Although I am not generally a fan of detoxing, cleansing, and the like (not necessary—our bodies magically do this for us!), there are times when many of us feel like we could use a bit of a reset. Take me, for example. I spent a weekend in Paris a couple of weeks ago, and since I'm not drinking wine these days, I hit the pastries pretty hard. No regrets whatsoever (I don't believe in food regret), but I did come home with an awfully cranky stomach.
The solution? Well, knock off the pastry consumption for starters, but then a back-on-track meal plan to follow for a day or three to help reset the digestive system.
Sometimes when you're on vacation, working lots of late nights and eating takeout, or your diet gets out of whack for another reason, the change in your eating habits can throw your gut out of balance. The bacteria that live in our digestive tract like variety as much as we do, and when you throw an excessive amount of pastries (or what have you) at them, they aren't happy.
So it's time for a reset. But again, it's not about detoxing or purging the system. A plan like this focuses on nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest, real food that will tame your tummy and help you feel like yourself again. This meal plan is mostly low FODMAP, though if you know you have specific FODMAP sensitivities, you can tweak the recipes accordingly.
What Is a Gut Health Reset?
A gut health reset is a process of improving the health of your digestive system, particularly your gut microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that reside in your digestive tract.
Resetting your gut health can have numerous benefits on the digestive tract, gut bacteria, and the immune system. The gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms living in the digestive system, and a healthy gut can improve overall health, including mental health. Fermented foods, probiotic supplements, and high-fiber foods are all examples of gut-friendly foods that promote beneficial gut bacteria, improving gut microbial diversity. Processed foods and artificial sweeteners, on the other hand, can negatively impact gut health by promoting the growth of harmful bacteria.
To reset your gut health, it's important to add whole grains, fresh vegetables, and plant-based foods to your diet rapidly. A balanced diet helps absorb nutrients and maintain healthy bacteria. It's important to avoid dietary extremes and find a healthy balance. This can involve avoiding processed foods and eating high-fiber foods. Probiotic foods, such as yogurt and kefir, can also help promote beneficial gut bacteria. Resetting your gut health can lead to various health benefits, including improving digestive health, helping lose weight, and reducing the risk of heart disease. This is particularly important for healthy older adults, as gut health tends to decline with age. Furthermore, a healthy gut can improve mental health, as the gut is sometimes called the "second brain" due to its close relationship with the central nervous system.
24-Hour Healthy Gut Reset Meal Plan
Most of the recipes in this plan make two portions, so you can follow it for one day with a partner, two days on your own, or double the recipes and follow the plan for four days. It's totally up to you.
Breakfast: Berry Granola Overnight Chia and Oats
Why I chose this: Soaking oats overnight not only means breakfast is ready to go as soon as you wake up, but it makes the oats easier to digest. The overnight soak also unlocks the potential in both the oats and the chia seeds, making many nutrients more bioavailable.
I like to add a little bit of plain yogurt to my overnight oats as part of the preparation, as it helps boost the friendly bacteria in our gut. However, if you don't eat dairy, you can use dairy-free yogurt or skip this.
Lunch: A Kimchi Lunch Wrap
Why I chose this: Including fermented vegetables such as kimchi in your diet is a great way to give back to your gut. This wrap also includes an egg for protein, avocado for healthy fats, and pumpkin seeds, a rich source of iron.
If you don't have time to make your own kimchi, you can totally use store-bought—just look for one in the refrigerated section of your grocery store that hasn't been pasteurized, so you know the bacteria hasn't been destroyed.
Why I chose this: A smoothie can make a really great afternoon snack! This one features anti-inflammatory turmeric, soothing cucumber, and pineapple to help with digestion. If you want to add some protein, a couple of tablespoons of hemp seeds will do the trick.
Dinner: Creamy Herbed Polenta Bowls
Why I chose this: After a day of fairly light eating, it can be nice to finish with a warm and satisfying meal. These polenta bowls are gluten-free and polenta is easy to digest, plus you can load them up with alllllll the vegetables you can find hiding in the fridge. A bit of hard cheese adds a boost of flavor and protein but generally won't get your tummy into trouble.
Reset Meal Plan Tips:
1. A batch of overnight oats will last for a few days in the fridge, so make a double batch and enjoy this easy-eating plan for several days.
2. If you don't like to eat a lot in the morning, feel free to flip the day around, so you start with the smoothie for breakfast and have the overnight oats for a snack later on.
3. The kimchi wrap is also great in bowl form if you don't want to fuss with making wraps.
4. If you get to the end of the meals and you're still hungry—eat more healthy food! Listen to your body. Try these nutritionist-approved snacks for when you're on the go.
Get the 24-Hour Healthy Gut Reset Meal Plan + Shopping List
Click on the links above to print all the recipes you need, then click here to print out the shopping list.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.122