The Results of my 30 Day Gut Healing Experiment

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.01.24 AMI’d been dealing with gut and digestion issues for too long and finally had to put a stop to it. If it wasn’t the gas and bloating it was the weakened immune system or the inability to eat many of my favorite foods.

I literally could not eat more than a small sweet potato without my stomach blowing up like a balloon. The same thing would happen with a lot of my favorite fruits. Most nights I had to sit upright on the couch until 3am because I was too bloated and uncomfortable to lie down.

It was next to impossible for me to eat raw veggies and I could only tolerate a small amount of them when cooked.

And it didn’t matter how much or how little I ate. If I had the wrong food it was over. I was done.

For the last few years I also couldn’t go on a flight anywhere without getting sick. When I landed I was out of commission for the first 36-48 hours and then usually ended up getting sick a few days later. That’s because 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut.

It had to stop. I couldn’t go on like that any longer.

So on January 1st of this year I started a Paleo gut healing/ autoimmune protocol and cut out all of the following:

•    Gluten
•    Grains
•    Sugar
•    Legumes
•    Dairy
•    Fruits other than small amounts of berries
•    Raw veggies
•    Alcohol
•    Artificial colors and flavors (not that I ever had much of them)
•    Protein shakes
•    Eggs
•    Nuts
•    Nightshades

I don’t eat most of that stuff anyway (except for the eggs and nuts), and in the past I had done similar experiments but never to this level. I did what most people do- I cut everything out 95% of the time and then would sneak in a cheat meal here or there.

The thing is, unless you completely remove those foods your gut never has a chance to fully heal. So one meal in thirty days pretty much renders the whole thing pointless.

Some people will understand the elimination of gluten, sugar and dairy but be confused by the removal of eggs and nuts. If you’re gonna go all out with this you want remove all common allergens. I get a runny nose and somewhat tired after eating both of those foods so I already knew they weren’t the best for me anyway.

What Did I Eat?

I ate grass fed beef, cage free poultry, wild caught fish, wild game, organ meats, lots of bone broth and small amounts of fruits and cooked veggies (once a day with dinner).

Fermented veggies were a big part of the plan, but I had to start slowly because too many of them would cause bloating and gas. By the end, and to this day, I was pounding down quite a bit of them regularly.

At first I was eating no other carbs but I slowly added in a bit of sweet potatoes here and there and built up a tolerance to them.

As for supplements I hit high doses of probiotics, digestive enzymes, glutamine, and acacia fiber. I tried HCL but it was doing me more harm than good so I stopped it. That’s something you have to experiment with.

I grew up in an era where we popped a bottle of antibiotics every time we got a sniffle. Antibiotics can wreak havoc on your insides and lead to leaky gut. So can the consumption of too much gluten and other offensive foods.

It was tough to sit through Sunday’s during the NFL playoffs and watch my friends chow down on the healthy cheat food that my wife made. But I had to soldier through. And with each week it got easier because I continued to feel better.

On Super Bowl Sunday I broke my Spartan streak and had some eggs for brunch and a Paleo pizza made with an almond/egg white/pumpkin crust and grass fed cheese. It was the first time I had eaten those foods in as long as I can remember without having some negative reactions.

What Were the Results of my Experiment?

To put it simply I have never felt better. When I walk down the street I feel like I’m skipping. My joints hurt less, my recovery is better, my skin is clearer, my mental clarity and focus is improved.

Knock on wood, but I haven’t even gotten a sniffle the entire time. I flew from LA to New Orleans with someone coughing and sneezing on me the entire time and was fine. I didn’t have my usual hangover or get sick. Same deal on the flight back. Usually that would crush me.

For the first time in my entire life I can breathe through both nostrils.

I’m able to train more often with more volume than I used to. And I don’t require as much foam rolling and soft tissue work.

And as for my digestion and gut health…

There are no words to describe the dramatic improvements I have experienced there. No more gas and bloating. I can eat the foods I love. I’m out cold by 9:30 every night and sleeping better than ever.

What Will I Eat Going Forward?

I don’t ever NOT want to feel the way I do right now. So I won’t be bringing back gluten, grains (other than white rice), legumes or whey. I will eat eggs a few days per week and nuts sparingly.

I can eat way more fruit than I ever could and regularly consume 3-5 servings per day. I’m still not great with raw veggies so I limit their consumption to a juice once per day and have them steamed or sautéed with dinner.

I will limit sugar consumption to my Sunday cheat meal where I will have some maple syrup on my gluten free pancakes and some dark chocolate afterwards. Occasionally I will go off the range and have some organic ice cream.

If you see me out somewhere taking it a step further than that please slap the food out of my hand.

Some people will think this is extreme, but at 39 I’m more interested in feeling 18 than I am in enjoying a cheat meal once in a while. I know how I feel on and off those foods. To me, it’s no worth it. And I’m looking to be the best I can be, not average.

You have to decide what’s more important to you. I can’t tell you that.

Anyway, the results have been spectacular and I’d love nothing more than for you to feel the way I am feeling right now.

So I highly urge you to give it a try then holler at me on Twitter and let me know how it goes for you.

During this 30 day experiment I’d urge you to eat less than normal. The point is to heal your gut so you don’t want to be stuffing your face all day. Let the digestive system rest and repair itself.

PS. If you want more details on this type of gut healing/ autoimmune Paleo plan you can check out Chris Kresser’s book, Your Personal Paleo Code.

 PPS. This type of plan should make a huge difference for most people. However, after a strict 30-60 days, if you’re still having issues you may want to consider getting a food allergy/sensitivity test. You could be doing everything right yet still be eating one food (and one you wouldn’t even suspect) that’s messing you up. If that’s the case my friend Michael[at] can help you out.