There’s no getting away from it, December is the time to celebrate and this means more eating and drinking than usual, (except for all those holidays at other times in the year!). If you’re anything like me, these are times to eat all the food and try all the cocktails. And that’s OK! Food is a wonderful thing, it is there to be enjoyed and it should never be “should’d” on.
Did you know that poor gut health and hormonal imbalance symptoms mirror each other?
- Weight gain
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
Take a breath, plug in to the connection between your gut health and your hormone health and you will be so much better prepared for the December madness.
While I’m a fan of functional testing: by doing tests like the DUTCH test for instance, we can really put a spotlight on our hormones. However, when we get the following basics right first, this is where the magic happens.
- Chew your food properly
Set aside time to eat, away from your phone. The food that we swallow should be a pulp, digestion starts in the mouth. Tasting, savouring and chewing our food properly also gives our body the signal to make hydrochloric acid (HCl) which aids chemical digestion
- Eat enough
Many women are not eating enough and this believe it or not, has the opposite effect: insufficient food intake puts our body into a famine state, where it lays down fat cells.
- Include the right fibres in your diet
Insoluble fibres found in grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables, aid regular bowel movements and certain fibres, ie: prebiotic fibres found in leeks, chicory, garlic, onions and asparagus, also feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
- Eat a good diversity of plant-based foods
Different colours of the same veg all count, think red cabbage and savoy cabbage, so do herbs and spices. It’s easy to get 10 different plant-based foods in a veggie chile: start with carrot, onion, celery, garlic; use different beans, green peppers, red peppers, diverse chillis, cacao, spices, etc.
- Eat polyphenols to feed your gut bacteria
Polyphenols are natural compounds including flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignans found in plants. The micronutrients contribute to the vibrant colours of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains. For instance, our gut bacteria love blueberries – this is where the freezer come in handy at this time of year!
- Eat healthy fats (avocado, olives, coconut oil)
Avoid ultra processed trans fats like refined rapeseed and sunflower oils which can be inflammatory in the body and look out for them in ingredients lists, they crop up with alarming regularity and are used in many prepacked and processed foods, even supermarket sourdough bread!
- Hydrate properly
Think about adding electrolytes, ie: Himalayan salt or Sel de Guérande (grey salt – a personal favourite) to your water. These electrolytes are what help your body to hold on to water. If you just drink filtered/tap/reverse osmosis water, you’ll end up peeing most of it out. I did this for years and put an unnecessary amount of workload on my kidneys in the process!
- Manage stress
I really advise taking just 20 minutes out of your day just to lie on the floor with a cushion under your head and do absolutely NOTHING (it’s exactly what I’m going to do when I’ve posted this blog).
If you do these eight things to look after your gut health, you can eat, drink and be merry and suffer less consequences. You will be amazed at how awareness of your body’s workings, alongside making these seemingly obvious, simple changes will improve your life and give you a less stressed December!