Why it matters and how to improve it
The gut has been described as our 2nd brain. While it can't think, it interacts with our "1st brain" to control digestion and absorption of nutrients, while also triggering emotional responses to physical symptoms such as bloating and constipation. So, in short, if your gut's not happy then neither are you!
Gut bacteria is also linked to allergies and immunity so the incentives are high for improving your gut health and your families.
Four Simple Ways to Improve Gut Health Everyday
1. Drink kefir regularly (water grain and dairy kefir)
You might be familiar with milk kefir which is an awesome product, but my favourite is water kefir. Both are proliferated with excellent bacteria for your gut, but the water kefir is incredibly refreshing and because the fermentation process eats up the sugars, it's low in energy (unlike juice and sweet carbonated drinks). The kids will love it too.The Fermentary make a raspberry flavour (my favourite) and a fig and ginger. They can be enjoyed as is or you can even add a splash of campari or gin for a fun pre-dinner drink. As with all fermented products you can also make it yourself (Sharon's book details more about this)
Sharon Flynn is one of our inspiring speakers and her book
Ferment For Good
is an incredible resource for how to easily increase your consumption of fermented foods and keep you gut healthier.
2. Eat better bread
sourdough bread is a fermented product, which means instead of adding commercial yeast, the natural yeasts in the air are captured and used to leaven the bread. This means that it contains lactobacillus cultures (a probiotic, aka bacteria that benefits your gut)
3. Start the day with miso porridge
Oats are a superfood on their own, but if you combine it with miso then you have a magical food. The beauty of this recipe is that the miso produces magical creaminess without any miso taste so the kids will love it. You also make it the night before, which means your breakfast rush will be a little less stressful.
3. Miso Porridge
The best oats you can buy (biodynamic preferably)
- Cook the oats as you would normally. I cook mine in water with a pinch of salt.
- Once they are cooked set aside to cool. Once cool add a spoonful of miso and stir through well. The size iof the spoonful will depend on the amount of oats you cook. If your cooking for 1 or 2 then a teaspoon will do, but if your cooking for a family then a tablespoon will do.
- Put the porridge in the fridge overnight. In the morning heat the porridge over a gentle heat until hot. The miso breaks down the starches and makes the porridge quite creamy.
- Serve the porridge as you would normally. I like it sprinkled with brown sugar with cold milk poured over. Sliced banana on top is also delicious. The porridge will keep in the fridge for a couple of days so make a big batch.
4. Incorporate some simple fermented foods into your meals
I love this recipe from Sharon as it is so simple and a winner with kids, but experiment with pickles and sauerkraut as they are great accompaniments to toast with avocado, sandwiches and burgers.
1 large jar
Brine (1 litre of water + 3 Tb of salt)
500g chopped carrots (sticks or rounds but sticks are good for accompanying dips)
Flavours - 1 clove of peeled garlic, 1 Tb of mustard seeds, 1/2 sliced shallot- Put carrots in the jar. Cover with brine. Cover with a vine leaf or greaseproof paper and weigh down with a rock or pie weights. Seal the jar.They will be ready in about a week. Put in the kids lunches or serve alongside your favourite dips.