Mr. Oogie Boogie Man
I know the holidays are behind us but I was just thinking about one of my favorite holiday movies – The Nightmare Before Christmas.
At first appearance you might think the villain of the story is the leading character Jack Skellington but after watching the movie you realize the villain is Mr. Oogie Boogie. I love the Oogie Boogie character because it’s the perfect depiction of our gut microbiome. As with Mr. Oogie Boogie we too are host to trillions of bacteria (bugs). Though ours aren’t as visible as the Oogie Boogie mans they are just as critical to our existence as they were to Mr. Oogie Boogie.
It is mind-blowing to think we’re filled with bacteria. What exactly is all this bacteria doing and why do we need it? Research is still trying to figure that out, but what is known is that the beneficial bacteria synthesizes vitamins, digests food, and creates anti-inflammatory substances. The gist is that we need our hardworking beneficial bacteria for health and wellbeing.
As with anything there is no good without the bad and the gut atmosphere is no different. The gut can contain harmful opportunistic bacteria such as strep and staph varieties. We can’t eliminate harmful bacteria altogether so the goal is to keep the beneficial bacteria healthy so that it keeps the harmful opportunistic bacteria in control.
Up to this point most of us have not thought about our bacteria and what it needs to keep it thriving. This then initiates the question – where does one begin addressing the health of their beneficial bacteria? That is a valid question and the short answer is – eat a plant-based diet.
The beneficial bacteria favor plant fibers, as their food of choice so eating a variety of plant foods to include fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains will go a long way in keeping the beneficial bacteria healthy.
The opportunistic bacteria on the other hand like processed foods. To keep the beneficial bacteria in control cut out the processed foods and introduce more plant-based foods. I’ll help get you started with a few of my favorite recipes:
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