How I Restored My Gut After My Eating Disorder

 May 4, 2018

THE KALEJUNKIE DISH: 5 STEPS TO RECLAIM GUT HEALTH - When I started my eating disorder recovery, my primary concern was stopping the behaviors related to food: binging and purging. At the time, healing my gut was the furthest thing from my mind, but when I started my yoga teacher training, my body began talking to me.


When I started my eating disorder recovery, my primary concern was stopping the behaviors related to food: binging and purging. At the time, healing my gut was the furthest thing from my mind, but when I started my yoga teacher training, my body began talking to me.

I remember one day I was standing in warrior two, feeling strong, confident, and present; but at the same time, completely uncomfortable. My entire abdomen ached with pressure and painful cramps. While my mind was quiet for the moment, I was keenly aware that I was walking an emotional tightrope, teetering between elation and despair. I glanced into the mirror to check my form and saw all of those things. But whereas in the past my distended belly would’ve triggered feelings of worthlessness and an urge to binge, I suddenly found myself feeling something new: compassion for this body that was carrying me through hours of yoga practice every day, even while it was suffering.

All those years of purging meant that I’d been exposing my esophagus to digestive acids that were meant to stay down in the stomach. Over time, this began to erode its lining and disrupted the natural flow of the digestive process, leaving me with gas, bloating, indigestion, ulcers, constipation and gastritis. I was a complete MESS.

5 steps to healing the gut by kalejunkie

As I stood in the mirror taking stock of this strong, beautiful, but wounded warrior woman, I vowed to start worshipping the body I used to punish, and to heal the damage I had done to my gut.I shared a post a few weeks ago that touched on some of my methods, and several of you reached out asking for more details, so I put together this post on the specific steps I took to heal my gut. After following these religiously for the last several years, I finally have A+ digestion, which means very little bloating, gas, regular bowel movements, clear skin, and much more balanced moods.

It takes a lot of dedication on your part, but these simple steps will put you on the path towards recovery.


The very first thing that I did to heal my gut went hand in hand with the steps I took to heal from my eating disorder – I eliminated things from my diet that cause inflammation, irritation, and otherwise disrupt the gut. For me, that meant giving up processed foods…cold turkey. 

Why? Processed foods are often filled with refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, gmo corn and soy, etc. The list goes on and on. These ingredients do not belong in our bodies. So take a quick inventory of your pantry and your fridge, and THROW AWAY anything that contains these ingredients or anything you can’t pronounce. No, don’t give them to someone less fortunate, because no one should be consuming them.

Next, replace your pantry and fridge with whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean protein, and snack items made with ingredients you can pronounce. Prioritize foods with just a few familiar ingredients. For example, if you want to eat rice, choose plain rice over a boxed rice that comes with a seasoning packet.

Caffeine and alcohol are also major digestive irritants. So in an ideal world, you’ll want to eliminate those too, but I don’t want to take away the fun in life (which for me includes COFFEE and WINE), so just be mindful and reduce your consumption to something that you can live with without feeling deprived. For me, I reduced my coffee intake to one cup each day and one glass of wine per week. Do you.


Whether you binge, purge, suffer from anorexia, or a combination of these things, you are likely not getting enough fiber in your diet. I binged and purged on processed foods (donuts, ice cream, cupcakes), all of which are low in fiber and nutritional value. For regular digestion and proper elimination, a fiber rich diet is essential.

Load your plate with veggies. Add psyllium husks and ground flax seeds to your morning smoothie, or even sprinkle them on your salads. The bottom line is that you need to get things moving again so that your body has the opportunity to ELIMINATE the toxins that are already there.


This is where I saw the most immediate results, but like anything, you have to be consistent. Nothing works if you try it for a day and then give up. So how do you rebuild a healthy gut flora?

Start taking a high performing probiotic DAILY. No exceptions! When selecting a probiotic, make sure to pick one that is designed to survive the acids in your stomach so it’s actually able to work. Many probiotics die before they reach your stomach, so read your labels.

Eat fermented foods DAILY. No exceptions!  Make krauts, kimchis, and probiotic yogurts your new go-to condiments. Don’t be afraid or intimidated by them. Nowadays there are so many options on the market, it’s just a matter of finding ones that you love. If you are totally averse to krauts and kimchis, opt for coconut probiotic yogurts. In terms of quantity, don’t go crazy! Just have a few tablespoons here and there throughout the day.

Drink bone broth DAILY. No exceptions! There is so much hype around bone broth, and while I’m excited that more people are on the bone broth train, it’s not a trend. People have been drinking bone broth for centuries because of its amazing power to heal a variety of ailments and rebuild a healthy gut flora. It’s liquid gold!

Here’s why: bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like glutamine, glycine, proline, and collagen, which heals your gut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation.

You can make your own bone broth at home, but to be honest, I never have because I’d rather spend my time baking. That said, I’m super picky about which bone broths I purchase, because not all bone broths are created equal.

My favorite store-bought bone broth is from Bonafide Provisions. Here are some of the reasons why I love this brand:

– Their bone broth is actually made from BONES. Some brands call their product bone broth, but their broth comes from the meat. The nutritional benefit of bone broth is in the BONES!

– They slow simmer their broth for 24 hours with organic apple cider vinegar, which pulls all the minerals, nutrients, amino acids and collagen from the amino acids being released from the bones. Read labels to see how long a brand simmers their broth. If it’s less than 24 hours, you could be doing better.

– They use organic, free-range chicken bones and organic, grass-fed beef bones from animals raised on pasture. This isn’t true for every brand.

– And last, their broth is intentionally FROZEN. I buy a bag, bring it home, do a quick defrost and drink up! There are a few brands that make shelf stable broth, but bone broth is not meant to be shelf stable, so steer clear unless you have no other option!

I personally love the taste of bone broth, so I drink it warmed out of a mug but it’s also delicious with spices, avocado chunks, lemon, and anything else! I also use it in smoothies (don’t worry, I promise it doesn’t taste like meat), and to replace water when cooking grains like rice or quinoa.


Consistency is key. The results are cumulative, so sprinkling your diet with processed foods or missing days of your probiotics will potentially delay your healing. So leave your probiotics in a place where you’ll remember to take them, and just say “no” to frankenfoods. Then, take it to the next level.

Take a high quality multi-vitamin. I get asked frequently whether you really need a multi-vitamin if you eat healthy. My answer is “yes.” A good multi helps to remedy nutrient deficiencies that accompany leaky gut. It’s just a good idea.

Take digestive enzymes any time you are going to eat something your body won’t digest well. My body doesn’t digest dairy well. So if I am going to have dairy, I make sure it’s grass-fed, whole milk dairy and I take a digestive enzyme so it’s easier for my body to break down.

Make it Rain Omega 3’s.. Even if you eat a lot of wild caught salmon, I highly recommend an omega 3 fatty acid supplement to help repair cell walls.


Believe it or not, stress really affects the gut. One of the best ways to combat stress is to exercise. In fact, psychiatrists say exercise can help many patients avoid medication. It’s that effective! So take a walk outside, do yoga, or take up a new sport. Not only will you feel less stressed out, but moving around will actually alter your gut’s microbiome. A recent study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that, while exercise changes everyone’s intestinal flora differently, participants universally saw changes that helped reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the body. So get out and MOVE!

Of course, while exercise will certainly help heal your gut and reduce stress, it’s not going to make the sources of your stress disappear. I find that when I’m in stressful moments, the best thing I can do for myself is to stop what I am doing and take a little breather, and regroup.

I think the bottom line when you’re healing from an ED is to find a path towards compassionate self-care. It took many hours in my therapist’s office and weeks on my yoga mat to find mine, but suddenly there it was rolling out ahead of me as I stood there in warrior two that day. With time and the right support, you can find yours too. And I’m honored to be part of your journey.




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  1. While I’m not the typical demographic, this article was literally what I needed. I’ve struggled with this for years to where the physical effects are undeniable. All of this was so helpful and I will implement immediately. Thank You!

  2. Hi! I was reading the article on restoring flora and I have a small recommendation that would make a big impact. Maybe a disclaimer at the beginning could warn readers that they should already be well into ED related psychological healing before reading this.

    I recommend this because many of the behaviors listed, such as cutting out all processed food, could easily lead to a relapse or a “replacement” disorder of orthorexia in individuals early in the recovery process.
    I know this was not your intention and thank you for writing about a topic that is not discussed nearly enough!

    • Hi Christine, thank you so much for your time in reading the article and writing out your helpful feedback. I appreciate it a lot!

  3. I googled “probiotic after eating disorder,” and landed on this post. Really happy to hear you’ve found a way to recovery. My recovery started with The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner. And also with this quote of Alexander Pope:
    What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn’t much better than tedious disease.

    • Hi Jeanie! I am so thrilled you stumbled upon this post, and thank you so much for all of your kind words! I am sending you so much love as you move through recovery.

  4. Hello! I just read your story on how you recovered from an eating disorder. I am currently struggling with bulimia and a bit of anorexia. I am 16 about to be 17 and have been suffering since last December 2020. Before my eating disorder started I was on a medication called Zoloft which made me gain weight. I ended up getting off the medication and started losing weight. I started getting a little too obsessed with losing weight so I started restricting a lot and I WOULD NOT eat after 5:00 pm, making myself get on the treadmill for as long as possible, I wouldn’t let myself go to bed until I worked out. Then I went on a trip to Coeur d’Alene Idaho for a Convention. They had breakfast buffets and lunch buffets even dinner! I was at a semi stable place with my eating disorder until I went on that trip. First 2 days I was fine I kept everything down, but after that I would always take a trip to the bathroom after every meal. Ever since then I’ve been having severe binge purge episodes. When it was starting I never new it was bad because I didn’t know what it was at first. There are certain foods I can digest and certain I can’t. I get very moody around my friends very easily because I never eat before I hangout with friends, I always worry about what they would think about my body, I know sounds ridiculous but it’s how it’s been hitting me. I’ve also been feeling really nauseous a lot for no reason both when I eat and don’t. But I read your story and it inspired me to push and keep going. I told my self if she can do it I can do it too! Thank you so much! 💕

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story, Charlotte, and I’m so happy to hear you resonated with mine. You are so sweet and I am cheering you on in your recovery! If you ever need support, please feel free to DM me on Instagram. I’m sending you love!

  5. I just read your blog. Oh. My. God. Thank you for this! I have struggled with anorexia and bulimia throughout the years and now my body is slowing down because of it. It’s such a hard and shameful thing/feeling. Very difficult to be honest and tell people about it. I’m getting help, and learning to have a healthy relationship with food. It’s hard as hell though. My next step is to find a therapist. I’m also dealing with a GREAT amount of stress in my life like never before. I’m trying to do all the things I need to in order to fully recover. Knowing your story really touched my heart. Thank you again for that!

    • I’m sending you so much love, Monica! You can do this. Recovery is a hard journey, but it’s worth it. I believe in you!

  6. Thanks for sharing and as always, I appreciate your openness so much (and know it helps so many others too)! I’ve been thinking about going back to taking digestive enzymes because I know they helped. This was the kick in the butt I needed!

    • Liz!! Hi girl! YES, I actually keep the bottle of digestive enzymes in my purse all the time, so that when I’m out and potentially going to eat something I know won’t agree, I am armed and ready! Love you girl! Keep doing what you are doing! xx