bacteria

Balance Your Gut Bacteria (At Any Age)

Last week, I shared the surprising connection between your gut and your age. I also shared the adverse affects we experience when our gut flora is compromised. This happens because the balance of good and bad bacteria is crucial to every system in your body—not just your digestive system. From weight management to stress management to thyroid function, promoting our microbiome may be the most important thing we do for our health. Of course, you’re not in this alone. I have plenty of simple tips and recipes to help you balance your gut at any age.

First, let’s understand what the gut does:

  • Affects how we store fat
  • Balances blood sugar
  • Regulates our appetite by responding to hormones 
  • Affects our ability to handle stress
  • Supports liver function
  • Assists in thyroid function and metabolism
  • Aids in digestion, nutrient assimilation and elimination 

If our guts are not running optimally, any of these functions can be disrupted. This could lead a host of minor to serious health issues, including weight gain. 

In fact, one twin mouse study found that transferred gut bacteria from lean mice into obese mice allowed them to lose weight. In other words, when your healthy bacteria are flourishing, it’s easier to lose weight and feel good in your body.

If you’ve been curious about some seemingly random systems, your gut might be the root cause. So what do you do? 

5 Ways To Balance Your Gut

  1. Improve Your Diet. Whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can seriously improve your health. 
  2. Crowd Out Sugar. By filling your body with healthy, wholesome foods, you will naturally start to “crowd out” unsavory foods that help bad bacteria grow, such as sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  3. Introduce Ferments. I love fermented foods, and I eat them every day. Start by incorporating one ferment into your diet and increase the frequency and variety as your body adjusts. I recommend kimchi, sauerkraut and beet kvass
  4. Exercise (and Have Fun). Moving your body should be fun…and the more fun it is, the more you’ll be inclined to do it. Take a dance or yoga class, go for a jog or do some gentle stretching. Movement helps your body detox and eliminate efficiently. 
  5. Mediate Daily. A consistent meditation practice has been proven to greatly reduce stress—which we all know is one of the main contributors to gut dysbiosis. If you struggle to mediate, try closing your eyes for 3-5 minutes. Or, engage in any activity that makes you feel light and happy. 

Take one action step. We can all stand to increase our self-care and ramp up our nutrition, especially during the holiday season. Choose one of the 5 action steps from above, and then tell me about it in the comments below. 

 

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread

Last week, I gave you a list of gut-healing foods to try, including a new favorite of mine: Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread. To me, it’s the best thing since, well, sliced bread!

Some of you may know that I follow the Ketogenic Diet, so I’m always on the lookout for low-carb, low-sugar recipes. Made with ground flaxseeds or flax meal, this bread ticks all the right boxes. Not to mention, the herbs and spices make it taste just like traditional focaccia bread, but without all the refined ingredients.

Of course, versions of this recipe have been around for a while, but I give it my own Gut Girl spin by incorporating dried onion flakes. I also add a dash of probiotic seasoning for extra flavor—and a dose of belly-boosting bacteria.

The great thing about flax bread is that you can use it anywhere you would use regular bread. So you can say, goodbye to those carb cravings! My favorite way to enjoy this recipe is by making a simple sandwich with avocado and cultured veggies. I also like to slather it with organic almond or peanut butter.

Once you’ve mastered it, you can really get creative. Make up a batch (or two) for picnics, road trips and back-to-school lunches.

Focaccia Bread

Dry Ingredients
2 cups ground flaxseeds or flax meal
1 Tbsp. Flavor Plus Probiotic Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp. dried onion flakes
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt

Wet Ingredients
5 large eggs
½ cup water
¼ cup olive or coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or line muffin tins to make buns.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  3. In a blender, combine the wet ingredients and blend until it yields a foamy texture.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently mix.
  5. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to thicken up.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan or muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  8. Remove from oven and put the bread or buns onto a cooling rack.

Ready for a bite? Try this recipe and let me know what you think. Plus, be sure to snap a picture of your finished Focaccia Bread and tag me on Instagram so I can see (you can see my batch there, too!). 

Feed the Gorgeous Bacteria living in your belly with some good old fashioned Sauerkraut.

Simple Sauerkraut Recipe:

1 1/2 lbs of green and or red cabbage, finely shredded

1 Tablespoon sea salt

Love ~ this is the most important ingredient

1. Shred or cut up your cabbage in a large bowl. I like to use one green cabbage and one                 red cabbage 

2. Massage high quality sea salt into the cabbage. I like to taste test as I add the salt. If it tastes like a potato chip, you are going have good kraut! 

3. Cover the cabbage with a pate and let it rest for 30 minutes to allow the salt to draw the liquid out. This is optional, if you are rushed for time. Keep massaging and then pack it into a wide-mouth, quart-sized mason jar. Use a wooden spoon to really pack down the cabbage into the jar to release the liquid. The cabbage should be at the shoulder of the jar and have about one inch of liquid covering the cabbage.

4. If there is not enough liquid, because of the type of cabbage or age of the cabbage you can add a brine, just enough to cover the cabbage. I prefer to not add brine, so wait and see if after 24 hours the cabbage has produced more liquid before adding the brine. For the Brine, dissolve 1 teaspoon of high quality sea salt in 1 cup of spring or filtered water. No tap water please.

5. Put the lid on nice and tight. Leave it on your counter to ferment for 7-10 days. Taste test and when it has the right amount of tang for you, put it into your fridge and enjoy!

It starts to get fun and interesting when you add other veggies and spices, like onions, turmeric or caraway seeds. Adding a little heat is delicious as well. 

Feeding the gorgeous bacteria living in your belly, fermented foods, is important for your health and well being.