The festive season is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the year that was with family and friends, and like most of us, for me it’s a time of relaxation and indulgence. So it’s no surprise that we see the start of a brand new year as a time for reinvention. It’s a chance to start afresh, discard the old, chase big goals and maybe even change our lives.
But studies have shown that most New Year’s resolutions rarely make it past January. In fact, researchers at Stanford have found that setting small, short-term goals is key to breaking habits and long-term success. With this in mind, I’d encourage everyone craving a reset to start with achievable goals that focus on balance and wellbeing.
Last year we launched the 14-Day Cleanse Program (you can download the e-book here), and for 2020 The Beauty Chef team is reframing the idea of resolutions and detoxing all together: New Year, New Gut. I’ve always believed that beauty is an inside-out process, but over the years I’ve become even more passionate about gut health. The centre of your immune system, it’s where you make neurotransmitters, metabolise hormones, neutralise pathogens, eliminate toxins and manufacture nutrients, so the state of your microbiome can have a profound impact on your mood, weight, skin, immunity and overall wellbeing.
Here are some simple ways to help get your gut and therefore overall health back on track after the holidays...
Avoid Gut Irritants
Certain foods can disrupt the microbiome, irritate the gut lining and therefore contribute to leaky gut and trigger an immune response and inflammation in the body. So if you’re looking to reset your gut, it’s important to avoid refined sugars, additives and preservatives, refined flours and processed foods, alcohol, charred or burnt food as well as gluten and dairy. It’s best to eliminate these common gut disruptors for at least a week or two, and if possible reduce consumption ongoing for better health and wellbeing.
Opt For Lacto-Fermented Wholefoods
Eating well encourages the growth of good bacteria. Low HI (human intervention) and organic foods are far richer in nutrients and free of chemicals that can compromise gut health. Similarly, the lacto-fermentation process is different from other fermentation processes, such as alcohol fermentation—it creates a broad range of beneficial bacteria, not just one or two strains like many probiotic pills. Lacto-fermented foods like sauerkraut, natural yoghurt and those found in The Beauty Chef products are easily digested and make nutrients more available for the body to utilise.
Cook With Digestion In Mind
If your gut is in bad repair, it may take a while for it to heal and get your digestive enzymes working efficiently. Animal proteins can be hard to digest so are best cooked slowly in soups and stews while vegetables are best steamed or sautéed as an excess of raw vegetables can weaken digestion. Spices such as garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne and black pepper can also be added to dishes to aid digestion.
Stress has an immediate impact on the function of our gut. The experience of feeling ‘butterflies’ from excitement or feeling ‘sick to your stomach’ from anxiety or fear is just a couple of examples of this. As the gut is an essential part of the nervous system, stress experienced by the brain can easily affect its function. Yoga, meditation, walking, loving and being kind to yourself all help encourage the maintenance of beneficial bacteria and better gut health.
Want to delve a little deeper? In The Beauty Chef Gut Guide, I explore our relationship with our microbiome to provide you with the knowledge, tools and recipes you need to help heal, weed, seed and feed your inner garden—aka your gut.
Have you picked up a copy of The Beauty Chef Gut Guide yet? I’d love to hear about your experience!