0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Total
    Check Out Continue Shopping

    News — healthyeating

    Tips for Restoring & Strengthening Your Gut Microbiome

     

     

     

    When we talk about “gut microbiome”, we’re referring to the millions of microorganisms that inhabit our gut, or our gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, each microbiome is unique and contributes to different health benefits and that’s why a rich and diverse gut microbiome is incredibly important for overall health. However, there are different factors that can influence the diversity and density of our gut bacteria, including stress, lifestyle and environmental factors, excessive alcohol consumption, food allergies, antibiotic usage and artificial sweeteners.

    The health of our gut is deeply connected to our hormone levels, brain health, skin health, metabolism, body weight, immune system and mood. In fact, researchers continue to find remarkable links between a diverse gut microbiome and certain illnesses and diseases, including cancer, heart disease, liver disease, asthma, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and depression.

    Although we know that diet is not the only factor that contributes to good gut health, research has shown that it is incredibly important. The more diverse your diet, the more diverse the nutrient supply is to your gut microbiomes.

    Happy and well-fed gut microbiomes = a happier and healthier gut!

    Here are a few key things you can do every day to optimize your gut microbiome:

    👉 Incorporate prebiotics (apples, almonds, chicory root, asparagus, legumes, onions, raw garlic, cabbage).

    Prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and discourage dysbiotic growth (pathogenic bacteria). 

    👉 Incorporate probiotics (yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kefir, tempeh)

    👉 Eat the rainbow

    Have as many different varieties and colours of fruits and veggies that you love over the course of the day.

    👉 Eat foods rich in polyphenols (blueberries, green tea, broccoli, grapes, olive oil)

    👉 Drink teas that are good for your gut (e.g. liquorice root tea, fennel tea, green tea)

    👉 Avoid GMOs

    👉 Plan your meals ahead of time, or stock your freezer with healthy prepared meals. Click here to order.  

    👉 Avoid endocrine disruptors

    Some endocrine disrupters include air pollutants, BPA’s, pesticides, parabens, mercury and phthalates. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals has been shown to disrupt the gut microbiome, which may result in dysbiosis.

    👉 Minimise unnecessary antibiotics

    👉 Decrease stress and have good sleep hygiene

     

    Responsible health advice: There is no one size fits all approach to nutrition or the healing properties of food.  If you are unwell please seek professional advice.
    References:
    Gálvez-Ontiveros, Y., Páez, S., Monteagudo, C., & Rivas, A. (2020). Endocrine Disruptors in Food: Impact on Gut Microbiota and Metabolic Diseases. Nutrients12(4), 1158. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041158

     

     

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

    New 2021 Meta-Analysis: Fried-Food Consumption is Linked with an Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

     

     

    A new meta-analysis of 17 observational studies, involving a total of 562,455 participants and 36,727 major cardiovascular “events” has found a significant connection between fried-food consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

    The analysis, which was recently published in the Journal Heart, discovered that with every 114 weekly serving (that’s a medium McDonald’s fries), the risk of cardiovascular disease rose by 3%, 2% and 12%, respectively.

    Compared with the participants who were consuming the lowest amount of weekly fried foods, the participants with the highest intake had a 28% heightened risk of major cardiovascular events, a 22% increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 37% increased risk of heart failure.

    The problem with fried-foods

    Frying means cooking food in hot fat, usually some kind of oil. This significantly increases the energy and fat content of the food, and generates harmful trans-fatty acids from the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils which are often used in restaurant deep fryers. A diet high in trans-fat has been known to increase your risk of heart disease and contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.

    The process of frying also requires considerable high temperatures, which causes changes in the vitamin and antioxidant content of the food, and generates carcinogenic compounds, which have proven to be harmful to our health.

    Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is currently the leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for 16% of the world’s total deaths. The strength of current research and evidence highlights the importance of healthy dietary patterns and lifestyles for the prevention of CHD and stroke. A healthy balanced diet that contains no to minimal fried-foods will play an important role in the management of crucial risk factors of CHD such as diabetes, hypertension and excess weight. 

    We promote a healthy balanced diet with our nutritious and wholesome ready-made meals. Our meals are rich in whole foods, nutrients, bioactive compounds and antioxidants. They contain low sodium, and no processed sugars, preservatives or additives. Our meals contain no processed or fried foods, and we use minimal oil in our cooking (typically extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil for our Asian dishes).

    Find out more about us here.

     

    References:
    Pei Qin et al. Fried-food consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Heart, 2021; heartjnl-2020-317883 DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2020-317883

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

    Onion and Garlic-Free Flavours (for a low FODMAP diet)

     

    If you’ve just started your low FODMAP journey and you think it sounds bland and uninteresting, think again! The truth is that you can still have delicious, varied and flavourful food while managing your digestive symptoms. There are so many amazing tummy-friendly flavours that you can use to give your dish an extra boost of deliciousness.

    Let’s take a look at how to increase flavour on a low FODMAP diet:

    1. Herbs (e.g. parsley, coriander, thyme, basil and rosemary) – most herbs are low FODMAP and you can use them fresh or dried. Chives are also great for adding a mild onion flavour to dishes.

    2. Spices – single spices like cumin, coriander or turmeric are great. If you’re keen on spice mixes, watch out for onion and garlic powder in the ingredients list. Cinnamon is a great spice favourite to have on hand to add to smoothies or breakfast oatmeal. Asafoetida powder is an Indian spice that adds depth and an onion-garlic flavour to curries and stews (it’s especially great in vegetarian dishes and you only need a tiny pinch). Ginger (fresh or dried) is amazing to add to soups, sauces, stir fries or even oatmeal for a warming flavour hit.

    3. Fennel bulb – adds flavour and replaces the texture of onion in soups or stews. Fennel bulb is FODMAP-friendly at ½ cup serves, and also contains lots of prebiotics for gut health. Win-Win!

    4. Nutritional yeast flakes are an incredible pantry stable. Add to sauces, mix with popcorn or sprinkle on top of pasta for an added cheesy flavour. We love to use it in our homemade vegan pesto sauce, which we then mix through gluten free pasta with chicken, zucchini and sundried tomatoes for the ultimate low FODMAP dish full of flavour.

    5. Spring onions (green part only). Top tip: place the white bulbs in a glass of water near a sunny window and the green leaves will grow back.

    6. Fresh lemon or lime juice – a little squeeze of sourness can contribute to an incredible balance of flavours in a dish. We love to add a squeeze of lemon to our herb quinoa and serve it with our low FODMAP Roast Lamb with Aubergine and Tomatoes with a drizzle of Tahini Dressing.

    7. Garlic-infused olive oil – because the fructans in onion and garlic are water-soluble and not oil-soluble, garlic-infused olive oil is a safe low FODMAP option for extra flavour and aroma. If you don’t have infused oil on hand, another option is to cook large chunks of onion/garlic in olive oil and then remove them. This gives you extra flavour without the FODMAP’s.

    8. Miso paste (<2tbsp)

    9. Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce (max 2tbsp per dish)

    10. Homemade salad dressing (e.g. with balsamic or olive oil)

    11. Salt and pepper – only a small amount of salt is needed to bring out the flavour of food (if you have high blood pressure or need to limit sodium seek help from your health professional).

    12. Maple syrup (real, not flavoured)

    We hope this list has reassured you that you can still eat tasty foods even if you have food intolerances. In the Wholesomeness kitchen we pack our low FODMAP meals full of flavour, and bursting with super food ingredients. That’s why our low FODMAP meals are super popular among our customers. Check out our low FODMAP plan here.

     

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

    Self-Care to-do List: Self-care ideas for when you have 5, 15 or 30 minutes

     

    It’s true, taking care of yourself is the kindest thing you can do. Nurturing your body, mind and soul with self-care activities helps to add a sense of calm to your life, recharges your mental batteries and helps to create joy within yourself.

    There are four different types of self-care:

    Physical: taking care of your physical body (e.g. physical movement, stretching, healthy food).

    Emotional: activities that help you connect, process and reflect on your emotions (e.g. kindness, stress management, journaling).

    Social: activities that nurture your relationships with the people you love (e.g. time together, having strong support systems)

    Spiritual: activities that revolve around your values (doesn’t have to be religious, can also be activities that nurture your internal thinking or your sense of perspective). For example: time alone, meditation, time in nature).

    You may find it easier to look after certain aspects of your self-care than others, but it is important to create a balance by working on them all.

    Do you allow yourself “me” time each day? Indulging in just 15 minutes of self-care a day can make a huge difference. We’ve put together a list of different self-care activities you can do – for when you have 5, 15 or 30 minutes of spare time.

    Self-care for when you only have 5 minutes:

    • Take a few deep "self regulating" breaths...with a longer exhale than inhale..like a long slow sigh
    • Self check in - check in with yourself - “how are you feeling?”  - label a feeling. 
    • Listen to your favourite song
    • Stretch your body
    • Sit in the sun
    • Smile!
    • Compliment someone
    • If you need to, have a good cry (and use the expensive tissues!)
    • Give a loved one a hug
    • Forgive yourself for what you couldn’t do today

     

    Self-care for when you only have 15 minutes:

    • Sit down, and have a tea, coffee, water and chillax
    • Read a chapter of your book
    • Organise your desk
    • Pat a furry friend
    • Pamper yourself (shower/bath with candles, give yourself a mani/pedi, wash and blow dry your hair) 
    • Call someone you love
    • Watch a funny YouTube clip
    • Make your bed – fresh sheets!

     

    Self-care for when you have 30 minutes:

    • Take a walk outside - or a run or a swim
    • Cook a new recipe - find one that can be prepared in a short time
    • Take a nap
    • Do a guided meditation
    • Do a gentle yoga class
    • Unplug from technology and do an activity that involves repetition to promote calm (e.g. folding laundry).
    • Make something without caring if it’s “good” or not (e.g. knitting, baking, painting)

     

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

    15 New Year's Resolutions for Your Health!

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness