• AC

At one point, I had to be made completely of mashed potatoes...

A few weeks ago I was doing research on gut health and came across an interesting article on WebMD. The quote says, "everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but outer fabric of your skin as well.", said by Samantha Heller, MS, RD. Y'all, my stomach started hurting and my skin started to crawl. All of a sudden all the awful foods I have eaten over the past decade just flashed before my eyes. There was a time when I ate so many damn oatmeal creme pies... butter noodles, Chick-fil-a, and pizza on rotation. Publix carrot cake, cheesecake, ice cream drenched in caramel... again, on rotation. And then, there was a period of about six months where we had mashed potatoes for dinner every single night and it was all I ate. Depression is weird. And if Samantha Heller is right... my skin was made up of complete garbage! And definitely just mashed potatoes because it was all I could eat. (This is not a post about depression, though.)

So, doing all of this research and...

It becomes apparent that a lifestyle change is needed. It made me want to jump up and clean out the pantry, refrigerator and freezer; run out and grab a whole new household of food, seasonings, and herbs... but we are on a budget, okay! 🤪 We decided that as we had to replenish items in the house, we would replace them with healthier products. Guess what that means? More research! And good thing we did... so many products labeled healthy things are filled with garbage products! Ugh! I mean... how damn deceitful do companies really need to be? Country Crock's plant based butter is a crock! Regular butter is healthier for you than that garbage... but people will buy it because it says plant based. It's up to the consumer to do the research and read the ingredients. So, this is how they sleep at night selling these products at our expense. This is another reason helping to educate everyone on healthy-ish eating + living is important. We gotta stick togetha!

Your gut...

does more than just digest your food. Have you ever heard more talk about gut health lately? Do you ever wonder why and feel like they are making a big deal about nothing? Well, keep reading and make your own decision!

There has been a lot of research completed over the last two decades around "gut-brain connection" or "gut health". This research is providing more information on the inner workings of the GI tract, called the gut microbiome, and how it impacts our whole bodies. They have found some ways that you would never guess were connected. The human mind + body are so amazing! Your gut microbiome consists of bacteria, microorganisms, fungi, and viruses that are present in the GI tract. It plays a role in absorption of key ingredients and minerals. It also plays a key role in good health and disease prevention.

Holy Toledo, we have got to treat our guts better!

Thinking about your diet, do you mindfully eat? Are you making sure that you are putting foods and beverages in your body that will feed and fuel it so it can operate at peak performance? Probably not, but we damn well expect our bodies to just work without proper nutrients, exercise, self-care, sun, sleep, etc. Well, at least I did. Eating once a day, drinking wine daily, living off of 3-4 hours of sleep, going to the gym, and taking two Excedrin a day. It's a damn miracle that I am alive.

Your gut health does impact more than that... it seems never ending, right?! I feel ya! Research has proven that having an unbalanced gut has lead to depression. Remember all the things I listed at the beginning of this blog, y'all that screams depression! There were several reasons for my depression at that time, and the food and beverages I was putting in my body did not help. It is a vicious cycle though... I was depressed and that is why I was eating and drinking like shit, therefore keeping me in a depressed state making it difficult to go shopping, cook better foods, drink healthy beverages, and make healthy decisions - not impossible, just difficult. It usually takes weeks, sometimes months, to realize this is the cycle I have slipped into and then it takes a lot of willpower, work, and self-awareness to dig my way out of it. (I will do a post talking about depression and how to manage it.)

Poor gut health has been...

linked to more than skin issues and mental health... it also impacts your physical health. So, it's all encompassing... if you haven't linked that yet 🤪. Having an unbalanced gut microbiome has been linked to obesity, celiac disease, cognitive dysfunction, chronic illnesses, heart issues and more! There are more than 80 chronic illnesses!! It seems like a no brainer that we would want to take gut health more seriously. However, it seems to be getting more and more laughs than anything.

At 34 years old, it amazes me how many of my elders scoff at the research emerging and say things like... "changing my diet and adding in a little exercise will not help anything." Most of the time it is coming from people that have not taken the time to do any research, attempt to switch up their diet, and definitely have not added any form of exercise into their day. So how do they know? Years and years of programing that red meat, potatoes, whole-milk, and dairy is good for you. People are stuck in their ways and do not want to be told how to live and what to eat. Even if you are only attempting to educate. It's also out of fear. My elders have lived their lives this one way for so long, change is scary. Most people do not know where to stop to buy healthier foods at good prices, so their perception is that they cannot afford to eat healthier. So... people like myself take to blogs, podcasts, vlogs, and social media to educate.

Please don't think I am preaching to only eat healthy foods and beverages and nothing else. The message is that your diet should consist of more healthy options than the "treat yo self" options. 🤣

What can you do to help your gut?

Enough with the doom and gloom. This post is not to scare the hell out of you and cripple you so you do nothing! It's to educate. So, let's get started on the good stuff!

Let's start with your diet, it is your gut! (Why isn't there an intestine emoji yet? 🤔) Okay... diet... before going out and buying a ton of food, check for food intolerances. There are test kits you can buy and send off for results, or you can do it the old fashioned way... trial and error. In which case, get to working on your diet.

Now, you can go crazy and completely change up your diet, which is never recommended. That's why people go back to the lifestyle they are attempting to leave so quickly, they overwhelm themselves. I am just as guilty as the next person with this. What's the secret? Slowly and surely change up what you eat and drink. Also, cheat days. We still eat pizza, burgers, cheesecake, carrot cake, etc. it's just fewer and farther between, made with better + healthier ingredients, and mostly made by scratch. 👏🏼If you are thinking to yourself, "I don't have time to do that shit!" I have been there, but it is therapeutic and a fun way to spend time together. Make those memories! 🤘🏼

I got off on a tangent there... reducing the amount of processed, high-sugar, high-fat, and eating plenty of plant-based, lean-protein foods and a diet high in fiber; have been proven to contribute to a healthy gut microbiome. Don't let that scare you because it isn't as difficult to have a diet like that as it sounds.

A high fiber diet would consist of beans, peas, berries, bananas, asparagus, broccoli, whole grains, etc. It's not all about what you eat...

Take a probiotic... I recommend taking a pre/probiotic blend. Helps with so much more than just gut health! Later this week, there will be a product review of pre/probiotics that I have used that work!

And like with most things...reducing stress helps with gut health! Almost everything in life would be better and easier with a lil less stress! 🤣

What exercise is good for gut health?

This might be my favorite part of this topic... yoga is great for gut health AND IT'S BEEN PROVEN! 🤘🏼 Not only are there specific poses that help with digestion... but yoga in general has been proven to reduce stress. Remember what I said above... reducing stress helps with gut health... it reduces the inflammation in your intestines and allows for proper digestion.

Here are 9 poses that help... don't worry, there will be videos showing how to do them coming soon.
  • Seated Side Bend - this helps alleviate bloating + gas, helps with general digestion

  • Seated Twist (My fav) - helps promote bowel regularity by aiding the small + large intestine in peristalsis. It can also help with bloating.

  • Supine Spinal Twist - helps to alleviate constipation + bloating + supports general digestion.

  • Knees to chest - this is thought to gently massage the large intestine promoting bowel movements.

  • Cat/Cow - these poses improve circulation + gently massage your organs to promote gut peristalsis.

  • Cobra Pose - stretches belly muscles + improves posture + general digestion

There are so many different health benefits to practicing yoga and there will be more information coming on that. However, we are discussing gut health today. You also might be wondering why you should care if you do not have any issues with digestion, skin, mood, etc. Well, should you wait until there is a problem to change things up? Also, you might be used to the skin issues, upset tummy, mood swings, or whatever you are experiencing. Often times it takes us making a change to realize there was a problem.

Gut health has become very important to me over the last couple of years as it is connected with so many other medical issues... it is something that will be discussed in various ways on this blog - through recipes, yoga poses, funny blog posts about my experiences with having an unbalanced gut at times and from others that come on and discuss their struggles! Don't worry though, this is not a place to just come and vent. We will be providing information on how we have overcome and products we recommend!

Let's get to work on our guts! 🤘🏼

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