Being identical twin sisters, we have a passion (teetering on obsession) for finding out what’s different about us. In order do this, we looked inside as there ain’t much that looks different on the outside. Twins are a great constant for medical research and we became the “chief guinea pigs” for the British Gut project where we discovered that despite us having 100% the same DNA our guts have only 40% the same microbiota, which could explain why our bodies behave so differently. Thus our ‘gut journey’ began.
All this research is so new and literally just coming into public consciousness. We’ve been spending the past year interviewing tons of top notch “gut pros”: scientists, academics, chefs and foodies to get the real scoop and science behind what we eat, but what really surprised us was how much is going on in the ivory towers of academia and science research AND NONE OF US KNOW ABOUT IT. These guys are realising just how important the gut is to our health and wellbeing, including its impact on our immune system. They’re pouring tons of money and time doing a deep dive into all these areas like how it has a huge impact on diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even mental health, but the information doesn’t necessarily trickle down to us mere mortals.
We’ve tried every fad diet there is and with tons of chatter and loads of new ‘healthy gut’ products out now – everything from gluten-free to pickled is in – it’s confusing to know what’s right, what matters and who’s trying to con us out of our well earned pennies. We want real answers for real people and get REAL scientific answers to why we should be putting things in our body. If we can’t be sold the same diets for our bodies and we have the same DNA, then there’s NO single diet that works for everyone. We are ALL individual. So what should we be doing to keep our guts healthy? Heres a few things we’ve learnt so far:
- KEEP A FOOD DIARY
This is NOT for calorie counting, but to monitor what you’re eating and “tuning in” to look for patterns. Try taking things out and putting them back in and see what happens. Record poops and symptoms and how you feel – this always great too, if you do have issues, as you can already take you ready made journal to a nutritionist or dietician. We all live such fast paced lives, and so rarely actually make time to ask ourselves ‘how are you feeling today?’
There are SO MANY studies coming out showing that stress and anxiety can have a direct affect on our microbiome. The links with gut health and mental health really are extraordinary. From what we understood before, the Vagus nerve (the neural connection between the stomach and the brain) could only send signals downwards, causing those butterflies in our stomachs from nerves etc, but now scientists have discovered the signalling also occurs in reverse. Did you know 95% of your serotonin if produced in your gut?
- REST + DIGEST
12 hour fasting really helps to let everything reset in your stomach. Sleep time also counts so you don’t feel like your starving yourself – we try 8pm – 8am.
- CHEW, CHEW + CHEW AGAIN
We need to chew our food 20-30 times so that it’s liquid before we swallow. If its broken down in the mouth it’s less work for our tums. We’ve started using little mini sand timers to train ourselves up (as we’re naturally hoovers!) – a good game for kids too.
- VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
Get in loads of colours and different foods to stimulate those trillions of good gut microbes and get a nice diverse community in there. We create a blackboard of every vegetable we can think of and cross them off during the week.
- PASS ON THE PROCESSED PORTIONS
Cut out the processed foods as much as you can. To put it simply they can seriously impact the balance of your gut flora, tipping the balance to too many BAD GUYS.
- PROBIOTCS + PREBIOTICS
You need them to cultivate and grow the good guys. You can get them through food (particularly fermented foods), and supplements too (lean more about the differences on our website).
- FILL UP ON FIBRE
As a nation we only consume only half the recommended daily allowance of 18-25g.. There are lots of types fibre but not all are considered equal as far as gut bacteria is concerned. To make this really simple, first focus on sources of fibre that have prebiotic inulin in them. These are basically fertilisers for our good microbes and stifle the bad ones…like good little farmers. Jerusalem artichokes and chicory are the KINGS and QUEENS of this camp- we’ve got lots of recipes to incorporate them on our site.
Theres still so much more to uncover and digest (!), with new things coming out daily. Join us on our journey and “gut” in touch to let us know how you look after your tum!