Trim YourTummy, Heal Your Gut: What Works

Gurgle.

Poofy.

Bloated.

Ugh.

 

If your gut isn’t happy, and hasn’t been in a while, you’ve probably thought about changing your diet to fix the problem.

I know you think you may be eating the wrong things:

  • dairy
  • gluten
  • soy
  • sugar & alcohol
  • maybe corn

You may be right, but you may not have removed those tummy-trigger foods from your diet yet.

Or you didn’t take them out for long enough. In my 28-day Slim Down Detox program, I recommend that you take these toxic foods out for at least 14 days and re-test your tolerance.

 

So I’m going to go a level deeper into why your tummy is bloated, uncomfortable, and poofing out over your jeans…

And it ain’t just what you’re eating…

It’s about how you’re eating and healing your entire gut.

 

Slow Down

 

I had a great chat with my client J last week. She thought she was eating too much again, and couldn’t pin point the cause. I asked about her eating habits and here’s what we found:

 

  • J has always been a fast eater
  • J eats faster when eating with certain friends
  • The faster she eats, the more she eats

I told her one of my top secrets to eating less, and digesting better:

s…l…o…w……d…o…w…n

 

I’m usually the last person to finish dinner. Other health experts I know are slow eaters and we all end up eating less food, and digesting what we eat better, when we eat slowly.

 

Why?

  1. chewing your food more thoroughly: well chewed food, mixed with saliva, is easier to digest
  2. allowing your gut to tell your brain to stop: when you eat slow, your gut can tell when it’s full, then signals your brain: “Hey! Stop Eating! We’re full down here!”
  3. eating slowly allows for more oxygen: when you eat slowly you breath more while chewing and in between bites. Oxygen is a major part of metabolism and a part of healthy digestion.

Here’s your Play With Your Food Exercise for this week (sounds more fun than ‘home work’, right?)

 

Next time you’re eating out, be the last one in your group to finish eating. Slow down your bites, chew more, and take your time.

Don’t get all obsessed with how much you’re eating, but just notice slowing down and how it feels.

 

If you’re eating alone, try to double how long it takes to finish your next meal. If you normally take 10 minutes to eat lunch, take 20. It may be a stretch, feel weird or be uncomfortable, but do your best.

 

Notice how your gut feels. Do you eat less? What else do you notice?

 

NOW, you’re slowing down how you’re eating, which is helping your digestion and metabolism work better.

But what about the health of your digestive system?

 

Many of my clients are in need of some supplemental healing to lose the muffin top and really heal their digestion.

If you’ve had:

  • constipation or diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • yeast overgrowth
  • taken antibiotics in the last 2 years
  • rely on antacids

It’s time to Heal Your Gut with the 4 supplements that you need to fix your tummy and drop the muffin top:

  

Heal That Gut

 

Fiber: most people only eat 1/2 of the recommended 30 grams of fiber necessary for cleaning your intestines and moving food down the line. If your “transit time” (aka time between eating and pooping) is slow, the food can ferment in your gut leading to gas and bloating. Not pretty. I recommend most people take a safe fiber supplement to help create easily passed daily stools.

 

L-Glutamine: an amino acid (aka: a part of protein) that’s highly prevalent in the gut, your small intestine needs substantial amounts of L-Glutamine to absorb nutrients well. If your digestion has been “off” for a while, or you’ve taken antibiotics in the last two years, then your intestines are compromised. Add a good quality L-Glutamine supplement to water or your shake once a day to give your gut what it needs to do its job.

 

Probiotics: the “friendly” bacteria we need to take on a regular basis. These little guys help our body digest food and absorb nutrients. If you’ve taken antibiotics in the last 2 years, or have eaten a highly acidic diet of refined carbs and alcohol (hello you Sex In The Cityers!) you must take probiotics daily for several months to repopulate your GI tract.

 

Digestive Enzymes: As we age, and if we get ill or have relied on antacids for stomach problems, our body slows down production of stomach acid, enzymes and bile which hurst our digestion. This leads to gas, bloating, heartburn and more. Use a good quality broad spectrum digestive enzyme to help digest proteins, carbohydrates and fats so you get nourishment, not just calories, from your food.

 

What’s important about all this gut healing?

The Bottom Line: when you heal your gut, you get more nutrition out of your food, you eat less, and your tummy bloat goes down.

You look better and feel better – win, win!

 

 

So, do this week’s Play With Your Food Experiment and get your Heal My Gut Kit here:

 

Let me know how you’re feeling and what you notice!

 

Here’s to a happy tummy, and fitting back into those skinny jeans!

 

xo,

Alex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cucamelon Salad – What’s a Cucamelon!?

They’re tiny, they’re adorable, and they’re downright delicious.

Cucamelon recipe

These itty bitty cucumbers are a little bit lemony tasting, and pair perfectly with ripe cherry tomatoes and grapes.

Also known as Sanditas or Mexican Sour Gerkins, these little babies are being grown around the US now, and I’ve seen them in well-stocked grocery stores and farmer’s markets on both coasts. Check your local store now, or order seeds for next year here and grow your own!

Cucamelon Salad

 

Cucamelon Salad Recipe Alexandra Jamieson

Serves 6-8 as a side

2 cups cucamelons (aka sanditas), washed, dried & halved (or chopped Persian cucumbers)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, washed, dried & halved
2 cups red grapes, washed, dried & halved
8 leaves fresh basil, washed, dried & torn
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch sea salt

Combine the cucamelons, tomatoes and grapes in a bowl.
Tear the basil and add to the bowl.
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Whisk well.
Pour olive oil mixture over the cucamelons and toss gently. Serve immediately and enjoy the happy sounds of delighted guests.

 

Inspired by Elise Kornack’s Tomato & Sandita Salad in New York Magazine October, 2013

Top 3 Tips To Go #2 (Win a Go Stool!)

If you deal with constipation, you’re not alone.

Most of my clients have trouble in the bathroom, and smooth elimination is just a dream.

This can be caused by stress, diet and …how you sit in the bathroom.

The human body is built to squat, and our modern bathrooms (and creaky knees like mine) don’t allow us to get into the natural squat spot that makes elimination easy.

My top 3 tips for making your movements easy:

1. Stay hydrated! Yes, you need lots of water on a daily basis to make your bowels work properly. Drink 1 big 16-oz. glass in the morning when you wake up to get things going. (You’ll need less caffeine to feel awake, too – bonus!)

2. Add flaxseeds seeds in the morning: Grind 1 tablespoon of flax seeds in a spice grinder (AKA coffee grinder) and swirl into 8-oz of water or juice. Drink this before breakfast, or add it to your morning smoothie or mix into your oatmeal. The flax seeds are a gentle fiber that also provide excellent Omega-3′s.

*BONUS: Removing dairy and wheat containing foods like bread can un-clog the works in your intestines – start there! 

3. Try the Go Stool! This incredible handmade stool fits around the base of your toilet and puts you into a supported squat easily.

Assembled Go Stool

It’s easy to put together (took me 20 minutes and a screwdriver), and my kid loves it too!

You can win your own Go Stool!

Just copy this tweet or click below to share this Tweet on Twitter: 

Top 3 Ways To Go #2- It’s how you sit! http://bit.ly/JfnMQb Check out @DeliciousAlex

 

 

 

 

Cooking With Kids: Apple Pie “Ice Cream”

When my son’s kindergarten teacher asked me to come in and prepare a recipe with the class, my mind somehow came up with a healthy, yet fun recipe that the kids could help create:

Apple Pie Ice Cream!

Apple Pie "Ice Cream"

Apple Pie "Ice Cream"

Now, it’s not really ice cream, but I believe anything you scoop with an ice cream scooper can be called ice cream.

Gluten-free, vegan, and mostly raw, this recipe was actually a big hit, and most of the class ate their entire scoop – even some kids who said “Ew, gross!”

Here’s how we made this healthy snack together:

APPLE PIE “ICE CREAM” ~ Serves 4-6

8 Medjool dates, pitted

3-4 Honeycrisp apples, cored

1/2 cup oat bran

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Have the kids use plastic or kid-safe knives to remove the pits and throw away.
  2. Cut the apples into quarters and remove the seeds and core. Use the grating/shredding blade in your food processor to grate the apples. Scoop into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Replace the grating/shredding blade with the S-blade and combine the apples, dates, oats and cinnamon together. Pulse until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Scoop the “ice cream” into the mixing bowl and use an ice cream scooper to give each person a share.

 

With all the oats and apples, this recipe will also add a nice dose of fiber for those constipation-inclined readers!

Fabulous Fermented Foods

Fermented foods improve digestive, cardiovascular and immune health and have been used to regulate weight and appetite by reducing cravings for sugar, soft drinks, bread and pasta.

 

The key phrase you absolutely must watch for if you want to achieve the amazing health benefits is traditionally lacto-fermented.

Olives, pickles, wine, yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kimchee, and kombucha are some of this category’s most popular delicacies.

Though the term “fermented” sounds a bit funky, the results of this ancient preparation and preservation technique – produced by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins by microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and molds – are delicious.

 

These naturally fermented foods are considered “functional foods” and “probiotics” that increase your overall nutrition, promote the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria, improve digestion and support immune function.

 

The fermentation process increases the natural B vitamins (even Vitamin B12, which after all come from bacteria), omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, and other immune chemicals that fight harmful bacteria and even cancer cells.

 

Lacto-fermentation is a traditional method of food preservation that has been used around the world for thousands of years. The technique is used to keep and store harvests and to add beneficial enzymes that aid in digestion and enhance vitamin absorption.

The synchronicity of traditional cultures pairing fermented foods with heavy protein and fatty dishes is remarkable and speaks to the genius of humans who pay attention. The bacteria and increased enzymatic action of naturally fermented foods helps the human body to digest and assimilate these proteins and fats. In Eastern Europe you find sauerkraut with sausages, in India lamb dishes are often served with yogurt. Chinese pickled cabbage is often found with animal proteins, while in Korea kimchee, a spicy type of sauerkraut, is served with barbeque meats and fried dishes. Japanese fish and meat dishes are usually served with pickled ginger or diakon radish, all of which help the body digest easier.

 

Lactic acid bacteria are naturally present on the surface of healthy plants. When vegetables are packed fresh into airtight vessels, the lactic acid bacteria become active and convert the natural sugars into lactic acid and carbon dioxide which preserve the food.

 

There is a big difference between naturally fermented foods and commercially processed, pasteurized foods.

 

Commercial fermented products found in supermarkets and stores are usually pasteurized. In other words, they are no longer ‘alive’, and the enzymes and beneficial bacteria have been destroyed.

 

Olive producers can now hold olives in salt-free brines by using an acidic solution of lactic acid, acetic acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, a long way off from the old time natural lactic-acid fermenting method of salt alone.

 

Some pickles are simply packed in salt, vinegar and pasteurized. Many yogurts are so laden with sugar that they are little more than puddings. Unfortunately, these modern techniques effectively kill off all the lactic acid producing bacteria and short-circuit their important and traditional contribution to intestinal and overall health.

 

By abandoning the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation, and insisting on a diet in which everything has been pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisims.

 

You can still buy or make healthy traditional varieties.

 

The stronger-flavored, traditional Greek olives found in olive bars or refrigerated sections at health food stores are not lye-treated and are still alive with active cultures.

 

So are “overnights,” the locally-crocked fresh pickling cucumbers made in local delis every few days, as well as the pickles, sauerkraut and other fermented foods you make yourself at home.

 

Generally, the more tangy and stronger the flavor (not counting any added jalapeño or other hot pepper flavorings), the more likely that the food will still have active and beneficial lactobacteria and enzymes.

 

Your body needs enzymes to properly digest, absorb, and make full use of your food. As you age, your body’s supply of enzymes decreases. This has caused many scientists to hypothesize that if you could guard against enzyme depletion, you could live a longer, healthier life.

 

My Favorite Fermented Food Brands

Since I don’t always have the time to make my own fermented foods, I rely on these brands to keep my digestive system strong:

Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut or Kimchee (Hawthorne Valley)

 

So Delicious Coconut Kefir (in yogurt section of health food stores)

 

GT’s Kombucha (in glass jars in cold beverage section of health food stores)

 

Miso Paste – any organic brand (refrigerator section of health food stores)

 

 

 

Get rid of your constipation once and for all

“Your gut is the seat of your health”, I told my client. “We need to make things easier on your digestive system if you want to start losing weight and feeling energized. That’s the bottom line.”

I’ve counseled many clients about their digestive health, and time after time I have found that eliminating their constipation (pun intended!) has a fantastic domino effect on their energy and ability to lose weight.

Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the US, resulting in over 2 million visits to doctors every year and Americans spend over $700 million on laxatives each year.

Constipation is mostly a result of a highly refined diet filled with packaged and processed foods. Think of the Elvis Diet: greasy, cholesterol-laden foods like cheeseburgers, French fries, fried banana sandwiches… My 8 Week Delicious Detox Tele-Course, starting September 6th, will guide you through transforming your diet to avoid this and many other health woes.

Go here to learn more:

Laxatives can help things start moving in the short term, but long-term use can lead to other problems and some products contain harmful ingredients.

Probiotics are my number one recommendation to help constipation sufferers. These friendly bacteria live in our digestive tract and help us to digest and absorb nutrients from our food. They do a lot of the work for us, and a majority of chronic constipation cases are improved with a good quality probiotic.

What do I mean by good quality?

-       Make sure you buy a refrigerated brand and keep the bottle cold after it’s opened: those are living bacteria and we want to keep them happy and vital.

-       Get a brand that has several different strains including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus helveticus, like New Chapter’s ProBiotic All-Flora. Different strains take up residence in different parts of your very lengthy intestines.

And probiotics are one of the few supplements I think help most people …I’ve been taking them daily, along with naturally fermented foods, for years.

Once you get regular (that means 1-2 easy bowel movements a day) your body will start to work more efficiently and your energy will improve. When your bowel movements are easier, your body will be able to remove excess cholesterol, and you’ll start losing weight faster.

Those little micro-critters are our friends – believe me!

Gentle Detox Drink – Takes Minutes, Costs Pennies (and toxin free!)

Those store-bought containers of “fiber products” might help with constipation, but they often hide synthetic chemicals which are unnecessary and toxic.

I make this simple, inexpensive drink at home on a regular basis. It takes minutes, and costs pennies!

1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seeds (grind in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder)

6 ounces water

2 ounces apple or pineapple juice

Simply mix all together with a whisk or in a blender and drink quickly. Because the fiber expands in your intestines, it acts as an internal brush, cleaning out any stuck matter.