Full disclosure: I was given free samples of products from Farmhouse Culture. Since then, I have been absolutely obsessed with their product line. As always, all opinions are of course my own. I also mention Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr as a part of my diet. I am a Siggi’s ambassador, but I did not receive compensation of any kind.
Oh 2017, I am so happy you are here! The idea of a new year brings the hope of fresh starts and exciting things to come! I’m not so into the New Year’s resolution game though. It usually starts with good intentions, but without SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals, those lofty resolutions usually lead to disappointment and maybe that feeling of “oh, well, I’ll try again next year.” For 2017, I don’t want you to go through that disappointment. I want you to SUCCEED!
Allow me to make a New Year’s goal suggestion that perhaps you haven’t thought about: GUT HEALTH. Improve your gut health starting now by taking specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely steps!
Why should you improve your gut health?
There’s this thing called the gut microbiome that’s kinda all the rage right now. There’s a whole community of GOOD bacteria that lives inside of all of us and scientists are finding that this community in our gut has a HUGE impact on many of our bodily functions! The microbiome of friendly bacteria affects our immune system, digestive and intestinal function, mood function, metabolic function and even weight status. Microbiome science is still young, but more and more research is emerging constantly.
Now that I’ve told you WHY you should improve your gut health, you probably want to know HOW! My first line of attack is through food. Not only are you getting probiotics through these foods, but you’re also ingesting important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Foods that contain probiotics:
- Fermented veggies/sour pickles
- Greek yogurt
- Icelandic skyr
****A note about probiotic foods : In order for the live cultures to remain ALIVE, foods that contain them should be refrigerated and not heated above 140 degrees F.
I always thought I didn’t like sauerkraut until I tasted the different flavors from Farmhouse Culture. Holy moly, what a flavor revelation! Their krauts, kimchi, gut shots and veggies are found in the refrigerated section of Sprouts, Whole Foods and other stores. I’ve been dealing with loads of bloating this past year and have found that eating these fermented foods each day has been part of the equation to help my tummy trouble!
Don’t forget about our good friend FIBER!
That good bacteria in our gut thrive and grow with the help of non-digestible, fermentable fibers called prebiotics. For folks not used to eating fiber, incorporate small amounts each day. For example, 1/2 cup beans per day is recommended. If you know your system can’t handle that in 1 sitting, break it up throughout the day into small amounts. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day when consuming fiber. If you suddenly increase fiber intake too quickly and you aren’t drinking water, you may actually constipate yourself. Not fun. Now, if you have a condition such as IBS or any other gastrointestinal issue, then best to talk to your Registered Dietitian.
Sources of fermentable fibers:
- Beans, chickpeas, lentils
- Onions, garlic and leeks
- Whole wheat
- Flax seeds
Take the first step!
Make it an actionable goal to eat some probiotics and fiber each day. For example, every time I eat a sandwich or quesadilla, I add Farmhouse Culture’s smoked jalapeno or garlic dill pickle sauerkraut to it. For breakfast, I often eat oatmeal cooked with chopped green apple. At lunch time, I add 1/2 cup beans to my salad. For afternoon snacktime, I eat one 5.3 ounce Siggi’s Icelandic skyr. Those are just a few of examples of how I incorporate probiotic and prebiotic foods into my daily routine. Experiment with different products, see what you like and incorporate them daily. Your gut will thank you and you’ll be feeling great!