Guts are like fingerprints. No two are alike.
The gut is a fascinating place. There are so many things that we just don't know about it. Humans have just touched on the surface of what really happens inside the gut. There is so much information out there about gut health that it can be overwhelming. Companies latch on to the word gut to try to sell you things you may or may not really need because it is such a hot topic right now.
I want to turn down all that noise for you and give you some information that you can feel confident with. So that you can have regular bowel movements, less constipation/loose stool, increased energy, glowing skin and more.
One of the things that we do know is that if you feed your body foods that it needs and you absorb them properly, your body will benefit from the nutrients. If your body cannot absorb these nutrients properly then these nutrients will be less effective. Why is this?
Our gut has 75-125 trillion bacteria living inside of it. If we don't have enough of the "good" kind, we can host a breeding ground for unproductive bacteria, mold, fungus, viruses and more nasty little buggers.
What also can create problems in the gut is a lack of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Initial digestion of food starts in the mouth but when it reaches the stomach HCl is what helps it break down (especially protein based foods). We can become deficient in HCl from stress, eating junky foods, too much meat/heavy proteins, toxins, fat and sugar combinations and prescription drugs. When there is not enough HCl to break down the food then by the time it reaches the lower intestine it starts to rot and putrefy. The rotting is what creates discomfort and bloating (but sometimes no symptoms at all!). The good HCl is greatly reduced and bad acid takes over. If you experience acid reflux, it is these "bad acids" coming up (not the good HCl), but sometimes it is also mucus coming up (as the gut lining starts to create a lot of mucus to protect itself from these bad acids).
If you are low in HCl and your food is rotting in your large intestine, it sucks. Why does it suck? Because the food that is rotting is creating a toxic ammonia gas that floats into your bloodstream which then goes throughout the body creating fatigue, anxiety, skin problems, poor sleep and more.
Have you ever been put on a candida diet by a healthcare professional to help with these aforementioned symptoms? They mean well but I am here to tell you that candida is not what is causing your problems. Time and again I see people on these diets (myself years ago too) and they just don't work because it isn't candida causing problems. People struggle so much on a candida protocol and it is for no good! I know because I have been there too.
Our gut is our centre. It is where the diseases and the illnesses stem from. If your gut is not functioning in pure health then we really start to see all sorts of health issues arise. Anytime I work with a client the first thing I look at is the gut. Whether they are seeing me to help clear up their skin, lose weight, balance their cycle, get pregnant, reduce anxiety or get more energy I always look at the gut first because everything starts there.
If you are someone that is experiencing gut issues, or symptoms that may be resulting from gut issues, don't fear. There are things you can do to help balance it out again so that you can function and be your most vibrant self. There is not one protocol that will work for everyone as we are all different. The strains of bacteria living inside of us are all different, depending on where we live, what we eat, how we take care of ourselves. But there are things that we can all do that seem to help bring back the balance.
First of them is celery juice. As simple as it sounds, celery juice is amazing because of the way it strengthens the digestion of the foods you eat throughout the day. Drink 16oz of freshly juiced organic celery first thing in the morning and let me know how you feel in a month (or how your bowels are doing!). Personally I feel so vibrant and alive as soon as I consume it.
It is also important to remove toxic heavy metals from the gut so it can function properly. We all have toxins because of our lifestyles and our toxic world. Foods that are amazing at getting rid of all those toxins are wild blueberries, spirulina, cilantro, parsley, garlic and red clover blossoms. It is also incredibly important to eat lots of fibre to help bind the toxins and take them out of the body. So eat your greens, whole grains and beans!
Drink enough water. Water is very important in keeping your colon hydrated so that we don't become constipated. Ensuring that you are drinking unchlorinated water is important so use a filtration system.
Medicinal mushrooms can also be of value. Cordyceps can help with liver function and detoxification and assist overall digestion. Turkeytail is also useful for the digestive process. I like blending my mushroom powder in a smoothie.
Looking for something else that is a good digestive drink? I love lemon balm tea for the adrenals to calm the body and promote peace. But I especially love it for its help with the gut. Lemon balm can help calm nerve receptors in the digestive tract.
Dealing with gut issues can cause your good bacteria to die which inflames the ileum (final part of the small intestine) which can cause the body to stop making vitamin B12. B12 is super important for keeping the body's nervous system healthy so I often suggest B12 as a supplement when rebuilding the gut's flora.
What you can also do to rebuild your gut flora? Stop purchasing yogurt that contains "probiotics" because you are just wasting your money. Most of the microorganisms in products that claim to have probiotics die before they even get where they need to go. The best way to rebuild your flora is to eat unwashed (or lightly rinsed) organic fruits and vegetables (straight from the garden is key) because they contain the best micro-organisms that you can get, right on their skin/leaves. This can be a bit tricky in cold winter climates so grow your own sprouts as these are top level for beneficial bacteria. You can also take a quality probiotic from the health food store, but eating these organic fruits and vegetables are the first step.
Things to stop doing? Stop eating so much meat as it is really difficult on the digestive system. Try to avoid prescription meds as much a possible. Avoid junky foods. And try to stop racing around while you eat. Sitting and enjoying a meal and connecting with your food helps the digestive process in ways that you can't even imagine.
Along with that, don't forget that our feelings and our digestion are directly linked. Ever felt nervous about something and get really loose stool? Ever felt so sad you couldn't eat? Yup, directly linked. In Ayurveda, "Samana Vayu" is the energy enabling us to absorb nutrients from our food and is also responsible for digesting life experiences. So if you are experiencing digestive discomforts look at what is going on in your life. Are you emotionally stressed? Are you rushing when you eat? Eat in peaceful surroundings and chew slowly. And when you are going through a time of emotional transformation acknowledge that and choose to eat foods that are gentler and give yourself space to digest these experiences.
I wish you all the best in your journey to better gut health. Remember, health is a journey. It isn't a one time thing, but something you work on your whole life.
Love and light xo,
vegan, sugar free, gluten free
Papaya is an amazing fruit for supporting and healing the gut. It has more than 500 powerful digestive enzymes that help reduce inflammation, aid digestion and mend the intestinal walls. It can be very helpful for you if you are constipated. The caratenoids, vitamins and minerals in papaya are also incredible for the skin and can help with eczema, acne and psoriasis. Important to note that the popular Hawaiian varieties of papaya are GMO contaminated. Try to purchase Maradol papayas from Mexico and Central America.
-fresh fruit (berries, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, etc.)
1.Cut papaya in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard.
2.Scoop some coconut yogurt into each half and top with fresh fruit and any other toppings you love (raw honey, bee pollen, hemp seeds, shredded coconut).
3.Eat with a spoon, scooping the papaya as you go.
How often do you go on a "diet" only to fail a week later because you can't resist that sugary doughnut staring at you from the bakery counter? "Well I've cheated now, might as well just have another one" you say to yourself as you sadly eat the rest of the box.
Does this sound like you? Do you feel like a failure? Do you never seem to be able to complete a "diet"?
Well good news for you, because I don't believe in diets.
And I am about to tell you the secret of how to eat healthy but also indulge when you want to without creating negative consequences on your body and your mind.
It's called the 80/20 rule.
But first, let's talk about why I don't believe in diets.
They are not practical.
If you were on a diet and I were to ask you, "are you going to eat this way for the rest of your life?" what would you say? I am guessing you would say no.
Most diets have you doing some crazy things but when you can't sustain the diet anymore or you go off the diet the chances are pretty good that your "bad habits" will sneak back in and you will start eating the way you did before you went on your diet.
Let's take the Ketogenic Diet for example. The Keto Diet is a fad diet right now that has people restricting carbohydrates so that the body will turn fat into ketones to use as energy.
The problem is, we need carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are sugar (both simple carbs and complex carbs). Our body needs sugar to run and give us energy and supply sugar to our brains to function properly.
What happens when you aren't eating any carbs? You are eventually going to crave them because your body needs them to function (and you will probably crave the simple carbs a.k.a white sugar because it will give you the quickest boost of energy).
You can only burn fat to use as energy for so long.
Then your body will start losing muscle and you will experience fatigue and will eventually enter into starvation mode. Yes you might lose a lot of weight quickly (however the fat loss is most likely water loss), but you are doing long term damage to your body (especially your heart) in the process.
Let's not do that ok?
Instead lets talk about my 80/20 rule. It's simple. Focus on healthy eating 80% of the time and the other 20% indulge in the things you really enjoy eating.
When we are eating things that are good for our body 80% of the time they can handle 20% of naughty foods and be ok. It's when the scale is tipped more in favour of junk that our bodies struggle to process the junk foods.
I am a realist. I know that you go out for dinner. I know that you like to eat cookies while watching a movie on a Friday night. I know that sometimes you are too exhausted to cook and you order in pizza. I know that sometimes you stand in your pantry and sneak chocolate and hide from your kids when you're having a really bad day (wait, maybe that's just me?!).
I know all of this because despite being a nutritionist I am a human and a mom and I don't eat "perfectly" all the time. NO ONE DOES (not even the hippiest, plant loving, green juice drinking, vegan out there)!
If you're someone who has tried diet after diet and is constantly restricting yourself and depriving yourself of things you want, and then shaming yourself when you do eat those things, try it my way and see how you feel.
What I tell my clients is to focus on the healthy foods they are eating (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, lean meats) rather than thinking about all the things they are "missing out" on. Add more of these healthy foods to your diet and you will notice there isn't as much room for the naughty foods. When your diet is mostly whole foods you can have chips or a slice of cake without it being detrimental to your health.
When you do get a big sugar craving, try eating a natural sugar first. Dates, fresh fruit, baked sweet potato, honey (natural sugars make amazing desserts, have you tried my raw vegan cheesecake?!). Chances are it's your body's way of telling you that you A: are not eating enough carbohydrate, B: that you aren't eating often enough (every 2-3hours) or c: both. Start to decipher when it's your body telling you it needs sugar for fuel and when it just wants to taste that cronut.
And for those of my women out there who are desperately trying to conceive, this applies to you too. You don't have to never look at sugar again, quit drinking alcohol for good, make disgusting green concoctions that you know are good for you but make you gag and be miserable. Indulging a bit here and there is not going to make your chances of conceiving go down, I promise.
The media has made healthy eating out to be super complicated, making people think they need to do crazy diets to achieve the goal they want (weight loss, clear skin, improved energy, etc.) and then when the diet doesn't work the person feels like they have failed. When really it is the media who has failed you.
I am here to tell you that it is simple. Eat plants, most of the time, enjoy a treat when you really want it and be happy. That's it :)
My Chocolate Almond Smoothie is an awesome drink for when you want a sweet fix but is made with all natural sugars. It tastes naughty but it is entirely nutritious.
Chocolate Almond Smoothie
1.5 frozen bananas
3 Medjool dates, pitted
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp organic cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups almond milk
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Love and Light xo,
Have you heard of Moringa? I hadn't heard much about it until a few months ago when I was shopping at my local health food store. I knew it was a superfood but I didn't know HOW super it really was until recently.
Moringa Oleifera is a tropical, fast growing tree and its leaves are highly nutrient dense and nutritious. It is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, omega 3, chlorophyll, protein among many other nutrients. But what really caught my eye was how rich it is in iron. It has 25x more iron than spinach. Iron is a really important mineral, especially for us plant eaters. I've been on the lower side of the iron spectrum as of late due to my pregnancy so this really intrigued me.
Due to the amount of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals it contains, moringa is a perfect food for athletes as it can improve endurance and lower inflammation. It's great for women breastfeeding as it may increase milk supply and boost energy levels. It also helps to lower blood sugar levels and increases mental focus. It has been used as a natural aphrodisiac to increase sex drive, HOWEVER, I have also read that it may reduce rates of conception. So if you're looking to get pregnant moringa may not be the nutrient for you. But once you ARE pregnant it can supposedly help boost the immune system.
Moringa was supposedly used as an Ayurvedic medicine, sunscreen, body lotion, perfume and for purifying water in ancient times. Due to its speed of growth and nutrient density, moringa is being looked at as a way to bring protein and vitamins to impoverished people.
This was the first time I tried it so I will let you know in the future how I feel. But in the meantime, you may be interested in trying it out yourself, but only if you're not trying to conceive!
Morning Moringa Bowl For Mamas
Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free
1 can of coconut milk
1/4 cup, plus 1Tbsp chia seeds
1tsp. moringa powder (if you're trying to conceive just leave this out. The bowl is amazing and packed with nutrients with or without it!)
pinch of himalayan sea salt
-toasted shredded coconut
-toasted chopped cashews
-cacao nibs or chopped dark chocolate
-maple syrup or honey
-freshly grated ginger
1.Place coconut milk, chia, vanilla, moringa powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk together. Cover and place in fridge overnight. You may want to whisk a few times before going to bed to make sure it doesn't clump together.
2.In the morning, give pudding a stir, top with desired toppings and serve.
Love and light xo,
I have been thinking a lot lately about my time. How do I give myself more time? With so many tasks in a day, and with the hours feeling as if they are getting shorter and shorter, I found myself feeling more anxious, more tired, more drained.
For my work I tell other people what to do to improve their health, but I was finding that my own self was getting put on the back burner. Which seems a bit backward as I'm supposed to lead by example.
I used to enjoy going to yoga whenever I pleased, reading a book for hours, or going to the movies with my husband. I didn't feel guilty when I sat on my patio and drank a tea and daydreamed.
What is it about becoming older and more responsible that makes us feel that we are not as important as we were when we were 19? Not as worthy of self care? Not allowed to take time for ourselves or we will be seen as lazy?
Why do so many women feel like this? Do you feel like this too? Like you have to occupy every hour of every day with tasks so that you can check things off of your never ending to-do list to feel like you accomplished something so you can feel good about yourself?
I know all about this. Between being a mom, running a business, taking care of the house and working a job on the side I found that there was not a lot of time for anything else. I knew it was making me sick. I was suffering from adrenal fatigue.
I knew that this was not a way to live. I told myself, "I have to find a better way".
And slowly I am.
I am currently building a beautiful, new, energetic program with my spiritual coach to guide my clients with. Through this process I have found a new way of working, and a new way of being. Want to know what it is?
I take 15 minutes to just sit and be.
That's it. I just be. And this is how I re-connect to myself. Then I am able to work for an hour at the most and my inner voice flows, and I get things done and I feel good about what I have channelled. I close my computer and I reconnect with the rest of my family. But this hour is my sacred time. And I cherish it.
I recently read an interview of someone I deeply admire, Sarah Britton of www.mynewroots.org The interview was on self-care and she said that she gives herself a gift every day. Not a new pair of shoes, but a special gift that doesn't necessarily require money. Like sitting for half an hour and drinking tea. Or watering her plants. Then she has something to look forward to in her day. A bit of time she makes for herself everyday.
I thought, Sarah, you are brilliant. So I have begun incorporating this train of thought into my own life. I now give myself a gift every day. Today it was swimming in the lake. Yesterday it was journalling. Tomorrow it might be taking time to enjoy a bit of stretching. And every day it is 15 minutes to just sit and be. I am loving this new way of approaching my life. Because it makes time for me.
Did you know that YOU are the most important person in your life? It is true. You are. And you need to make time to nourish that person every single day.
To keep you healthy.
To re-connect to your inner being.
To re-connect to your dreams so that you can go into the world and live them.
And when you are in this gift giving vibration of peace, love and joy, you can make miracles happen.
You can accomplish anything you want, but only when you are in this good vibration.
This is very true. I am seeing it unfolding in my own life. It is true for you too.
Not every day is easy. We all still need to grocery shop, cook dinner, do the laundry, make money. But if you can give yourself a gift every day you will have something to look forward to. A time to cherish yourself and re-connect. And this will give you the space to create your life however you want it. You will get more done. You will have more energy. You will be happier.
For the next 30 days, I challenge you to give yourself a gift every day. In a month from now I bet you will see someone more relaxed, more in-tune with herself and able to give love and joy more freely. Just try it. I dare you ;)
Chocolate Overnight Oats
Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, Gluten Free
This recipe is a go-to for me. I make it the night before I have a really early morning and have to be out the door with my daughter really quickly. It is a bit of self care in the morning because it is full of healthy ingredients, but mostly, it makes me feel really good and happy inside!
1/2 cup oats (certified gluten free if intolerant)
1 ripe banana
1Tbsp. cacao powder (to read the difference between cacao and cocoa click here)
1 cup plant milk
1Tbsp. chia seeds
pinch of pink himalayan salt
1/2 cup berries or fruit of choice (I like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or cherries best)
cacao nibs (optional)
chopped walnuts (optional)
flax oil (optional)
1.Place the oats, banana and cacao powder in a bowl. Mash the banana and mix the 3 ingredients together until all is incorporated and the oats look like a chocolatey mess.
2.Add the milk, chia and salt and mix until uniform.
3.Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
4.In the morning, top with fresh berries, cacao nibs, walnuts and flax oil.
Love and light xo,