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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heal Your Gut With Easy Turnip-Leek Soup

Tweet this recipe! 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -

Your gut is the base of your health. When your digestion works well, the rest of your health will be well too.

This simple soup recipe combines sweet turnips, potatoes, leafy greens and garlic for a powerful digestive aid.

(If you’re having trouble with your tummy, enter to win a Go Stool! on my blog here by April 30th!)

Turnip Leek Soup Vegan Soup Recipe

And it’s a perfect dinner on a chilly spring evening. (I served mine with hot polenta and chickpeas tossed in olive oil, garlic and rosemary.)

Turnips aid the digestion, dissolve mucus, and are good for general detoxification. They’re also high in anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates.

Potatoes nurture stomach functions and help cool inflammation, except arthritic conditions.

Leeks support the movement of energy, or chi, throughout the body and are an excellent source of lutein, which protects your eye and cardiovascular health.

Chard treats the large intestines, stomach and cools overheated conditions. It’s also used to ease constipation in the elderly, and has anti-carcinogenic properties.

This soup is powerful!

Turnip-Leek Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, or 1 large leek, tender green and white parts only, cleaned & sliced thinly

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

3 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon taragon

1 teaspoon dill

1 pound white turnips, cut into 3/4 inch chunks

1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks

4 cups chard leaves, trimmed and chopped

Directions

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the leeks, season with a the salt, and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, bay leaf, tarragon, and dill and sauté for 1 minute more.

3. Add 6 cups of water, the turnips, potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

4. Add the chard and simmer until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and fresh black pepper and serve hot.

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

 

 

 

 

Chia Seed Pudding with Coconut & Vanilla (Paula Deen – Are You There?)

Weight loss & energy food tip here – and this food is ch-ch-ch-Cheap!

If you saw my natural energy drink “Chia Fresca” recipe video, you’ll know I’ve been lovin’ my Chia Seeds for a while now.

Used for centuries by native Central Americans, Chia seeds were considered a powerful energy food and provide excellent nutrition.

Chia Seeds

Filled with detox-supportive fiber, chia seeds, which look like little grey, tan or black poppy seeds, provide the best plant source of those fabulous Omega-3s that protect your heart,brain, skin and joint health.

Plus, all that fiber is GREAT for diabetics who need to stabilize their blood sugar and lose weight. Do you think Paula Deen knows about chia seeds? If you know her, send her this recipe – I’d love to be on her show!

(*The extra cinnamon in this recipe helps balance blood sugar levels even more – one of those super ingredients diabetics and border-line diabetics should be using!)

Soak these seeds in liquid for 15+ minutes, and they begin to gel and soften, providing an excellent slow-moving fiber and protein, which helps you feel full and reduces appetite.

Chia also contains protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, antioxidants, niacin, and zinc.

Now you can enjoy these ancient seeds as a delicious dessert any time - and this recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make!

Chia Seed Recipe - chia seed pudding

 

 

 

Chia Seed Pudding with Coconut & Vanilla

2 cups coconut, rice, or hemp milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup

pinch sea salt

¼ cup chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

 

Directions:

-       Heat the milk over medium in a small saucepan.

-       Whisk in the vanilla, brown rice syrup and sea salt.

-       Once the milk is almost to a simmer, whisk in the chia seeds and cinnamon. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes, or until the mixture gels up to a tapioca consistency.

-       Serve warm, at room temperature, or cool in the refrigerator. Serves 2-3.

 

 

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!

Now You Can Try Amande For Free (It's My New Favorite Yogurt!)

Click Here To Tweet About This Contest!

I discovered that dairy really doesn’t do my body good back in 2000, and ever since I’ve been looking for new dairy-free products to spice up my menus.Laken loves amande yogurt

Many of my clients find they feel and look better when they remove dairy from their diets, so in the interest of market-research I get to spend a lot of time in health food stores, scanning the shelves for new products.

(I wrote an article for the super-glamorous CoCoEcoMagazine last month about going dairy-free to improve adult acne and eczema…)

Also, my 4.5 year old son is really into yogurt, and I like feeding it to him: it has those great live cultures like acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum, and other lus-es and um’s and us-es…all those unpronounceable words that mean your digestive system is getting the healthy bacteria it needs to keep your entire body running smoothly.

Non-dairy yogurts are also an easy snack that offers protein, calcium, and healthy fats, but it’s hard to find one that’s lightly sweetened.

I just discovered Amande yogurt from Cascade Fresh, and I couldn’t be happier! Laken too!

(Do you see that grinning face above?) 

Amande is made from almond milk, fruit juices, and truly natural flavors and colors. No hidden MSG or toxic colorings here; instead, they use annatto, purple carrot, and elderberry juices.

Almonds are highly regarded in traditional medicines for supporting the digestive tract and nervous system, and are the only nut that helps to alkalinize an overly acidic body pH. According to Ayurvedic medicine, almonds strengthen the bones, nerves, and reproductive organs.

This stuff is so free of dietary problems (unless you’re allergic to almonds) that almost anyone can enjoy it: dairy free, soy free, lactose free, no refined sugar, gluten free, no casein, vegan, and kosher…

Amande is great for people who prefer or need both dairy-free and soy-free foods. It’s also good for people who need to avoid too many sugars. So that’s pretty much everyone!

You could win some free yogurt! If you want to try a free sample of Amande, enter my blog contest here by leaving a comment before Friday, June 24th at 12pm EST.

Tell me why you want to try this awesome new product line! And be sure to ask your local grocer to start carrying Amande and other great dairy-free options so that you, and others, can get healthy, delicious foods to enjoy.

Overnight Muesli

Scandinavians have the right idea – make breakfast before bed and save time in the morning while enjoying a filling, delicious meal. The oats, almonds, and flax in this recipe give you a nice dose of cholesterol-lowering fiber and omega-3s, while the cinnamon offers blood sugar protection. This is easy to make gluten-free – just make sure you get gluten-free oats! Kids like this recipe too, although you may want to grind the nuts in a spice grinder to make the pieces smaller.

This recipe comes from my latest book Vegan Cooking For Dummies – order it here!

You can mix up the other ingredients to your liking:

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Chilling In The Fridge Time: Overnight

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup soy, hemp, rice, or almond milk

1/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup chopped dried apples or fruit juice-sweetened cranberries

1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped almonds

1 tablespoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

Directions:

1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the flaxseeds in a medium mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and refrigerate.

2. Remove the cover in the morning and sprinkle with flaxseeds and serve cold or at room temperature.

Per serving:

415 calories, 10 grams fat, 0 cholesterol, 170 sodium, 75 carbohydrates, 11 dietary fiber, 12 grams protein

Perfect Pooping Revisited: Win a book on how to "go" properly

My recent article on “proper pooping” was a big hit! There are so many people out there with chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, and pelvic floor problems. I just know that Oprah is going to do a show on this topic soon – she always catches on sooner or later! (I’ve been recommending Neti Pots for years, and when Oprah finally did a show on them even my local pharmacist started carrying them!) 

The owner of Nature’s Platform, those genius toilet designers who provide appendages for your existing home throne, has written a book on “the health benefits of the natural squatting position.” 

Win a copy of Nature Knows Best by Jonathan Isbit by commenting on this blog!

Here’s to your health, Alexandra

Proper Pooping

Proper Pooping

“[Humans are] not meant to sit on a toilet, but to squat in a field.”

-Michael I. Freilich, MDsquatting

As the mother of a 2 ½ year old, and certified holistic health counselor, you can bet that I talk about poop a lot. Helping people to poop properly has become a major part of my life!

Daily, comfortable elimination is one of the “platforms” of overall health. I have worked with countless clients who were dealing with chronic constipation. Some people are constipated and they don’t even know it – they think it’s normal to “go” 2-3 times a week. It’s not. Healthy elimination means pooping without strain or discomfort at least once a day.

Encouraging people to squat on the toilet, or use one of the new squat platforms below, has cured many people of hemorrhoids and prevents fecal stagnation that can lead to intestinal diseases.

One of the easiest, cheapest ways that I have found works to help people poop more perfectly is the old fashioned squat. The “primitive” people of the world still eliminate the way our ancestors did, by squatting over holes in the floor which are connected to a septic system, ditch or even modern plumbing.

I am reminded of my trip to Hong Kong several years ago. At almost every tourist site, the public toilets looked like “modern” American facilities – until you went in the stall! There was no toilet! Just a hole in the floor floor toilet china– but it was clean, there was toilet paper, and everyone seemed fine with it so I gave it a “go.” I found it was much easier for eliminating.

Now you can buy modern, squat-inducing “natural position” toilets at – http://www.blueearthceramics.com/.squat toilet

If you don’t want to go all the way to installing a new toilet (even though they look pretty cool!) you can buy a cheaper kit called Nature’s Platform at http://www.naturesplatform.com/index.html which fits around your already existing toilet.nature's platform

If you don’t feel like plunking down some change for a new toilet or even the platform kit, you can help yourself eliminate easier by simply squatting on your heels for a few minutes before sitting on the toilet. This will get things moving quicker and easier. squatting

 

Happy eliminating!

Alexandra