Real Food for a Happy Tummy!

Basic Food Guide for a Happy Tummy!

What DO I Eat??


So now you’ve made the decision to improve your health and to start eating better.  What does that really mean?


Just like digestion starts in the brain so does every decision and every action you make.  The first thing you want to do is mentally frame this in such a way that you don’t feel like you’re being limited or restricted because you’re NOT!  There are sooooo many things to eat in this world besides pizza, noodles and bread.  There are delicious and nutritious foods, I promise, that you’ve never ever heard of. So you should look at this less like a restriction and more like a food liberation!

Carbohydrates, Fats & Proteins


These are your basic Macronutrients.  Every person is their own bio-individual and has different requirements of these basic “Macronutrients” in their diet.   A good general rule of thumb and a good starting point is to shoot for 40-30-30.  That’s 40% Carbohydrates (don’t freak out yet!), 30% Proteins and 30% Fats (remain calm).  Some people do better with more fats and proteins and some people do better with more carbohydrates. There are theories suggesting that this could be partly due to your ancestry or genetic makeup but it can also be influenced by the condition of your health and internal environment any given moment. Figuring out your own optimal macronutrient ratio can be tricky and can be a moving target especially if you are following a nutritional protocol so it’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel after your meals.  Working with a nutritional therapist can be extremely helpful to figure out what’s best for you.



Unfortunately, the word Carbohydrate is almost like using profanity these days with all of the “Low Carb” fad diets that people are flocking to.  But what is a carbohydrate?  A carbohydrate is a vegetable.  A carbohydrate is a fruit.  Carbohydrates are grains.  You need carbohydrates!  Green leafy and colorful veggies are our friends!  They provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and other cancer protective, anti-aging wonderful nutrients like polyphenols and bioflavonoids.  Your body needs all of these things!


What do Carbs do?

  • Carbohydrates are food for your brain!
  • They are a quick source of energy for your muscles
  • They help regulate protein and fat metabolism
  • Provide a source of fiber, which helps with regular elimination of waste materials
  • Provide nourishment for healthy bowel flora
  • They help your body fight infections
  • They promote growth of body tissues such as bones and skin
  • Lubricate the joints
  • They can even provide a source of hydration aside from your drinking water


It’s important to eat your fruits and vegetables as close to whole form and as fresh as possible.  Raw and or lightly cooked is best.  If your tummy isn’t so happy sometimes a lot of raw veg can be hard to digest.   Avoid processed foods especially grains and refined sugars as much as possible.  The sugars found in whole foods are strategically paired by the wisdom of nature with helper ingredients like fiber, fats, vitamins and minerals.  Your body needs this whole team of ingredients together to properly metabolize the sugar found in these whole foods so it can be used by your cells to make energy.  Processing strips away these helper ingredients.  Without the fiber, sugar is absorbed into your blood very quickly and your body is forced to borrow from its bank of stored nutrients to find those missing co-factors necessary get this flood of sugar into your cells.  Certain B vitamins and zinc are commonly depleted this way especially if you are not replacing them.  We’ll go into more detail about sugar metabolism in another post but this an example of how nutrient deficiencies occur with processed foods.


Even though I’m not a huge advocate of grains, I will also not vilify them either.  For many people, organic, properly prepared grains can be healthful in moderation.  Do beware of commercial wheat as it is heavily sprayed with glyphosate which is a toxin and can be damaging to your Tummy and to your health in general.  If you are going to buy that store bought bread, Please, Please, Please at the very least make sure it’s organic!!

I personally enjoy some of the pseudo grains like quinoa & amaranth and some brown rice too.


Shopping Guide for Fruits & Vegetables:

  1. Try to buy organic and local whenever possible
  2. There are certain fruits and veggies that are more heavily sprayed with pesticides like strawberries, peppers, green beans etc…so for those I would definitely spring for organic. Here is a good resource to which fruits and veggies are more heavily sprayed…Dirty Dozen!
  3. Look for freshness
  4. Go for what’s in season
  5. Look for colors.  The more the merrier!  Strive for 5 colors on your plate at every meal.
  6. Try to rotate your vegetables so you’re not eating the same thing every week.
  7. Stick with veggies that grow above ground approximately 85% of the time.
  8. Keep the more starchy varieties like potatoes, tubers and rice to 10 or 15% of your carb ratio.
  9. Fruits can be tricky for some people and can cause blood sugar spikes just like candy and cookies so it’s best to eat them in moderation.  I like to stick with seasonal and lower glycemic varieties like green apples, kiwi and berries.
  10. Try something new.  I like to pick out something I’ve never had before and experiment.  This is fun to do with your kids.  Let them chose and help you prepare their picks:)
  11. Soak, ferment or leaven your grains to make them more digestible and to break down some of that mineral binding phytic acid.




I’m a little obsessive about the topic of fats so I will try to keep this compact and to the point.  I’ll save my rant about fats for another day.


Fat does not make you Fat!  Fats are necessary for life.  Your body is made up of trillions of cells. Each one of those cells is held together by a membrane made up of fatty acids.  These fatty acids play a primary role in how nutrients get into your cells, how wastes get out of your cells and how they communicate with each other. That’s really important!  Did you know that your brain is at least 60% fat?  So please don’t fear fat.  You need fat in your diet.  This is especially important for developing children!  Look at all the people suffering from mental health issues and the rise of autism.  Could this have something to do with the fat phobia that has been instilled in us over the last 70 years? Hmmm….

Fats also:

  1. Help regulate your blood sugar by slowing the absorption of sugar from your food
  2. They provide a consistent long burning source of energy (the log on the fire)
  3. Regulate inflammation!
  4. Are required for healthy hormone and neurotransmitter production
  5. Are required for absorption of your fats soluble vitamins A,D,E and K
  6. Protect your organs
  7. Regulate your appetite so you don’t overeat
  8. Most importantly…They make your food taste good!

Fat is more about quality than quantity.  You get a lot of caloric energy out of a relatively small amount of fat so you can eat less food to get the energy you need!  Before people learned to refine and process foods, sugar was not always that abundant so naturally humans were wired to run on fats as well.  That is our body’s (and ironically our heart’s) preferred source of fuel.  We need a good balance of the different types of fats in our diet because they do different things.

You really want quality ingredients to do all of those things listed above…like make your brain tissue for example… so here are a couple things to consider when choosing your fat sources.


Good Fats:

  1. Look for Grass Fed Beef, Pastured Pork and Free Range Eggs. Toxins are stored in fat in animals so you want to go for good quality here!  The rendered tallow and suet from beef and pork are great for cooking and can stand up to higher temperatures.  Yes saturated fats are important to good health.  The types of fats produced by animals can differ depending on their diet.  Grass fed animals tend to produce a more balanced ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s as opposed to grain fed animals who produce a higher ratio of omega 6’s.  Both omega 6 & omega 3’s are important but have to be in balance with each other.  Too much omega 6 in proportion to omega 3 can lead to a more inflammatory state.
  2. Butter from Grass Fed Animals!  Remember “butter is better” for your colon!  It provides butyric acid that feeds the cells lining your colon.  If you cannot tolerate dairy then you could try ghee which is butter oil minus the milk protein casein.    Casein is a protein in milk that doesn’t agree with everybody’s tummies.
  3. Make sure you only buy oils that are Organic, Cold Pressed, Expeller Pressed or Unrefined!  This includes your olive, flax, nut & seed oils.  Refining of these oils rancidifies them and will cause oxidative free radical damage in your body.
  4. Polyunsaturated oils like the ones listed above should come packaged in opaque containers as they are delicate and can be damaged by light and high temperatures.  Flax, nut & seed oils should really be stored in the refrigerator.
  5. Coconut oil is one of my favorite fats!  It’s mostly saturated so it can be used at higher temps and has a zillion uses!  I love that it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Type coconut oil into a Google Search and see for yourself what comes up.  I will dedicate a future post to Coconut oil:)

Fats to Avoid:

  1. Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated Trans Fats.  A.K.A Frankenfats!  These fats are polyunsaturated fats that have been heavily processed, heated and chemically altered.  Your body will try to use these fats which do not act the same in your body.  They make your cell walls rigid so nutrients have a difficult time getting in and wastes can get stuck inside.  Plus they can interfere with the effects of insulin and block glucose entry to the cells causing blood sugar imbalances.  They also interfere with brain signaling and have been linked to conditions like Alzheimer’s.  These fats are toxic to the body and are found abundantly in processed foods.  Please read labels.
  2. Canola, cottonseed and soy.  These oils have to be heavily processed with use of heat and dangerous chemical solvents to be manufactured.  They were not intended by nature to be consumed by humans.  Especially in the quantities that they are being consumed today.  Who eats cotton???  They are polyunsaturated fats which are damaged by heat so the processing alone causes them to become rancid long before they ever make it onto a truck for distribution.

When cooking with fats it’s best to use the more stable saturated fats for higher temperature cooking.




Everybody knows you need protein for strong muscles but what else do they do?

  1. They make you happy!  They are an important component in the production of your neurotransmitters which are chemical messengers that help to regulate our mood.
  2. Some of your important hormones are protein based
  3. They are the hemoglobin in our red blood cells that carries oxygen in and carbon dioxide out.
  4. They are antibodies assisting our immune system against invaders
  5. Enzymes are proteins that take things apart and put things together. Most every chemical reaction in your body requires enzymes.  They are busy working inside of you right now!
  6. Proteins can be converted to glucose in your liver to balance your blood sugar.
  7. Proteins assist in transportation of nutrients around the body

So as you can see, you need protein to live.  You also need good digestion to get the most out of your proteins!  Proteins are made up of amino acids and are broken down into this form mainly in your stomach by action of hydrochloric acid, pepsin (which happens to be an enzyme made from protein!) and other proteolytic enzymes .  If you’re not breaking these guys down then all of those things mentioned above will be affected.  You can refer back to Digestion Part One and Part Two for a better explanation of protein digestion.

Fats and proteins work together which is why they are found together in nature so usually where you find your good quality proteins you’ll also have your good fats too!

What are some good sources of protein?

  1. Grass fed Beef and Dairy (Whole Raw Milk products are best)
  2. Pastured Pork
  3. Organic Free Range Chicken and Eggs
  4. Wild Caught Fish & Shellfish
  5. Nuts and Seeds (soaked)
  6. Soaked and or sprouted Legumes also contain proteins
  7. Vegetables also contain protein.  There are some amino acids that can only be derived from animal products so vegetarians and vegans should consider this carefully and maybe look into amino acid supplementation.  This is especially true of some amino acids involved in neurotransmitter production.




Last but not least don’t forget to drink plenty of clean water!  Per the Nutritional Therapy Association “Water is the most common nutritional deficiency in the American Population!”.  You can survive weeks without food but only days without water!  You body is roughly 55 – 60% water and even the slightest variation of your hydration status can cause a lot of problems.  Some of these problems can look like:


  1. Headache
  2. Fatigue
  3. Brain fog
  4. Muscle cramping
  5. Anxiety
  6. Depression
  7. Cravings
  8. Heartburn
  9. Constipation
  10. Colitis etc…..


You need Water to:


  1. Flush out toxins and wastes
  2. Keep your tissues from sticking together
  3. Transport nutrients around your body
  4. Lubricate your joints and tendons
  5. For healing processeses to occur
  6. Regulate your body temperature
  7. Cellular communication
  8. Moisten air for easier breathing
  9. The electrolytes in water maintaining electrical properties


Also thirst can sometimes be mistaken as hunger so if you’re feeling kinda hungry when you don’t really think you should be hungry, grab a glass of water and see if that helps before reaching for a snack. If you’re concerned about your weight this could be a really helpful piece of advice!

You want your water to hydrate you and flush out toxins not add in toxins so please take some time to look into water filtration devices and you can also visit this website to get a report on what kind of lovely things are floating around in your local water source.


Keep it Real!

This is a really basic overview of what to look for when shopping for food and composing your plate.  As I mentioned above everybody is different and even the healthy foods listed in this article may not agree with everyone all the time.  Just remember to “Keep it Real” and to try to pick things that are as close to nature as possible.  Every time someone touches or alters food it loses a little bit of nutritional power.


Sample Menu

“This was prepared for a someone working on Blood Sugar Balance”

Remember 40 / 30 / 30!!

40% Carbs as Fresh Veggies / 30% Good Quality Protein / 30% Healthy Fats

Breakfast Examples:

***No refined carbohydrates or sugar including fruit at breakfast to set your blood sugar foundation for the day.***

  • 2 eggs lightly cooked with bacon
  • Spinach or kale omelette with cheese (rule out allergy) cooked with butter
  • Leftovers from healthy balanced dinner 40% / 30% / 30%.
  • Bone broth is very blood sugar stabilizing and great to have in the morning.)

***Note: warm up leftovers gently on stove NOT in the microwave!***

Mid Morning Snack Examples:

  • Handful of soaked nuts (rule out allergy)
  • Hard boiled or soft boiled egg
  • Full fat / raw cheese slice (rule out allergy)
  • Celery with nut butter or cream cheese (rule out allergy)

**Note: Stay away from nut butters made with hydrogenated oils like most commercial peanut butters**

Lunch Examples:

  • Leftovers from healthy balanced dinner 40% / 30% / 30%
  • Soup & Salad dress with olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.
  • Sauteed veggies (in butter or coconut oil) w/ chicken, beef or pork sausage with 1 TBS brown rice
  • Steamed veggies w egg lightly fried in butter or bacon fat (quality bacon!) w 2 TBS quinoa, drizzle of Homemade Dressing below

Snack Examples:

  • Sour Green (Granny Smith) Apple Slices with Almond Butter (rule out nut allergy)
    **Note: Stay away from nut butters made with hydrogenated oils like most commercial peanut butters**
  • Full Fat Unsweetened greek yogurt with blueberries

Dinner Example:

  • Piece of Wild Caught fish or any quality meat, pan or oven roasted w butter, lemon & Parmesan cheese. Roasted, colorful veggie medley tossed with olive or coconut oil and seasoned with sea salt & pepper. Side of cucumber and tomato slices drizzled with Easy Homemade Dressing.

**Remember to keep the starchy veggies at a minimum 10% of your 40% carb ratio. That includes potatoes, yams and winter squash. Also in this category are rice, quinoa, amaranth and properly prepared grains**


Post By: Hollie Donelson, NTP

Happy Tummies of The Lowcountry, LLC

167 A Bluffton Rd.

Bluffton, SC 29910



Please note. I am not a Doctor.  The content on this site is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before starting any type of health or nutritional protocol especially if you are being treated for or have been diagnosed with a medical condition.


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