What is gut right?
Gut Right by ATP Science is a complex of ‘modbiotics' (polyphenols, polysaccharides, glucans, lectins and other compounds)) that modulate the microbes in our gut by controlling their growth rate and ratios. Here's the link to the product: atpscience.com/product/gutright/ Please note: this post is in no means sponsored, nor did the brand send me this product.
Modbiotics work toward creating a healthier profile in our gut. They do this through actions that reduce the existence of excessive firmicutes (sugar-feeders that create inflammation and slow our metabolism), whilst also working to increase deficient bacteroidetes (the good guys - bacteria that feed on fat, block inflammation and boost out metabolism).
It isn’t a probiotic or a prebiotic, and instead of just adding more bugs to our gut (which can be likened to throwing fertiliser at weeds!), Gut Right works specifically on achieving this desired better ratio of good bugs vs. bad bugs.
Having this ratio in balance prevents things like obesity, insulin resistance and other metabolic syndromes, along with a range of health issues like leaky gut, inflammation and IBS.
So basically, the logic behind Gut Right is to fortify our diets with modbiotics to restore a truly healthy balance in our bodies - reduce the excessive organisms that have overgrown, and support the deficient strains to grow.
In doing so, it promises to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, reduce insulin resistance, support a healthy metabolism, prevent and correct fatigue disorders, aid mental clarity, improve physical and mental performance, reduce bloating and displace parasites and yeasts.
Bring it on.
What is the 10 day protocol?
Gut Right is initiated with a 10-day protocol - which is a short-term purge to rid the overgrowth of the bad bugs in your gut.
You are required to take 1 teaspoon of the GutRight powder 3 times daily with meals, whilst following their specific carbohydrate diet (which you can find here. Note I didn’t follow this strictly. See below in the FAQs why!).
After the 10 days you can resume taking 1 x teaspoon a day, since lower doses have a more modulating effect over a loner period of time to maintain this healthier ratio that has been established during the first 10 days.
What was my experience?
The guys at ATP ominously state that what you should expect to experience during the 10 days will be “directly proportional to what is living inside of you, and what it smells and sounds like as it leaves you”.
For a bit of context: I have had chronic digestive issues since my restrictive eating disorder, and the period during my recovery whereby I would consume Diet Coke every single day, along with artificially sweetened protein bars and shakes and then go on to chew packets of gum at a time. By the time I had finally built up a healthier gut after 2 years of proper eating and adequate nutrition, I had an injury that landed me on antibiotics for 6 months straight. My gut has honestly never been the same since. Then came my recent episode of adrenal fatigue and hormonal deregulation - leaving me suffering over a month of chronic daily diarrhoea due to stress. So based on how messed up my gut was…I knew I had a sh*itty experience ahead of me..literally.
Not going to lie, I am so glad I finally worked up the courage to commence this protocol in the first place! I procrastinated and delayed even starting it because I was honestly so scared as to what kind of side-effects I’d experience, or whether I would notice a change at all. I finally reached a point where I was so fed up with how lousy I felt that I just committed to it. Day 1 was kind of exciting because I was so ready for a change, and through placebo effects alone I felt better instantly with the reassurance that I was doing something good for my gut.
By the end of Day 1, I was already experiencing the Herxheimer reaction - the die off reaction whereby the bad bugs are being killed and start to release toxins to try to fight back (this is why I wish in hindsight I’d stuck to the diet so that I wasn’t fuelling them with the carbs they thrive off to fuel this fight!). I was pretty quick to notice excessive burping, gurgling in my stomach, the most potent farts and by day 3 I was extremely nauseous during the night and had built up to 6 poos a day.
During these first 3 days, the build up of material and increase in volume of my poos was uncomfortable, but also oddly satisfying. I could just tell something was changing inside my body, and it felt good. The worst parts at this stage were the trapped wind, adjusting to the taste of the Gut Right powder and having to drop my carb intake in a half-assed attempt to somewhat comply to the diet protocol.
My skin broke out pretty badly by day 4, but I’ve heard this is part of the purging/cleansing process. I also had a few really bad headaches (which I never get!), and realised I needed to be drinking a lot more water than usual while I was taking the powder.
By day 5, my average daily poo count was around 7-8 poos per day. It was liberating at this stage because each poo was the type of poo where you walk out of the bathroom and just want to high-5 everyone instantly because your shit was that epic. I was also needing to pee SO MUCH - a combination of drinking more water and the inclusion of Cranberry proanthocyanidins in the Gut Right formula (a polyphenol that detoxifies bugs through the urine!).
I also noticed a dramatic increase in my energy levels and quality of sleep at this stage - which was probably the best feeling in the world for me after months of suffering through exhaustion and fatigue. I was finally feeling my usual self again, and by this point, I was ready to sell my soul to the guys at ATP Science for creating such an incredible product.
Unfortunately though, sh*t happens (or doesn’t), and for some reason, all that euphoric lightness left me at day 8 and I felt backed up and so uncomfortably bloated. I was still doing a fair amount of poo’s a day over days 8-10, but they weren’t as satisfying nor did they exit as smoothly.
The smell was slowly improving though, and I was still reaping the benefits of better energy levels. My skin had cleared up immensely, and is probably the best it’s been in ages (I have a feeling this is tied in with a healthier gut leading to healthier hormones and less toxins in my body?!)
I honestly still can’t believe how many little things started improving for me beyond my digestive health over the 10 days - it really hit home hard for me just how many elements of our wellbeing our gut controls.
By day 10 I was feeling a little better again, though my belly was still puffy and inflamed like it was at the start of the 10 days. I was a little disheartened and frustrated at this point, because things were looking SO damn good for a few days in the middle!
What was the overall outcome after the 10 days?
Personally, I made the decision after day 10 to continue the 3-dosage protocol for another 5 days (after consulting with the team at ATP that it was safe to do so!). This is only because I wanted to try to comply to the diet a little better and see if that helped, and really get rid of the mass of bad bugs I knew I still had in me.
I’ve taken the weekend off, and as of Monday will begin another round before assessing where to go from there. I’ll update this post once I’ve completed the next 10 days (this time with stricter compliance to the diet!).
I have now completed the 10-day protocol again, this time following the diet a lot more compliantly. So, how did I go?
For starters, the side-effects/discomfort of the die-off reaction were so, so much worse than the first round. I have a feeling this was because the Gut Right formula was acting far more effectively now that I wasn't feeding the bad bugs with their main sources of fuel (e.g. complex carbs and dairy). It was also probably likely that I was feeling more lousy as my body adjusted to far less carbs in my diet.
Throughout those first few days I had the most excruciating bloating, headaches and nausea but I persevered, because trust me, days 5 and 6 are where the magic happens. All of a sudden I started feeling so much lighter, more energetic and just happy. I was still pooping a lot , but the bloating and discomfort had reduced significantly. I was a little worried that this would all reverse again like it did the first round (whereby I started to get really backed up and bloated on days 8-10), but honestly, I only felt better as the days progressed.
It's now the day after day 10, and I am feeling amazing - I'm talking 100x better than I was when I first began both rounds. My sleep, mood, energy and digestion feel miles ahead of what they were and I'm not exaggerating when I say like a different person than I was a few weeks back when I was stuck in a cycle of fatigue, depression, hormonal imbalances and major digestive issues.
In terms of advice and some tips, here’s a little FAQ that might help you!
Do I have to stick to the diet?
Am I going to feel gross and bloated?
How can I make the protocol ‘smoother’ for myself?
How do you drink it without wanting to throw up?!
Will I lose weight on this product?
CONCLUSION: Would I recommend this product?
I was really hesitant to recommend this until I completed the full 10 days, partly because it IS a very expensive product, and also because every single one of us have a different gut microbiome and will experience different reactions to the ingredients in this product. Just because I had a positive experience, doesn’t mean that every single person who tries it will as well - so that’s just my little disclaimer. In fact, if you're gut is in a pretty healthy place to begin with, you might not experience any effects in your digestion at all.
It's also important to note that this product is not a magic cure in solving poor gut health - there are so many more factors at play that need to be attended to, and I don't think I would have experienced the same positive result if I hadn't made improvements to my lifestyle and stress management whilst I was undertaking the 10 day protocol.
In saying that, if you really are eager to give yourself an extra push toward a healthier gut, then I definitely think this product is at least worth a try.
Overall rating 8/10.
Note as of 8/11: Since reviewing this product unsponsored over 5 months ago, I have since become an affiliate for ATP Science. Which means I can offer a 10% discount on all their products if you are interested in trying them. My code is STEPH10.
Gut Right Hot Chocolate Recipe:
Simply add the milk to a big glass, add in the Gut Right, cacao powder and protein powder and stir well. Allow to combine before pouring the hot water on top. Stir again and enjoy!
I feel like I’ve been engulfed by a big cloud of sadness and frustration for so many weeks now, and I’m torn between wanting to hide away or to just be honest and upfront with how all this mental stress has affected my physical health.
I’m not going to beat around the bush - I've been experiencing daily bouts of diarrhoea, my lower abdomen and back are constantly distended, I'm holding onto so much water, I’ve consistently been gaining weight, I’ve visibly lost muscle and I’ve gained fat.
None of this has been in a controlled, healthy or desirable manner.
Yes - weight gain has been a goal of mine for a few years now following my ED, but this recent gain has felt nothing like the gain’s I’ve achieved for myself in the past.
This is my body sending me a sign that something is wrong - this is not my body thriving.
Weight gain has always been something I've associated with fear - but throughout recovery from my ED it was also something I happily came to experience could be accompanied with improvements in my physical and mental health.
This time around though? My energy levels haven’t increased, my strength hasn’t improved, my moods are lower than ever, and I just don’t feel healthy. I feel like I’ve completely lost control of my body and no matter how diligent and consistent I remain with my eating and my training - I’m losing all feeling of wellbeing, fitness and happiness.
My gut instinct is to slash my calories and to add more cardio to “strip away” this uncomfortable new space I’ve come to fill. I can’t even explain how f*cking hard I’ve fought to not give in and do just that. The mental battle of NOT relapsing has been exhausting as it is, but I’m fighting even harder than just "pushing through" and barely keeping my head above water. I’m taking action and proving to myself that what I need now is ENOUGH food, and MORE rest (see my post on Cortisol and Body Composition to explain why)
I need to step back, and accept that my body is acting out of stress and fear. It’s literally protecting itself from me, and while it’s the most disheartening realisation ever, it's also liberating to know that it's up to me to change this.
So, the solution now is to be loving and proactive and to show my body with consistent action that I really do want it to heal and to regain it’s strength and vigour again. Yes, I've put it through years of destruction, hatred and careless disregard.....but that's all about to change.
I'm writing a separate post on tips for reducing cortisol/stress, regaining self-love and rebalancing my hormones, but for now, here's a brief run down of what I'm prioritising:
There's more detail to come, but basically, I’m doing what I can to push through this little revolt my body has thrown against me, and I’m getting it back on my side again.
My body has endured chronic stress, so now it needs to experience persistent and ongoing rest, love, compassion and patience - something that feels mentally foreign, but also overwhelmingly right.
Nothing changes if nothing changes.....so here's to turning over a new chapter of true health and happiness with my body xx
Where do I even begin….
It’s safe to say that my journey toward a healthy lifestyle has been anything BUT easy, ideal or consistent. It’s been years of struggling, of going to extremes, of enduring pain and depression, of losing friends, hurting my family, of making lots of mistakes and learning a lot of lessons…over and over again.
Most of my childhood and early teens were spent overweight. I had zero care in the world for health or fitness. I ate what I wanted and my only form of exercise was some dabbling in sports at school. I was naïve and unhealthy, but I was content and carefree. This lasted until I reached high school, and all of a sudden, being unhealthy turned into being 'fat', being bullied and being made to feel inadequate, unattractive and worthless.
I was hurled insults, had snide comments and cruel jokes made about me and had all my flaws pointed out. I was made to feel so uncomfortable that I began to not just question my own worth…but to truly hate myself. I would wear layers of clothes to cover up my ‘disgusting’ body, I would say no to social situations, I wouldn’t dare speak up to any of my skinnier, prettier friends and I mistakenly learned from a very young age that my appearance determined my happiness.
Toward the end of high school I had become depressed. I adopted the rationale that the only way I was going to be happy was to lose weight, change how I looked and to show everyone that I DID have self-control and wasn't as 'lazy' as they told me I was.
So that’s what I did.
Initially, it started off very innocently. I began eating healthier foods, exercising more and just becoming more conscious of what I was putting into my body and what I was expending. I became aware of the changes my body was making, and I become hyper-aware of all the compliments and encouragement I was receiving with every gram I lost from my body.
By the time I was in my final year of high school, I was the smallest I'd been in years and also the most 'disciplined' with my eating and exercise. I felt like every ‘no’ I said to food offerings was an achievement and I became convinced that I was doing all the right things to feel better about myself.
My eating disorder escalated when I finished up that final year of high school. I’d just come out of an extremely stressful exam period, and all of a sudden I had too much time on my hands, and no where to unleash my perfectionist, driven and controlling energy. I was unemployed, still lacked confidence, had low self-esteem and I decided that I would cling to the only thing that I seemed to be succeeding at…losing weight.
All of a sudden I wasn't eating at all.
I was exercising until my heart ached with pain and exhaustion.
I was weak, I was moody at best, I was angry and I was miserable.
But in my eyes I was still channeling my energy into something positive – I genuinely thought that continuing to lose weight was what I needed to do and that by doing so, I was proving how dedicated and worthy I was and how much I deserved to be happy.
I remember frantically doing burpees as quietly as I could in my bedroom after Christmas lunch.
I remember fighting off tiredness to do ab exercises in my bed instead of sleeping because I needed to burn off what little food I'd eaten.
I remember declining every delicious food offered to me, and counting every single "no thank you" as a victory.
I remember having fights with my friends and family because I was so hostile to anyone who tried to tell me what I was doing what wrong, or anyone who tried to make me deviate from my strict routine.
I remember feeling so miserable, full of self-hated and of torturing myself so devastatingly.
I remember my mum crying on a holiday she should have been enjoying because she was in such despair of what her youngest daughter was doing to herself.
I remember admitting to my doctor that I’d lost my period, having her weigh me and being told I’d lost almost 10kgs in a month.
I remember undergoing physical examinations and mental tests and being diagnosed all in one day.
I remember starting what would turn out to be 2 years of Psychologist sessions the following week, and battling day in and day out with an illness I never thought I had, or ever would have wished upon myself.
That was almost 5 years ago.
I’m extremely proud to say that I have come a long way since then, and feel like I’ve transformed into a whole other person.
Unfortunately, those years of torture and control and misery are still engrained somewhat in my mental state. I still have restrictive tendencies at times. I still struggle with body dysmorphia every now and then. I still fight depression and anxiety.
But for once in my life, I consider myself to be healthy - and most importantly, happy.
I fought a battle that exhausts people to death – literally, and I’ve managed to come out of it with a wealth of insight, self-perception, appreciation and drive.
I’ve pushed myself past my comfort zone and overcome endless challenges to get to the stage I’m at now.
A stage where I’m eating well and I’m eating enough.
A stage where I’m exercising sustainably and out of enjoyment.
A stage where I’m showing up to things, putting myself out there and saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities.
A stage where I’m feeling confident and proud and happy within myself.
Repairing a broken mindset has taken me years, but I wouldn’t trade the life I’ve built for myself now for an easier alternative.