gut feeling

Last winter, I could sense something wasn’t quite right. I had anxiety, which often showed up misplaced or misinterpreted by my brain. I had meltdowns during holiday traffic when I wasn’t going to make it to yoga after work. To be 100% honest, I still get frustrated on gw parkway during a rain storm (what is it about DC drivers…one little drizzle and suddenly they emerge in multitudes from the woodworks). But now, I recognize my frustration as a passing emotion, just like any thought that flickers through my mind. Despite the occasional knee-jerk reaction when someone cuts me off, I still feel a deep, underlying sense of calm.

My emotional concerns, although telling signs, were the least of my worries. The physical manifestation occurring became increasingly unbearable. I had severe allergies, to the point where I could no longer breathe properly, even during a 90-minute heated vinyasa class. My back pains came on in full force, my throat constantly felt like it was closing, and the list goes on. I continued to believe that since I am healthy and do yoga, the signs I was observing would heal eventually, on their own.

Several instances caused me to finally take action.

I started seeking answers from all different angles without fully understanding why I was doing do. I just remember being in slight desperation mode, willing to try any and everything. Some endeavors definitely set me back in multiple ways.

The entire process felt uncomfortable, although I could not pinpoint why. Today, I am positive that my unease largely stemmed from seeking symptom-management solutions, rather than addressing the root cause.

In the midst of this inner confusion, at one point I went to Whole Foods after yoga, my regular Friday-evening ritual. In no rush that night, I found myself browsing the section at the front of the Georgetown store that I love soo much (you know, where they keep the nutritional supplements, beauty products, and health-related books). I spent way over an hour there, peacefully exploring and enjoying myself. Skimming several books, one in particular caught my eye. Clean Gut, by Dr. Alejandro Junger. I don’t know why it stood out – maybe it was just the cover. Whatever it was, I picked it up, perusing the pages, and immediately was drawn in. I remember feeling this was exactly what I needed. I had a flashback to conversations with my sister last year, when she initially began exploring leaky gut on her own. My sister is very inspiring – if you want to read more about her journey (and she shares recipes!), check out her

Anyway, I set the book down, deciding to buy it on Amazon to save a couple bucks. I knew deep-down that I needed to read it, but for whatever other reasons, I sat on it for a few months. Waiting probably only further complicated my mess, as I continued the trial-and-error process of seeking solutions elsewhere. Some symptoms started to clear up while others emerged.

Finally, I got around to reading it, cover to cover. Which, for me, is a pretty big deal – I’m a slowww, easily distracted reader. This past week, I committed to giving the clean gut program a shot. What really spoke to me about Dr. Junger’s approach is his focus on addressing issues from the root.

My yoga teacher, Patty, says “heal your body and the rest will fall into place”. So far in my brief experience this has proven incredibly true.

In just a few days, I have noticed so many benefits as my gut has started to heal. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I do want to share something I noticed on my mat right after beginning the clean gut program. In my lower legs and feet, where I’ve had symptoms of stagnation such as poor circulation, I have once again started to feel the rush of tingling nerve sensation. Wow. I can feel again. The effects of energy movement in the body never ceases to amaze me.

I’m not writing to advocate any specific diet or health plan. I firmly believe that we each must do what feels right for our bodies, which, like everything else, changes all the time. My purpose is rather to provide on example of gut intuition actually occurring in my life, and my experience of learning to listen to it.

I sat on my intuitive knowing for a few months. I think this is a perfectly normal reaction. Especially when it comes to something as intensive and burdensome as reading an entire book. I can only hope that with practice, it becomes progressively easier for me to act on intuition in the moment. I believe the more I wake up to true listening and trust in my instinct, the lighter this process will get.

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