Gut health is vital to your overall health, which is why we launched our Go With Your Gut initiative. But don’t take it from us, just ask Dr. Will Cole, leading functional-medicine expert and author of The Inflammation Spectrum and Katotarian.
Dr. Cole filled us in on why gut health is so much more than digestion issues, following his gut on getting ahead of the telehealth curve and why his gut celebrity avatar would be none other than our fave, Gwyneth Paltrow.
The Culinistas: So little is known about the gut. What’s a misconception people might have about gut health?
Dr. Cole: Most people believe that unless they have noticeable digestive symptoms, they have a healthy gut. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, since your gut is the foundation of your entire health, poor gut health in the form of bacterial imbalance or a damaged gut lining (also known as leaky gut syndrome) can trigger inflammation and a cascade of other symptoms like skin problems, brain fog, and fatigue.
TC: What’s one easy thing anyone can do to take care of the gut?
DC: I love bone broth or galangal broth if you are vegan. Even if you aren’t ready for a bigger lifestyle change or aren’t in a place to do an elimination diet and discover what food works best for you, incorporating broth into your diet is a great way to soothe your gut. It is loaded with collagen and vital nutrients that helps calm inflammation and repair damaged gut lining. You can use it as the base for soups and added to various recipes in place of water.
TC: What’s the biggest impact of inflammation on the gut?
DC: Poor gut health and inflammation can often inversely affect one another. An unhealthy gut can further perpetuate inflammation through increasing levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines that destroy gut lining even more in a vicious cycle of inflammation.
TC: If your gut was a celebrity, who would it be and why?
DC: Definitely Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s been a kind friend and inspiration to me with GOOP. with her desire to make wellness part of the conversation and highlight the importance everyone should put on their health. She listened to her gut and started GOOP before wellness became as mainstream as it is today.
TC: Tell us about a time when you followed your gut and it paid off in spades.
DC: When I started my functional medicine clinic over 12 years ago we decided to see patients in office as well as virtually. As one of the first telehealth clinics in the nation, it has allowed us to grow our clinic and help more people than I would have ever been able to do if I stayed within the box of the traditional clinic model.
TC: What’s one thing you’ve never had the guts to do, but always wanted to try?
DC: Anything involving heights. Whenever I have traveled there are usually unique vantage points where you can go to see the entire city but I don’t always go to those on my own due to the height thing. But I definitely can overcome that for my children like when I’ve taken them to the Top of The Rock in NYC.
TC: What is your gut telling you is in store for 2021?
DC: The rise in telehealth. With everything going on in the world how we approach and deliver healthcare is going to have to look different.
We asked Dr. Cole to select six items from our Go With Your Gut menu and tell us why.
Blueberry Chamomile Parfait (blueberry, chamomile, greek yogurt, walnut, coconut, honey, sumac)
“Probiotics are essential for maintaining healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut which help fight overgrowths of negative bacteria that can contribute to symptoms of digestive distress and long-term chronic gut problems.”
Cauliflower Soup (cauliflower, celery, shallot, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar)
“Apple cider vinegar can help lower lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels which are linked to leaky gut syndrome.”
Smoky Salmon with Summer Squash (wild salmon, zucchini, yellow squash, yogurt, parsley, lemon)
“Salmon is loaded with essential healthy fats that have been shown to help with healthy bacterial diversity in the gut.”
Sea Bass with Leeks & Spinach (wild sea bass, leek, spinach, rosemary)
“Prebiotics [like leeks] are just as important as probiotics as they help to facilitate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut. You’ll also be getting more healthy fats into your diet from the sea bass.”
Cabbage & Raisin Slaw (purple cabbage, raisin, celery, parsley, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, cumin)
“This dish combines apple cider vinegar (which has been shown to have antifungal and antiviral benefits to help support gut health and immune balance) with probiotic-rich yogurt for a powerful gut healing side dish.”
Banana Health Bread (banana, flax seed, sunflower seed, rolled oat, coconut sugar, apple cider vinegar)
“Bread made with regular gluten-containing flour isn’t always an option for a lot of people. Instead, this bread is made with fiber-rich oats and sunflower seeds that help maintain bowel regularity.”
Make sure to download our fun gut health bracket for your chance to win a set of our 10 Grove kitchen linens.