Happy New Year Everyone (plus one week)! It’s that time of year again… Everyone get’s on the new year new me band wagon. But I’m not saying that’s a bad thing! In fact, if your new year, new me resolution is to try and be healthier in a way that’s different from the usual dieting, you can easily start by improving your gut health. If you think you don’t need to, chances are you do. Everyone’s gut can do with improvement!
I want to offer you some really simple advice on a different way to start the new year healthy.
Being ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean you have to drink a Kale and Acai smoothie after your 5am morning jog! It can be as simple as eating (ooo I like that) more of the good stuff throughout the day, and less of the bad stuff! This will give you energy and motivation to want to workout and create a more positive outlook on life.
Let’s Get on With It!
My first point of advice is to start your healing from the inside out. By this I mean improve your gut health. Your gut is basically your intestines. This is where most of your digestion occurs, and where you absorb nutrients from the food you’ve eaten. So how do you improve your gut health? You can start by increasing your fermented food intake, and decreasing your processed food intake. Who’s up for the challenge?
What is fermented food?
In summary, fermented foods include sauerkrauts, kim chi, kombucha, certain yogurts and sour creams, kefir, sourdough and more. There’s more out there than you can imagine! Nourished Kitchen write a really good article on what fermented foods do, as well as some killer recipes to make your own fermentations if you’re game. Fermented foods contain probiotics that improve your gut health and your overall wellness. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are similar to the good bacteria already living in your gut. You can take probiotics in the form of tablets too (inner health plus for example). Taking probiotics increase the good bacteria in your body, hopefully balancing out the bad bacteria. There are also prebiotics that feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, – but that’s a-whole-nother topic!
So… does that mean I have to eat sauerkraut out of the jar everyday?! Of course not! – unless you want to… But no, fermented foods can be incorporated into your diet easily enough without needing to hold your nose or cringe at the thought of eating a fermented cabbage. For example, kombucha is a fermented tea that is full of probiotics. It comes in so many flavours, everyone enjoys at least one. If you enjoy toast or sandwiches, another easy way is to invest in a quality sourdough from a local baker. Make sure ‘culture’ is the first ingredient, and talk to your baker about how they create their culture and where they get their flour/grains from. The fresher the better. If you’re really keen on getting some ferments into you, I recommend making your own sauerkraut. It’s really simple and cheap to do actually, but you can also buy different flavours from your local healthfood store if you prefer.
What Else Is Good For My Gut?
My favourite thing for gut health would be, hands down, bone broth. Yes, you read that right. In case you’ve been living under a rock, bone broth has been trending for the past year or two. It is essentially ‘broth’ (liquid) that is primarily made from bones (chicken or beef usually) and may contain a few vegetables. It’s so simple to make, and making it yourself reeeeally saves the $$$ (which we all need to do this time of year right?). It differs from the well known stock because it is made from actual animal bones. The nutrients we don’t/can’t normally eat in the animal’s bones are drawn out into the water. We can then consume in the form of soups or stews.
So What Else Can I Do to Start off my New Year Health Kick?
If you’re increasing your probiotics, you’re going to want to decrease artificial sugars and processed food in order to reap the full benefits from your food. Don’t think about counting calories, think about whole food eating. What is whole food eating? It literally means eating foods in their most wholesome state… For example, eating a baked potato instead of a packet of potato chips. Eating raw fruit straight from the ground, rather than buying a fruit bar that claims to contain 75% real fruit. Really? Who’s read the ingredients on those things..
Basically eat simple. How simple is that?! It’s the easiest way to make your gut happy! Because fermented foods are essentially ‘healing foods,’ you can start off the year with a happy gut. Happy gut = happy mind!
What’s your new year resolution?