Gut Health – Heal Your Gut (Part II)

27 Mar


coconut yoghurt


Let’s get straight into it! Last week we covered the first 2 elements to healing your gut – Probiotics and Bone broth, please click here to read if you missed it.

This week we will be covering another 2 key elements to gut repair – Glutamine and Fermented Foods!




Glutamine is an amino acid (building block of protein) that is probably the most important one for mucosal repair. This protein molecule provides the fuel for our intestinal mucosa as well as for our lymphocytes (white blood cells) and macrophages (another white blood cell that gobbles up debris and waste product like ammonia and removes it from our body).  Those white blood cells are what we call the front line of our immune system  so if glutamine levels are low, not only is our digestion poor but our immune system is also compromised.

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body as our body can make enough glutamine for its regular needs, but after extreme stress your body may need more glutamine than it can make. Most glutamine is stored in muscles followed by the lungs, where much of the glutamine is made.

Now this makes sense doesn’t it? Think about when your tummy troubles started? Was it after illness, surgery or an extended period of time when your body was under stress?  Unfortunately, life these days can be very stressful and our body can remain in ‘fight or flight’ mode which is a stress response for long periods of time.  In this case, your body has probably been using more glutamine than it can make and therefore your intestinal mucosa has not had adequate levels of this fuel needed to keep healthy. Nor has your immune system had enough fuel.  That is another reason why we can get sick when we are run down after stressful times.





So where do we get more glutamine?

We can get it in our diets, here are the most common food sources of glutamine:

– cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, milk and yoghurt

– most animal protein sources (eggs, fish, chicken, pork, beef)

– vegetarian and vegan sources are raw spinach, raw parsley, and cabbage

The highest source of glutamine that is not an animal source is oats. So it’s another good reason to get stuck into your porridge of a morning in the cooler months that are nearly upon us.  Oats are also classed as a ‘nervine’ which means they help relax and nourish the nervous system.  A bowl of porridge is sounding quite good now isn’t it?  Another way to use  Oats is by making this yummy slice – Natural New Age Mum’s – Blueberry Breakfast Slice 

Click here to make this extra scrummy porridge from Mamacino – How good does this look? –  Banana Porridge with Toasted walnuts and Maple Syrup.







When someone has really low levels of glutamine or is suffering from any digestive issues where the bowel is involved (Crohn’s, IBS, Ulcerative colitis, multiple food intolerances) they will probably need glutamine in a supplement form to really help repair that gut lining.  Glutamine, usually in the form of L-glutamine, is available by itself or as part of a protein supplement. These come in powder, capsule, tablet, or liquid form.  The supplemental range is 500-3000mg/day.  Athletes will need more, as tissue injury or overuse of the muscles will deplete glutamine constantly (remember where we make it in our body?) and that is why you see athletes taking it and why it’s available from all the sports supplements brands.

Glutamine supplements should not be taken with hot food or hot beverages as the heat will destroy it and children under 10 years should only consume amino acids in their whole protein form (food source), not as individual amino acid forms.  I also advise that you take glutamine under the supervision of your health practitioner.

Below is a list of conditions that Glutamine can help with

– alcoholism

– autism

– behavioural problems

– bone formation

– chemically sensitive individuals

– chemotherapy

– depression

– epilepsy

– exercise trauma

– gut irritation

– hypertension

– infection

– leaky gut syndrome

– poor concentration

– radiation damage

– stress

– surgery

– ulcers

– wound healing


You can also have too much glutamine! Have you ever felt funny after consuming MSG otherwise known as Monosodium glutamate? This is a taste enhancer commonly found in Chinese food and processed and packaged foods to enhance flavour. Any ingredients classed with the numbers  620 – 637  are a form of MSG. If you unknowingly consume this, you can use Vitamin B6 to overcome the symptoms of excess glutamate (nausea, flushing, burning lips, insatiable thirst are the most common).  I would advise to just not eat anything you know has MSG in it and always check if dining out or getting take away if they add this substance to the dish.  It is very unlikely you would ever get these symptoms from consuming glutamine in supplement form as it acts very differently in the body to glutamate!




Image courtesy of Peace, Love and Vegetables



Fermented and Cultured Foods

I almost don’t know where to start with this one…I have to say now….it’s my FAVOURITE WAY to heal the gut and provide ongoing maintenance.

Why? Well they can be used at all ages and incorporated into your daily diet. What the fermentation of food and drink does is provide the good bacteria that keeps us in balance in so many areas as mentioned in last week’s blog.  The good bacteria will keep the gut healthier and therefore the immune system stronger, your body’s immune response will be faster and your acid/alkaline balance will be better.  If good bacteria is extremely compromised, I do suggest probiotic supplements first but when the levels have been replenished, get fermenting baby!

Fermented and cultured foods and drinks include – yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, labne, certain cheeses, pickled vegetables of any sort, pickled fruits, miso, tempeh…there are probably more that I have not thought of!

If fermenting scares you or you are strapped for time or maybe want to see if you like the taste first without going to the effort, a wonderful company has done the work for you!

Peace, Love and Vegetables is a Byron Bay based company (sound good already don’t they!) and they make wonderful, ready to buy off the shelves fermented products.  They are sold in a lot of healthfood stores now so you should ring your favourite one and see if they stock it and if not, ask them too! The lucky people who live in the Byron Bay area can also get their hands on the fermented coconut products soon which are just now going through the food authority process.  In all the other stores stocking this brand, you should be able to buy these 4 forms of ‘kraut’

– Super Green
– Kim Chi
– Sea Vegetables 
– Dill

These are all fabulous accompaniments to meat dishes and you can also stir through salads and raw or cooked veggie dishes or whack in a sandwich or wrap – Mmmmm!

They are in the process of setting up a website but visit them on their FB page here and like them so you can be kept in the loop!


peace, love and vegesimage courtesy of  peace, love and vegetables

Now, down to the business of fermenting and culturing at home!!

There are some amazing pages and blogs out there that really get into fermenting all different types of things so I’m going to hit you with links and recipes galore now!

The Eco Mum does a lot of fermenting and her recipes range from fermenting her own vegetables with home made whey  to making her own probiotic fruit

Lou from Fridgescrapings is also a keen fermenter, her recipes are awesome – Cultured Almond Cheese  is a favourite! I will also be sharing her Do It Yourself Kombucha recipe further down.

Kristin from Mamacino makes a yummy cultured cheese from yoghurt (labne)  How to make Labne and a bit about Lacto-fermentation which can be a wonderful healthy dessert accompaniment as you will see from her gorgeous photo.

Another brilliant link especially for the kids is this blog here 10 Fermented Foods that Kids Love by Nourished Kitchen

And some posts from The beautiful family at A Girl, a Guy, Furkids and Food –

Sauerkraut -it’s really good for you and How to Make cream cheese

And last but not least, 2 links from my blog that were provided by Leah pepper

How To make water Kefir and How to make your own Coconut Yoghurt (there may or may not be a healthy chocolate brownie recipe snuck in with this one – just sayin!)


Win this from Durand Filters, details next week!

Next week  in the Gut health Series :  Kombucha!

Why I love it, How to make it, Where to get your ingredients and how to win your very own Kombucha making and dispensing vessel!

This is going to be expanded upon quite a bit as I have just received my new Kombucha vessel (pictured) and will be getting my ‘scoby’ or ‘mother’ to start my fermenting process over the Easter break.  

What this means is that will be a whole blog dedicated to this yummy drink and how to make it and GUESS WHAT?

I will be giving away a Kombucha vessel just like mine to a lucky blog subscriber thanks to Judy at Durand Water Filters

For anyone keen as mustard to get their ‘booch’ on before next week, this is Lou’s awesome DIY kombucha blog  

and if you get in contact with the lovely Judy from Durand Water Filters she will sort you out with a kombucha vessel. 

To enter, you must be a subscriber of this blog so when you’ve finished reading this, go click on ‘follow blog by e-mail’ and register your e-mail address so you are all prepared for next week!

You can also like Durand Facebook page Here (hint – you will need to do this anyway to enter competition)!  This give away is for Australian residents only.

Yours in Health,

Alisha x




11 Responses to “Gut Health – Heal Your Gut (Part II)”

  1. Jennifer March 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Another fantastic blog about gut health! I am really enjoying these and I can’t wait for next week’s blog about kombucha. I have been wanting to make my own for a while now, so I’m very excited about the giveaway too!
    I have also found an interesting website called (it’s American). She has a wonderful story about how pro biotic foods have changed her life and how she used them to help her premi baby thrive.

    • Naughty Naturopath Mum March 29, 2013 at 7:08 am #

      Thanks Jennifer and yes these kombucha jars are amazing! Also have seen that site! Glad you are excited about next week, me too! X

  2. Lou March 28, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Oh wow those kombucha vessels look AWESOME – better than my old glass jar set-up 😉 PLus the continuous-brew method is a lot easier on the SCOBYs so I would love to try brewing that way… exciting 🙂 Fabulous post as always…. I’m going to go raid my Mum’s parsley patch right now!!!

  3. mamacino March 29, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Thank you Alisha for this great post. I am so excited to get stuck in to fermented foods and really appreciate all of the links you have included xxx


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