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Episode 129: Unlocking Gut Health: From Bone Broth to Enzymes with Carley Smith

Brief summary of show:

In this episode, we delve deep into the fascinating world of gut health. Join us as we explore the critical role the gut plays in our overall well-being. We kick things off by discussing how health truly begins in the gut, uncovering the importance of maintaining a healthy gut lining, gut barrier, and nurturing the microbiome.

Next, we dive into the savory world of bone broth. Discover where to find this nourishing elixir and how to make it from scratch. We also share insights on when to incorporate bone broth into your diet and explore the differences between chicken and beef bone broth. As we continue our journey through gut health, we shed light on the significance of digestive enzymes and provide guidance on selecting the right ones for your needs. Plus, we unravel the mystery surrounding prebiotics and probiotics, offering clarity on their roles in gut health. Finally, we investigate the impact of sugar and carbs on your gut, addressing the potential harm they may pose.

Carley Smith, AKA Fairy Gutmother®, is a Nutritional Therapist, Certified GAPS Practitioner, and Registered Yoga Teacher. Carley became interested in health and nutrition after being diagnosed with Lyme disease and using food as medicine emphasizing gut health to help heal. She became so empowered in the progress in her healing just based on diet and lifestyle changes emphasizing gut health that she started her business, Fairy Gutmother®, so she could help spread awareness around nutrition and help others. Carley is adamant about promoting the gut health lifestyle as it is more than a diet, rather, a combination of food and environment that play a role in the health of the microbiome.

Carley has been a featured guest on The Dr. Oz Show and is a frequent guest for Colorado’s Own Channel 2 News. She has also been featured on Arizona Family TV, Better Connecticut, NBC Miami, and the popular iHeart Radio show Modern Eater. Her articles have been published in major worldwide publications including Newsmax, MindBodyGreen, Yoga + Life Magazine, and Paleo Magazine to name a few. She also leads numerous workshops, public speaking events, and cooking demonstrations centered around the gut health lifestyle.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [1:40] Health starts in the gut

  • [2:55] How we support our gut lining, gut barrier, and the microbiome

  • [4:40] Bone broth, where to get it, and how to make it

  • [5:40] When to make bone broth

  • [12:00] Chicken vs. beef bone broth

  • [15:50] Understanding digestive enzymes

  • [18:20] What to explore when it comes to choosing enzymes

  • [20:00] The confusion behind prebiotics and probiotics

  • [22:40] Are sugar and carbs hurting your gut?

Notes from Natalie:

Connect with Carley

Connect with Me

View Transcript for this Episode

Natalie: Is your gut really your second brain? And what does that mean? How to support your gut health for overall wellbeing.

Natalie: Hi, everyone. It's Natalie. Hope your fall is off to a great start. I'm talking about something that's going to help us stay healthy today. And that is gut health. One of my favorite guests, Carly Smith is joining me to talk more in depth about gut health. Why does it really matter? And is your gut really your second brain?

How can we support our gut health? Some of the things we're going to talk about how to make bone broth. When you go to the store, what do you buy? What do you do? What is the difference between chicken broth and beef broth? Also, we're going to get into things like digestive. Enzymes and probiotics and prebiotics, all of these things make a really big difference when it comes to our overall health.

So I'm really glad you're joining me today. If you take just a second, review the podcast that helps us keep going and keep bringing you all of this information every week. Let's get started today with one of my favorite guests, Carly Smith, the fairy gut mother.

Carly, it's that time of year where people just start getting sick and we want to do everything we can to keep ourselves healthy, our families healthy. And I have learned from you that it all starts in the gut.

Carley: Yes, exactly. So this is where nearly the entire immune system is located. So when you think about your body's ability to stay healthy throughout the school year and the winter season flu season, we really need to be thinking about how we can support the gut, which is basically your immune system.

Natalie: So how do we do that? And you know, we think of the gut now as the second brain,

Carley: right? Yes, exactly. So there's, you know, a lot of feelings that are involved with the gut. It's basically the gut and the brain are connected between, what's called the vagus nerve. So it's a long nerve that connects the gut and the brain.

So there's a lot of research that suggests that the gut is a second brain. it can think and act completely independently from the brain, um, in the central nervous system, which is really interesting. so that's why a lot of times people will link mental health as well to gut health.

Natalie: So let's, let's kind of break it down.

We've done this in past episodes, but I like to give people a base of what they can be doing, to support that second brain, that

Carley: gut. Yes. So a lot of different things. My top things for supporting gut health. Number one, you know, I'm going to talk about bone broth. we were just talking about it earlier, but it's just my favorite thing for supporting gut health.

so when I talk about gut health, I really break it down into the gut lining, the gut barrier, and the microbiome, the collection of bacteria and fungi that are living in the gut. When we talk about the gut lining, what a nice healed and sealed lining. and that's where bone broth comes into play because you're really extracting all those nutrients from the bones.

So the cartilage the collagen, the connective tissue, all those proteins are really helpful in helping to maintain that nice healed and sealed lining in the gut. and then when we talk about the microbiome, that collection of good bacteria and fungi that are living in the gut, there's a couple of ways to support that.

One, obviously through a probiotic supplement, that's just taking a supplement that's full of that beneficial bacteria and fun guy. but you can also get it from food. So fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, a really great food as medicine approach to kind of getting in that probiotic, but also making sure that you're incorporating more fiber into your diet.

So fiber actually helps to feed the good bacteria in the gut. so you can take a probiotic all day long, but if you don't have that food for the bacteria, it really doesn't do a whole lot of good.

Natalie: let's talk a little bit more about the bone broth, your favorite topic. I know you can talk, you can have your own podcast just on bone broth.

You have totally transformed me. Can I just go to the, I know the answer to this, but I want you to tell us, can I just go to the grocery store and buy a box of bone broth off the shelf?

Carley: Yes, but if you are looking to heal the gut and get all of those really, you know, gut healing nutrients, and support the gut, it's always best to make your own.

and there's a few different reasons for that one. I just think it's more cost effective. You're getting way more bang for your buck when you make your own versus when you buy it on the store shelves. but when you also make your own, you're in control of the nutrients. that you, that your broth yields so you can put in more knuckle bones, marrow bones, chicken carcasses, you know, chicken feet, all of those nutrients that are going to be the most gelatinous, and gut healing as well as you can incorporate all of the vegetables or, you know, whatever that you want to put in there, control the flavor so that it's more palatable for you for sipping.

So it's just a little bit easier and more cost effective. and also you can get way more nutrients out of making your own. Do you do this

Natalie: year round and on a regular basis or when you're sick? Give us an example.

Carley: So, you know, now that the weather is getting colder, everyone's all soup season and broth season.

But for me, broth season is all year round. I always am incorporating broth into my meals, but it's not just for sipping. I incorporate into all of my cooking and all of my recipes. So if you're making rice, you can cook your rice and broth. if you're sauteing vegetables. Saute your vegetables in broth.

if you make a really neutral chicken broth and what it might mean by neutral is just doing plain chicken and water, not a lot of spices or flavorings, you can incorporate that into absolutely everything. And I will put that into smoothies even. so you won't ever notice it's there. So just getting in the habit of, of using a little bit of broth into your routine, and into your recipes, that way you're kind of always getting those nutrients to help strengthen the gut lining.

Yeah, a few

Natalie: weeks ago, I was telling Carly before we started because I think of her often because she's taught me so well. A few weeks ago, my son and I both got sick and it was that like right as school starts, the cold comes on and I mean, we both were like out for a day. I went and bought, tell me if I did this right, I just bought a nice, small, Organic chicken, put it in the crock pot, put filtered water over it.

And then I put in anything I had in the refrigerator, put some onion and some carrots and some basil and salt and pepper. And I just let it go for like two days. I kept sipping the broth. The chicken turned into like mush. Couldn't even eat it because the bones were all dissolved in with it. and then I, took what was left and put it in ice cube trays.

And now I just take out a cube at a time with anything I make.

Carley: I'm so proud of you, Natalie. Thank you. You

Natalie: have taught me well, but I, I sipped that hot and it's so, it's actually really like in the morning instead of coffee. Cause you know, when you're sick, coffee does not taste good when your throat hurts.

And I just slipped that warm broth and it was so soothing. It

Carley: is. And that was, you know, kind of how I got into all of this, you know, from healing from Lyme disease. I will never forget the first sip of broth that I had. I was actually going on the GAPS diet, which is gut and psychology syndrome. It's a gut healing diet and protocol.

And I distinctly remember. Being where I was in my apartment at the time taking that first sip of what I had made chicken broth And I thought oh my gosh, this is going to heal me It was like my body knew how nourishing this was and it just craved those nutrients. So There is something very special I mean they say chicken soup for the soul and I think it really does just come back to those nutrients And this bone broth isn't anything new.

You know, it's, it's been in our diets for thousands of years. but I think somewhere along the way we've might've, you know, lost track of that. So it is important to just kind of be making sure that you're still incorporating a lot of those nutrients and cooking techniques that are very healing to the body.

Natalie: Can you give me another example though? Because you talk about the knuckle bones and whatever, and it all confuses me. I know how to go buy a chicken. That's easy. But why are the others, should we be mixing it up with those different types of bones to make broth? And tell me when I go to the grocery store, how do I get that?

Because that's what I go to the butcher and they look at me like. What did you want? Cause I never, I don't know. I just do chicken. So give us some example if you're going in and someone wants to make this, what they go ask

Carley: for at the butcher. Yes. That's such a great question. because definitely when you start transitioning to more beef bones, that it can get a little confusing.

How many do you choose? or what kinds, what's the difference? So, when doing beef. So you can find it generally at Whole Foods. you can ask the butcher there or they usually have some frozen bones, depending on the store. So you just want to be on the lookout for those. I will say it's very important to be making sure that you're sourcing from good quality bones.

So, preferably grass fed, humanely raised animals. I also love to buy mine online from us wellness meets. So they're an online retailer of really good quality needs. and their bones are fantastic for, for broth. and there's a lot of different kinds of bones that you can use. So there's soup bones, there's knuckle bones, and then there's marrow bones.

If we're just talking about more of a beef broth, the knuckle bones tend to be. a little bit bigger in size, and think about those, that connective tissue, the connective joints, those are going to yield the most gelatinous broth. So that's why a lot of times people will add chicken feet to the broth, because the feet are full of all that kind of joints and the connective tissues that add that gelatinous material, which is what's really great for reducing inflammation and healing the gut lining.

So if you are using a knuckle bone, I usually just recommend just to do that. or you might add in a knuckle and maybe one or two soup bones depending on the size. And the reason being is because those again are the most gelatinous material. So they're going to have a lot of that. fat content in them.

So just to make sure that the broth is a little bit more palatable, you know, and not super fatty and thick, you really only need one of those knuckle bones. Now, if you're just doing soup bones, those I think yield the most flavorful broth because those are kind of a mix between, kind of like a meat stock.

and a bone broth. So they generally have a little bit of meat around the bone and that helps to just take the broth down a notch and make it a little bit more flavorful. And then marrow bones, as well, those are also great. some people really like to roast those in the oven and then have the marrow, you know, on like toast, or, you can make different things with recipes with that, or just throw the marrow bones, you know, straight in there.

those are great for a broth as well.

Natalie: Okay. You've just added a whole nother layer to what I've never roasted the bones. So like, Whoa,

Carley: I've been putting these in my crockpot. And that's okay. You don't have to just, they can add a little bit of depth of flavor when you, when you roast them in the oven, but it's not necessary.

and I personally don't believe it does anything that for like the gut healing nutrients, it's just more flavor wise. And

Natalie: then when it comes to chicken broth versus. a beef broth. Is it really just for flavor or do you think one is better than the other?

Carley: Well, I think it really depends, again, on what kind of chickens you're using, what kinds of bones you're using.

if, you know, if you're adding in chicken feet, that it's going to make the broth, again, like I said, a little bit more gelatinous. So it might have that same gelatinous consistency as more of like a knuckle bone, might have. But I believe that the two have the same gut healing properties. It is great to always switch up your broth.

So, my foundation for a lot of my gut healing that I do is on the GAPS diet. And in the GAPS diet, they definitely recommend switching up the broth just so that you aren't getting different nutrients from chicken and beef. and you can really use anything. I have a great oxtail bone broth recipe on my website as well.

you could do, you know, lamb, lamb shanks, even just kind of making a discard pile in your freezer. So if you were to cook chicken wings or, you know, you have like a steak bones or things like that, that you just sort of aren't, you know, you, you cook in the summer, you might use them in the winter for a broth or something like that.

You can use any of those. So

Natalie: any bones that you have cooked with, say it's a T bone steak or anything like that, you can put on top of the stove, boil it, and then discard the bone.

Carley: Yes. Absolutely.

Natalie: Okay. All right. So a lot about broth and the benefits of it. I mean, it really, if, if you haven't tried this for those listening, it is so like it's, it's so nourishing to your body, but also just feels so like warm in the fall and I sip it like coffee.

It is. It is. Smoothies, all that. All right. So. Recently, I saw that you put out and I want you to talk about the three day gut reset because one of my daughters, for instance, we know with some skin issues, I keep saying like we need to reset your gut. Like we don't know what it is, but maybe it's just inflammation and you need to get that under control.

So how can someone go about just starting a reset to try to feel better? Get the gut in line with the rest of their body.

Carley: Yes. So, you know, first thing, if you are struggling with any sort of digestive issues, it really does take a while for the gut to heal. So when I work with clients, we're generally going on a protocol for at least three months.

and then up to even the gaps diet, we'll say up to one to two years, but that's not always necessary to heal the gut. But just saying, you know, it's, it's important to know that it does take time. But with that being said, you can still get a lot of gut healing benefits by just incorporating parts of, what, you know, I, I recommend to clients for their protocols in just, you know, a few days.

so what I've developed is my three day gut reset, which really helps to kind of reduce some of those digestive issues in a short period of time. And what this reset is, is designed for is really You know, let's say that you are coming back from vacation or maybe it's during the middle of the holidays, where we all kind of can find that time where we get off of track.

Maybe we're really busy or, you know, have a lot going on. and we just need that plan to help. Get us back on track, give the gut a little bit of a break. So what the three day gut reset is comprised of is just more nourishing, easier to digest foods. so like cooked meats and vegetables, lots of bone broth and blended soups.

And, the idea behind this is that they're much easier on the gut to digest. So it gives the gut a little bit of a break. and then incorporating in some digestive enzymes. So that really helps you break down your food a little bit better. So they're more easily absorbed in the system and then of course probiotics to repopulate the gut with that beneficial bacteria.


Natalie: two things you just said that I want you to talk a little bit more about so we understand is digestive enzymes and then probiotics.

Carley: Sure. So digestive enzymes are, most of us have, I'll start off with too little stomach acid as compared to too much. our digestive enzymes actually start decreasing at the age of 20.

So it's important for almost everybody to start supplementing with an enzyme. but you know, we naturally secrete digestive enzymes when we digest our foods. it starts actually in the mouth. When you even start thinking about food, your body will start secreting these enzymes to help break our foods down again so that they're more easily absorbed as nutrients into the body.

But when we don't have enough. Stomach acid or digestive enzymes, it can lead to a lot of gut complications. So, you know, this is where, you can have undigested foods into your system, and lots of toxins enter the system, which can lead to a lot of other health complications, food allergies, sensitivities, and, and even Acid reflux and that's a case of not having enough stomach acid or maybe the wrong pH level of stomach acid.


Natalie: So now that we understand the, the concept of the enzymes, where do you get them? Is it a powder? Is it a smoothie, vitamin?

Carley: So it's a supplement. My favorite supplement for digestive enzymes is from a company called Zenwise and it's called No Bloat. they actually just started selling them in Walmart, but what I love about this enzyme is it's a comprehensive enzyme, so it contains several enzymes.

needed to break down fats, proteins and carbs. And then it also contains nutrients in there that are helpful in easing bloating and discomfort. So it has ginger, and a few other really nice extracts that just help to kind of soothe the belly. it also contains a little bit of probiotics in there, which probiotics can also help you digest your foods, specifically.

certain kinds of fiber, like resistant starches, they're resistant to digestion. They break down in the large intestine by becoming food for that beneficial bacteria. So you don't have enough of that good bacteria in the gut. That's a lot of times why when you have fiber, you have Excessive gas or digestive issues.

It could just be not having enough of that good bacteria to break down, those fibers in the gut. So that supplement contains, you know, all of that, which is very helpful. Can you go

Natalie: wrong? Are you looking for digestive enzymes, a product called digestive enzymes? Are there good and bad? You mentioned the no bloat product that you get.

I'm glad to hear someone even like Walmart carries it, but can you go wrong buying a product called digestive enzymes? So

Carley: it's quality. It's yeah. And digestive enzymes I found to be a little bit harder to, well, I guess with anything got health related, there's never a one size fits all approach. You know, I tell people the gut is unique.

It's like a thumbprint. It's completely unique to you. so there's never one thing that that's kind of the most universal. That's why I like Zen wise is enzyme because it seems to be the most fitting for everybody. but not all enzymes are helpful for everybody. some people don't do well with some of the enzymes.

So for them, I would recommend more of a plant based enzyme. So there's like bromelain, which is dry from pineapple. and there's also enzymes that are derived from papaya as well. sometimes those can be a little bit better for people to start with. And then there's always that food as medicine approach to a digestive enzyme.

even just taking a little bit of sauerkraut juice with your meal can help you digest your foods. Uh, apple cider vinegar can also help you digest foods and bone broth as well can help to stimulate those digestive enzymes. So,

Natalie: is this something I've heard people talk about taking enzymes before they eat?

is it good to get that in your stomach before you fill it up? Or is that just, I would,

Carley: and it also kind of depends on the enzyme that you take. Some of them are pre meal, some of them are post meal. I just tell people. As long as they're with your meal, either right before, during, or immediately after.

Just as long as you're getting those enzymes in your

Natalie: system. Okay. Then the other thing you mentioned that we hear a lot about, but I think people don't know what to buy is probiotic. And then does prebiotic need to go along with that?

Carley: Yeah. So again, it's kind of that there's no one size fits all approach and probiotics are totally overwhelming.

you know, not only is it. you know, you run the full spectrum of, of the CFUs, which is colony forming units. That's the unit of measurement of the amount of bacteria. So you could go somewhere with, you know, just in, the millions to hundreds of millions of organisms. and so that can be confusing to start with.

My recommendation for that is to always start on the lowest amount, and with probiotics, it's never, it's, it's not really like a, the more, the merrier type of situation. I think sometimes we think, Oh, let's get these good bacteria in our system. and that's not necessarily the case. I don't know if you can hear my dog.

Sorry. That's okay. Background. It's always a good time for him to chime in. but. You know, it's not necessarily the more the merrier. So you want to start out on the lower end of the probiotics, and then you can always build from there. so when people hear probiotics, they think, okay, and they, they get the highest amount, and then they start incorporating kombucha and, you know, sauerkraut and all the fermented foods.

That's going to give you. Way more gut issues than you had ever probably wanted or anticipated. You can go too

Natalie: far. You're going to possibly have an upset stomach, diarrhea, those things if you go

Carley: too far. Yes. So I say just start on the lowest amount and then you can kind of work your way up from there.

What's the difference

Natalie: between a probiotic and a prebiotic?

Carley: So prebiotic is a type of fiber. it's not a fiber. It is a type of fiber, which feeds the good bacteria in the gut. So an example of a prebiotic would be, like a resistant starch, which I had mentioned earlier. So those are resistant to digestion.

They break down in the large intestine by becoming food for that good bacteria. So those are like your winter squashes. even like artichoke, asparagus. onion. So there are certain kinds of food. Yes, that are prebiotic type foods. You don't always necessarily need to take a prebiotic supplement when you're taking a probiotic.

But the reasoning behind the prebiotic is again, just that if you're not getting that food in the gut for the beneficial bacteria to thrive, they're really not doing much good. So the idea behind the prebiotic is to kind of enhance the probiotic. You don't necessarily need the supplement, but just making sure that then you are on the other side, doing everything that you need to do diet wise to feed that good bacteria.


Natalie: there enemies to our gut sugar, carbs, like these things, are they causing more problems or are they, they okay?

Carley: So, yes, of course, you know, processed foods, sugar, alcohol, those have all been known to feed the bad bacteria in the gut. Now, with that being said, the good news is that the gut is very resilient and it can handle a little moderation in the diet.

So, you know, if you have a holiday party or it's, you know, the weekend or a vacation, that allows for that flexibility and moderation in the diet, but it's pro the problem is when it's chronic. So, you know, every day, you're consuming the processed foods and sugar an excess amount, or there's more processed foods and sugar in your diet than there are that good quality fat fiber and other nutrient dense foods.

That's when the problems start to arise. Everything

Natalie: in moderation, right? Yes. That's so hard for most Americans. You know, they want the chicken nuggets and fries every day or the

Carley: glass of wine every day. It is. But, and you know, what's really interesting too, is that when there's an overgrowth of that bad bacteria in the gut, They start kind of teaming up together and tell the brain what they want to eat.

So a lot of times it's, it's a relief for my clients to know that it might not be your problem and it's not your fault. It's that bacteria talking. But generally, once you get that microbiome to shift and you get that healthier composition of bacteria and fungi, Generally, a lot of those cravings will subside.

So sometimes if you're having those constant cravings for those foods, it could actually be an indication of an overgrowth of pathogens in the gut, primarily candida, that pathogenic yeast, because that's what it likes to eat.

Natalie: Oh, next time I crave something like that, I'm totally blaming the bacteria.

This is your fault. It's not mine. It's the

Carley: bacteria. Exactly. right? Exactly. Right.

Natalie: Oh, we've learned so much. Okay. Well, any, any final thoughts?

Carley: yeah, the gut truly is the foundation for our health. So, you know, I'm just, thank you for having me on here to be able to share this because it is so important and you know, I'm, I'm so passionate about spreading the information and knowledge around gut health because it's truly changed my life and I'm just grateful that, you know, we're more of us are now.

Seeking ways that we can help support the gut and it's in it's not meant to be overwhelming It's more about what what kinds of foods should I be incorporating into the diet? They're gonna help to optimize the gut and I think with that mindset we can make a really big difference I

Natalie: agree. And knowledge is power, right?

Like you don't have to do it all at once. It's not going to be perfect. The probiotic, the prebiotic, the bone broth. But if you start with something that, and to me, bone broth is the easy way to start because you just make it, stick it in the freezer and put the little cubes in everything you make or smoothie.

you just won't know if you stick it in their smoothie or you just put it in the vegetables you make or the rice. Like I said, like it makes the rice so much more flavorful. Easy way to get started. And then we'll ease you into the rest of this stuff

Carley: later. Absolutely.

Natalie: Carly. Thank you. I will link your website, your social media, anywhere else, people can go to, to find you and learn

Carley: more.

Yeah. Just website, fairy gut mother. com and social media is at fairy gut mother. Great.

Natalie: Thanks so much. Keeping us healthy, healthy this fall.

Carley: Thank you.

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