Poor Gut Health and How I’m Healing It

Crap… I mean, I am having a hard time doing that too on a consistent basis. And I had to use that for my stool sample to submit my gut health test.

Maybe it’s just in my head. Or I don’t really have an issue. There is one thing showing evidence of an issue: my skin.

Did you know your skin health is often directly correlated to your gut health? Yeah, I did not either until about 6 months ago. I typically eat a “clean” diet, sort of speak. Mostly whole foods, some protein shakes and protein bars, the occasional pasta or bread, typically whole wheat based, as well as coffee, preworkout supplements and some homemade desserts, not low in sugar. I noticed my skin started to get acne, as well as uneven pigmentation. You may have seen a few blog posts back when I talked about my greens that I drink each day as I am working to balance my gut. Well, that is not the only thing I’m doing and there are a few reasons for that.

  1. Gut healing takes more than just probiotics.
  2. Gut health is connected to the brain. If you are stressed, depressed, anxious, all of the above or more, that can affect your gut and bile production. You may hear the gut referred to as the “second brain”.
  3. It can take a minimum of 6 months before your gut will reach its homeostasis, balanced environment it was supposed to be in.

So, I decided to take matters into my hands and get a BIOHM Gut Report Kit. (Code CAROLINE gets you 10% off at checkout by the way). The process was simple, clearly written on the packaging to collect my stool sample and home and mail it in. In six weeks, I received my comprehensive results by email. Turns out, my gut health is rated a 2/10, meaning very poor.

Most of it was a lack of good bacteria in the gut. This can be caused from a few factors include any over the counter medications or antibiotics (which thankfully I don’t take any), lack of diversity in my diet and stress internally and externally on the body. All that I can do is listen to their recommendations and do my best to abide by a healthy lifestyle with my food, stress mitigation and happiness! Here are the methods I have been actively practicing with 100% follow through.

Constant daily practices

  • Drinking at least 1 gallon of water per day
  • Cut all caffeine (coffee, tea and preworkout supplements) for 3 weeks
  • Creating system for sleep and wake up routines, including reading, meditation and stretching
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Increase vegetable intake to about 6 cups per day
  • Eating clean protein sources, minimizing whey protein to 1-2 servings per day
Daily gut healing practices by Strong Sweet Caroline

New practices for the gut

  • Taking BIOHM prebiotic and probiotic daily
  • Drinking BIOHM greens daily
  • Apple cider vinegar with water before heavier carb meals for digestive help
  • HCL capsules 2x per day
  • Digestive enzymes with 2 largest meals of the day
  • Full day cleanse 2x per month
  • Supplementing DGL and Marshmallow Root
  • Making homemade bone broth and drinking 1x per day
Gut healing supplements by Strong Sweet Caroline

These are the current methods that I’m going to try the next 2-4 weeks. This is just the midpoint in my gut health journey! I am also getting ready for a bodybuilding competition prep to start and want to ensure my gut is as healthy as possible before I start limiting foods and increasing stress load on my body.

What’s something that has worked for you or you’ve been interested to try? I’m going to share this journey through here and some upcoming YouTube videos in my prep series. Go follow to make sure you don’t miss out!

GREENS DRINK for acne

This post shares my personal thoughts. I am now an ambassador for BIOHM Health and may receive compensation for purchases using my code.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately as we approach the end of the year. One of my constant battles has been with my gut health, digestion and skin. You can see in the photo below that among my freckles, I had some acne on my forehead and even a few spots on my upper chest.

It is super embarrassing and makes me uncomfortable in my own skin. And I’m 26. Why am I breaking out like this?!

Most of it stems from 1) hormones and 2) gut biome. If either are off, this is usually reflected on our faces. I want to treat my conditions from the inside, out. So the process continued.

I’ve spent lots of time, money and energy researching, testing and reviewing what is going on with my body and what has worked a little, a LOT or might just be a marketing hoax. I mostly focused on foods I was eating and trying to get more benefits from things like salmon for its Omega 3s, more leafy greens like kale and spinach and increasing seeds and nuts like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds.

One thing that for a long while I felt was not making much difference was greens powder. There are SO MANY OF THEM on the market. Like, how do you even pick?!?! 

I’ve tried a few and have FINALLY found a product from BIOHM I like and I’ve felt a difference! I purchased during their Cyber Monday deals so I could also get a colon cleanser and gut health kit (aka stool test).

greens drink for acne by Strong Sweet Caroline

During my search and experimenting, I realized that I was lacking a large amount of nutrients, specifically ones call “micronutrients”, that are found in specific foods, like fruits and vegetables. When living by a more “routine” or “restrictive” diet, you often lack these micronutrients and are missing out on additional vitamins and benefits they can bring your body.

Using a greens powder can help bring some of those micros to your daily nutrition. BIOHM Super Greens contains ORGANIC, US-sourced plant extracts, digestive fiber and enzymes. It offers 15B active probiotics, working to break through digestive plaque and help restore and maintain optimal gut balance.

greens drink for acne by Strong Sweet Caroline

One thing I’ve enjoyed with them so far is the taste is subtle and delicious. You might also know from other greens that they need to be shaken or stirred pretty rigorously in order to fully blend the probiotics.

I’m eager to continue using them and see how my skin and body respond. I already know that they have helped with my regularity LOL!

Get them for 20% off for the holidays December 17 through December 19! Look for more updates on my skincare and gut health in the future. This is a front burner issue in my life and I hope to help those of you prevent it from becoming an issue or help you find your solution!

Save on all additional products — code: CAROLINE

greens drink for acne by Strong Sweet Caroline

When life gets heavy, make some Protein Cherry Cheesecake bowls

It amazes me how often life can bring new surprises and opportunities. A handful are easy to accommodate, appreciate and take in. Others seem heavy.

They can cause confusion, misinterpretation, emotional withdrawal, overwhelm and senseless actions. Most of the time, those are the ones that we cannot control the end outcome. We need to analyze and act quickly, the best we can. How do you take time to think and mentally prepare?

Over the past several years, my “think zones” are one of two places.

  1. In nature. I love to explore a new park, a rural area away from the city scene and just escape the buzz and commotion. Whether it is greenery or floriculture, I have a strong connect to the gifts Mother Nature first instilled on the planet.
  2. In the kitchen. I can clear my head and mind of most everything to just create, cook, bake and try new recipes. It’s so soothing for me. And if there is a lot in my head, I will usually walk to the kitchen to refocus and shift my energy to productivity.

After I’m done, I can come away with a clear head. And some tasty meals or sweets 😀

Strong Sweet Caroline cherry cheesecake bowl

This one in particular, I came up with after a craving for some cheesecake. No point in spending money on sugary, less healthy cheesecake when I could make my own macro-friendly and gut healthy version.

The base was cream of rice, just like my post workout meal is supposed to be. But instead of doing just whey protein isolate and berries, I changed it up.

I don’t do this every day but on occasion, I will be within my macros and make slight changes to keep me accountable.

Strong Sweet Caroline Cherry Cheesecake Bowl

If you aren’t a cherry fan, you can easily do this with alternative berry like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. Berries are lower in calories, lower on the glycemic index and pack a punch of antioxidants and beneficial vitamins.

And a touch of two crumbled Annie’s Honey Graham Crackers made the look and feel even more darling.

Now that I think about it, a touch of whipped topping (coconut or dairy version) would have made it even better! I typically stay away from fats post workout. So if I recreate again, I’ll add that on top.

What truly added the thickness and texture to the “cheesecake” was my Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin. Before you get your panties in a bunch, it is unflavored and per two scoops, provides 20g of collagen and 17g of protein! Talk about WINNING for a healthy gut!

Strong Sweet Caroline Cherry Cheesecake Bowl with Vital Proteins

After I made this, I ate it slowly, enjoyed each bite and took a epsom salt bath. I left my phone in another room and just zoned out. It was amazing.

After that 15 minutes, I did not feel any heavy burdens. I was refreshed. You don’t have to do exactly what I do. It might be surrounding yourself with people. I like some alone time. It might be playing a game, drawing, coloring, or listening to soothing music. Find what works for you. Do you, boo boo!

If you’re keen on a new recipe, try this out. You don’t have to use Beef Gelatin. Instead you could try another Collagen Whey Protein or regular whey protein. Alter as you see fit and have fun with it!


Protein Cherry Cheesecake Bowls

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup fresh cherries, washed, de-pitted and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Fage Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • 2 scoops Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin or alternative Collagen Whey
  • 2 drops liquid stevia
  • Pinch baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cream of rice, cooked in bowl

Process

  • Cook cream of rice as directed on box. I usually use less water to make a thicker consistency. Once cooked, use spoon to push to sides and bottom of bowl to form “crust”.
  • In Vitamix or blender of choice, combine cherries, yogurt, milk, ice cubes, gelatin, stevia and baking powder. Blend on high for about 10-20 seconds until smooth.
  • Pour into cream of rice crust and top with piece of fruit and if you’re like me, a ground up cracker (or two).
  • Eat immediately or place into freezer for 10 minutes to set. YUMMY!