The science is complex, but the topic is not. We’ve all experienced butterflies on a first date or felt nerves in the pit of our stomach when stepping into the unknown. This is the gut-brain connection in action. “Trust your gut”, “gut instincts”, “I can feel it in my gut” are all sentiments that come from the age-old understanding that we have a sixth sense in our gut. Cole explains that “the nutrients we eat are what the bacteria in our gut feed on. These bacteria communicate directly with our brain by producing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which largely regulate our mood and emotions.” So, a strong connection can be made between what you eat and how you feel.
Faced with a backlash following Paltrow’s appearance on his podcast – some dieticians claimed she was promoting disordered eating – Cole immediately leapt to his client’s defence. She was the healthy one, he argued. Society’s response to her food choices is what’s really causing the problems.
“I think hyperventilating over people intermittent-fasting and drinking bone broth is why we are faced with a society where the vast majority of people struggle with metabolic issues, type 2 diabetes – lifestyle-driven things,” Cole, 39, declared.
“You can’t really deny that obesity is implicated in a shorter, sicker life. We need to have conversations about this. It doesn’t mean people have to be stick-thin or a waif; it just means they need to be the healthiest version of themselves,” he added.
But would anyone actually want to live like Gwyneth out here in the real world – where wearing a crop top isn’t top of most of our priorities – and is there anything to be learned from Cole’s methods? I decided to find out.
Taking responsibility for my own gut health
Being averse to both starving to lose weight and anything even remotely woo-woo, I read Gut Feelings with a heavy dose of scepticism.
With all the brouhaha over Gwyneth’s wellness routine, I was expecting the book to be a joyless ode to the weight-loss properties of bone broth. But once I’d got past the loopy encouragements – “the goal of this book is to learn that wellness is a sacred art, and you are the masterpiece” – I found it interesting and actually quite inspiring. Believe it or not, Cole talks a lot of sense.
The challenge with gut health is it’s a complicated science, and improving the health of your gut microbiome – the bacteria that live in the gut – involves taking responsibility for your own health by avoiding junk foods, sugar and excess stress – not easy in modern society. The book breaks it down to a 21-day plan where each day you focus on an intention or an action.