Tyler Lafleur of HPHI is a passionate health and wellness coach who wants you to understand that the choices you make every day affect your body, mind, and spirit. In this episode of Nourish Your Health at every age, Tyler discusses with Jan Swift how inflammatory foods and drinks, inadequate rest, and chronic stress can damage the intestinal lining, leading to a host of autoimmune diseases, brain fog, and gastrointestinal symptoms. The good news is, you can turn it around by paying attention to the signals your body is sending you.
The intestinal wall is designed to absorb nutrients from food while protecting the body from germs and toxins being released during the digestive process. “Leaky Gut Syndrome” is damage caused to the intestinal wall that results in bacterial toxins and proteins passing into the bloodstream. Chronic stress and excessive intake of alcohol, coffee, and foods that don’t agree with you cause inflammation of the single-layer intestinal lining and as it becomes irritated, the wall becomes permeable and toxins slip through cracks in the intestinal wall. This triggers an antibody attack as the body attempts to repair the damage. A host of autoimmune and neurological illnesses may result, including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Psoriasis, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, ADHD, and many others.
The typical client that Tyler works with comes in with inflammation, bloating, aches and pains, always gets sick, and suffers from gastrointestinal issues. When he asks for information on their lifestyle, they will typically report that they do not have the energy to exercise or eat well. Many people believe they are eating “healthy,” even when their diet includes protein bars and processed snacks. Many people also take antacids to fight heartburn, which causes downstream issues such as not being to properly digest their food due to a lack of acid in the body caused by the antacids.
Tyler’s clients must agree to journal everything ingested or he will not be able to help them in their journey to better health. This simple act of documenting an honest account of their lifestyle and the way they feel when they eat certain foods is empowering. It is the first step to figuring out what that individual may need to eliminate from their diet to get back on track for a healthy gut. He will also order blood work and other tests to determine the baseline level of health the client is experiencing.
While there is no one diet that will work for everyone, there a few simple guidelines that Tyler recommends for us all. An ideal day’s meal plan would remove all dairy and gluten.
“I haven’t come across one diet that works for everyone. Yet, an ideal day would remove dairy and gluten from your food choices.
First, select “whole” foods, i. e., anything you can grow, harvest or kill that is in a natural state. This eliminates all foods that have sugar, starches and processed ingredients such as honey buns, donuts, goldfish, and the “C” foods…chips, cookies and cupcakes. And Tyler says, “No, whole grain cereals aren’t good choices because starches are still there. Same thing for protein bars….the body doesn’t know what that is and it is full of processed ingredients.”
Next, eliminate dairy products. There are so many dairy products, however, that one person may be intolerant of milk, but able to easily digest parmesan cheese or yogurt. As a general rule, removing dairy will almost always cause congestion issues to go away. In particular for older adults who have stopped producing the lactase enzyme, milk is very difficult to digest and will cause sinus issues or diarrhea.
Intolerance to foods is not the same thing as allergies that are genetically caused. If your habits and lifestyle exacerbate the tearing in your intestinal wall, you may not be allergic to a food, just unable to digest it properly and thus experience inflammation. Tyler explains that eliminating groups of foods that trigger inflammation and heartburn will allow healing of the gut in many cases; the client may be able to resume eating their favorite foods because they were never allergic to them to begin with and can safely resume consumption once their gut is healthy.
Chronic stress that triggers the “fight or flight” syndrome results in high cortisol levels that blocks acid production in the stomach. This overactivated sympathetic system is unable to digest food and many people will begin taking antacids, resulting in even more digestive problems. The ideal state is to “rest and digest” which promotes a parasympathetic nervous system of healthy intestinal and gland activity in the body. Tyler noted that mental stress causes as much damage as running a marathon; if you tested the physical state of a chronically stressed patient to that of a person who just completed running 26.2 miles, there would be no difference. High cortisol levels are also a cause of many people waking in the middle of the night. Tyler recommends eating a simple snack before bedtime such as almonds or almond butter which stabilizes blood sugar and promotes sound sleep.
Fasting allows you to see what food is triggering inflammatory responses. The client will be coached on gradually reintroducing foods and gauging their body’s response. Tyler’s experience has shown that within days of removing offensive foods and drinks such as coffee and alcohol, bloating disappears. Energy generally rises within a couple of weeks of adopting a healthy diet, and inflammation is reduced within several weeks. But he will always “test, don’t guess” with his clients and runs tests that will show markers in improved health.
When asked about an ideal diet plan for a typical day, Tyler recommends starting out with a green smoothie, made from superfood green powder. If you can tolerate eggs, they are a good choice with sauteed peppers, onions and other veggies. Leftovers from the night before are also a good choice if the meal was based upon a protein and veggies (not lasagna as the host of this show jokingly stated she had as leftovers.) Lunch and dinner meals will depend upon how active you have been, and grilled vegetables, proteins such as chicken or beef, salads and wraps are good choices. Again, each individual will have their own ideal menu based upon their unique body type. Again, no processed foods, glutens or dairy.
“This can’t be taught, it has to be learned.” The successful client makes the personal decision to change detrimental habits, eat whole foods, get adequate rest, exercise regularly and restore balance to their life.
Through the years, people desperate to lose weight have flocked to the Scarsdale Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Keto diet, Carnivore Diet, and many more. These diet fads are all the same in Tyler’s opinion and will work for a while if you stick with them, most of the time. But for sustainable change, you must give up detrimental habits, start eating whole foods, get adequate rest, exercise regularly, and restore balance in your life. “This can’t be taught, it has to be learned,” Tyler says, and lasting change will only be sustainable if the client takes ownership of their health and chooses and sticks with a lifestyle plan that meets their own unique needs.
This interview with Tyler Lafleur is full of advice that is simple but life-changing. Chew your food 20 to 30 times per bite, not 4 to 5, so that your body may properly digest it. Meditate, journal and take the time to rest. Get up and exercise, or if you overexercise, cut it out! If you smoke, stop. Many of the choices we make will slowly steal away our health.
References Tyler Lafleur made during the podcast: 1) Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker explains the importance of sleep in maintaining good health; and 2) Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride; McBride has dedicated her life to studying the connection between gut health and the brain. She posits that conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, depression and schizophrenia may be treated with the GAP diet, which eliminates grains, sugars and starchy vegetables, and introduces fermented and whole foods that reintroduce healthy gut flora.
For more information on Tyler Lafleur and HPHI, please visit https://www.hphi.life.