Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, a Charleston-based bowel health specialist, underwent a major lifestyle change after 16 years of rigorous training to become a gastroenterologist. He says he “came out of the other side” of the house with a series of chronic health problems and wanted a real solution beyond pills and procedures. The endless hours of research led Dr. Bulsiewicz in what he calls a “plant-dominated” diet that completely changed his health and soon became the foundation of his medical practice. He is currently the author of two books: Fueled Fiberand the upcoming Fiber Fueled: The Cookbookand has gathered an impressive audience on Instagram from people around the world looking for answers to their gut health questions and solutions to (very common) digestive problems.
“We often overemphasize the importance of the frequency of bowel movements, because good digestive health is so much more than that,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz. “Regularity should simply mean that a person is ‘in rhythm’ at a pace that is normal for him. “When a bowel movement occurs, it should be complete – which is an important word for me as a gastrointestinal doctor – effortless and dare I say, satisfactory.”
Dr. Bulsiewicz says a person may think it is regular because it has daily (or even multiple) bowel movements, but a person may have constipation if his bowel movements are not complete or effortless. Although fiber and diet are not the only solutions to achieving better bowel movements, he says they are good places to start building a healthier gut and encouraging regularity. “We know that at least 95 percent of Americans are deficient in fiber,” he said. Bulsiewicz. “My philosophy is more than just eating more plants. “What my whole philosophy is focused on is to eat as many colors as possible and as much variety in meals as possible.”
Dr. Bulsiewicz says that while it is imperative to keep fiber in mind when trying to maintain a well-balanced microbiome — especially when so few Americans get enough — it is not the only nutrient or factor that plays a role. “Our modern lifestyle that causes us stress and lack of movement, preservatives and other chemicals in highly processed foods, and even our highly disinfected society can also contribute to poor digestive health,” he says. Considering that changing your diet is not an automatic way to finally find harmony with your digestive system, we asked Dr. Bulsiewicz to share what he eats during the day to stay regular, avoid constipation and maintain the optimal gut health — and general health — of his life.
What a gastroenterologist eats for healthy digestion
First things first: coffee
“I always wake up in the morning with a big cup of coffee,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz. “Studies show that coffee changes the gut microbiome for the better and has prebiotic benefits for the gut.” Although this, he recalls, is not exactly an excuse to start throwing yourself mug after mug all day (caffeine is ultimately diuretic), we love that coffee can be a beneficial part of our daily diet and contribute to promoting digestive health. The Mayo Clinic advises staying below 400 mcg of caffeine a day, or about four cups of coffee, so keep that in mind as you drink your cold biscuits throughout the day – and remember to stay hydrated along the way. Absolute benefits for bowel stimulation.
Most of the time, Bulsiewicz and his family start their day with hearty homemade smoothies. He says smoothies are a great gut-friendly breakfast because they taste great, are easy to drink and have a variety of plants – he targets five to 10 different plant foods in his smoothies – as well as protein in them. Dr. Bulsiewicz adds that smoothies are also an effective way to feed your gut germs first thing in the morning.
Dr. Bulsiewicz wants to maintain a typical grass-based smoothie, some fruits, seeds such as flax or hemp, and a healthy liquid to get a variety of plant-rich nutrients that will keep him energized until lunch. Adding a tablespoon of nut butter or protein powder – or turning it into a smoothie bowl with a generously sprinkled granola – can also help keep you active throughout the morning.
Try this delicious bowl of coconut smoothie, which is full of digestive benefits:
If you are not a fan of smoothies, Dr. Bulsiewicz is also a big fan of eating whole grains for a gut-friendly breakfast. His favorite form is oatmeal, which he completes with mixed berries, seeds, nut butter, coconut milk and cinnamon. “It is served with one side of kiwi, as research shows that consuming two kiwis a day can improve bowel movements,” adds Dr. Bulsiewicz.
Lunch is the favorite time of Dr.’s day. Bulsiewicz to clean the fridge and experiment. He says you do not need to be too complicated to make a “perfect salad recipe” and just work with what you have. “Less stress, less waste and more variety of flavors = victory.” . Bulsiewicz. “It’s always so interesting to discover it with your palate during a meal.”
Dr. Bulsiewicz prefers to make a salad in a mixing bowl instead of daily dishes to make sure everything can be mixed properly so it does not have to be confined by space. It starts with a mix of greens – spinach and arugula are almost always in the mix – and will add all the fresh vegetables and herbs at its disposal, plus a protein and one or two types of healthy fats (loves nuts for extra crunchy and avocado for a creamy texture). Finally, Dr. Bulsiewicz keeps his salad dressing simple with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
If you do not feel that your salads are not full enough or you want a little variety during the week, try making a wrapper with vegetables, a bowl of minestrone with beans and whole grains or make an accompanying salad for your lunch. . The salad does not have to be the protagonist of the show – it just serves as a simple way to get a ton of fiber, magnesium and other essential nutrients that keep your digestive system buzzing.
All day: fermented foods
Dr. Bulsiewicz strongly believes in fermented foods – he even wrote an entire section of his new cookbook about them. Yeast bread is one of his favorites, but he also prefers foods like kimchi and sauerkraut that are simple additions to his lunch salads and are easy, gut-friendly garnishes for other meals. “Bread, yogurt and pickled vegetables can all be great additions to your diet if you are also pursuing a normal digestive system,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz.
Dinner time: whole grains and cereals
Dr. Bulsiewicz loves a bowl of cereal and is particularly fond of any dish that combines beans and whole grains as a base. Some favorites are Thai and Indian curry and a burrito bowl full of herbs and spices rich in polyphenols.
“The backbone of the healthiest diet in the world is whole grains and legumes,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz. “I love farro and if I make a bowl of burrito, I will combine it with black beans, guacamole and salsa. It just has to be filling, invigorating and delicious. ”
While beans and cereals go well together, you can always enjoy some grilled chickpeas in your salad for lunch and lean on whole grain pasta, beans or lentils for dinner with a bolognese full of vegetables. Another time-saving option would be to make a rich cereal salad for lunch and serve any cereal leftovers with miso-glassed salmon and edamame at dinner.
Now that you have the gut guide to gut health, find the information a dietitian needs to know here:
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