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When Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI (also known as Dr. B) first decided to become a GI doctor, the scientific world had little understanding about the relationship between our microbiome and overall health. In the last five years, however, Dr. B says he's seen emerging research on the microbiome help doctors realize the need to pursue nutrition-based medicine.
"The benefits of the microbiome expand beyond the walls of the digestive system," Bulsiewicz says. Thousands of studies have recently discovered links between a healthy microbiome and improved mental health, digestion, immunity and metabolism—and the biggest impact we can have on our gut health is the way we eat.
Here's what Dr. B eats in a day for a happy, healthy microbiome:
First things first, Bulsiewicz downs a few glasses of water to rehydrate his body after a good night's sleep. Like most of us, he follows his water regimen with a piping hot cup of coffee (he drinks it black.)
If Dr. B is hungry for breakfast that day he reaches for a bowl of oatmeal and mixed berries or opts for a plant-powered smoothie. His standby is one packed with bananas, greens, berries, ground flax, broccoli sprouts and, occasionally, some walnuts.
"From the moment I wake up to when I go to sleep, I think 'diversity of plants,'" Bulsiewicz says. Dr. B accredits this way of thinking to recent research from the American Gut Project, which found the number one predictor of a healthy gut is how many different plant foods one eats each week. Plant foods include things such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Lunch is all about a big salad for Dr. B, loaded with as many plants as possible. He says lunch is a good time for a big salad, since it's such an easy way to up your intake of plant-based foods.
He bypasses the shredded cheese, crumbled feta, and meat at the salad bar, as he feels they take away from the health of the dish, and tops his salad with a simple and tasty combination of oil and balsamic vinegar.
Dr. B says his lunch salad typically keeps him pretty full and energized to power through the rest of the afternoon, but he will opt for some hot organic matcha green tea if he needs a boost. If he does reach for an afternoon snack, it's a handful of walnuts or a fiber-packed fruit, like an apple.
Bulsiewicz and his family eat a predominantly plant-based diet. He tries to incorporate beans into a meal or two every day. One of his favorite dinners is sweet potato chili spooned over quinoa. He usually serves this with some sourdough bread, which is thought to have some probiotic benefits. And like any good gut doctor would do, he eats a little probiotic-rich sauerkraut or kimchi on the side. Dr. B loves fermented foods, and eats a garnish-sized portion of either food on the regular, along with some kombucha every few days.
You'll notice a probiotic supplement isn't part of Dr. B's daily regimen, and that's simply because he doesn't feel like he needs it. Bulsiewicz not only consumes fermented foods every day, but he is also consuming an abundance of plant foods that are chock-full of prebiotic fiber—the food for our body's good gut bacteria. Dr. B says with a good diet, a supplement isn't necessary for better gut health (unless you have a specific issue or condition).
We don't know about you, but we want to have dinner at Dr. B's house ASAP! His day of eating sounds pretty delicious and seriously healthy. We like his approach to gut-friendly eating, and we're definitely taking notes to apply to our own lives.