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The Gut-Body Connection with Dr. Heather Finley

Today’s podcast guest, registered dietitian Dr. Heather Finley, joins Molly to have a discussion about gut health. As a result of learning about the connection between the gut and other parts of the body and mind, Dr. Finley was able to overcome the chronic bloating and constipation she experienced for 20 years. Towards the beginning of her healing journey, there was little knowledge about how the gut works and no one was able to pinpoint the cause of her symptoms. Our understanding of digestive health has evolved and we now understand how nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset have a direct impact on it. When we talk about the gut, we need to consider the whole body.

Our narratives about the foods we should consume to maintain a healthy gut have led many of us to resort to restrictive diets. However, as we’ll discuss in this episode, gut health is not about what you shouldn’t eat, it’s about what you should. Your microbiome benefits from a diverse diet, and there’s a lot more to gut health than your food choices.

This episode will explore the gut-brain connection, how anxiety influences the gut, the myths surrounding the gut, what normal bowel health looks like, and what the gut actually does. As Dr. Finley explains, a healthy gut is much less about doing more and cutting out foods, but rather about getting back to basics and creating a solid foundation for optimal gut health.

You can pre-order Dr. Finley’s upcoming book The Healthy, Happy Gut Cookbook here: https://www.drheatherfinley.co/the-healthy-happy-gut-cookbook/

Key Highlights:

  • Dr. Heather’s origin story and how she healed her gut
  • Gut-brain connection
  • How bacteria helps us fight illnesses
  • Improving your gut health can make generational change
  • How stress and anxiety affect your gut health
  • What is normal bowel health?
  • Bloating: Causes, what is normal, and what is not normal
  • Gut health requires a solid foundation
  • What impact does water consumption have on gut health?
  • The impact of alcohol and sugar alcohols on gut health
  • How functional health can more efficiently heal your body

Episode Quotes:

By improving your gut health, you actually can create generational change. – Dr. Finley

It’s not just what we eat, and I think a lot of time … people are just paranoid of food and i think a lot of people think gut health is about what you shouldn’t eat, but really gut health about what you should eat. – Dr. Finley

Your gut microbes are picky eaters … If you eat the same things all the time you’re going to have a very limited narrow microbiome verses if you eat a diverse array of foods. – Dr. Finley

If you’re constantly stressed, it’s going to affect your digestion, which is going to lower the diversity of gut microbes that you have, which can be a vicious cycle because the more diversity you can have in your gut, the more anti inflammatory properties you are producing in your gut that are going to be anti inflammatory with your brain as well which is going to help with anxiety. – Dr. Finley0

Taking supplements could help you, but if you’re not sleeping, if you’re not eating and balancing your blood sugar, if you’re not hydrating optimally … if you’re not doing all these things then the supplements, everything you’re doing for your gut health is not going to be as effective. – Dr. Finley

About Dr. Heather Finley

Dr. Heather Finley is a registered dietitian. She helps people struggling with bloating, constipation, and IBS find relief from their symptoms and feel excited about food again. Heather struggled with her own digestive issues for nearly 20 years and understands first hand the impact that nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset have on digestive health. Gut health shouldn’t be restrictive, stressful, and all-consuming. She developed a simple way that individuals can reduce digestive symptoms and add foods back into their diet. Dr. Heather has a doctorate in clinical nutrition from Maryland University of Integrative Health. Her work has been featured in Mind Body Green, Yahoo! Life, and Very Well Health.

About Molly Carmel

Molly is a leading addiction and eating disorder therapist and the founder of the Beacon Program, which offers individual and group solutions to help people break free from their destructive relationships with food and dieting. She is also the author of ‘Breaking up with Sugar’ and the host of ‘What You’re Craving’ Podcast.

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