Let’s call it research. We love learning how other people live well, especially when those people are known for their healthy-living prowess. Donna Gates of Body Ecology, has been guiding us though the topic of gut health for years. It’s the core concept behind her Body Ecology philosophy starting with these seven principles. While it’s undeniable that Donna is an expert, we can’t help but wonder how her knowledge translates day-to-day in her own life.
Donna’s take on living well covers a whole spectrum: from simple staples like daily deep breathing to more hardcore healthy habits like weekly colonics.
We’re taking notes on the foods she’ll never eat, the ones she can’t go a day without and everything in between — including a green smoothie that will definitely be making regular appearances in our usual rotation. Get the recipe and all of Donna’s insights below…
Morning Must-Have: I start every morning with a large glass of filtered water with a pinch of sea salt, some lime juice and stevia to taste. It’s a great hydrating and alkalizing way to start the day. Then I make a probiotic cocktail with CocoBiotic, acai juice and stevia to taste. Not only is it refreshing, but I know I am jumpstarting my gut with healthy microbiota and antioxidants as I start my day.
Daily breakfast: Body Ecology’s Fermented Protein Shake – it’s sugar, dairy, and gluten-free and so satisfying (sometimes I even replace my dinner meal with a shake if I’m not that hungry.); or a green smoothie (like the one below); or lightly scrambled eggs with veggies and cultured foods.
MY DAILY SUPPLEMENTS: I truly believe that food comes first, before supplements. That said, I always take progesterone, which is the only bio-identical hormone I need based on my hormone test results. I think women over the age of 40 should be monitoring their hormones every six months with a well-trained functional medicine doctor.
If you’ve ever taken an antibiotic, you may need to re-establish your bacteria. Bifidus probiotic capsules can help your gut while supporting your immune system and digestion. I like to take one capsule with each meal.
5 things always in my medicine cabinet: Tea tree oil, Band Aids (for kitchen mishaps!), a variety of herbs that help with detoxification like milk thistle and neem, vitamin C, an enema bucket. But first and foremost, I consider my fridge to be my medicine cabinet, because food is the ultimate healer and the most powerful form of medicine.
Ingredient in products I always avoid: Avoid refined oils, as they are very bad for your health. There are many different kinds of commercially processed oils like canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, and peanut. Some healthier alternatives include olive, coconut, avocado and some nut and seed oils.
Then sugar! Any and all kinds. Look for the places it hides. Flour is another no no.
Health trend to skip: Paleo, raw, vegan — these shouldn’t be trends because they all have their own benefits — there is no one-size-fits-all diet. But there is a diet that is customizable and perfect for you! The Body Ecology principle of uniqueness teaches us that it’s best to do what works for your body, and your body alone.
Crazy health idea that actually works: Colonics and home enemas.
Fave workout: Pilates.
Best gym-to-street tip: In regular times, bringing a pair of heels, earrings and a nice jacket.
Best healthy restaurant tip: Avoid the vegetable oil, bring a small container of olive oil and fresh lemon juice with you as salad dressing. I always carry a little Herbamare with me to flavor everything.
At least once a month I cook… Scalloped potatoes made with onions, potatoes, plain flavored oat milk. Not only does it taste delicious, but the delightful aroma fills my house!
Once a week for my health I: Do a colonic.
Non-negotiable: I never eat vegetable oils and do my best to avoid glysophate, which unfortunately is on everything but can be limited by eating organic.
Go-to health resources: The brilliant network of doctors that have become my dear friends. I also value the knowledge of Functional Medicine Practitioners. You can find one in your area here.
Simplest way to improve health: Follow the 7 principles of Body Ecology. Eat fermented foods or drinks, like our CocoBiotic probiotic drink.
Fave healthy getaway: My annual weeklong vacation with my whole family to the beach.
My current mantra: Breathe! Then, let go and let God. Be grateful for everything.
My go-to juice or smoothie: The Avocado AM Smoothie: Blend everything and add water if needed…
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cut into quarters then cored
4 or 5 stalks celery with leaves, ends and tips removed
3 – 4 large romaine lettuce leaves, torn into pieces
½ large Haas avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ bunch cilantro or parsley (depending on your preference), stems removed
3 – 4 cups filtered water
juice from one half of a lemon or lime
¼ teaspoon sea salt and/or cayenne pepper
If I could give just one piece of health advice it would be… To follow the Body Ecology Principles:
Create energy: Get plenty of good, restorative sleep and reduce stress wherever possible.
Conquer infections: Follow a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet like Body Ecology, which helps alleviate systemic yeast and fungal infections.
Correct digestion: Take digestive enzymes, follow the Body Ecology 80/20 rule.
Cleanse out the toxins: Drink lots of water, eat fermented foods and leafy greens, decrease stress, take a supplement for liver support and bowel elimination like LivAmend and cleanse the colon with either home enemas or colonics – there’s no more effective therapy.
This story originally ran in 2016 but we loved it so much we brought it back. Good taste never goes out of style — and great nutrition tips don’t change!