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Improve Your Gut Health For Good with Sam Wood

Let’s talk gut health. Our gut microbiome consists of no less than 100 TRILLION bacteria, affecting everything from our immune health, skin, energy levels, digestion and hormone balance, which is why we need to take good care of it.

My food philosophy has always been, to JERF. Just eat real food.

Why? Because when we eat real food, we feed our bodies whole foods and nutritious ingredients and reduce the dangers that come with added sugars and processed junk.

Striking the right balance of both good and bad bacteria is vital. It doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive.

Here are some simple tips you can follow to improve your gut health:

1. Go banana’s on fruit: Add Berries and citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit to your diet, they contain less fructose, making them easier to tolerate. Bananas are another low-fructose fruit that is fibre-rich and contain inulin, a substance that stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

2. Say YES to whole grains and nuts: Eating more whole grains has been shown to increase the types and numbers of bacteria in our gut. The same is true of nuts, so pick up a variety of walnuts, pecans, pistachios or almonds, remembering that a serving is what fits into the palm of your hand.

3. Embrace ferments: Fermented foods such as yogurts, sauerkraut and kombucha all contain live microorganisms. As a product of fermentation, a number of probiotic bacteria are produced which can help to balance the gut microbiome and improve digestion. Our family fave is Remedy Kombucha because it’s the real deal, jam-packed with live cultures, organic acids, antioxidants and contains no sugar naturally.

4. Eat your brussels sprouts: They contain fibre that good bacteria like and sulphur compounds that help combat unhealthy bacteria. Stir-fry with garlic and bacon for a delicious side dish (yum).

5. Reduce processed foods and sugar intake: When we eat too much sugar, we get an imbalance of bad bacteria in our gut. Cut down on your intake of processed food loaded with the sweet stuff, and this will not only improve your gut health but massively benefit your diet as a whole.

6. Grab more greens: Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are excellent sources of fibre, as well as nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. Research shows that leafy greens contain a specific type of sugar that helps fuel growth of healthy gut bacteria.

7. Say CYA to artificial sweeteners: Steer clear of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharine. These disrupt the metabolism of microbes and reduce gut diversity –in animal studies, this has led to obesity and diabetes.

8. Peas please: I’m all about fibre-rich foods, and peas are a real winner. Peas are full of soluble and insoluble fibre to help keep your system in balance. Add peas to stir-fries, soups or salads. Easy peasy.

Words by Remedy Ambassador Sam Wood.

 

 


Feb Fast Survival Guide

We know January is never the time to say CYA to alcohol or break up with sugar. We all damn deserved a bit of fun in Jan, but you’re likely feelin’ "bleurgh" right about now. Which is why you might be wanting to avoid alcohol altogether or may just need a month off the booze. 

To make the booze-break official, many people are undertaking Feb Fast this month, to give up alcohol (or sugar) in an effort to raise funds for young people experiencing serious disadvantage to access the resources and support they require to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

If you are one of the 'Feb Fasters' this month, we've got our Remedy Nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill to share her advice for what to avoid and what to increase to support your sober stretch.

Booze isn't the only thing you should avoid...

Whilst avoiding alcohol may be your main focus, look out for other dietary and lifestyle culprits that give you highs and lows too, as people often find themselves relying on one to reduce the effect of the other or eliminating one and replacing it for another.

 
Aim to reduce your intake of:

Alcohol and beware of liquor-infused chocolates, boozy custard or what might seem a harmless punch on the drinks table at a party. It's okay to be straight-up with friends, family and colleagues about having a breather from booze. When you do, more people look out for you and can give you a heads up when there's a food or drink that might have a little nip of it. You never know who may come on board with you either!

Caffeine - During this period it's helpful to try to reduce your intake of caffeine and set up some positive habits. You may find reducing caffeine actually isn't as difficult as it first seems when you're off the booze, too. A respite from alcohol will leave you feeling far more energised each day and less likely to want/need that coffee hit first thing after a night out. Reducing caffeine supports our health by reducing the load on our adrenals (responsible for releasing adrenaline and regulating our stress response) and the digestive system too — it's all a win!

Alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars all have a similar effect on the brain's reward centre, stimulating the release of dopamine, also known as the feel-good hormone. Whilst it might seem okay to have an extra cheeky sweet treat while abstaining from alcohol, this action can create a new habit or addictive behaviour that too can be hard to break in the long term. Aim to reduce refined sugars by temporarily avoiding items like cakes, pastries, chocolates, lollies, ice blocks, and sugar-sweetened beverages. The list goes on, but these are a great start!

 
Aim to increase the intake of: 

So you've paired things back with booze, maybe with caffeine and sugars too. Now to support and replenish the body so you're fighting fit for the year ahead.

Water and herbal teas - Most of us can do with an increase in water intake. Water is one of the simplest ways to create change in our bodies because it energises our cells and supports the body's natural detoxification pathways. 

Immune and gut supportive beverages in place of inflammatory ones - Caffeine and alcohol can be considered disruptive not only to our adrenals, energy and hormonal balance but also to our gut. Stock up on fermented goodness to improve your gut health with live cultured beverages such as Remedy Kombucha, which don't contain any sugar thanks to their long-aged fermentation process, but also aid digestion by balancing out bad bacteria with lots of all-natural good stuff, thanks to its live cultures, organic acids and antioxidants.

Vegetables and some fruit - Focus on increasing your vegetable intake including some starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, beetroot and pumpkin to sustain you. 

Healthy fats - Fats work in many wondrous ways, healthy fats (nuts seeds, avocado, olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel) offer essential nutrients to reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system, improve cognition, to support the slow release of energy into our bodies by reducing the glycaemic load of our meals AND they improve satiety. If you've been eating heavy carbohydrate meals and wonder why you still feel hungry an hour later, it may be because the fat content necessary to keep you full just wasn't there.


*FREE* Remedy Cocktail eBook

It’s HOT right across Australia and we've got the tastiest cocktails to keep you cool. Find 14 of our favourite combinations in a FREE eBook available to download now. The best part? These bad boys are all much lower in sugar compared to your regular bar-made cocktail, as all Remedy drinks contain no sugar, for real! They're the perfect mixer you've been looking for.

If you're skipping the booze, you can also find some mocktail recipes for your summer-sippin'. Or omit the alcohol from any of the featured recipes.

 

Download our *NEW* cocktail eBook to sip back one of our downright delicious Remedy recipes here!

 


What to expect the first time you drink kombucha

You’re not alone if you think it sounds weird

Words by Melissa Shedden


If you haven't plunged into the puckery depths of kombucha, you probably will soon, especially if you’re feeling bleurgh about your health. Or just darn thirsty.

As part of my own perpetual quest to find a wellness tonic for everything that ails me, I now look back with rose-tinted glasses on my first time, like it was yesterday (and much more affectionately than my first squirmy kiss with Kelvin White on the school basketball court, but that’s a whole other story.) I fondly remember my virgin sip of this cloudy liquid as the taste equivalent of tiny fairies tap dancing on my tongue.

It was otherworldly. Like nothing I’d experienced before. At first, I wasn’t sure. But it quickly grew on me. You know why? Kombucha tastes like health. But not a hold-your-nose-close-your-eyes-and-down-it health taste, because heck I’ve tried plenty of those as a health journalist over the years.


Kombucha: an acquired taste

That was more than a decade ago when kombucha caused your face to go Jim Carrey and by that I mean physically respond to the initial teeth-thrumming taste. Now it’s best described as exhilaratingly tangy and tart fruity flavour infusion (which explains why there’s so many tasty flavours to choose from). Sipping on one feels like a power nap in drink form – all sorts of refreshing.

You see, the collective understanding that not all bacteria are evil and that many are in fact, good and necessary to human health, have since made live cultured products as alluring as that fresh-out-of-the-oven Subway cookie scent. Yep, these days you can barely order a latte without bumping into something cultured, or otherwise funky – in a good way.


Kombucha's origins – like almost everything about the drink – are a little Harold Holt-esque – a combination of myth and mystery. It’s been around for about 2000 years and made its way to us from China through Russia and Eastern Europe – but the middle class hipsters made it famous in the last decade when it got brewed commercially. We salute you beard-oiled friends.

 

Kombucha for beginners

The carbonated drink with live micro-organisms is made when tea, raw organic sugar and water are left to ferment with SCOBY, an acronym, that stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. (Google warning: If you've never looked at a picture of SCOBY, the slimy beige blob is reminiscent of a jellyfish from the depths of unchartered waters. You know you want hit search, stat.)

Sounds funky, but the outcome is good, so let’s press on. The fermentation process makes the drink naturally fizzy as well, and then different flavours are added. Remedy, made famous by the ‘I Quit Sugar recommends’ tick, makes the real deal no sugar stuff straight out of Melbourne. (Side note: During their 30-day long aged brewing process, all of the key starter ingredient sugar is converted into organic acids leaving no sugar.) Think passionfruit and mango, raspberry lemonade, ginger and lemon and their newest creation, wild berry, a great gateaway booch that I wish I had when I first began my dalliance with the drink. 

 

Great expectations

So what should you expect the first time you pop the top and suck one down?

My advice? Start with Remedy Kombucha Wild Berry – the jammy mouthfeel of a warm summer’s day. Give it a good sniff, then pretend you’re at a bougie restaurant and somehow you’ve ended up being anointed by the sommelier as the wine tester and consider it for a moment. Take that opening sip. Let it linger. Smack it between your lips and swoosh it to the back of your throat. Trust me, your expression will change more times than a cat meme – and rapidly – and I guarantee you’ll go back for more.

As for the health benefits, Remedy Kombucha is teeming with live cultures, organic acids and antioxidants (AKA the really good stuff). If you’re thirsty and looking for a smug feeling alternative to soft drinks, booze and juice this summer - go wild on Remedy Kombucha.

 

 

Article first published on Body & Soul.