Integrative Gut Microbiome Health Coach and Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Janvi Chitalia shares her tips on food choices, fitness and more to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Our body is amazing considered how each of our organs is programmed to function. They have their own ability that needs to be taken care of from time to time. Even while we talk about nutrition and proper diet to maintain a healthy body, there are certain things that we don’t know about it and the importance of a healthy body happens to be one of them. There is nothing that a good healthy diet cannot fix and what we need, especially during these times is to make the right choice and understand the importance of a healthy gut. Janvi Chitalia, an Integrative Gut Microbiome Health Coach and Functional Medicine Nutritionist is helping us understand the same.

Janvi works towards helping people figure out the root cause of gut issues that people might face. She then works in reversing it based on food as medicine by integrating the functional nutrition approach to gut health. She offers various medical conditions-related services under the spectrum of gut and functional nutrition and medicine. We had a chat with her to know more about what Gut Microbiome is and everything around healthy food choices.

Here’s what she had to share:

You are an Integrative Gut Microbiome Health Coach. Can you tell us what that means and what you specialize in?

I specialize in reversing medical conditions by using food as medicine to heal the gut. I work on cases related to a compromised immune system such as allergies, food sensitivity, autoimmune conditions, Rheumatoid arthritis, Endometriosis, acne, rashes, Psoriasis, Eczema, acidity or GERD, constipation, fungal overgrowth, and bacterial overgrowth, IBS, red boils, restless leg syndrome, adrenal fatigue, asthma, wheezing and bronchitis.

What does your regular day look like?

My regular day involves making gut-related plans for people struggling with gut and sleep-related issues, making functional medicine analyses, handholding clients with their symptoms, finding the root cause of the problem, and treat the client. I also love reading more on my subject, studying, taking new courses on gut health and sleep, researching the latest trends in the health space, and working out.

What is the most basic misconception that people have when it comes to diet and fitness?

The most common misconception about diet and fitness is that short-term lifestyle changes are alright to make. The key truly lies in consistency. It’s almost like brushing your teeth daily. That’s how eating moderately healthy and working on physical activity is imperative for a balanced lifestyle. Following your bio-individuality and intuitively eating is the way to connect with your body’s homeostasis.

What diet would you recommend to people in order to help them boost their immune system during these times?

“The immune system is the watch guard of the body and protects the body from anything that is foreign to it be it food or toxins. The key is to support the immune system to avoid an inflammatory response in the body. 75 percent of the immune system lies in the gut and thereby to strengthen the immune system, aiding gut health is important. 

Five foods that help the immune system?

Probiotics: Curd, Kefir, Rice water kanji, fermented vegetables, pickles, and kombucha are great options to increase the good microbial balance of the body such as 85 percent of the microbiome.

Prebiotics: Onion, garlic, green unripe banana are good prebiotic options to feed the gut good microbes the nutrients they need to thrive.

Bone broth: Bone broth is good for the gut and aids intestinal permeability and helps to strengthen the immune system 

Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is more like a hormone, very good for immunity and for gut health.

Glutathione: Glutathione is good for renewing the cells of the gut and helping the immune system as an antioxidant to fight free radical attack

Can you suggest any vegetarian or vegan protein options to our readers?

Vegan protein options would be an ace blend, Oziva, brown rice protein, brown rice, pea protein, mung protein. A combination of brown rice pea and mung protein with antioxidants.

What is your method of approach that has worked for you and your patients?

The method and approach have always been focused on two things – Treat the individual and not their condition, and recognize the most intrinsic reason for their issues above and beyond a clinical correlation of symptoms. It’s imperative to meet the person where they are right now in order to help them heal in a balanced and sustainable way.

Secondly to look at each symptom through the functional medicine lens and find the real point of origin of the issue even if it’s in their childhood or in some trauma or life-changing event to help them truly heal within. Listening and helping them feel heard about their minutest details and helping them ask themselves the right questions always helps find the right answers which leads to effective results.

What basic steps would you recommend to people that will help keep their gut healthy?

Functional medicine might mean an approach that is based on a 5 R’s protocol which includes ‘remove, replace, re-innoculate, repair and rebalance.

Remove: Removing food triggers in one’s daily dietary intake. The immune system and the digestive system are closely connected, the food that enters our digestive tract which starts from the mouth to the anus is under the surveillance of the immune system. When the immune system isn’t happy with certain proteins that come from gluten or dairy, it wages an immune response to alert the body that it doesn’t like the food it sees. The only way to calm this over an activated immune system is to remove or eliminate the food from the system.

Replace: Replace food with nutrients that do not trigger the system. Replacing the food choices with ones that do not wage an inflammatory response and are in sync with what the immune system sees as friendly food is the objective of the Replace step. The Replace almost always is the second part of the Remove step of the protocol.

Re-innoculate: Once the terrain of the gut is ready for healing as the counter-productive attacks of the immune system has been controlled, the first step of healing the gut starts with balancing the gut back with the good microbes, as essentially an imbalance only starts when the good microbes are lesser than the bad microbes. Adding foods such as probiotics which are beneficial strains of bacteria and feeding these microbes the nourishment they need to thrive comes from the prebiotics, the food for these microbes. Step three is all about bringing the good bugs back to their home.

Repair: The fourth step which continues as the healing of the gut, and the terrain of the gut, is repairing the lining of the gut. It’s amazing to learn that the gut has only one cell layered thick lining made up of enterocytes. When there is intestinal permeability or leakiness of the gut, it leads to autoimmune conditions. To maintain and repair and rebuild the integrity of the gut lining is essential in order to prevent inflammation and is an integral step of sealing the deal of gut healing.

Rebalance: Rebalancing the gut happens by adding foods that have been eliminated in small quantities to see if the immune system is better equipped to deal with them after the love and nourishment the gut has just received and design a final framework of the food that should continue in one’s daily dietary intake. This step also involves including some lifestyle changes to help manage stress and improve sleep, mental health, and overall health status.

If you want to know more about how to maintain a healthy gut, check out Janvi Chitalia’s website here.

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