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The Health-Conscious Person’s Guide To Indulgence

The Health-Conscious Person’s Guide To Indulgence

When it comes to indulgence, many people think of being naughty or breaking the rules in terms of your health. Indulging doesn’t mean you have to derail yourself or your health goals. There are simple ways you can indulge and still maintain your healthy lifestyle.  Whether you’re willing to enjoy a cheat day or not, there are choices for everyone. If you’ve been craving a little indulgence or you’re looking for ways to indulge in a healthy way, consider these tips. 

Alcohol-free

If you’ve ever been on a health kick or tried to lose weight, one of the first things people recommend to ditch is alcohol. Alcohol represents empty calories and often comes with overindulgence afterwards. If you’ve ever been at a party or a dinner out and been the only one at the table not drinking, then you know it’s tough. Thankfully, you don’t need to give in to pressure to indulge. 

Try non-alcoholic wine, it's the best alternative to indulge without really indulging. Alcohol-free drinks are the perfect solution to avoid drinking and maintain your health goals while still feeling part of the party. Non-alcohol wine or beer are the perfect options for the health-conscious person looking to indulge without the empty calories or the junk food that comes after. You can buy non-alcoholic drinks from Boisson.

Sugar-free

Sugar is a tough indulgence to shake, and while a little every now and again isn’t the worst, you don’t want to get into a habit. Sugar-free alternatives are a great way to indulge a little without compromising your health goals. Sugar-free alternatives come in so many choices these days, you’ll be sure to find the perfect option for you. Whether you are looking for lollies, chocolate, soft drinks or even brownies, there is an option for you. 

Much like its sugary counterpart though, these sugar-free indulgences should be a sometimes food, not an everyday food. Don’t fall into the trap of just replacing one for the other. Sugar-free alternatives are a great way to help you scratch that itch, but they shouldn’t become the new go-to indulgence. A great rule of thumb is to leave at least a week between sugar-free treats. 

Protein shakes

If you’re craving a sweet drink that is almost like a milkshake, then a protein shake might just be your new best friend. Protein shakes are the perfect indulgence for the health-conscious. Full of protein, vitamins and minerals, these shakes come in a variety of flavours that will have you thinking you’re at the milk bar enjoying an ice-cold shake. Protein shakes are however almost always sugar-free and low in saturated fats. 

These shakes are packed full of good stuff and help you feel fuller for longer, meaning you get an indulgence hit and can feel satisfied until the next one. Shop around though, not all sellers are created equal. If you have special dietary requirements it can really pay to spend a little more for peace of mind. There are plenty of great brands out there to choose from, including organic and vegan options too. 

  • Vegetable snacks

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The Queen’s Favourite Scrambled Eggs Recipe

Hello from the UK, it’s been such a surreal experience being here in Britain at this particular time in history, when sadly Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully in Balmoral.

Last week I was to be able to join thousands of people visiting the Green Park Floral tribute Garden and Buckingham Palace, to pay my respects to someone who was a huge inspiration.

It was a very emotional day, especially looking through the heartfelt tributes and cards and seeing thousands of Paddington Bears lining the gates of Buckingham palace and the surrounding gardens!

There were even sculptures made from watermelons!

Growing up in the UK was the beginning of my admiration for the queen for so many reasons, including her ability to be a grounding, steadfast influence in times of turmoil as well as her dedication and diligence to serving others.

Some years ago, one of my lovely friend was fortunate enough cook for the Queen and she shared with me a recipe for her favourite Scrambled Eggs.  Ma’am loved to sometimes start the day with a protein packed breakfast and these eggs were tailored to the way that she particularly liked them.

Another thing you may not know about Her Majesty the Queen is that she loved to enjoy homegrown foods and ones produced locally in her area.  She was also a fan of eating with the seasons. That's my kind of lady, she certainly put the Great into Great Britain!

Her special scrambled egg dish involves two unusual ingredients (nutmeg and lemon rind), and they really elevate this breakfast dish.  The eggs need to be (brown not white, as Her Majesty preferred the taste) and they were always cooked low and slow to make them super creamy and not clumpy.

Occasionally they would be served with her favourite kippers, usually in her private dining room in Buckingham Palace with a nice cup of Earl Grey tea and a spot of milk.

Ever since I was given this recipe a few years ago, I’ve been making these eggs on the regular and they are spectacular! I always make them when friends come to stay. For those craving more egg-citement and for those social media enthusiasts who want to share your recipe, explore some cracking egg puns and add it to your social media post.

Please enjoy her favourite scrambled eggs recipe. And thank you, your majesty for your lifelong service. May you rest in eternal peace.

The Queen's Scrambled Eggs

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3 organic (brown) eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter or you can use extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • snipped chives and kippers to serve (optional)

Method

Whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl until well combined. Add salt to taste.

Heat the butter or olive oil in a small frying pan over low–medium heat. Add the eggs and turn the heat down to low, moving them around the pan slowly with a spatula so they don’t stick to the bottom.

Just before they are starting to set, add the lemon zest, nutmeg and extra salt, if desired and stir.

Serve immediately, garnished with pepper and chives, if using.

6 Healthy Eating Tips for College Students

Since college life can be exhausting, proper nutrition and healthy eating habits are essential to ensure that you perform optimally. Whether you're an incoming or returning student, here are six healthy eating tips that can help you throughout your college journey. 

Pre-plan your meals

With plenty of food choices, it is relatively easy to treat the college cafeteria as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Pre-planning your meals can help you eat a well-balanced diet and prevent excessive eating. No matter how busy your schedule is, dedicate a few minutes or hours daily to planning your meals. Make sure to have the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, and proteins to ensure your body functions properly. Include a fruit or vegetable in every meal, and be mindful of your food portions. Pre-planning your meals may sound overwhelming on top of all the tasks you have to do for college. But if you manage your time and use helpful writing resources like TopEssayWriting everything will work out.

Avoid skipping breakfast

To ensure that you do well in your classes, you should always make it a habit to eat a healthy breakfast. If you're pressed for time, choose a high-fiber fruit such as an apple or banana and an easy-to-eat protein-filled food item. While some protein and energy bars are great quick breakfast options, avoid consuming them regularly.

Eating a healthy breakfast can help ensure that your brain gets the necessary nutrients so that you can excel academically, especially during exam seasons. If you're skipping breakfast because of intermittent fasting, make sure you do your research first and read reviews on 'why am I not losing weight on intermittent fasting' so that you're well-versed with its advantages and disadvantages.  

Reduce your caffeine intake

While drinking coffee has its health benefits, excessive caffeine consumption can be detrimental to your health. Limit your coffee intake to two to three cups a day, and avoid relying on caffeine when you're sleep-deprived. Lack of sleep plus too much coffee can make you restless, disrupt your focus, and lead to serious health complications. Make sure you get quality and adequate sleep every night and rest often during the day so that you don't need to depend on coffee to boost your mental energy. In addition to limiting your caffeine intake, you can also use https://getnursingessay.com/nursing-editing-service/. This way you can get enough sleep without worrying about missing out on important deadlines.

Drink more water

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest and simplest healthy habits that can significantly improve your overall health. Drinking water can also prevent overeating as you will feel fuller and less hungry. Drink adequate amounts of water every day and steer clear of carbonated drinks. Carry a reusable water bottle with you, so you don't need to purchase other beverages. 

Stock up on healthy snacks

To prevent you from eating processed food during your late-night studies, stock up on healthy snacks in your dorm. Fill your pantry with nutritious food items such as popcorn, nuts, dried fruits, whole grain crackers, and seeds. Avoid depriving yourself of your food cravings, but make sure to do it in moderation. 

Find an accountability eating buddy

Adopting healthy eating habits is easier when you have a great support system. Find an accountability buddy who you can check in with every day. You'll be more motivated to cultivate good eating habits if you're sharing your journey with a trusted friend who will hold you accountable for your food choices. 

Creating healthy eating habits while in college need not be difficult. Remember to follow the above tips and enjoy your college experience. 

 

How to Heal Your Gut Step by Step

You know your gut needs a little (okay, fine, a LOT of) love. You've tried countless things to heal it. 

Water fast? Tick! 

Coffee enema? Tick! 

Himalayan salt inhalers? Probably a tick there too!

And let’s be honest, nothing’s really worked so far. 

If you're sick of accepting that your constipation, headaches, bloating, acne and stomach pains are normal and there's 'nothing you can do', I'm here to help. 

I'm going to run you through my step-by-step gut-healing process, so your gut can feel brand-spankin' new. 

How to Heal Your Gut  

  1. Prepare 🛁 

Before you even think about shotting back charcoal juice and hitting a hot yoga class to sweat out toxins, you need to prepare the gut by cleansing and toning the environment.  To tend to your gut, or as I call it, your inner garden, you might need to do some weeding. Weeding means getting rid of the negative bacteria and bugs to make room for a healthier environment.

To prepare your gut, weed out negative bacteria by eliminating commonly irritating foods, such as gluten, dairy, caffeine, refined sugar and soy. 

Add in Love Your Gut Powder and capsules to speed up the prep. Love Your Gut Powder and capsules gently cleanse the gut and create an alkaline environment with a pH of 8. 

  1. Process 🔥

Once you've prepared the gut adequately and weeded out harmful bacteria, it's time to put a little digestive fire (in Ayurveda, they call this Agni) in your belly! The gut needs to be primed to process and absorb nutrients and hydration, with water or lemon infused water being a good form of hydration. That's the role of Fulvic Humic Concentrate. Among other benefits, Fulvic Humic Concentrate helps the gut process nutrients and strengthens the tight junctions that are weakened in conditions like leaky gut that can take some time to heal.

In the process stage, it's essential to focus on rest and self-care. Stress is one of the most significant contributors to an imbalanced gut, impacting gut motility and negatively influencing the gut microbiota composition (an influencer I don't want to follow). Introduce a form of meditation into your routine, ensure you're getting seven to nine hours of sleep, and swap out your coffee for herbal tea.  

  1. Populate 👨‍👨‍👧‍👧

After preparing and processing the gut, it's time to get to work! Populating the digestive system is about healing the intestinal wall lining and making room for more positivity in the gut garden. 

Movement can have a powerful influence on the state of the gut. Studies show that exercise alone can increase beneficial bacteria, reduce inflammation, and speed up your metabolism (you can thank me later).1 You don't need to lunge it out at the gym to get your movement in if that's not your thing. All exercise is good for the gut, so you may like to try swimming, walking, yoga or even gardening instead. 

Love Your Gut adds vital minerals and nutrients to the gut to help it survive and thrive. To up the ante, include Love Your Gut Synbiotic in your routine. It adds over 20 billion high-quality probiotics in every serve. Twenty billion sounds filling, but it's just the right amount for your gut to thrive. Plus, Love Your Gut Synbiotic supports the digestive system through the bonus of fibre and digestive enzymes, so it’s an all-round gut health cheerleader. 

  1. Proliferate

The last but certainly not least P is Proliferate. Now, I struggled to find an appropriate emoji for Populate, so go easy on me. I settled on the ❎ symbol as it symbolises the idea of multiplying. Proliferating is all about multiplying the beneficial bacteria in your gut. To help keep the bacteria love alive, make sure you're getting in enough fibre every day. 

Some fibre-rich foods that your gut love include: 

  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Celery  
  • Cucumbers
  • Dandelion greens
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Lentils
  • Onion
  • Pumpkin
  • Seeds 

There's an easier way to populate your gut than what you might think, and no, it doesn't involve matchmaking your gut microbes (although that would be a reality TV show I'd love to watch!). The easiest way to populate the gut is by taking Love Your Gut Synbiotic; it’s full of prebiotics that act as multipliers of probiotics by feeding them and helping them thrive. 

There we have it - my step-by-step process of healing your gut. Do you have any gut-healing tips you want to add to this list? Let me know your top tips in the comments below.

Lee x

References 

1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31454784/

Do you want to feel less reactive and more at ease? My daily Vedic meditation practice can help! 

As many of you know I’ve been practicing Vedic meditation for almost two years now. You can read about the technique here where I share my experience of learning with my teacher, Anna Young-Ferris

Now fast forward almost two years and I’ve been experiencing some deep and profound shifts. I’d love to share with you and encourage/inspire you to prioritise your mental health and well-being too, so if that sounds like something you are keen to do, let’s make a plan! 

Recently I sat down with my teacher, Anna, to get the lowdown on what I’ve been experiencing and if it is ‘normal’!! (to feel so calm and centred!). 

So I’ve been really committed to my twice daily Vedic meditation practice, especially during the last 6 months. It has taken me a little while to get into a rhythm but now I can’t live without it! One thing I have noticed is that I’m not as bothered by little things anymore. And it has been some of those closest to me that have observed this change in my behaviour. There is a sense of ease that I have not felt before. Is this an effect of the Vedic meditation practice? Is this normal?

Ah yes brilliant! This is perfect because the more we practice our Vedic meditation regularly - ideally 20 mins twice per day - the more we make a connection with our inner peace and stillness. We then bring this state of peace into our eyes open life and find things just don’t bother us as much. We start responding to situations rather than being on autopilot and reacting in predictable and less than elegant ways.

What other changes have you seen in your students over a sustained time? And will everyone benefit? 

Students have different experiences depending on how regular they are being with their practice but there are also common markers of progress. Being less reactive and less bothered like what you’ve been experiencing is huge and is normal! 

I teach lots of busy mums and they find themselves to be “less shouty” at their kids and more accepting, flexible and adaptable with unexpected situations that arise - which let’s face it is most days!

More mental space is being created because the gentle repetition of the mantra allows the awareness to dive beyond the busy thinking/doing mind and rest in a state of greater relaxation. With this relief from the monkey mind, with more space, comes greater clarity and the ability to solve problems in creative ways.

What can you tell people about why and how a regular Vedic meditation practice will help them?

Another benefit is developing the ability to pause and sense into your heart intuition. When faced with a pressing decision rather than trying to jump in and solve it and control the situation in haste, with this practice, we start to tune into and sense our finer level of feeling. We can leave our minds out of it.

Another huge benefit is the regulation of sleep, especially when we are diligent with our second meditation. We sleep for longer and can find we no longer wake up unstressing about work etc in the early hours.

What is the biggest challenge for your students?

The technique is natural, easy and relaxed but ‘fitting it in’ our busy schedules is definitely the biggest challenge, especially for new meditators. We are strange creatures as we somehow think there are more important things to attend to than reducing our stress and prioritising our selfcare. I teach students to develop a self-care ritual and a relationship with their meditation practice. With a little effort and dedication at the start you soon find you can’t leave the house without it. Just like brushing your teeth or showering!

What is one thing you can you share about your recent trip to India?

This trip was pure magic. It provided a context for all the Vedic practicing, training and teaching I have been doing over the years. Mostly, how incredibly important it is to connect on a daily basis with our higher Self, which is what we do with our Vedic meditation practice. All the answers, love and support is within us, we just need the right technique to connect.

Another thing (and there are so many!) is the culture of giving. In India on your birthday you do not receive gifts you give them and the birthday person is so happy doing this. In the West we seem more focused on taking and our culture praises the individual, rather than the collective. We can really learn so much.

Where can subscribers sign up to learn or find out more?

I teach small group courses from my studio in Newport, KAI Yoga, Mosman, and other locations. I host online and in-person group meditations, events and advanced trainings. I provide dedicated support to keep you meditating as part of a thriving community of like-hearted souls.

I’m currently taking bookings for my next Vedic meditation course on 16-19 September 2022. Happy to arrange a short discovery call anytime with interested subscribers. You can also connect with me on Instagram or via my website.

Thank you Anna and Blessings!

Six Plant-Based Dessert Ideas for the Whole Family + My New Berry Crumble Recipe

Whether you’re craving a baked goodie to dunk in tea, a raw treat that can be whipped up in a jiffy, or a sweet that’s so healthy it could be eaten for breakfast, these plant-based dessert ideas are guaranteed to satisfy ye olde sweet tooth. 

If you’re looking for healthier versions of your traditional favourite desserts, you’re in the right place. Here are some of the best (in my very crumble oops humble and non-biased opinion) plant-based dessert ideas. 

Ready? 

Cookies

“I hate cookies!” said no sane person ever.

But seriously, who doesn’t love a good cookie? I believe cookies are the dessert that is destined to send your tastebuds back to a time where you were sitting in front of a fire, cookie in one hand, tea in the other, and smiles plastered across the faces of your favourite people.

My favourite cookie combinations are relatively straightforward to make. I usually combine almond meal with eggs or chia seed eggs, maple syrup, baking powder and a pinch of salt. For extra goodness, I’ll add choc chips, nut butter or mixed nuts. 

I genuinely believe cookies are one of the most comforting foods you’ll ever bite into. These Banana and Quinoa Cookies are for all my fellow cookie monsters.

Bliss Balls

What was once dubbed a revolutionary healthy and tasteless phenomenon has now become the new norm. These days you can find raw, vegan bliss balls at your local café and supermarket. That said, typical bliss balls are usually overloaded with sweeteners and dried fruit + sulphites, which means this ‘healthy dessert’ isn’t that healthy at all. 

While fruit is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, overconsumption of dried fruit can lead to gastrointestinal problems, weight gain and quick sugar highs. Save yourself the tummy trouble and keep the dried fruit in your bliss balls to a minimum. You’ll thank me later.

These hemp and tahini bliss balls are my go-to.

Raw Cheesecake 

Does anyone else have a soft spot for cheesecake? It wraps up two of the most delicious foods on the planet – cheese and cake – with a pretty bow.

But, for my friends who avoid processed foods, gluten, dairy, sugar and eggs, cheesecake probably sends you running in the opposite direction. Until now. 

It’s possible to craft a cheesecake that’s raw, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. Before you roll your eyes at me at the idea of a cheese-less cheesecake, just trust me.

My favourite cheesecake is a raw mango cheesecake

For the base, simply combine a mix of nuts, coconut, coconut butter and sea salt in a blender to get a crumbly yet firm foundation. You may need to add in some filtered water. Then, place it in a dish and pop it in the freezer.  

For the filling, combine cashews, mango, coconut butter, lemon juice, coconut milk and a bit of honey in your blender. Place the mixture on top of the base and place it in the freezer to set. 

Keep the cheesecake in the freezer for a few hours, and then serve with fresh berries. It’s sure to convert even the biggest sceptic. 

Sweet Nuts

Are you looking for a quick nibble? 

Sweet and spiced nuts are an excellent and easy sweet snack that you can make with your family. Sweet and spiced nuts are rich in both protein and fat, which means they keep us full. Simply combine mixed nuts with rice malt syrup, sea salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and maybe chilli if you’re a bit daring for a nibbly sweet and spicy snack. 

If you’ve got a chocolate craving, roast your nuts in the oven with a pinch of salt, melt dark chocolate over the stove and coat the nuts in the dark chocolate. Everyone will go nuts for them!

Banana Bread

Did you really experience lockdown if you didn’t venture into banana bread land? Banana bread is a relatively fuss-free loaf that holds its own. 

Bananas are incredibly nutrient-rich, containing fibre, several antioxidants and potassium, which supports a healthy heart and can even help lower blood pressure. Plus, bananas contain magnesium, which means they’re excellent for relieving cramps and aches.

The problem with bananas, however, is that they can ripen quickly. That’s where our saviour, banana bread, comes in. 

Who would have thought combining overripe bananas with flour, eggs, baking powder, a sweetener of your choice, and a bit of milk would create a dreamy, moist and satisfying dessert? My family goes bananas for coconut banana bread. 

Berry Crumble 

If any nutritionist says that a healthy breakfast needs to be savoury (read: boring), they’re wrong. It’s possible to make a crumble that’s so nutritious and pleasurable; you could eat it for breakfast. 

A good berry crumble feels like a soul-hugging dessert; it’s nourishing, guilt-free and perfect for savouring over a long and slow Sunday morning. 

While berries are traditionally used in a crumble, if they’re not in season, they can be expensive. So, this is your invitation to get creative and substitute berries for apples, pears, or whatever else you have sitting in your fridge or freezer. 

This is my favourite berry crumble recipe.  

 Start with the topping.  

Topping

  •     1 cup cashews, roughly chopped
  •     1/2 cup macadamias
  •     1/2 cup almonds
  •     3 tablespoons butter or you can use 2 tablespoons coconut oil for vegan
  •     2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  •     Pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place all the topping ingredients apart from butter/oil in a food processor and roughly chop.

Transfer to a bowl and rub the butter in or add coconut oil and stir and set aside.

Filling

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder, paste or one scraped out vanilla pod
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) mixed berries (can use frozen)

To make the filling, mix the maple syrup, vanilla and almond meal with the lime zest.

Place the berries in a saucepan and pour over the mixed syrup.  

Mix gently to combine, taking care not to break up the berries. 

Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Transfer to a pie dish and sprinkle over the topping ingredients. 

Place in oven and cook for 20-25 mins.

For the best result, serve this crumble straight from the oven with a generous dollop of chilled yoghurt or whipped coconut cream. 

This berry crumble is vegan-friendly, gluten-free and free of refined sugar, making it the perfect goodie to share with friends and neighbours.

There you have it, my favourite plant-based dessert ideas. I hope you enjoy them!

How to Save Money and Increase Your Savings

Saving money is important for anyone! It doesn't matter what kind of job you have, how much disposable income you have, or which tax brackets 2023 you fall under. Saving money helps create financial security and a sense of safety, avoid debt and create an emergency fund. With the COVID-19 pandemic, rising living costs and food suppliers struggling to meet demands, there has never been a better time than now to make your savings a priority. 

You never know when your savings will come in handy. If you have a goal in mind, such as buying a house or a car, you should get saving as early as possible, so you can meet your goals. But you don’t have to have a goal in mind to save your money. Saving is a great way to prepare yourself in case of an emergency, or just to enjoy on a rainy day. You can feel relaxed in life knowing that if anything comes up, you can cover it, and you can open yourself up to more opportunities and increase your quality of life with nice things and experiences. 

Saving can be difficult, not to mention the challenge with the rise in living costs and the slowly increasing living wages. But saving is not impossible. Once you have established some ground rules and start taking action, you will be able to create a new habit and saving will become much easier to do. You will find that when you get started with saving, you will quickly build momentum and see it grow beyond your expectations. 

To help you get started with saving money or increasing the amount of money you have in your savings, here are some top tips you need to follow. 

#1 Set goals

If you are saving for a big ticket item, such as a holiday or a home, you should start by researching your goals and find out how much money you need to save to meet your goal. For example, if you want to buy a house, you will need to save a house deposit, taxes, legal fees, real estate agent fees, and more. Once you have a figure in mind, you will know what you are aiming for. 

If you don’t have a big ticket item to save for, then perhaps you can think of a figure you would like to aim for. For example, you can set a goal to save five thousand or ten thousand.

Having a clear goal in mind can make saving much easier, as you can see what you are working towards and the progress that you are making. 

#2 Earn on your savings 

When you start saving with a basic savings account, likely, you will not be earning any money on your savings. Saving accounts tend to have no or very low-interest rates on them. This is a good opportunity to research other savings accounts that have higher interest rates, so you can earn money on your savings. This way you can save more money. There are different types of accounts to help you earn on your savings that you can choose from, including investments. The lower interest rates will be offered on accounts where you need to take money in and out and use the money within 2-5 years. There are plenty of ways to get a higher interest rate, but this often comes with a long-term commitment, such as locking the money into an account that you cannot access for a certain number of years, or it will come with higher risks. Some of the products that you can look into are high-yield savings accounts, certificates of deposit, tax-advantaged retirement accounts, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, index funds, stocks, shares, bonds, cryptocurrency, real estate investment trusts, and more. 

These kinds of accounts will put your money to work for you and will help you build long-term wealth. In successful cases, you can earn a lot of money and increase your savings. 

#3 Act like a saver 

It’s not enough to just want to save money, you have to act like a saver. Taking action is key when it comes to growing your savings and meeting your goals. When it comes to taking action, you need to ensure the action you take is realistic and relevant to your circumstances. 

It is a good idea to start by reviewing your current financial situation. Take a look at how much money you earn and what you are spending your money on. It can be helpful to categorise this, so you can easily see where your money is going. See how much disposable income you have left after your important outgoings have left your account, such as rent, utility bills, food, petrol and more. You should also take note of the outgoings you have that are not necessary. If you are paying for subscriptions or memberships that you no longer require, then cancel them. If you want to reach your goals quicker, you should also be careful with your spending.

If you find you are eating out a lot and buying coffee, you might want to change your ways and meal prep your food and make your coffee at home. Small lifestyle changes like these can make a huge difference, as all the money you can save will make a huge difference and help you meet your goals quicker. 

Other ways you can act like a saver and make lifestyle changes are:

  • Always looking for cheaper alternatives when you make a purchase 
  • Ask yourself if you really need the item you are intending to purchase 
  • Avoid buying items out of impulse or habit 
  • Break bad spending habits 
  • Make a shopping list before you do a food shop 
  • Avoid credit cards and only spend what you have each month 

When acting like a saver, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything for yourself. You can still go out, and go on holiday. When you plan things like this, you should do some research to see where you can save yourself some money, for example, with NetVoucherCodes.co.uk. 

#4 Set up a standing order or direct debit to your bank account

Once you have reviewed your financial situation and have a better idea of how much you spend each month and how much money you have to spare, you can choose an amount to save each month. Sticking to the same amount each month can be helpful to create a new saving habit and increase your savings. You can make sure you are consistent with putting the money into your savings account, by setting up a direct debit or a standing order, so that it goes automatically. 

When choosing an amount to save, you should make sure it is realistic and doesn’t put you in financial difficulty. This will only make saving stressful, and you will set yourself up to fail. Make sure you have enough money to live your life and a little to spare to spend on something you enjoy. You must be able to live comfortably and make yourself happy. If saving is draining your happiness, it is going to be much harder to stick to. If you have any spare funds left over for the month, you can then transfer the money manually if you like. 

#5 Pay off debts 

Many individuals will focus on saving, and ignore any debt that they have. This is because you can see the amount of savings going up, and it can be hard to let go of that. However, the longer you have debt in your name, the more money you are wasting that can be topping up your savings. While it might sound counterintuitive, it is important that you prioritise paying off any debt that you have before you save. This can be difficult to do, but if you pay off your debt, you will not be wasting money on interest rates. You will be able to clear your debt, which can release a lot of stress, and then you can put more money into your savings and put it towards your goals. Clearing your debt can also be helpful in boosting your credit score, which will be helpful for any goals that involve buying a house, a car or other big-ticket items. 

#6 Tell a friend and stay accountable 

It can be helpful to tell a close friend or a family member that you can trust, so that they can hold you accountable while you try to save. This can be helpful, especially when you are having a bad day or trying to resist spending money unnecessarily. You can ask them to help you stick to your spending plan, in any way that will be good for you. For example, you might ask them to check in regularly with you to see how you are getting on. Alternatively, you might talk to them when you are struggling or want some advice. Make sure you only speak to someone that you can trust, as you will be sharing sensitive financial information. You also want to make sure that they have your best interests at heart. 

Increasing your savings can be hard. Follow these top tips to help you reach your goals.

5 Tips to Get More Anti-Inflammatory Foods into Your Diet

Inflammation can be tricky to manage. In short, controlled amounts, it helps your body recover from injury and illness by supplying necessary blood and heat to affected areas. However, ongoing or chronic inflammation increases your risk for heart and kidney disease and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

The good news is that the meals you choose can increase or help to decrease overall inflammation. Many people with chronic conditions follow eating guidelines to keep their levels in check.

I'd love to share with you five tips to get more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.

1. Choose Cooking Oils Wisely

When the news about saturated fats and heart disease risk broke, manufacturers raced to create healthier cooking oils. However, they may have done more harm than good in some cases.

While plant-based oils are generally higher in the unsaturated fats once considered beneficial, some researchers have begun to cast aspersions on the high omega-6 levels in the typical western diet. While omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids benefit human health, the wrong balance can increase inflammation.

What should you eat? Opt for cooking oils that have a better omega-3 to omega-6 balance — like olive and avocado oil — and aim to get more fatty fish in your diet. Seafood such as salmon, sardines and mackerel contain high levels of omega-3s to help balance the omega-6 in many popular cooking oils like safflower and sunflower.

What about canola oil? This cooking oil is known by many as a cheaper, healthier alternative. Some people tolerate it without problems — however, others develop violent allergies. Humans shouldn’t eat the raw plant since it’s genetically modified to eliminate toxic erucic acid and glucosinolates. However, high-heat cooking methods and hydrogenation alter the chemical structure, making it problematic for some people. Use with caution and mindfully examine any inflammatory effects.

2. Visit Your Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets are absolute bonanzas for getting more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Why is that? You’ll find the freshest, organically-grown produce brimming with antioxidants and phytonutrients to support vibrant health.

Part of that dynamic involves calming widespread systemic inflammation. Fresh food works by providing your body with the nutrition it needs to overcome daily stressors and toxins like micromanaging supervisors and environmental pollutants.

For example, summer stone fruits are a spectacular antioxidant source. Pick up a basket of fresh nectarines, peaches, apricots, plums or cherries — or their exciting hybrid cousins.

Do you want a healthy and anti-inflammatory summer spritzer, unlike the alcohol-based numbers that can spur swelling and anxiety? Mix a can of Zevia zero-calorie ginger ale with a dash of peach puree and top with fresh apricot and plum slices. Divine! For gut health, which is connected to inflammation try my Love Your Gut Synbiotic.

3. Go International

What’s on your dinner menu tonight? The typical American diet has become overly laden with problematic foods. However, you can improve your diet by taking tips from friends around the globe.

Many clinical nutritionists like myself uphold the Mediterranean diet as a model of healthy eating. Why? It’s high in plant-based foods, healthy oils and lean proteins, reserving fattier, denser meals like red meats as accompaniments, not the meal's centerpiece.

Plus, many people have little trouble getting on board with this meal plan. Who wouldn’t love a healthy plate of whole-grain spaghetti with zucchini, paired with a light caesar salad?

Do you have more exotic tastes? If so, go gaga for Asian cuisine. Popular spices like turmeric and ginger are anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Your best bet is pairing these herbs with black pepper to enhance the calming effect — try an exotic curried chicken with a side of carrot ginger soup with roasted vegetables.

4. Pick a Better Flour

If you’re like many, you have the trusty bag of bleached, all-purpose flour on your pantry shelf or tucked into a storage container. However, you could be serving up an inflammatory nightmare for your pancreas.

The manufacturing process can sometimes create a chemical byproduct called alloxan, which scientists use to induce diabetes in laboratory animals. When you combine alloxan with the rapidly absorbing, blood-sugar-spiking nature of white flour, you have a recipe for the Type 2 form of the disease in humans.

Fortunately, you have a world of other choices. You might have to experiment a bit to get the taste and texture to your liking, but you can play with quinoa and amaranth if you like ancient grains.

Are you craving more protein in your diet? Try lentil or garbanzo bean flour. You can even find insect flour in select specialty stores if you aren’t squeamish. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with opting for whole-grain flour or a gluten-free substitute like oat.

5. Think Plant-Based

Strive to make your diet as plant-based as possible. Such foods contain natural nutrients your body absorbs better than supplements. They provide the building blocks for all the processes your body needs to perform to function at its best and help promote homeostasis — your ability to maintain internal stability as conditions change. Drastic fluctuations can spur inflammation.

The easiest way to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet is to look at your plate as a clock at each meal. Fill half of it with the deep, leafy green and colorful stuff, leaving 15 minutes for lean protein and 15 for starch.

You can also identify painless ways to incorporate more vegetables into typical meals. For example, do you take a sandwich or wrap most days for lunch? Top it with red pepper, red onion, lettuce and tomato.

Do you have a handful of vegetables left over from various meals that you don’t want to get limp and soggy? Mix up some broth-based vegetable soup and indulge in a bowl before your main course.

Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Feel Better

Chronic, widespread inflammation increases your risk of nearly every disease. It can also make you feel downright yucky and unenergetic most days.

However, you can tame the flame by getting more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Follow the five tips above to improve your meal planning and boost your overall health.

Winter according to Ayurveda and Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks

I want you to close your eyes and take a big inhale.

And then, take a long exhale out of your mouth. 

Winter is here in Australia (cue the Game of Thrones music). It’s time to pause, take a deep breath, and slow down.

According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical philosophy, winter helps balance the fast-paced nature of summer and autumn, giving you the opportunity to redirect your energy inwards, rest, reflect and practice stillness. It’s crucial to embrace winter’s change rather than fight it. 

If you crave warming soups or stews but choose to drink smoothies by the fire to stay warm because they’re ‘healthy’, it’s time to change. The worst thing you can do for your body is ignore what the season tells you. According to Ayurveda, winter is the season where the Agni – digestive fire – is strongest. The body needs more fuel to stay warm and healthy in the cooler months, and the cold weather forces the fire principle deep into the core of the body – igniting our digestive capacity. Routines that follow the change of season will help you keep your health on track.

Winter food should be warm and comforting, and no, before you close this tab and call the hot chips place down the road, that’s not the kind of comforting food I’m talking about! Focus on eating warm, cooked, slightly oily, well-spiced foods with tons of flavour, and avoid frozen or cold food, excessively sweet, heavy or oily foods. 

When it comes to the eating principles of Ayurveda, it’s best to drink room temperature, warm or hot beverages, and avoid iced or chilled drinks. If you tend to feel sluggish during winter, give some warming, soothing drinks a try.

If your gut needs reinforcements (hint: it most definitely does!), include a tablespoon of my love your gut synbiotic powder daily in room temperature water. It supports the digestive system with dietary fibre, digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics to help get things working well internally. You’re guaranteed to feel clearer, more energetic and brighter after just a short period of time. 

I recommend consuming loads of root veggies, such as sweet potato and carrots, with hot spices, like garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper and chilli. If you love to root for root vegetables, this sweet potato, broccoli and ham soup is soup-erb! 

Winter is also a great time to increase your protein intake with plant based sources or other foods such as eggs, chicken, and lamb, which brings me to what you’ve all been waiting for: my delicious winter lamb shanks recipe.

Now, I know I could tempt you by telling you that these shanks will help warm up your insides, or I could say that lamb is rich in protein, which is excellent for maintaining a healthy weight, building muscles and protecting your bones, but really, these slow-cooked, hearty lamb shanks sell themselves.

They are nothing short of glorious, and I cannot wait for you to try them.  

Slow cooked lamb shanks  

Serves 4

A beautiful mixture of aromatic spices infuses the most delicious flavour into every mouthful of these succulent lamb shanks. Just brown the shanks and place all the ingredients in the slow cooker mid-morning, and by evening, you’ll have an intensely flavoursome and fulfilling meal, the slow-cooked meat just falling off the bone. Instead of dried blueberries and cranberries, you could use dates or raw honey for a touch of sweetness.

Cauliflower or celeriac mash partner these shanks perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz) mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons mixed ground spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin and ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries or blueberries
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) good-quality beef or chicken stock, such as the Gut-Healing Turmeric Chicken Broth
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • chopped parsley to garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Working in batches, if necessary, cook the shanks, turning occasionally, for 3–5 minutes, or until browned all over. 
  2. Transfer to a slow cooker.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and sauté the mushrooms, carrot, celery and onion for 3 minutes, or until softened.
  4. Stir in the garlic, ground spices and salt, cook for 1–2 minutes, then add the mixture to the slow cooker.
  5. Add the dried berries, pour lemon juice and vinegar, pour in the stock, and add a few good grinds of black pepper.
  6. Put the lid on, set the cooker to low and leave to simmer for 8 hours.
  7. Transfer the shanks to a warmed wide serving bowl and spoon the sauce over the top.
  8. If using, garnish with parsley, and serve with your choice of accompaniments.

Note: If you don’t have dried berries, you can add fresh berries near the end of the cooking time. The shanks can also be cooked in a 100°C (200°F) oven in an ovenproof dish with a tight-fitting lid for 6 hours.

Is Hummus keto?

Hummus is a beloved staple snack for most health-conscious people all over the world. Because it is versatile, savory, and can taste fantastic with just about anything, it makes a strong case as a substitute for pretzel bites or queso for that matter. 

You may wonder, what happens if you are on a ketogenic diet, but just can’t keep your hands off hummus? 

Let's find out in this article whether you can snack on hummus while on keto.

Exploring the origins of Hummus 

Hummus has origins in Western Asia and Egypt, where it has been traditionally prepared from cooked and battered chickpeas; however, other legumes are also used. 

Back in the thirteenth century, it was prepared and served as a room-temperature dish, primarily containing chickpeas, herbs, spices, vinegar, and oil. The first hummus recipe was published in an Arabic cookbook from the 13th-century.

Today, hummus is an incredibly popular food that has captured the hearts of most people. Today, the ever-flavourful hummus is flaunted as a superfood, especially in the health-conscious communities, where it is used as a staple dip.

Most of the hummus you’ll find in the markets uses the traditional Middle Eastern recipes; that said, you can try mixing it with different foods and flavors such as:

  • Tahini (mashed sesame seeds)
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Basil 
  • Rosemary herb
  • Chillies and peppers

Is hummus keto-friendly?

The key ingredient of hummus is chickpeas, coming under the umbrella of the legume family. 

Legumes, which also include other beans, are not advised for the ketogenic diet. Despite being excellent sources of plant-based protein, they are abundant in carbs (making it a less desirable option for keto-dieters) and low in fat.

The keto diet applies restrictions on the number of carbs consumed. Depending on your weight, your carb consumption may be restricted from 20g to 50g of carbs per day. 

Carb-amount in hummus

A 2-tablespoon, which is approximately a 30-grams serving of plain hummus has the following nutritional constituents.

  • Calories: 78
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Total carbs: 6 grams
  • Fibre: 2 grams
  • Net carbs: 4 grams

The serving size of the hummus is approximately the size of a golf ball, smaller than your typical serving. Despite these small amounts, it contains a solid 4 grams of total carbohydrates. Most flavours, such as herbs, species, peppers, and garlic do not alter the carb amount or the number of other nutrients.  

What do food experts suggest about hummus?

Let’s ascertain whether hummus, the beloved snack amongst dieters is keto-friendly or not?

As we clarified earlier, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are the major ingredient of hummus. According to the US Department of Agriculture, a cup of garbanzo beans comprises 45 grams of carbohydrates. When chickpeas or other beans are transformed into hummus, the total carb content is about 49 grams.

A spokesperson for the Chicago-based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Robert Foroutan, suggests that a meager amount of hummus can potentially fit into your diet. 

However, the downside is that it will not make it gratifying. Foroutan further suggests that the recommended source of carbs can be instead obtained from dark-leafy vegetables such as spinach and other veg like broccoli and asparagus.

Lower carb alternatives to hummus

While a small serving or two of traditional hummus should be fine on a keto diet, you’d still want a low-carb alternative to your regimen, especially if you are longing for a dip. Here are a few options to consider as low-carb alternatives to hummus:

  • Black soybean hummus. Hummus made from black soybeans is very high in fibre, which helps keep the net carb amount in check. Black soybean hummus contains about 2 grams of net carbs per 3-tablespoon or a 30-gram serving.
  • Baba ganoush. Baba Ganoush is a Mediterranean dip and spread, but instead of chickpeas or legumes, it is made from eggplants, and the other ingredients are very much similar. In a 3-tablespoon serving of the baba ganoush recipe, we have approximately 3 grams of net carbohydrates.
  • No Bean Hummus. This is where my no bean hummus comes into play. Hand on heart…it tastes identical to the real thing…. I’ve just snuck in a raw zucchini and almonds for creaminess. Find the recipe here.

The bottom line

While the high number of carbs found in most commercial versions of hummus may not fit the bill for the most ketogenic dieters, it's still conceivable to enjoy your favorite dips without breaking away from the ketosis process. 

Choosing to prepare your own hummus with low-carb, legume-free ingredients - the DIY cauliflower and avocado hummus with olive oil, for example -  is perfect for keto-dieters.

As for traditional hummus, you can still enjoy the delicious, savoury hummus if you're following the keto diet consistently. You can relish your hummus on your carb backloading days, or if consume it either before or after a workout.

How To Heal Leaky Gut In 2-Weeks Naturally

In this blog post, I am going to share some tips that helped heal my leaky gut in 2-weeks. They are easy to follow and you can use any store-bought foods to follow along with my guide. I will also be sharing some details on what causes leaky gut and why many Doctors do not recognize Leaky Gut as a medical condition in 2022.

What Is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is a phrase that according to Google trends first gained popularity not long ago in January 2013. Today you often hear health bloggers talk about the dangers of Leaky Gut and many supplement manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon creating supplements that claim to assist in healing leaky gut. Despite all of this, many people still refuse to accept that Leaky Gut is even a real thing and it is not yet an accepted medical condition.

According to reputable sources like Harvard, a Leaky Gut is quite literally a result of your gut leaking. This may happen through cracks & holes in your small intestine that widen to allow toxins to leak through into your blood stream. A more technical description of Leaky Gut condition can be explained through the term intestinal permeability which is when Tight Junctions in the intestinal wall begin to weaken allowing toxins to pass through the weakened cell walls. When healthy, these tight gaps should only allow essential nutrients & water to pass through.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

Studies into what causes Leaky Gut are still somewhat limited but one review from the BMC Gastroenterology journal in 2014 claimed that it could be down to viruses, damage to the intestinal mucosa, or alterations to bacteria in the microbiome.

Other popular online personalities like Dr. Steven Gundry who created Total Restore claim that lectin foods can be a cause of leaky gut by physically damaging the intestines. It's also thought that Butyrate is important to protecting the integrity of the intestinal wall and without enough of it, people could become more prone to leaky gut occurring.

A processed western diet high in carbs & fat may be the cause and studies have shown that at least in animals this type of diet can lead to metabolic endotoxinemia which leads to inflammation. It is however clear that the exact cause of Leaky Gut is not 100% known and more peer-reviewed human studies are needed to be sure.

Symptoms Of Leaky Gut

The symptoms of leaky gut vary from person to person but some of the most common symptoms have been reported in the Leaky Gut Syndrome Subreddit by a user called house829. They started a thread called "I Think I Have Leaky Gut" And mentioned the following symptoms;

Gas

Bloating After Meals

Brain Fog

Skin Rashes

Joint Pain

Some of the Redditors that replied said that those did sound like symptoms of Leaky Gut but that they could also be symptoms of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.

Other conditions like IBS, IBD, Psoriasis, and more also share similar symptoms to leaky gut so it's important to consult with a Doctor first.

Some more symptoms of Leaky Gut may include headaches, Diarrhea, UTI's and more. The digestive tract is the largest organ in the body so it when something is not working as it should in the microbiome you often see symptoms show up elsewhere like on the skin.

Studies have confirmed that people with Psoriasis a skin issue largely have imbalances in gut bacteria and mental health issues have also been linked to the health of the gut because of the gut and brain connection. A large portion of the immune system is housed in the gut so to heal a leaky gut it's important to first focus on diet and what you put into your body.

4 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut In 2 Weeks

Since diet seems to play such a major role in the cause of Leaky Gut it is also the best way to heal any damage. It's not possible to heal leaky gut overnight but many people have reported their leaky gut symptoms improving after around 14-days by adding these 5 things into your daily diet. Just remember to contact your doctor first to rule out any other digestive conditions through tests only they can offer. They will also be able to check your full medical history.

1) Probiotic's & Prebiotic's

Probiotics are a type of good bacteria that are essential for the human microbiome and prebiotic fibers are a great source of food for that friendly bacteria. Probiotics can help with Leaky Gut by potentially crowding out bad bacteria, boosting butyrate, supporting T-Junctions, and strengthening the mucosal barrier according to this probiotic leaky gut guide.

You can get probiotic bacteria from a high-quality supplement like FlowFlora for example or through naturally fermented foods like Kimchi, Kefir, and some yogurts. Add more vegetables like Artichokes, Asparagus, and Dandelion Greens for prebiotic fiber, or take a supplement that has both probiotics and prebiotics. Try our Love Your Gut Synbiotic which has probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes and dietary fibre.

2) Bone Broth & Collagen

Collagen is important because it may be able to enhance intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction (Leaky Gut) by strengthening the Tight Junctions according to at least one study. This means that collagen may be able to close those gaps in the intestinal lining that allows toxins to leak through into your bloodstream. Bone broth is an excellent source of Collagen and other Collagen sources include marine collagen, bovine powders, and collagen peptides.

3) Detoxing

If you consume a lot of processed sugar, gluten grains, refined oils, dairy, alcohol & processed meats in your daily diet then detoxing for at least a minimum of 2-weeks may help on your journey to healing leaky gut. This detoxification process can also be beneficial for those suffering from acid reflux or LPR symptoms, as these dietary elements can trigger symptoms. In some cases, leaky gut may appear as a lesser-known consequence of celiac disease, by replacing foods containing gluten with chemical and allergen-free alternatives leaky gut symptoms could be noticeably reduced. Studies I shared earlier at Supercharged Food showed that a western low-fibre diet high in saturated fats & sugars could lead to a Leaky Gut. If you are craving ice cream opt for low sugar fruits. Whilst fruits are high in fructose sugar you don't need to cut them out completely. Some fruits like Berries are quite low in sugar, and carbs and are a good food to eat on a keto diet. Try our Love Your Gut powder to gently clean the gut. 

In some cases, leaky gut may appear as a lesser-known consequence of celiac disease, by replacing foods containing gluten with chemical and allergen-free alternatives leaky gut symptoms could be noticeably reduced. This doesn’t have to impact your social life either; more and more restaurants are getting serious about catering to dietary choices – with a reported 17% of Australians avoiding particular foods. 

4) Digestive Enzymes

It's thought that Lectins a protein found in foods like peanuts, raw kidney beans, whole grains, and other raw foods can lead directly to intestinal permeability but more studies on this are needed plus for most people, consuming these foods in moderation and fully cooked won't cause problems. For others though, Lectins may lead to a leaky gut because they may not be producing enough digestive enzymes naturally.

By taking digestive enzymes like protease, you may be able to assist your digestive system in breaking down these large lectin proteins and thus allowing your leaky gut to heal. The good news is that many low lectin foods like pineapple, miso, honey, avocado, and kimchi sauerkraut naturally contain protease digestive enzymes as well as Love Your Gut Synbiotic.

Final Thoughts

Leaky gut symptoms are similar to those of other digestive conditions so it's vital that you always first consult with your doctor to rule out anything else more sinister. This blog post is not medical advice.

Other similar conditions include celiac, Crohn's disease, diabetes, IBS, IBD, PCOS, allergies, yeast overgrowth plus more.

To fix a leaky gut you should throw the kitchen sink at it and do everything you can to allow your intestinal wall to heal and stop leaking.

Not everyone can heal their leaky gut in 2-weeks because it depends on the amount of damage that has already been done. It takes time and for some may take longer.

If you stick with this plan for the full 2-weeks most people will start to notice a difference in their gut health. Diet is the key to healing your leaky gut.

Do You Have Gut Issues after Having Covid-19? I Have Answers + a Coconut Oatmeal

Has a post-COVID belly got you down?

If you’re experiencing lingering digestive issues after having Covid-19 you’re not alone. Post-covid gut issues are something I’ve seen a fortune of in my clinic recently – from bloating, reflux and flatulence to constipation, diarrhoea and leaky gut. So, I’m here to help. 

The gut is the body’s epicentre to health. It’s central to many of the body’s systems, including the immune system, so it isn’t surprising that the aftermath of COVID can come in the form of a range of digestive issues. 

Some of the most common gut symptoms associated with the virus include vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, a lack of appetite, abdominal pain, flatulence, distorted taste and nausea. If you’re experiencing any of these during or after catching COVID, no, it’s not a coincidence or your body playing tricks on you. In fact, up to a whopping one-third of people with COVID have experienced gastrointestinal symptoms.

Why does COVID impact the Gut? 

While the jury is still out on this one, it’s clear that although COVID is primarily a respiratory illness, more evidence suggests that the GI tract is involved in this disease.  

The Gut Lung Axis

It turns out that the gut and the respiratory tract share an immune system, known as the gut-lung axis.1 This axis is bi-directional, which means if the gut is affected by bacteria, the lungs will be impacted too, and vice versa.2

There are also around 100 times more receptors in the GI tract than respiratory organs, so the gut may be able to house more viruses when it acquires an infection. 

In COVID, when pro-inflammatory cytokines enter the body through the lungs, it causes all-over body inflammation. Once these cytokines reach the gut, the virus can travel through veins that drain blood from the digestive tract, impacting the all-important vagus nerve.

Once this occurs, the disease impacts the gut barrier, altering bacteria within the gut, increasing its permeability and causing more inflammation.3

Increased intestinal permeability, which is also known as leaky gut, allows the bacteria to circulate, exacerbating the illness. When this happens, we can experience a range of digestive discomfort symptoms, like bloating or flatulence.  

To make matters worse, the medications taken for other symptoms of COVID can cause side effects like nausea and diarrhoea.

What Happens to the Microbiome?

The gut is the largest immune organ in the body, and its bacteria influence immune responses. The variety of the gut’s bacteria may influence the severity of COVID and the body’s response to it. Imbalances and inflammation in the microbiome may be implicated in persisting symptoms, known as ‘long COVID’.4

Increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut hinders the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients, making it harder to fight off an infection.

Who is Most Likely to Experience Gut Symptoms with COVID? 

Unfortunately, people with pre-existing GI conditions, such as ulcerative colitis or IBS, may experience the disease more seriously and have adverse complications that's why it's so important to look after your gut health both prophylactically and on an ongoing basis.

What’s the Bottom Line?

More research is needed to understand the full extent COVID has on the body, but it is clear that the gut is involved.  

My Top Tips for The COVID and Post-COVID Gut 

A Gut-Friendly Diet 

Focus on a gut-friendly diet filled with omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, soups and smoothies. A gut-friendly shopping list should include anti-inflammatory turmeric, gut-healing gelatine, omega-3-rich fish, protein, gut-loving slippery elm and supercharged Love Your Gut Synbiotic Powder.

The Synbiotic Powder helps repair, restore, and rebalance and reignite your gut health from within.

It contains 20 billion bits of love for your bacteria in the shape of a unique and completely natural synbiotic formulation, with plenty of digestive enzymes, dietary fibre and a supercharged blast of antioxidants. You can find out more here. 

Incorporate foods that not only make it easier for your gut to digest but will make you feel lighter and possibly less fatigued.

Some of my favourite gut-loving meals are steamed, sautéed, stewed or roasted vegetables, bone broths, fibre-rich foods and gluten-free grains. There are load of recipes here.

Avoid triggering foods

If you are experiencing lingering health issues, help restore your gut by avoiding or reducing caffeine, alcoholic beverages and refined sugar. Giving your gut a break can allow the gut lining to heal and help reduce inflammation, too. 

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is required to help move things through the body. Water can help hydrate the kidneys, improve digestion and reduce fatigue.

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Shift the balance of unhealthy microflora to a microbiome that can generate energy for the body by eating more pre and probiotics.

Probiotics are live microorganisms found in yoghurt, kimchi and sauerkraut that add healthy microbes to the gut. Prebiotics, found in artichokes, asparagus, and chicory root, act as food for the gut’s good bacteria. Prebiotics can improve immune function, reduce inflammation and even help weight loss. Prebiotics and probiotics work harmoniously to help the gut microflora survive and thrive. 

Probiotic Foods:

  • Kefir 
  • Kimchi
  • Miso 
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yoghurt 

Prebiotic Foods:

  • Banana 
  • Cassava
  • Chickpea flour
  • Chicory root 
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Leeks 

Gut Toolkit 

Fulvic Humic Concentrate (FHC) is a great ingredient to include in your gut toolkit. It supports the integrity of the gut lining and strengthens its tight junctions, which replenishes microbiota, nutrients, and enzymes after viruses. It also helps to stimulate energy production, and improves oxygen levels. 5

Fulvic acid has a number of studies for its effects on immune health and inflammation. Test-tube studies have shown that it may limit the release of inflammatory substances like tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). 6, 7


The other ingredient to add to your toolkit is Love Your Gut powder. This powder helps to gently sweep the gut and carefully wipe it clean of bad bacteria. Love Your Gut Powder enables you to absorb nutrients by removing built-up plaque, allowing you to absorb more from your food and improve digestion.

If you're feeling tired and depleted, having a soothing and filling breakfast can help. My Coconut Oatmeal on a cold morning is like a warm hug for your insides. Oats are one of the most magical gut-healthy foods around, boosting beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and relieving issues such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation.

Oats are a good source of resistant starch which is not digested in the stomach or small intestine and reaches the colon intact. This oatmeal is such an easy way to squeeze in some gut-healing benefits first thing in the morning.

COCONUT OATMEAL

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz/1/2 cup) gluten-free organic rolled (porridge) oats
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) filtered water
  • pinch of Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
  • pinch of ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) Coconut Milk
  • 1 handful of mixed fresh berries
  • mint leaves, to garnish

Method

Combine the oats and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer
and cook for 12–15 minutes, or until the oats are tender, stirring regularly.

Stir in the salt, cinnamon. Mix the coconut milk through until creamy and smooth.

Serve topped with the berries and mint, and an extra sprinkling of cinnamon.

I'd love to know: have you experienced any digestive discomfort with COVID?

Let me know in the comments below.

Keep well!

Lee x  

 References

1 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.765965/full#B26

2 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.765965/full#B31

3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34177935/

4 https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/make-up-of-gut-microbiome-may-influence-covid-19-severity-and-immune-response/

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2876922/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25888188/

7 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19131228/

 

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