Top 5 Gut Healing Mistakes (everyone makes at least one)

“Watch out! The stove is hot!” my Mom said. I touched it anyways. Burnt my fingers…

Actually it happened a few times.


Am I insane? Am I dumb? Am I a rule-breaking mischief maker?

No. It turns out I just don’t learn well from other people’s mistakes. I don’t know why, but I have to try it for myself. I need to understand it experientially.

I REALLY want to believe you. I REALLY want to take your advice and save myself pain. But it’s not likely to happen. I know I’m not alone either. I have this deep desire to figure it out for myself.

Do We Really Learn From Other People’s Mistakes?

Pause, for a minute, and think about your past. Are you the type of person who can really learn from other people’s mistakes and advice? Or do you end up touching the stove and proving their ideas for yourself?

If you’re like me, you might realize that all those times you’ve hurt yourself, experimented on yourself, and went against the best advice, because deep down you had to… was just natural.

Is Leaky Gut Making You Sicker?


In other words, you being you!

Not wrong, but definitely different. This matters, because I’m about to tell you about a bunch of common mistakes I see people making. Heck, I made most of them.

Some of you will instantly make some changes. And others will resist, thinking you know better. I get it.

What I’d like you to do is just think of these as tests to do in the next few months. Prove me wrong. Prove me right. Either way, if you are experiencing any digestive problems or pains, just don’t NOT try them.

Mistake #1 – Not Thinking Like a Baby

What do babies think? Who knows, but I bet you won’t forget this idea. Many people start the SCD, Paleo or FODMAPs diets without first remembering that their gut is really a lot like a baby’s.

And babies need simple, nutritious, cooked and pureed foods. But over time, they easily begin to handle more and more foods. Babies don’t drink coffee or eat cayenne pepper and if you feed a baby an egg and it has gas and cries a lot, you don’t feed it eggs again for awhile.

Do you see what I’m getting at?

Following the SCD intro diet, avoiding the 4 horsemen and even nightshades for the first month are really good ideas. In fact, it’s a best practice. A best practice means if you want the fastest — best results, you’ll do it.

When a baby’s gut is developing, the bacteria species are not very diverse yet and it’s immune system is on high alert. And when we are in a state of digestive pains, our guts are working the same way. Typically in IBD, IBS and Celiac Disease, the gut microbiome diversity is less than in normal people, the immune system is either turned on too much (overactive) or it’s turned completely off and underactive.

The small intestine is likely partially damaged and the large intestine is likely to be inflamed, meaning breaking down and absorbing foods is not going to be easy or ideal.

This is why thoroughly cooking and chewing foods is so important, especially in the beginning. You are giving your gut a chance to heal up and your immune system a chance to regulate.

In closing, treat your gut like a baby’s. Do the intro SCD diet for at least 3 days, then switch to well-cooked, well-chewed simple foods. After 30 days, try adding in the four horseman, coffee, alcohol and nightshades you cut out. That’s how to get results and really heal your gut fast.

Mistake #2 – Diet Doesn’t Fix Everything (not even close)

If you follow the plan above… sadly you’re not likely to fix all your digestive issues.

So, why do it? Well, if you don’t switch your diet you will stay in pain and sick. It is the prerequisite to getting healthy. But after switching your diet… you need to be aware that there’s lots of damage and dysregulation in your body that needs to be healed.

It’s like college, a real food diet is your freshman 101 level classes. You still have 3 more years of college, and in healing you have several advanced levels to ascend.

Your 201 classes are in supplements. Things like Betaine HCL, digestive enzymes and hormone support are almost a universal must do for those with gut problems.

Typically, after that your life will get better and better, but now it’s time to remember that lifestyle matters. Focus on things like sleeping for 7-9 hours, reducing and removing stressors, moving daily and getting lots of social support – this is your 301 work.

To really graduate with your degree in gut healing, the final classes for most of us are the functional medicine kind. In this 401 area, you’ll be getting specific, powerful interventions, tests and protocols to repair the deep roots of your health problems.

Look, food is incredibly powerful but it’s by no means the only answer. Most people need a cocktail of help. Don’t give up until you’ve graduated and integrated all the methods of healing.

Mistake #3 – Focusing on the Minutia

I remember when Jordan and I were first starting our journeys. We were about a year into them, still struggling with weekly intermittent digestive pain, low energy, bad skin and brain fog.

I would browse and read every day for hours about what else I could do to heal myself.

I got lost in rabbit holes of thinking for weeks at a time, where  I would be convinced I had figured it out. It was obviously high oxalates… then GMOs… then juicing was the answer and then… and then…

I was lost in the minutia. I forgot about the big picture because these specific things were easier to understand and concentrate on, when the reality was some of them helped maybe 1-5%, if I was lucky.Who knows other than it was always way smaller than I thought it would be.

The core, unsexy, sometimes confusing and kind of boring thing to do is…

Focus on a custom diet, proper supplements, lifestyle changes, mental help and functional medicine. And forget about expensive juicing, being 100% GMO-free and all the other minutia till you get these core issues handled.

Mistake #4 – Forgetting to Get Clear

Lack of clarity is a major issue in the health world. That’s why we spend several chapters talking about getting clear in our ebook.

Getting clear about your WHY and your GOALS can and will change how you see your healing journey.

  • Why are you doing this?
  • Who is impacted by your health?
  • How will you act differently as you get more energy and less pain?
  • Who will benefit from this?
  • What do your health dreams look and feel like?

When you realize it’s not just about you, but it’s also about everyone in your life, dramatic things begin to change. The truth is they want you healthy, they need you healthy and you are an inspiration for them to do the hard things.

Your why matters. And so do your goals.

  • Do you just want the pain to go away?
  • Do you want to really solve the story problem on why you got sick?
  • Do you want to be stuck on pharmaceuticals?
  • Do you want to live to be 100?
  • Do you want to use your hero’s journey to inspire the world?

These goals matter. Unfortunately, without goals and a well-defined plan, it’s easy to get lazy, lose focus, fall into self-defeating patterns and self-pity.

It’s easy to just give up. I know. I’ve been there. I’ve had to face the naysayer voice in my mind who said it wasn’t worth it… it wasn’t possible… that it’s not fair… that I might as well just do what feels good.

The why and the goals are what helped me shut that voice up forever. Turn to them when it gets dark and rough.

Mistake #5 – Thinking This Isn’t Also Psychological

There’s a lot of presumptuous and ignorant doctors who may have told you that your issues are all in your head. Sadly, they obviously aren’t keeping up on their profession and doing a lot of harm to many people.

But they’re also not completely wrong.

Isn’t it fascinating that you can find testimonials for every type of treatment out there.  Even the seemingly wackiest, not-based-on-any-kind-of-science ideas have devotees whose lives have been touched, changed and improved.

For a long time, I struggled to understand how this could be true. What is the lesson here I used to ask?

I believe the answer is our psychology and our mindset matters just as much as the physical ideas I shared above. Upgrading the body, the hormones, and the gut bacteria will make us better until we hit a mental roadblock… like thoughts that we aren’t good enough, or don’t deserve it, or that the world is a scary place.

There are 1000s of belief systems, mental patterns and mindset issues that can and will destroy your health again, even if you do all the physical things right.

I want you to know that one of the reasons I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my whole life is because I’ve invested serious effort and time in upgrading my mind, beliefs and thoughts.

Getting psychological help should be on everyone’s list who’s ever been chronically ill. It will help, it’s a lot like before you started a new diet. It didn’t seem like it made much sense, but then again it didn’t seem like it could hurt and with all these testimonials why not try. I invite you to realize that psychological help is the same thing.

Not sure where to start? I’d suggest two books if you don’t have a professional to work with: Man’s Search For Meaning and The Untethered Soul.

These Mistakes Are Normal and to Be Expected

Seriously, if you’ve made any of them, or all of them, join me and the rest of the group. It’s to be expected. We are born into a society, into a world that doesn’t teach us any of this.

Mistakes are a way we learn. They aren’t bad. Sure they hurt, but that’s just a signal to do it differently next time.

Maybe you’re not like me, and you can read this list, you can take action on these ideas and heal in half or a quarter of the time it took me. Learn from my mistakes and those I’ve watched 1000s of people repeat.

And if you are like me, cool. Keep this article around and just commit to me that you’ll test my ideas. Remember, when things get dark and the naysayer voice gets loud telling you negative ideas, I want you to find the courage to risk burning your hand one more time.

Keep fighting, keep working, it is worth it.


Steven Wright

About Steven Wright

Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

Is Your Body Secretly
Suffering from a Leaky Gut?

Take this 3-minute quiz to find out if you have the #1 problem missed by modern medicine...

Take the Quiz NOW
(NOTE: The results of this quiz could save your life)

30 thoughts on “Top 5 Gut Healing Mistakes (everyone makes at least one)

  1. Avatar
    Vindhya Mehrotra says:

    Dear Steve

    I have found your articles extremely helpful in my long struggle with IBS.Most doctors don’t know much and we have to seek solutions ourselves.
    The fifth point that you have listed above, I feel has been the MOST important one in my case.Low self esteem,past painful experiences etc. are some issues, I feel we must all deal with.
    I have been wanting to share with you that Rajyoga meditation has proven really magical for me.It has brought about self transformation in the way I think,deal and face every single situation in life.It also focuses on the righteous way of living.
    I really feel all should give it a try.They have their centres worldwide….for more details log on to
    Last, but not the least I wish to really thank you from the bottom of my heart … for all the wonderful work you are doing.

  2. Avatar

    I’ve had celiac for 13 years now. I’ve been on and if the fiery ovet the years because it didn’t seem to matter what I ate, I had chronic diarrhea. Last summer, I was having severe pain, thinking it was the worse case of hemmrhoids. Going from the bath to the toilet constantly, in severe pain, and finally passing out, so weak to walk, my husband called the ambulance. As they took me to the ambulance, I did not respond for a minute. My heart’s rythum was irregular. Once in ER, I had 3 blood transfusions, 2 iron infusions, and was sent to ICU. Through an MRI, and endoscopy, numerous of tests, they found out I had an abscess in my colon, mushy intestines, and the put me on a PICC line for 3 weeks. I ended up gating 28 lbs, put on many drugs, prednisone, imuran included, then realized I’m now overdosing on thyroid medication. I had taken 450 mcg a day. They brought me down to 125mcg and then once home, right off, then on again. That was 3 weeks of hell. ..shaking uncontrollably. Then the aching kicked in, which was severe, starting in my feet, then up to my neck. It was horrible. I was put on a two year monthly blood work plan from the GI, I see and endricinologist for thyroid, who recently left the country, also a rheumatologist for the aching, also my GP. Having the endricinologist leave the country was fine, but now my GP retired, that’s unfortunate. Last January and February, I lost all my hair, then came the eyebrows and eyelashes. It’s been an emotional roller coaster. I took myself off of the imuran. All these drugs were affecting my liver. I’m feeling better theses days. I have been seeing a naturopath. Went on a10 week Nutrition IV with Glutothine shot. Switched over to desicated thyroid. I’m not aching half as much, my energy is much better. Still have no hair. The diarrhea has not stopped. Some days are not so bad. It was better when I was on the drugs, but I don’t want to be on those. My diet is strictly GF and no cross contamination. I’ve come across the SCD, and have started that just this week. I did as much as I could without having everything at home to make it. Now I have it all except I have not made the Cheesecske yet. The GI specialist told my husband that she had never seen intestines do mushy in someone who was so alive. She said if I had gone home and not gone on the PICC line, I would not make it. This is the most complicated car she had ever seen. My GP agreed. Do you think I can turn this around with your diet. Do you think I can bring my hair back. ..especially eyebrows and eyelashes? I can handle the wig for now but want it back also. My thyroid, last count was all in good order. Tsh was 6.9……from 61….T3 and T4 are good also. Very thankful.

    • Avatar

      Hi Barb – wow you’ve been through a LOT! We’re so inspired by your motivation to continue healing, and we believe it is never too late to heal. Please work with your naturopath to get started on SCD, as it sounds like you’re still in a very delicate state. Your naturopath can provide the one-on-pone support you need.

  3. Avatar

    Thanks again Mariel for replying back to me. I’m very depressed because I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never heal my gut because I will always have migraines. I have every migraine trigger possible. Some I can control and some I can’t such as weather changes. Taking the pain medication will prevent me from healing. Also the chronic constipation and using laxative. I have tried high doses of vitamin C and magnesium and it only helps a little. I don’t have thousands of dollars to keep going to these doctors that charge a fortune, the cost of all the supplements. I’m usually a fighter but I can’t even take take the supplements that help to heal your gut. I can only manage 3grams of L-glutamine in divided doses. Jordan and Steve an effective dose is 20-40geams. That would blow my head off. Bone broth causes heartburn and Great Lakes Collogen causes heartburn. I would have to win the lottery to work with a doctor long enough to MAYBE resolve my situation. I could go for colonics which I have done, but again who can afford to go for many appointments. Just being realistic about my situation
    Thanks again for your support

    • Avatar

      Hey Margie – don’t give up.

      We all deal with our own barriers to healing – many people require prescription medications that aren’t ideal.

      You have the choice to continue making the best decisions you can about the things you CAN control – or give it all up and admit defeat.

      Having to take a medication does NOT cancel out the benefits of all the other things you can do to promote gut health. In fact, you may find that the longer you focus on the things you can control (diet, sleep, managing stress, exercise) the less you rely on medications.

      I hope this helps! I’m rooting for you Margie.

  4. Avatar

    Hi Mariel
    Thank you once again for your support and the article on h. Pylori and the healing heart burn program.
    What my main worry/concern of ever healing is that I get daily migraines and have to take 2 Tylenol plus my prescription medication. I also have chronic constipation and have to take laxative. I’ve tried high does of magnesium and vitamin C which helps a little, but doesn’t make me feel like I’m being cleaned out, so if I can’t resolve these 2 issues how can I ever heal my gut. I can manage to take 1500mg of L glutamine 2x daily, anything higher causes a migraine. I’ve tried bone both and that causes heartburn, even chicken bone broth. I was taking Great Lakes Collagen powder, but that gives me heartburn. I was on a PPI FOR 15 years and 4-5 months ago it stopped working, so I didn’t wean off of it. I tried HCL with pepsin with protein (chicken) and chicken gives me heartburn, but afterwards I had that feeling in my throat like something was stuck, so I haven’t tried it again. I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. I think I need to work with a naturopath or a functional medical doctor and get tested for SIBO and other bad bacteria that may be harbouring in my GI tract. I do take probiotics and digestive enzymes and have been for many years. I’m also dealing with my past trauma issues. My diet consists of organic celery with organic almond butter, iron vega sprouted protein mixed with water and sprouted chia, flax and EMP seeds, hot water and Manuka honey. Everything else gives me heartburn. I do take supplements, but not sure how much is getting absorbed. I’m in menopause so my hormones are very low, DHEA Is very low and have adrenal gland fatique, so I’ll need a step by step guide as to how, if possible I can begin to heal. That’s why I need to work with someone that can guide me. I have to find someone where I am living because as I mentioned before I live in Canada and the dollar is not good right now to be converting Canadian money to US dollars.

    • Avatar

      Hi Margie – I’m really glad to hear you want to work with a functional doctor near you. Jordan and Steve agree that is the best route for really Tough Cases like yourself. I know you’re going to be feeling better soon. In the meantime, don’t forget your other interests and try to focus on what makes you feel joy and at peace – that is so important for healing.

      You can use this site to search for a FMP near you:

  5. Avatar

    Thank you Mariel. Having support means everything. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re trying to do this alone. I know it’s time for me to get some testing done for SIBO, Candida, and h. Pylori. I can’t do it all at once so I’m not sure which one to start with. I live in Canada and with the way the dollar is right now that jumps up the price of everything by approximately 30%. I haven’t been able to work for he past five years due to my health so being on a restricted budget makes the healing process more challenging. The fact that practically every food causes heartburn tells me there is something pathological going on or at least I’m pretty sure there is. My weight loss is a huge concern for me.

  6. Avatar

    Thank you for all the great info that you have given us. I truly hope that everyone implements the psychological component to their healing journey. It’s like you said, we got sick for a reason. All disease stems from the gut. This is where we hold all of our emotion. 90% of our serotonin is produced in the gut and up to 80% of our immune system is in our gut. My point being is that no one goes through life unscathed. What one might consider to be not that traumatic, a highly sensitive person would. Some might not even realize what their root cause is or where it stems from. My memories didn’t surface until my mid 40’s when I had another incident that triggered the early childhood memory, but my whole life I was really good, or at least I thought I was good, was suppresses everything. Trust me, it eventually catches up!!!! So yes, we have to heal on all levels. It’s not just about changing up our diet. We have to get to the core of what really made us sick, because we know that stress is the main cause/trigger to most illnesses. I’m turning 56 on Thursday and I’m finally READY to heal on all levels. Reading through a lot of your stuff is helping me get passed that feeling of being overwhelmed, which I’m pretty sure most people experience. I have been researching, nonstop, for the past five months, and I’m still trying to piece it all together. I’ve been fortunate to find some really great people to help me on this healing journey and I’m determined to get healthy, because it does effect every aspect of our lives. I’m tired of daily migraines or the past 8 years, chronic constipation my whole life and, non stop acid reflux for the past five months. Enough, is enough. Again, it’s like you have said, if you don’t give up you will heal!! But I have to say your words of encouragement have helped a lot, so thank you for being such kind, caring and compassionate people.

  7. Avatar


    Five years ago I was fabulous. Thin with clear skin. Then in over night I gained ten pounds and started breaking out in cystic acne again. I’d been doing low carb to heal my acne and the results were great. Five years later I’m bloated and acne riddled and still on the diet. I ate some turmeric last month and that made the acne worse.

    I hate the way I look and have no control over this weight gain. I’ve started pureeing everything I eat, I do pro-biotics (which make me worse) I do enzymes ( worked about three months then just stopped. The bone broth has done a thing in the six months I’ve been making it. I hate the idea of having to live like this. I’m only 31. No energy. I have ulcerative colitis which I actually enjoyed last year because I was thin again and wasn’t bloated, but for some reason I became constipated with the UC and my hips spread way out, unnatural shape for me, followed by my hips and behind then my arms.

    I’m so sad that I want to hurt myself to have control over something. My GI doctor blames the UC, as does my dermatologists, but a year on Humira and no improvement except constipation. I’m miserable and in pain. My clothes don’t fit and I’ve never had a baby.

    I’ve done everything your blog said and it all worked and then stopped. I really need help.

    • Avatar

      Hi Molly – we’re so sorry to hear you’re going through such challenges with your health.

      First, we encourage you to let your doctor know how you’re feeling about hurting yourself. Being sick can be overwhelming and scary, and we want you to get the support you need from your doctors.

      Secondly, based on what you’ve written, I think you should seek out one-on-one advice from a practitioner who is familiar with SCD – like one of our recommended practitioners Stephanie and Brie.

      You can connect with them here:

      I truly empathize with what you’re going through and I want to tell you – don’t give up hope! We all feel hopeless sometimes when our health is bad, but myself, Steve, Jordan, and all the other success stories out there are proof you CAN get better!

    • Avatar

      Oh dear you are having a bad time of it. But, don’t give up.
      Two things that helped me were first a comprehensive stool test. I paid out of pocket through a natural path…about 120.00. The results told us so much! Amazingly helpful! And the other was the test for SIBO (tests for over growth of bacteria in the small intestine) that I also paid for out of pocket. Unfortunately I tested positive, but feel so much better after altering my diet a bit more, and completing a good couple doings of an anti-microbial.
      Just thoughts to ponder.

  8. Avatar

    How relief I am to read this article, mistake number 5. I just started 3 weeks ago this lifestyle, although I had lots of changes made before coming to SCD. Yesterday I broke down, like ladders and snakes, going back to the most painful psychological state I know, the one I want to avoid at any cost, the one I wish food could mane go away. I wonder why, cause I think I am doing farely well on this protocole, learning ang being patient. I want to say I had taken the decision to hold on and not break my routine and my decision to experiment this new way of eating. It helps me reading about the fact that mental block was to come. I really have the dream to see myself healthy as never before, I had never really been healthy probably not even as a baby. Thanks Steve. Am holding on.

    • Avatar

      Wow Linda, thanks so much for sharing with us. We are all rooting for you on your journey to better health. Hang in there! You will get better every day in one way or another (mentally, physically, emotionally!)

      We’re so grateful to have you as part of this community.

  9. Avatar

    Have just started the 3 day intro diet and was doing well till yesterday, thinking, oh, I won’t need to go beyond the 3 days. However, last night developed painful flu-like symptoms and fever. Am in a lot of pain today but shall persist as I do believe it is die-off. I haven’t had diarrhea or blood in my stools or anything more dramatic than constant griping in the stomach and gut, so I thought mine was a mild case. I was wrong! Also I am 64 and tired of all this pain, determined to get better. A question, do I continue to eat today? I feel nauseous and have bad stomach pains. Will try the baking soda and salt in water. Thank you for all the hard and thorough work you’ve put into all of this!

    • Avatar

      Hi Magdalene, sorry to hear you had this reaction. Beside the fact that you could have come down with a bug, you could be experiencing die off. We suggest sticking to your safe food zone at this point, consuming plenty of water and resting as much as possible.

  10. Avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing this, sometimes I get completely overwhelmed with the process and want to give up. I’m in my early 20’s and I have had Chrons and skin issues half of my life. I’m on treatments, but have recently started seeing a naturopath and am starting small with cutting out artificial suagars. Thanks for your inspiration.

    • Avatar

      @S – my pleasure, you got this, you are young and while you’ve been suffering for awhile… I know you can do it! Start with the sugars and then move to a full diet switch to SCD or Paleo or anything real food. Just stay committed to the journey and you’ll figure it out.

  11. Avatar

    Steve….I 100% agree with the whole touching the stove for yourself. I can also support all of this advice you have just thrown out. For myself i have gone on the healing journey for years, and it wasn’t until i did a triple threat combo of diet, mental, and social change that my health stepped into the new chapter of amazingness. I have spent years seeing G.I specialists, Endocrinologists, any ist and i probably saw them. Energy healers, Massage therapists, special diets, special supplements. These are all still only treating the symptoms, WHY, why, WHY, are you sick. After some intense therapy, we got the root of the cause, and then once that was released, the diet, the supplements, and the energy work started to work, because i wasn’t holding on to being sick anymore. My sickness was no longer serving a purpose, and it was ready to be healed.

    • Avatar

      @Meaghan – So happy for you! And thank you for sharing your journey, I loved reading it. I agree, there’s some fundamental physical, emotional and psycological root issues for most of us and unfortunately the physical stuff gets all the attention. Glad you are doing so much better.

  12. Avatar

    I couldn’t finish this article. Mistake # 3 doesn’t resonate. I understand that your underlying message is to not get caught up in determining what is creating your disease, but what causes a lack of ease is extremely relevant to one’s outcome. I wouldn’t spend a fortune having tests done – that makes the labs prosperous, but won’t necessarily heal your condition. Acidosis, toxicity, and genetic weakness are three key causes of all disease.(Dr.Robert Morse) Your Buffalo, Plantain recipe is a great strategy for increasing acidosis which will progress to a disease state if left unchecked. Keep up that diet plan and see where it leads you. And GMO food is directly affecting our genetic make-up and weakening the human race.
    I think our paths have diverged. Good luck on your healing journey.

    • Avatar

      @Marian – Thanks for adding to this, I agree it appears our beliefs are diverging. I don’t believe anyone knows for sure how chronic disease is developed and someone who is saying they know for sure is a huge red flag for me. Acidosis is an especially troublesome idea… not proven at all and mostly debunked at the blood level. There’s an Acid / Base balance at every level from our inside our cells, to our cells, to our tissues, to our organs, to our circulating bodily fluids. To suggest we can know or understand about Ph levels at each of these levels and the interactions between them is make believe at this point. I wish you all the best and hope that you keep up your quest for optimal health and the best information.

  13. Avatar

    Great ideas..been working on a better GI tract for years..and now I am seeing positive results. I read the untethered soul a few years ago and I’m going to go reread it again because I remember how much I loved it but I need to reread it so thank you for the reminder.

Leave a Reply