Nourish your body
I so enjoyed working through my four week rest with Patrick Holford. I love learning more about my body and how best to nourish it.
I still have more than a few kg’s I’d like to see the back of, but I’m trying not to make weight loss my focus in mapping out meals for myself and my family. Instead, I’m trying to focus on ideal nutrition so we are all healthier (and more resilient to the bugs that come home from playgroup!).
I’m so grateful that we have so much more information about nutrition available to us than our parents did so that we can give our kids the best possible start in life.
All about the gut
Week two of the reset focused on tuning up digestion. Not the sexiest topic, but a relevant one. It’s something I’ve done a little more research around and have been amazed to learn what an incredible organ our GI tract really is.
For instance, did you know that up to 1.8kg of your body weight is bacteria? (I’ll take that, thank you!) And that most of these are found in your intestines.
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that the GI tract is not only important for the absorption of food, but it has links to mental health and overall well-being as well.
The microbiome is a community of trillions of microorganisms including not only bacteria, but fungi, parasites and viruses as well. They occur throughout the body but are found in the largest numbers in the small and large intestines.
Butterflies in your tummy
Learning about the microbiome made me realize it’s a bit like having butterflies in your tummy. I know what you are thinking, “dude, that’s just gas”. But hear me out first.
When we were holidaying at the coast we visited the MacBannana butterfly farm. The kids ran amuck but I was totally fascinated to learn about these beautiful creatures. Did you know that the population and variety of butterflies you see in your garden is entirely due to the plant life you have there? And that while butterflies can feed from any plants, they can only lay eggs on a certain type of plant? Introducing certain plant species attracts the variety of butterfly that breeds on that plant.
I thought of this analogy as I was reading about the microbiome in our gut. Introducing a variety of colours of fruits and veg — and thus a variety of phytonutrients (or polyphenols) which give them their colour — will encourage the growth of a larger variety of bacteria.
Take home tips
Fibre is your friend
You want a diversity of fibre in your diet. Think broader than just “getting it all this morning” with your All Bran. Grains and veg are the main sources of fibres and an important fibre, inulin, can be found in foods like artichokes, leeks, onion, garlic and bananas.
H2Oh my goodness, this is a lot!
Our bodies need a lot of water, especially when increasing fibre intake. You should aim to drink eight glasses of water a day.
Eat the rainbow
I am trying to get my three year old excited about the concept of food choices and variety. I drew up a colour chart and she coloured in the squares. We have space for each day of the week and she ticks off as she eats each colour. (I stole the idea from Dr Chatterjee after he mentioned it on a podcast episode.) I love it because it is such a simple and visual way of getting kids to participate and appreciate the importance of ensuring variety in your diet.
Try to give your gut a break in between meals.
I’ll share more of our journey to better gut health over time along with some kiddy friendly “rainbow” meals for you and your families.
Mama on the Run