Trust Your Gut, Moms!

Nutrition pro Jayne Williams clears the air about probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods.

From Jayne: We’ve all done it before—ate something we knew would most likely bother us because we were running late, didn't have time, were focused on everyone but ourselves or insert situation here_____. Moms are some of the worst offenders, wondering if we should’ve eaten this instead of that or ignoring our guts altogether only to regret it later.

When it comes to your health, ignoring your gut can lead to big problems. Digestive issues, bloating, mental fog, excessive fatigue and joint pain are symptoms that your gut is out of whack. My life would've been so much easier if I’d learned that in my 20s, when I was suffering from many of those symptoms and had no idea what was to blame.

Gut health is especially important when you’re constantly on the run and need the proper energy to keep you going. So how do we nourish our guts? With a combination of probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods. Drop those names at the next lunch with your girlfriends and see how much they know.

Probiotics

Probiotics are good-for-you bacteria that your gut needs to carry out digestion well. They promote health benefits when consumed in large numbers (that's why you see numbers on probiotic supplements like "50 million live strains”). The two primary strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Our bodies need both to properly break down and absorb food so we can keep our metabolism running and lose or maintain weight. They’re naturally found in many vegetables and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt (homemade is the best).

Prebiotics

Think of them as the food or fertilizer that keeps your probiotics happy and healthy. They’re non-digestible fibers that promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in your intestines and are found in garlic, jicama, apples, dandelion greens and onions.   

Fermented Foods

I’m going to let you in on a well-kept secret—fermented foods are key for weight loss. They give you a balanced gut microbiome which regulates your metabolism. After foods go through a fermentation process, their live bacteria can stay "alive" (when things are raw and not heated) or they can lose their live bacteria (like in certain kinds of bread). The live microorganisms, or cute little guys that do the heavy lifting, fuel up your gut. Examples of fermented foods include raw sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots, kimchi, miso, yogurt and tempeh. If you aren’t used to the stronger taste of fermented vegetables, try mixing them with avocado to lessen the flavor.

Your body needs, even craves, gut-friendly foods to keep your digestion and metabolism running at optimal levels. Here are some of my go-to recipes to keep you feeling and looking great:

Packed with beneficial probiotics, whole fiber and protein, this parfait is the perfect trifecta to start your day.

Ingredients
 
Directions

¾ cup coconut or goat’s milk yogurt, unsweetened (you can add your own sweetener)

¼ cup gluten-free oats

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1 scoop protein powder (go for a plant-based, non-GMO, non-soy option)

¼ cup of your favorite nut milk, unsweetened

¾ cup of your favorite berries or fruit

Toppings:

Your choice of raw honey, gluten-free granola, raw nuts, hemp seeds, raw cacao nibs and unsweetened shredded coconut

 

Mix first 5 ingredients together.

Top with fruit and your choice of toppings. Keep in mind that you need little to no sweetener.

Tip: Make extra for two days and keep the toppings on the side. This way, you have two days worth of breakfast or even a quick lunch.

These little gems are packed with antioxidants and good-for-you belly protein. Gelatin helps heal your gut lining and is especially beneficial for those suffering from leaky gut or those who’ve taken a recent dose of antibiotics, not to mention they’re fun to eat!

Ingredients
 
Directions

2/3 cup organic lemon juice

1 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries

3 tablespoons raw honey

¼ cup powdered grass-fed gelatin (like Great Lakes)

2-3 tablespoons arrowroot powder, optional for dusting

1/2 cup melted chocolate, optional for drizzling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place lemon juice and blueberries in a blender on high until completely mixed. Pour into saucepan.

Add the honey and gelatin, and whisk together into a thick paste. Turn heat on low and continue to whisk mixture for 5-10 minutes, until it becomes thin and everything is mixed. Take off the heat.

Pour into an 8” x 8” glass baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on all sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight. Once the gelatin has set, cut into rectangles or the size and shape of your choice.

If desired, put arrowroot powder in a pie plate or deep dish, and dust gummies with it. You can also drizzle on melted dark chocolate.

Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 8 days.

This Asian-inspired soup has gut-healing bone broth and healthy protein
that will leave your belly feeling its best.

Ingredients
 
Directions

1 tablespoon olive oil or grass-fed ghee

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons ginger, grated

⅓ cup green onion, chopped fine

1-2 carrots, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)

4 cups organic chicken bone broth (choose low sodium if using boxed)

½ cup full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken, cubed

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ cup chopped cilantro

2 cups zucchini noodles

 

Heat oil/ghee in large pot over medium heat.

Sauté garlic, ginger, green onions and shredded carrot. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add broth, coconut milk and fish sauce.

Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

Add chicken and simmer for 7-10 minutes.

Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Serve over prepared zucchini noodles.

For more from Jayne, read her recent columns on the site and visit her online at jaynewilliamswellness.com.

Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo.

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