“I eat the same food every day! I don’t even mind. It’s so easy and helps me stay on track!”

Does this sound familiar? While many individuals like to make this statement as a flex, the habit of eating the same food day in and day out can be detrimental to human health.  Even more specifically, the health of our gut health essentially dictates the health of our entire body. The more diverse the bacteria in our intestines, the greater our health but what many do not realize is that consuming a variety of plant based foods is the absolute most effective way to change our gut bacteria for the better. Dr. Will Bulsiewicz is most well known for discovering this data.

Now, if you are consuming fiber-rich, nutrient dense foods each day like dark leafy greens, legumes, chia seeds and bright colored fruits, this of course will affect your gut microbiome much less negatively than white bread sandwiches, crackers, snack bars and cereal. This may not surprise you as we’ve been told for years that these foods can make us feel tired and increase our chances of weight gain BUT what hasn’t been explained very well is that these inflammatory foods actually kill our good bacteria. This is the reason for all of these negative symptoms and knowing the “why” behind it all can make a difference for those of us out there who don’t particularly love shoveling vegetables down the hatch. 

Quick summary: the way we feed our gut bacteria is much more beneficial than attempting to count specific nutrients in our diet. Aim for a diversity of whole, fiber rich foods and you are on your way to fighting cancer, Alzheimers, heart disease, autoimmunity and an entire slew of other conditions with every bite.

So, what exactly is the “right” amount of diversity? A large collection of data, published in 2018 found that the dream situation is consuming 30+ different types of plants a week. Now, before anyone panics, please note that fruits and vegetables aren’t the only plants out there! Nuts, beans, seeds, legumes, herbs, and whole grains are plants too. If you make a few one pot meals a week like soups, or veggie-packed bakes, it’s not as difficult a task as it sounds.

I will leave you with one last interesting thought regarding the monotony of an eating routine.

Speaking anecdotally from years of clinical experience, we often found in our clinic that someone with poor gut health was more likely to develop a food sensitivity or allergy to the food(s) that they are consumed day after day. While not completely proven in research yet, we believe much of this has to do with the fact that intestinal permeability is often a component of suboptimal gut health and when food (and pathogens, parasites, environmental toxins etc. for that matter) start to slip through the “cracks” in our lining, our body begins to attack that food particle, mistaking it for a foreign invader. Symptoms then manifest with repeat consumption.

It’s all so Interesting right? What will you change about your grocery shopping routine? What will you add to your cart that was not there before?