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Gut Health- The Fun Way!

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Healthy habits- they are kind of like a roller coaster… sometimes they are up, sometimes they are down- well in my world they are. Although I don’t fall off the wagon into a pile of sugar and processed foods, I do know that I still need to actively add extra healthy habits to my life as just eating good food doesn’t seem enough to keep my belly at its happiest- which in turn affects my mind (Hello Anxiety Girl!)

You see you can eat all the fruit and veg in the world but if the little dudes (bacteria) in your belly aren’t out in force helping you to break down and absorb all that good food coming down the hatch, you miss out on nutrients and your body just doesn’t function at its best. So my focus is on eating fermented foods, every day, a few times a day. I’m not always good at keeping up this habit, but lately I think I have the balance right (for me) and my body seems to agree!

So as a general rule our diet at the Louie house goes something like this- we consume a big FROG box full of fruit and veg each week, home cooked meals every night unless this FROG lady has a mothering breakdown and then we may have the odd Zambreros takeaway dinner. You won’t find much bread in our house and any bread we do have is sourdough and wheat free- we are big fans of the Ancient Grains breads… bread is generally in the house to fulfill the need to produce school lunches that look similar to the other kids at school, so Miss A doesn’t feel too different.

Between meal snacks usually consist of a something from our FROG box (fruit, carrots, cucumber, tomatos, snow peas…), and if you open our pantry the only quick fix you’ll find is a handful of nuts. (OK, I admit, there may be a block of Alter Eco chocolate hidden in the far back of the pantry, but don’t tell the kids!) I try to have boiled eggs and chia puddings made up and ready and I am the biggest fan of the Wholefood Simply banana bread- regularly whipping up 2 loaves at a time, and freezing them as soon as they are cooled down so that they don’t disappear on me when I turn my back- thereby safe guarding the next fortnights snacks and school lunches.

You could say our house is pretty boring when it comes to food, but as we limit the packet foods and stick to nutrient rich ‘real’ foods the blood sugar levels in the Louie house are usually quite stable and I’d say that most of the time we don’t walk around hungry, and eyeing off the next snack. It’s a simple way of living and eating and it works well for us. Some people love getting creative and whipping up a storm in the kitchen- but that isn’t me and the sooner I can make a quick exit the happier I am!

So lately I have added 4 new habits into my diet that are making a massive difference, and are so easy to do. The first thing I have started to do is ditching my usual morning cuppa for a cup of Bone Broth. My hubby started this and I must admit at first I wasn’t drawn to drinking a cup of meat juice after I’d just rolled out of bed, but once I got over the idea of it, and actually tried it, it’s actually really very nice! We use the Nutra Organics bone broth powder, add in a bit of salt and pepper and also a TBS of nutritional yeast… It’s so easy and what a nutritious way to start the day!

My second new habit has been to start making milk kefir again, and consuming it daily. I’ve recently got back into making big batches of quinoa granola and the milk kefir goes so well with it. If you’re new to kefir, it’s actually very simple. You just add some kefir grains to milk (you can get coconut milk kefir which I’m very keen to try too, as well as water kefir). The grains look like translucent squishy little mini cauliflowers… all you do is simply add these to some milk, leave it on the bench covered but able to ‘breathe’ because anything fermented is alive and needs air. Within 24 hours you’ll have this yummy type of runny yogurt, and the longer you leave it the sourer it gets. From there you just separate the grains from the liquid, pop them in another container and add milk again, and there the process starts again. Kefir is loaded with pro-biotics and really is so easy to make. I’m loving this quick fix breakfast!

Right so now my breakfast is sorted, it’s time to look at lunch and dinner. Let’s hear a cheer for Sauerkraut! With all the different flavours and brands out there, there is a sauerkraut for everyone. Plus it’s not hard to make if you have the time. FROG has just got onto a beautiful sauerkraut supplier and being the FROG lady I have all 3 flavours in my fridge being tested out at the moment. It’s so versatile and goes with everything- add it to a salad, wraps, and as a side dish to practically everything. You only need a few tablespoons daily for it to make a difference to your gut, so it’s such an easy addition to any diet. Love it, love it, love it!!!

And finally, I have kept the best bit for last…. What you drink. Now I’m not talking about water- although by now you should know the importance of drinking water- and lots of it, but no, I’m talking about the liquid refreshments that you have at the end of a long day, if you know what I mean. This has to be my biggest breakthrough although I decided to tell you about it at the end of this blog so you wouldn’t judge me. But yes, as far back in my adult life as I can remember, I have been partial to a wine or two or a beer here and there. (My mum is going to be shaking her head when she reads this, sorry mum!). But yes, I have been on a quest to find a drink that agrees with me, and I have finally found it!

Move over beer and wine, The FROG lady has found a new drink of choice and her body is singing with joy. Gone are the belly upsets and thumping head the following day- drunk in moderation of course, this drink has revolutionized my social life and said goodbye to those dreaded hangovers. What is it you may ask?!… Well here is my secret…. Vodka, lime juice (about half a lime per tall glass) topped with half soda water and the magic ingredient- Kombucha!!! I love mixing it with citrus Kombucha but have also been known to enjoy it with berry Kombucha too. It doesn’t really matter what Kombucha as long as you add a bit in for good measure. Not only does it make a very boring drink much more interesting, but it also seems to keep my belly feeling pretty damned fine the next day, and that is a huge win for me! For the record though, if alcohol is not something you chose to drink (You’re awesome! Go you!), simply adding Kombucha in to your diet will be awesome too!!!!

You may be wondering how you know if you have good gut health… Well you can check your number 2’s as they tell you a lot about what’s going on inside LOL, but as a general rule, we all need to stay on top of our gut and feed it lots of the good stuff as we live in a world where we are surrounded by things out to destroy our healthy gut bacteria- and it’s not just the foods we eat, but the stress we endure too. I’m obsessed with keeping my whole families guts running at optimum efficiency, and it doesn’t just stop at my kids- even our over-sized pooch is on a gluten free diet with added pro-biotics and now I even give him a daily dose of kefir which he loves- but the Kombucha vodka is just for ME!

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