What is a gut cleanse anyways?

It’s talked about all the time and made up to be something that can do everything from rid the body of parasites to drop 10 pounds in a week or less.

Because the term is thrown around so much, I thought I would share more about what a gut cleanse can look like.

And no, it doesn’t have to mean surviving on cleansing pills and “potions,” or going to do expensive gut cleanse therapies.

Your body is smart. 

When given the chance, it knows exactly what to do on your behalf.

The Goal of this Gut Cleanse

Your goal with this gut cleanse is not to treat any specific disease or condition. Leave that to the medical professionals. 

Instead, your main goal is to recognize patterns and symptoms associated with various foods. 

As a verb, cleanse simply means, “make thoroughly clean.”

Taking part (or not taking part) in any sort of cleanse doesn’t make you clean or not clean. The idea is, though, that you’ll replace the word/idea “clean” with the current problem at hand.

  • make digestion easier
  • stop the diarrhea
  • clear the acne
  • get my bowels to a consistent 3-4 on the Bristol Stool Scale
  • lose any weight caused by gut inflammation
  • et.

The Basics of a Gut Cleanse with Food

At the most basic level, you’re desiring a gut cleanse to feel better (again). And if we are only talking about this cleanse from a food standpoint to start with that means your goal is to stop with the things your body is rejecting; add in more of the things it’s not.


In order to do this, you need to be intentional about understanding which foods are working for you right now and which are not.

You also need to understand that yes there is a list of foods deemed gut healthy. But that doesn’t mean they are healthy for you right now. By understanding the difference and removing what isn’t working for you right now, you could naturally do a gut cleanse.

First things first, watch this video on Gut Healthy Foods.

Now, let’s go over it in more detail.

Gut Cleanse {and 22 Gut Healthy Foods}

Click HERE to save this post for later.

Gut Cleanse and 22 gut healthy foods agutsygirl.com

Here is my list of 22 gut healthy foods you’ll find (and can do your own tracking with) in the 28-day gut healing journaling SYSTEM:

  1. any and all green vegetables (yes, I realize this is more than one)
  2. asparagus
  3. bone broth
  4. cabbage
  5. chicken (not so much “healthy” as it’s usually tolerated by most)
  6. cinnamon
  7. coconut oil
  8. garlic
  9. ginger
  10. grass-fed and finished meats
  11. honey
  12. kimchi
  13. lamb
  14. olive oil
  15. onion
  16. sauerkraut
  17. strawberries
  18. sweet potato
  19. turmeric
  20. vegetable broth
  21. wild salmon
  22. yogurt

Bloating be gone master gut healing resources agutsygirl.com

If lists like this are interesting to you, then you’ll love the Master Gut Healing Resources.

Are there more? Of course. My goal wasn’t to make the largest gut healthy food list on the planet.

It was to give you a start and direction so you felt like you could include something vs removing everything

Darling, less is not more. We only arrive at a diverse microbiome through more foods and diversity within those foods.

Then Why Can’t I Digest a Sweet Potato?

Remember, I said that the list makes up things that are gut healthy and/or that we should be able to tolerate without problem. 

Should and do are two different things.

Right now you might not be able to digest a sweet potato. There can be many different reasons for this. If you’re not digesting it appropriately, then willing your way to more of it just because it’s “healthy” is an extra force you do not need to place upon your gut trying to be said “healthy.”

Note: Click HERE to learn about the actual reasons why you can’t digest a sweet potato. 

So how to start this gut cleanse using my gut healthy food list?

How to Do a Gut Cleanse with a Gut Healthy Food List

Review the video again. 

Your best option is to grab a copy of my gut healing journaling SYSTEM. I offer both a printed version [HERE] and e-version (PDF download) [HERE].

Then, see pages 132 – 133. It’s already laid out for you, along with an entire journal filled with resources to help your gut healing journey.

But do you need my journal in order to do this? No.

So here would be your steps:

  1. Get out a piece of paper. Make three columns.
  2. On the far left side make a column and at the top write “Food.” Underneath it, write all the gut healthy foods you’re wanting to test. Use my list of 22 to get started. (In the journal there are extra rows for you to customize with your own foods as well. For example, I have “eggs” written for one of my gut healthy foods. Still exploring, btw.)
  3. In the middle column write, “Reaction.”
  4. In the last column write, “Potential Reason.”

Next, you’re going to test these foods to see how you do with them. For this part:

  1. Choose one of the foods to eat at any given meal. Try not to eat a lot of other (or any) foods at this meal that you think are bothering your stomach.
  2. Give it up to 72 hours to see if you have a reaction after eating the food. If you do, record that reaction in the “Reaction” column. If it happens once, no big deal. As always, the patters are where answers lie. 
  3. If you had some sort of reaction (as long as it was not life-threatening, obviously), try the food again after 3 days. 
  4. Then, if you still have a reaction, record it to start understanding why you personally might not be tolerating that food. This is where the third and final column, Potential Reason, comes in. In the video example I mention garlic. If you react to garlic every single time you eat it, list out potential reasons in that column. (i.e. garlic is high-FODMAP at just one clove due to the fructans, garlic belongs to the allium plant family, etc.)

Do this with any and all foods from the gut healthy (and/or other) list.

Find Food Patterns

Then what?

Look at your chart holistically. Ask yourself:

  1. Are you seeing common themes? i.e. high-FODMAP foods, high-protein foods, fermented foods, etc.
  2. Were the reactions always the same?
  3. Did you react to seemingly different foods in the same, negative way (i.e. explosive diarrhea or stomach pain)?

From here, you can do one of two things:

  1. Make a doctor’s appointment, bring your journal or piece of paper, and discuss testing options and/or ideas they might have. (Remember, this can be a process in and of itself. Check out my Beginner’s Guide to Digestive Health Testing.)
  2. Remove the foods that aren’t working for 21-30 days and see if that was all you needed to.

I’m always going to cheer you on to choose the doctor’s appointment.

However, if you’re just wanting to do a 28-day experiment and natural gut cleanse, number 2 is a fine place to start.

Remember, though, you can’t simply do this experiment with my gut healthy foods while continuing on with other certain habits.

Best Ways to Naturally Cleanse Your Colon

In addition to the above, here are several things to do to cleanse your colon.

Best Ways to Cleanse Your Gut agutsygirl.com #gutcleanse #guthealth #health

The suggestions below are not about the food, but other things (for the most part).

Remember, I believe that a gut “cleanse” means understanding which foods to tread lightly with for your current circumstances only. 

Therefore, I can’t put, “Eat more fermented vegetables and avocado” on this list if I don’t know which foods personally make you tick.

So with that.

  1. Fast

    Give your digestive system a break. You do not need to eat every hour on the hour, especially if your gut is a mess.

  2. Drink more water

    Hydration nation is where the optimal gut health is at. Be honest with how much water you’re drinking. Make sure you’re drinking enough.

  3. Cut alcohol

  4. Skip the processed food

    For the time being, skip anything packaged or process unless it contains 3 ingredients or less that you for sure know what they are (i.e. cashews, water).

  5. Limit salt

  6. Reduce or eliminate added sugars

    I said added, I did not say, “Reduce or eliminate fruit.” If you have no clue what’s going on, please don’t remove fruit just because.

  7. Move gently; no stringent workouts

  8. Get heated

    Let your body naturally sweat out the things it’s trying to eliminate. Saunas are the current rage, so run with it. 

  9. Sleep

    Repairing happens during rest. My gut is never stronger than when I am sleeping, consistently 8+ hours a night. 

  10. Avoid unnecessary antibiotics, NSAIDs, other pain killers, supplements, and medications whenever possible

    Note the word “unnecessary.” Never cut anything that is necessary and/or that you did not remove with your doctor’s prescription. Also note that I included supplements in this list, too. So often we are over-supplementing; taking too many things, things we have no clue why we are taking them and/or if they are even working.

  11. Do not smoke

  12. Practice breathing exercises

    The art of breathing appropriately and intentionally is life changing.

  13. Do something for you

    All day long, all week long, and all month long we cater to everyone around us. I believe we should always give more than we receive, but I also firmly believe in the power of treating ourselves with unparalleled pampering.

By doing the above, you might find that you’re able to tolerate those gut healthy foods like you weren’t able to tolerate them in the past.

Quick Gut Detox with A Gutsy Girl agutsygirl.com

Join Today! > Quick Gut Detox

Reduce bloat and normalize weight by getting out of the start-and-stop “gut healing” cycle. In just 21 short days, you’ll be light years ahead of where you’re at today.

Gut Cleanse Food List [save it here]

If you want to print off my list of 22 foods from above, you can save it HERE.

Gut Cleanse agutsygirl.com

After exploring for awhile, let me know what questions you have and/or the ah-ha moments you have.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

  1. Elimination Diet Phase 1
  2. Cleanse vs Detox (for gut healing)
  3. Weight Loss Through Optimal Gut Health


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