Today we’re talking about gut health: what it is, why it’s important, and how we can transform our health and wellness from the inside out.


It’s likely that you’ve heard the terms “gut health” and maybe even “leaky gut” referenced before, but are you aware of just how important the gut is? The gut, or gastrointestinal tract, plays a crucial role in our overall health and well-being, impacting everything from our sleep, mood, weight, digestion, stress levels, inflammation, chronic illness, brain health, and immune function. It moves the food that we consume from our mouths to our stomachs, converts this food into absorbable nutrients and stored energy, clears waste from our bodies, and communicates with our brains through hormones and nerves to maintain our health and well-being.

The gut is an important source of immune function, and each one of us has our own unique gut microbiome, or blend of necessary bacteria, that plays a vital role in fighting disease and keeping us healthy. We want and need this good bacteria in our systems because it helps with digestion and removing toxins from our bodies. But, when we have too much bad bacteria or certain bacteria in excessive amounts, we can then develop an imbalance that affects our health in a negative way, causing infections, poor absorption of necessary nutrients, food allergies, autoimmune issues, and even an increased risk for cancer.

Leading national toxicology expert and world-renowned author Dr. Sherry Rogers said, “The road to good health is paved with good intestines!” It is extremely important that we do what we can to keep our gut health in check in order to live happy and healthy lives.

Today, I’m joined by Naturopathic Oncologist and owner of Spark Health, Dr. Aliza Cicerone, who works with patients with a variety of health concerns, including thyroid abnormalities, hormone therapy, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. She joins me to discuss why the gut is so important and how we can stay healthy and keep our immune systems strong by properly monitoring and caring for our gut health.

My daughter, Erin Shaw, also joins me today for our fourth week of Rut Busters, a brand new segment on Change It Up Radio. If you missed our firstsecond, or third week of Rut Busters, please be sure to check them out as well for some fun challenges that can help you get your creativity and energy flowing! Today, Erin shares a simple challenge for shaking things up a bit and stimulating our senses by listening to some music we’ve never heard before!


We Discuss:

  • How the gut, or gastrointestinal tract, plays a crucial role in our overall health and well-being
  • Why maintaining a healthy gut improves and strengthens the immune system
  • Ensuring that our digestive tract efficiently absorbs and utilizes the nutrients we consume
  • Why the form of sugar we eat impacts our gut microbiome more than just the amount we digest
  • How hereditary and genetic imbalances can alter our digestive tracts and bacterial balance
  • Why there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet or regular supplement regime
  • Tuning in to what our bodies need and determining what’s required to restore gut health
  • Probiotics versus Prebiotics: What they are, how they differ, and how they benefit us
  • What “leaky gut” is, uncovering its root cause, and doing what’s needed to heal it effectively


“Everything that we eat in a good, healthy, natural form is beneficial to our gut and to our microbiome. Fat is healthy, protein is healthy, carbohydrates are healthy. It’s all about the combination, the quantity, and the characteristics of that food and how we combine those foods to help our bodies feel the best. And that is different for every single person.”  –  Dr. Aliza Cicerone


About Dr. Cicerone:
Image of Dr. Aliza Cicerone of Spark Health - on Change It Up Radio with Paula Shaw

Dr. Aliza Cicerone earned her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (ND) from The National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and holds additional board certification in Naturopathic Oncology (FABNO).

She completed an Integrative Oncology residency at Indiana University Goshen Center for Cancer Care, where she did extensive training in cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, and dermatology, in addition to operating her own oncology practice.

After her residency, Dr. Cicerone worked as a staff physician at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in conjunction with medical doctors, acupuncturists, dietitians, mind-body counselors, and physical therapists to provide patients with comprehensive, integrative care.

Dr. Cicerone believes that a combination of conventional and naturopathic medicine is the optimal way to give patients long-term health and wellness.

A California native, Dr. Cicerone moved back to the San Diego area in 2013 to bring personalized natural medicine to Southern California. She works with patients with a variety of health concerns, including thyroid abnormalities, hormone therapy, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

A focal point of her practice is cancer treatment and survivorship, where she uses evidence-based natural therapy in combination with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to minimize side effects, provide immune system support, and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Dr. Cicerone is a member of the California Naturopathic Doctors Association, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Society for Integrative Oncology.


“You would never throw everybody on the same supplements. You would never tell everybody they need the same medication. So, you can’t tell everybody that they need the exact same diet. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Everybody has unique individual needs, everybody’s body chemistry is unique and individualized, and we have to really take that into account when we’re talking about the optimal way to eat.”  –  Dr. Aliza Cicerone


About Erin:
Image of Erin Shaw, author of Party Girl - A Modern Fairy Tale and Have Baggage, Will Travel - on Change It Up Radio with Paula Shaw

Erin Shaw is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Party Girl – A Modern Fairy Tale, (2014) which was loosely based on her experience moving to New York City during the height of the 2008 recession and performing as a birthday party princess to stay afloat.

In addition to fiction writing and screenwriting, Ms. Shaw has worked in media and publishing as a food, travel, lifestyle, and small business writer for more than a decade.

She has written for several national publications including LA Confidential Magazine, Daily Candy, FATHOM, Hello Giggles!, Biz New Orleans, and Quarterly Magazine.

Erin is currently based in Los Angeles and has completed a feature-length screen adaptation of Party Girl with her gal pal and writing partner, Kaitlyn McQuin. Her second novel, Have Baggage, Will Travel is now available on Amazon!


Check out the video below to watch our interview:


Resources Mentioned:


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