional therapist.

  • Remove
    To ensure any lingering pathogens are removed I’m using anti-microbial support for 1 week. Nutri Advanced Candibactin or Bionutri Garlic Complex both contain good quality, high dose anti-microbial herbal extracts. Oregano oil has been shown in some studies to be effective against some strains of norovirus; garlic, rosemary and thyme oil has been shown to be active against Salmonella, E.Coli and Listeria.

  • Replace
    Replacing body salts (electrolytes) after prolonged periods of vomiting or diarrhoea is very important to prevent dehydration and symptoms of muscle weakness, fatigue, loss of concentration, dizziness or headaches. Drinking water by itself is not enough as the body cannot absorb water effectively without salts and sugars present. Add sea salt to your food, eat fruit or make your own hypotonic hydration drink: 250ml fruit juice, 750ml water, 1/4 tsp sea salt. Check with your G.P. or pharmacist if you are on any heart or blood pressure medication

  • Reinoculate
    After completing anti-microbial support, supplement with a good quality probiotic for at least 1 month to reinoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria. I use UDO’s Super 8 or Dr. Mercola complete probiotics. Eat plenty of soluble fibre to support gut flora e.g. oats, all veg

  • Repair
    Support gut lining repair by increasing Essential Fatty Acid intake from oily fish or flaxseeds, antioxidants from fruits/veg/eggs, zinc from nuts/seeds/wholegrains and glutamine from juicing raw cabbage.

For symptoms that last for longer than 48 hours after exposure, see your G.P. or if you are on any other medications check with your G.P. or pharmacist before supplementing.

References
Swamy, M.K., Akhtar, M.S. and Sinniah, U.R., 2016. Antimicrobial properties of plant essential oils against human pathogens and their mode of action: an updated review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine2016.

Gilling, D.H., Kitajima, M., Torrey, J.R. and Bright, K.R., 2014. Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus. Journal of applied microbiology116(5), pp.1149-1163.

Helal, I.M., El-Bessoumy, A., Al-Bataineh, E., Joseph, M.R., Rajagopalan, P., Chandramoorthy, H.C. and Ben Hadj Ahmed, S., 2019. Antimicrobial Efficiency of Essential Oils from Traditional Medicinal Plants of Asir Region, Saudi Arabia, over Drug Resistant Isolates. BioMed Research International2019.

de Medeiros Barbosa, I., da Costa Medeiros, J.A., de Oliveira, K.Á.R., Gomes-Neto, N.J., Tavares, J.F., Magnani, M. and de Souza, E.L., 2016. Efficacy of the combined application of oregano and rosemary essential oils for the control of Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella Enteritidis in leafy vegetables. Food control59, pp.468-477.

Bland, J. 2014. The Disease Delusion. HarperCollins : New York

Raisin & Coconut flatbread

This gluten free vegan flatbread is soft and fluffy, perfect when you need that bread fix! The addition of psyllium husks helps support gut health, remove toxins and reduce constipation

Ingredients

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60g coconut flour
2 tbsp psyllium husks
2 tbsp coconut oil
300ml hot water
1 tbsp cinammon
1 tsp vanilla extract
large handful of raisins

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

  • Mix all the ingredients together except for the water

  • Add the boiled hot water and mix with a spoon until coconut oil has melted. It will turn into a gelatinous ball

  • Using your hands, split the mixture into 4 and roll each portion into a ball pushing any loose raisins into the dough

  • Press the 4 balls down flat about 2cm thick onto a baking tray to make your flatbreads

  • Bake for 20 mins until golden brown

  • When cooled, remove from baking tray

These can be kept in the fridge and toasted with some nut butter on or you can freeze them in portions and toast for soups!