Gut Instinct

The next time you get that ‘gut feeling’, that something is not quite right, listen to your gut. As it turns out, our guts have the same size cortex as our pets do.

Our guts also contain their own type of ecosystem, called the ‘microbiome’. A community of 100 trillion microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) makes us more a bacteria, than we are human. There are 10 times more bacteria cells in our bodies, than human cells with up to 500 different species.

What does any of this have to do with Eating Right?

Well, the old saying goes, ‘You are what you eat.’ Probiotic foods, which I have discussed in this blog before, provide us with good bacteria that help boost our immune systems. But sometimes, we get so sick, that we need antibiotics to get well. The problem with antibiotics is that they don’t only kill the bad bacteria, they also wipe out the good bacteria too. That’s why some people get diarrhea or an upset stomach when taking antibiotics, because they interfere with the balance of the microbiome.

Stay clear of those ‘antibacterial’ products  for the same reasons. Whenever I walk into the doctor’s office, I get the germ heebie jeebies too and my first instinct is to lube up with the antibacterial gel, they conveniently have at the reception desk for all the  other ‘germ phobes’ like me , but the gel is taking away the good bacteria from our skin, making it more difficult for our skin to fight those viruses, which they come in contact with.

Eating natural food or using natural cleaning product is going to help maintain the equilibrium of our brain gut axis.

Since starting my Eating Right journey in January, I can now definitely feel the difference of eating healthy, compared to when I cheat and eat something made in a lab somewhere. I can say that my thinking is clearer, which would support the clean gut theory. After a few months your gut will start influencing what to consume or not.

For Thanksgiving this year we’re picking up our Organic Turkey at Costco at $2.99/lb and Trader Joe’s is about the only place you can get Turkey Stock. Cranberry sauce from scratch is a great departure from the old canned version. Stay clear of the chemical laden imitation pumpkin pies out there and pick up the natural Costco pumpkin pie instead.

We are big fans of left over sandwiches the next day or two. I will start with sourdough and add natural mayo, Braggs Amino Acid (instead of salt), black pepper, Hormel uncured bacon, avocado, Brie, Romaine Hearts with a nice dollop of cranberry sauce.

As we head into the holiday season, it’s going to be tough to eat all the right foods, but when possible I would recommend acting on those gut feelings for a better you and happy holidays.

Kimchi

Kimchi is a spicy condiment that has helped Koreans maintain the No. 2 slot for the least obese people on earth, just behind Japan. Koreans consume about 40 pounds of this spicy vegetable in many different forms; cabbage, radishes, cucumbers, carrots and more. This fermented cabbage made it’s debut around the 7th century, but the version we commonly use today started in the 18th century with the addition of chili peppers to the mix. For Koreans this is more than one of their staples, it is a comfort food and it is actually good for you.

How many of your comfort foods are good for your body? In our twisted Westerner’s mindset, we have equated comfort food as something that is a once in a blue moon guilty indulgence, something that is actually bad for our health. Mac n’ Cheese, Fried Chicken and Gravy just clog my veins with unhealthy fats and toxins just thinking about it.

If you really can’t live without your comfort foods, doctor them up with Kimchi. Mac n’ Cheese tossed with Kimchi, Kimchi Grilled Cheese, Kimchi Tacos, Kimchi Omelette. I always like to top off my favorite grilled cheeseburger with some Kimchi.

Cabbage helps detox the body, ridding the body of toxins clinging to the walls of your intestines. Kimchi stimulates your bowel movements, cleans out your digestive tract and fights constipation. Kimchi is an excellent source of probiotics to aid your cardiovascular and digestive systems. In addition to limiting obesity, Kimchi can assist with diabetes, cholesterol, gastric ulcers, cancer  and has anti-aging properties.

You can find Kimchi in the produce section of some grocery stores or go to an Asian store, a 32 oz. jar of Kimchi Cabbage (usually bok choy) is around $5. If you are a spice wimp like me, you can dip it in a dish of soy sauce or better yet, use Bragg’s Amino Acid sauce, to take the sting out of it’s bite.

You could also make it yourself, if you don’t mind the stench of fermenting cabbage in your kitchen. A nice substitute for the bok choy would be Napa cabbage. Here is a nice easy Korean recipe from epicurious.

High in fiber, Kimchi is packed with Vitamin A, B1, B2 and C, with a nice amino acid package and minerals like; iron, calcium and selenium.

Put Kimchi on your next shopping list and start adding it to your diet, you can eat it with almost any meal.

Eat Right & Be Well!

Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that promote a healthy digestive tract, where 60-80% of your immune system can be found. For good gut health the body needs good bacteria (probiotics).

Some excellent choices for adding probiotics to your daily diet include;

Ginger, Kefir, Kimchee, Miso, Sauerkraut, Greek Yogurt, Dark Chocolate (70+%), Green Beans, Olives, Sour Dough Bread, Cottage Cheese, Tempeh, Soft cheeses (cheddar, gouda, parmesan, swiss), beer and wine.

Here are some ways to enjoy these fantastic probiotics;

Grate Fresh Ginger: I add fresh Ginger to my juice schorle every day.

Kimchee: Pick up some at your local Asian store, I add some of Bragg’s Amino Acid to reduce the spiciness.

Miso: You can buy white or red miso paste at Sprouts. Add it to your soup broth or stirfry.