So you eat clean. Great! You eat clean consistently. Great! You eat the same clean foods consistently. Not so great. Eating too many of the same types of foods, even the cleanest foods, can alter your gut bacteria and leave you feeling bloated. Sound familiar?
Your gut needs change
80% of your immune system resides in your gut lining. The bacteria in your gut (your gut microbiome) interacts with your gut lining frequently. It’s common knowledge that in order to build immunity to something, we need to expose our bodies to it. The same applies with your gut. If you don’t expose your gut to a range of ingredients, it will weaken and potentially react more strongly when it is exposed. A strong gut microbiome relies on richness (the total number of bacteria) and biodiversity (the amount of each individual bacteria).
A lack of diversity can lead to disease
A gut that is not diverse in the amount of bacteria it contains can actually lead to disease. Obesity is often associated with a lack of gut diversity. High cholesterol, Crohn’s disease, type 1 and 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and more are all illnesses that can result from low gut diversity.
How to diversify your gut bacteria
It goes without saying that our society struggles with many more gut health issues than our ancestors. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that our food diversity has dropped 75% in the last 100 years. Decades ago, when we played the role of hunters and gatherers, we were actually operating from a standpoint of optimal gut health. This is one of the reasons Paleo diet trends came back with such force.
Here’s how you can diversify your food and optimize your gut health today:
Eat seasonally – The paleo diet ensures diversity by eating seasonally and focusing on seasonally fresh ingredients. This is a great way to diversify your diet. Look to see what fruits and vegetables are the most in season this summer and incorporate them into your daily diet. Peaches, plums, cherries, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are all great this season. Change it up in the fall, winter and spring as new ingredients become more prevalent.
Focus on fiber – It’s also very important to ensure you are increasing your fiber intake. A high fiber diet allows our gut microbes to thrive and increases the number of bacteria in our gut – diversity! As mentioned above, the more bacteria in our gut, the stronger our immune system is. Vegetables, chia seeds and fruits are all a great source of fiber. Specifically key high fiber vegetables include artichokes, leeks and onions.
Intermittent fasting – A great way to create more good bacteria in our bodies is actually to avoid snacking and shortening our feeding period. By giving our microbes a break, we actually protect our gut from the bad bacteria that can lead to inflammation.
Athlete’s Kitchen can help you get all set up in developing a meal plan that will increase gut diversity. Picking from a range of meal plans will allow you to enjoy healthy portions of proteins, fats and carbs without your gut ever getting bored! Get started today!
I wanted to make an easy, healthy dessert for new moms that helps heal their gut, boosts serotonin, and keeps them feeling great while they adjust to their new world. Turns out this dessert does all that and more!
With gluten-free oats as it's base, these cookie balls serve as a prebiotic. Prebiotics create a safe environment within our gut for probiotics (good bacteria) to grow. We needs tons of probiotics in our diet and often don't get enough. When we lack good bacteria in our guts we find our cravings out of sorts and often feel bloated or lethargic. Oats not only create a base for healthy bacteria, but the amino acids within oats produce serotonin (our happy chemical) in our gut. A little boost of happiness goes a long way!
These cookies also contain collagen which helps rebuild tissues, allowing our pelvic floor and uterus lining to heal. It promotes a healthy sleep cycle (something ALL new moms need!), and improves skin elasticity which helps with stretch marks.
It's safe to say these cookies are magic. Here's how you make them.
1 cup oats
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons collagen powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
Mix all of the above ingredients in a pot and bring to boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool. In a separate pot, heat 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside. Make balls from the oats mixture and dip them in the chocolate mixture, covering half of the balls. Line them on a pan and once done, put the pan in the freezer for 2 hours. Remove and enjoy!
Last year, I had a teeny-tiny health scare. I went to get a blood test done after months of my mom asking me to have a full physical (I'm 30 and scared of doctors). I can't take any of the credit for finally braving up and getting that blood test. My fiancé made the appointment for me so I had no choice. So I went, telling them all there was nothing to worry about. I did my blood test and went about my day as per usual. The next day, I had a very important meeting with a lead partner at my company. The meeting was offsite so I woke up early and as I was walking to the subway station, the clinic called me. They're only supposed to call if somethings wrong...I thought. But in my usual nature of dismissing the possibility that anything could be wrong, I picked up, hesitantly but cheerily. The doctor needs you to go in for a blood transfusion as soon as possible...the nurse said.
My heart dropped.
Your hemoglobin, iron and red blood cell levels are severely low, you need a transfusion right away. There must be a mistake, I thought. Yes, I have regular dizzy spells, I feel tired often and feel short of breath walking up stairs - even though I workout all the time. But those shouldn't be issues to get this worked up about. Apparently they were. My iron had gone unchecked for so many years that I had gone from being low in iron to far far below the deficiency levels. The doctor at the lab even told me that my face should be as pale as the white paper on his desk with how low my hemoglobin levels were. I was shocked. I ended up having to have 2 pints of blood transfused into my body. Thankfully everything worked out and I now religiously take my iron pills on a daily basis.
The morale of the story is; don't do what I did. If any part of your body feels off, don't ignore it. My case was minimal on the scale of health scares and I was very fortunate. But if it had gone unchecked for longer, I could have passed out while driving, walking...and what if no one was around? Take your health as seriously as you take your job. It's fragile and you only get one chance to truly take care of it. So do it justice.
Now read on for some amazing recipes (including high iron ones) that will help you heal your gut, boost your iron levels and satisfy all your cravings!
Your gut is by far one of the biggest indicators of health in your body. Most of the bacteria, viruses and fungi in our body are found in our gut and are responsible for managing our immune system, weight, and overall heart health.
Restoring your gastrointestinal health can increase your mood, memory and more. It's often referred to as your body's second brain.
Once I realized how important gut health is and paired it with my passion for food (specifically desserts), I started dedicating myself to finding healthy, gut-friendly recipes. I hope you find something here you can try (and love!). Be sure to let me know how the recipes turn out for you. Happy eating!
This recipe is loaded with...
20-25% of the world's population suffers from iron deficiency. Women are much more prone than to have lower levels of iron, especially pregnant women. Many women also struggle to get enough protein in their diets. One batch of these cookies contains, 12% of your daily iron intake, 2.4g of protein and 12g of dietary fiber. Plus, they're GOOD!
These cookies have become a staple when I want a dessert that's a little bit more filling but is still healthy. It's gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free and the total prep time is under 10 minutes. I've made a batch of these in between getting ready for a party and they were ready before I was!
Here's what you need:
3 tbsp Tiger Nut Flour (I use Organic Gemini)
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Spoon out teaspoon size balls into a baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour before serving. Serve and enjoy!