An estimated 80 percent of the population has leaky gut syndrome, also known as intestinal permeability. With a proven link between the gut and our skin, immune system and brain, it’s no wonder we’re taking more sick days, racking up medical bills and feeling terrible on a regular basis.
Thousands of years ago, Hippocrates said, “All health and disease begins in the gut.” We agree. Whether you’re struggling with bloating, acid reflux, food allergies or food sensitivities, acne, eczema, depression, anxiety or an autoimmune disease, we believe there is a solution — and it all begins with healing your gut. You can think of this leaky gut diet plan as a way to start rebuilding the foundation of your health.
There’s simply no better medicine for healing leaky gut than what goes on your plate. You shouldn’t have to compromise the flavor or enjoyment of your meals. With this in mind, we’ve created a five-day leaky gut diet plan for you with recipes that are simple, satisfying, delicious and packed with nutrients to support the gut-healing process.
In order to kick off your gut-healing journey in the easiest way possible, we’ve also made a grocery list and meal prep schedule to go along with this plan. After all, stress is a no-go for gut health, so we definitely want to take as much off your plate as possible. (And trust us, it only gets easier from here!)
Let’s get started!
Leaky Gut Diet Plan
First, we’ll talk about the kinds of foods to eat and the kinds to avoid. The most important aspect of healing leaky gut is to support your body’s ability to repair itself with the right kinds of nutrients, while protecting it from the kinds of foods that contributed to your leaky gut in the first place.
Scroll down to download the full 5-day Leaky Gut Diet Plan, and read on to learn how to make it work for you!.
Note: If you’re learning about leaky gut for the first time, here’s what you need to know before starting the leaky gut diet plan.
When it comes to healing leaky gut, you must go straight to the source — your diet. What you eat is the biggest factor that causes leaky gut in the first place. The leaky gut diet plan isn’t overly restrictive, but it does require you to avoid four specific foods.
4 Foods You Must Avoid for Leaky Gut
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, spelt, rye, barley, oats and kamut. Gluten also can be found in several condiments, sauces and many other processed foods and packaged foods.
You can think of gluten as the “glue” that holds dough and bread together. The elasticity of pizza dough or the stretchiness of bread when you pull it apart — that’s the work of gluten.
The reason we recommend avoiding gluten at all costs when it comes to healing your gut is that it triggers your body to produce a protein called zonulin. When overproduced, zonulin has been shown to break apart the tight junctions in your digestive tract, which is exactly how leaky gut is caused in the first place.
Not all grains have gluten, right? Correct.
However, even gluten-free grains, such as brown rice, can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This is because grains have a protective coating called phytic acid, which makes it difficult for your body to break down and digest the grains. When a food isn’t properly digested, it can cause intestinal inflammation, which makes your gut-healing process a whole lot harder (and probably close to impossible).
There’s one exception to the no-grain rule, which is quinoa. Quinoa is more of a seed than a grain, so you’ll see that it’s included in a few recipes within this meal plan.
3. Refined Sugar
Refined sugars, such as table sugar, brown sugar or high fructose corn syrup, are proinflammatory. They spike and crash your blood sugar levels and can seriously damage the intestinal lining, which is one way they can contribute to leaky gut.
Processed sugars also feed yeast and other types of opportunistic bacteria that exist within the GI tract. These bacteria are considered “bad” when they overgrow because they can deplete and outnumber the amount of beneficial bacteria in your GI tract. The beneficial bacteria are the little critters that keep your gut squeaky clean and healthy, plus prevent inflammation from happening.
An overgrowth of bad bacteria (also known as gut dysbiosis) not only causes leaky gut, but can cause chronic digestive conditions such as candida and SIBO. These conditions can be extremely difficult to get rid of and are commonly seen with leaky gut.
Since refined sugar goes by over 50 different names, it’s a good idea to take a peek at this list so you know what to look for when reading food labels.
Don’t worry, we’re not leaving you high and dry without any sweetness in your life. You can eat small amounts of natural sweeteners during the leaky gut diet plan, such as low-sugar fruits and green leaf stevia.
However, you should avoid no-calorie artificial sweeteners because research shows they may cause changes to beneficial gut bacteria.
4. Refined Vegetable Oils
Refined vegetable oils are oils as safflower, sunflower, canola, peanut and soybean. They are often treated with chemicals and have a high omega-6 ratio (a pro-inflammatory fatty acid when consumed in excess), which can damage the intestinal lining.
Instead, choose unrefined fats to cook with on medium-low heat, such as coconut oil, grass-fed butter, tallow, extra virgin olive oil or ghee. Since most restaurants and takeout food joints use these heavily processed, low-grade oils, it’s even more important to prepare your own meals at home.
The Leaky Gut Diet Plan
Alright, now that we’ve got the worst leaky gut foods out of the way, here’s the abundance of foods we encourage you to eat to heal your gut.
We have a few suggestions to help you get the most out of this five-day leaky gut diet plan.
Follow the Meal Prep Schedule
Planning ahead is the key to success when it comes to healing a leaky gut. Following the meal prep schedule will keep you on track without causing you to worry about what you have on hand or what you need to prepare.
We recommend beginning the leaky gut diet plan after you’ve completed the main meal prep day, so that you have nearly everything you need for the next five days.
Heat Your Leftovers Thoroughly
To save you time in the kitchen, you’ll be having leftovers for lunch on a couple of the meal plan days. Please be sure to heat your leftovers on the stovetop thoroughly (if applicable) to kill any harmful bacteria, which your gut is especially sensitive to right now. This is especially important if you may also have candida overgrowth, a chronic digestive condition often seen with leaky gut syndrome.
Chew Your Food Thoroughly
One thing that can attract “bad” bacteria in your system is the remains of undigested food particles in your GI tract. This is why chewing your food thoroughly is not only important for proper digestion and nutrient absorption, but for general gut health. We suggest chewing up to 30 times before swallowing.
Also, if you often experience gas or bloating after meals, you may notice a difference in your symptoms just by chewing your food for a bit longer than you normally do.
Join the Kettle and Fire Bone Broth Sippers Facebook Group
Fire us your questions here and connect with others who are also on a gut-healing journey.
Do Not Skip Your Morning Bone Broth
When you take a look at the meal plan, you’ll notice every morning begins with a mug of bone broth. We don’t care how you drink it — warm, cold, plain or seasoned — as long as you have at least one cup each morning.
The reason this is so important is because bone broth contains collagen and gelatin, two proteins that help heal and seal the holes in the gut lining that cause leaky gut. Bone broth is one of the only dietary sources of type II collagen and is extremely easy for your body to use and absorb right away. Bone broth is a weakened digestive tract’s BFF.
(PS: If you think coffee gives you an energy boost in the morning, just wait until you start replacing your coffee with bone broth. Caffeine’s got nothin’ on the bioavailable energizing vitamins and minerals in bone broth.)
Eat Fermented Foods
Although not included on the meal plan, feel free to add fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso, coconut milk yogurt, coconut milk kefir and beet kvass to your meals. Fermented foods contain probiotics (good bacteria) that can help recolonize your gut flora.
When to expect results from the leaky gut diet plan
Since the severity of leaky gut will be different for each person, it’s impossible for us to tell you the exact length of time you should follow a leaky gut diet plan. However, we do suggest eating for gut health as a lifestyle. Not only will this help heal your gut and clear up the root cause of your symptoms, but it will also prevent future health problems as well.
Once you start experiencing the benefits of having a healthy gut, such as all-day energy, healthy-looking skin, fat loss and better digestion (get ready to poop like a champ), we’re willing to bet you won’t want to go back to any other way of eating.
The best long-term diet for leaky gut that we’ve come across is the paleo diet. It cuts out the majority of foods that are problematic to the intestinal lining and focuses on nutrients that promote healing, such as healthy fats, high quality proteins, plenty of vegetables and our favorite gut-supportive food: bone broth. You can also continue using the recipes in the guide and modifying them to suit your taste buds.
Congratulations on taking the first step to healing your body from the inside out. Again, we’re here for you if you have any questions about the leaky gut diet plan or about bone broth. Don’t forget to join our epic Facebook group, Bone Broth Sippers, where we love to hang out and chat about all things gut health with you.