3 Simple Steps For Sprouting Seeds, Grains & Beans (For a Healthier Gut & Easier Digestion)

Before I started sprouting I was slightly intimidated by it. I just assumed it was something that took a ton of time and energy, but It's more of a set it and forget it, with a little bit of rinsing in between. So simple! 

What is sprouting? 

Sprouting is essentially the practice of germinating seeds It involves soaking seeds, nuts, legumes or grains for several hours, then repeatedly rinsing them until they begin to develop a small growth of the plant. Soaking allows the sprout to grow. 

Why Should You Sprout? 

1. Less Anti Nutrients & A Better For Gut Health
Many seeds contain anti-nutrients, substances that inhibit the absorption or use of other nutrients. For example, rice contains phytic acid, which inhibits mineral absorption.

Other seeds contain substances such as lectins and saponins, which can interfere with the gut lining of the GI tract. This can cause damage to the cellular lining and the villi (small finger like projections in the intestines), leading to leaky gut and poor overall nutrient absorption.

Many autoimmune conditions are said to originate in poor gut health. While you may feel quiet a bit better avoiding certain grains, nuts and seeds if you have an autoimmune condition. If you reintroduce one or more without an issue, sprouting can make them healthier for you and your gut. 

2. Increases Nutrient Absorption
By sprouting seeds, nutrients including amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), sugars in the form of glucose, and even vitamins and minerals become more available and absorbable.

3. Improves Digestion  
For many people, eating grains, beans, nuts and seeds is problematic when it comes to digestion and frequently causes inflammation. A major benefit of sprouting is that is unlocks beneficial enzymes, which make all types of grains, seeds, beans and nuts easier on the digestive system.

What Can I Sprout? 

Personally I eat only broccoli sprouts (so yummy), sunflower seed sprouts and radish sprouts, but you may be able to eat more of a variety then me. 

Seeds

  • Radish Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Broccoli Seeds 

Beans 

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Adzuki Beans
  • Black Beans
  • White beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Peas

Grains 

  • Buckwheat Grains
  • Amaranth Grains
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Oat Groats
  • Quinoa
  • Wild Rice
  • Black Rice

 

What Can't I Sprout? 

Nuts like pecans and walnuts cannot be sprouted, but soaking them is still beneficial.  Sprouted kidney beans can cause death, no that's not a joke. Always cook them first. 

How to Sprout in 3 Steps:

  1. Soak seeds overnight (6-12 hours) in water. Optimal time for soaking is between 8 and 10 hours. I use a large glass mason jar (make sure it's sanitized before hand). 
  2. Rinse seeds 2-3 times daily, allow them to drain via sprouting jar or in tilted bowl. I fold a cloth and use it to tilt the mason jar to drain into the sink). 
  3. Sprouts will be ready in 2 to 4 days, when sprout is ¼ inch.

How to store? Dry completely, and store in fridge for about 3 days.

Handy Sprouting Worksheet

How Does it Work? 

Seeds soaked in warm water are fooled into thinking conditions are ripe for growth and anti-nutrients are disabled.

How Can I Eat them? 

Now that you know how to sprout you may be wondering how can I eat sprouts? 

  • On salads 
  • In smoothies 
  • In sandwiches 
  • Put them in baking
  • Add to soups 
  • Put in casseroles 
  • Snack on them 

Happy Sprouting! 


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Simple Ways to End Bloating For Good

One of the biggest complaints many of us have with our digestion is bloating. That tight uncomfortable feeling where you look 5 months pregnant (baggy clothes anyone!?).

A few lifestyle changes can end your bloating for good. Women especially have difficulties with bloating, mainly because of our periods/ hormones and the battle for room between our reproductive organs and our digestive tract (making it rather cramped down there). 

What is bloating?
Contrary to popular belief, bloating isn't water weight or an accumulation of fluids in the abdominal area. Bloating usually happens when the gastrointestinal tract fills with air or gas. For many people what bloating comes down to is inadequate digestion (causing some foods to ferment), inability to break down sugar and carbohydrates fully or an imbalance of gut bacteria. 

What are the potential causes of bloating?

  • Drinking through a straw 
  • Imbalance of gut bacteria 
  • Eating foods day after day that you're sensitive to
  • Gum Chewing
  • PMS 
  • Certain foods 
  • A sudden increase in fiber 
  • Candida 
  • Digestive disorders like IBS, celiac disease and ulcerative colitis 

Which foods can cause bloating? (These won't cause bloating in everyone) 

  • Sugar and sweet snacks
  • Dairy products 
  • Some difficult to digest veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, onions and cabbage
  • Some harder to digest grains like corn, oats and wheat  
  • Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols
     

How to Avoid Bloating 

Avoid carbonated water (even fizzy water) 
I got on a major Le Croix kick but had to stop because it was making me so bloated. The carbon dioxide when combined with your stomach acid creates a chemical reaction that makes you bloated and gassy. Not to mention you're physically swallowing a gas so it makes sense that it would make you bloated. If you drink a fizzy drink with sugar it's a double whammy because the sugar is feeding the bad bacteria in your gut! So avoiding bubbly drinks can help you avoid the bloat.

Get some probiotics into your diet
Probiotics are your very own superheroes that stop bad bacteria and yeast from accumulating too much in your intestines, which leads to bloating. Kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha are yummy options.

Discovering food sensitivities
First off, what is a food sensitivity? A food sensitivity isn't all allergy and it isn't an intolerance. Meaning it doesn't set off an immune reaction and it's not from that lack of an enzyme. A sensitivity means your body reacts poorly to a certain food causing symptoms. Doing a basic elimination diet eliminating dairy, gluten, soy, corn and eggs can be a good starting point for getting rid of your bloating. 

Food Intolerances
Like I mentioned above a food intolerance means you lack the enzymes to digest a certain components of food like lactose or fructose. A doctors visit can help narrow down any potential intolerances you may have. 

Celiac Disease Testing
While this may not be a common cause of bloating considering only 1% of the population has celiac disease, I have to mention it. Bloating that doesn't seem to go away no matter what can be a symptom of celiac disease. Even though chances are you don't have it, getting tested before you try eliminating gluten is smart. You want to know before hand so you know how strict your gluten free diet has to be. 

PMS Relief
Some women experience bloating before their period. During the follicular stage estrogen levels rise while the uterine layer thickens and at this time bloating can occur. Bloating usually goes away when the period begins but if you want to get rid of it exercise, avoiding high salt foods and drinking 1-2 litres of water daily can help. 

Chew your food
Most people chew 4-7 times and swallow. If this describes you, then you are literally swallowing chunks of food. Digestion begins in the mouth, in fact there's an enzyme in your saliva called salivary amylase that starts the digestive process! Count your chews next time you eat, then swallow when your food is a paste. Not only will this reduce bloating, but it will help your body digest foods easier. 

Stop eating dairy and see if it makes a difference
Lactose is the main sugar in milk, and in order for it to be properly processed in your body, you need have an enzyme called lactase. Infants have plenty of it because they need it to digest breastmilk, but as we get older, we produce less and less lactase because we don't need milk anymore. This makes it extremely difficult for the digestive system to break down cow's milk and other dairy products the same way, which is what causes that bloated belly. Dairy can also cause constipation and that's another reason that it can cause bloating. 


How to get relief when you're already bloated


1. Drink Ginger Tea
Ginger is a wonderful anti-inflammatory food for the prevention and treatment of bloating. Take a chunk of raw ginger and steep it in hot water for at least 5 minutes. Add some freshly squeezed lemon and drink up.

2. Drink Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea contains menthol which is an antispasmodic meaning it relaxes the gut and allows for the bloating to go away. 

3. Take a walk
Some light exercise can help get things moving and reduce bloating. It may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can help not only prevent bloating, but help it go away. 

4. Chew fennel seeds or try fennel tea
Chew a pinch of fennel seeds at the end of a meal to benefit from its gas-reducing oils. This is an ancient remedy that has been used to relieve digestive upset and bloating. If you don't want to chipmunk out on some seeds you can make some fennel tea. 

5. Drink lemon water
Lemon juice stimulates digestive enzymes and speeds up the process of whatever good is happening in your gut. Keeping hydrated in general is a good idea if you want to successfully fight bloating.

6. Try some yoga stretches
 Yoga offers relief when your digestive system is all tangled up. There are a few different postures you can do at home to ease the bloating and reduce any pains in your abdomen that might be occurring as a result.

Clever Ways to Get Gut Healthy Prebiotics and Probiotics Into Your Diet

Probiotics have become a household name with many of us taking supplements and trying to get them through food. Personally I stick to eating a variety of probiotic rich foods everyday like kombucha, fermented foods and coconut yogurt with added probiotics. You can probably name some probiotic foods, but do you know what they are and their benefits? 

Probiotics are popping up everywhere, they're in yogurt commercials, in pharmacies and grocery stores. In order to understand probiotics we need to understand the gut. Inside your gut there are  as many as 100 trillion gut bacteria with good bacteria and some bad bacteria living together in harmony. When you have an imbalance of to many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria is when problems start to occur. This is where probiotics come in.

Why? Probiotics can help populate your gut with good bacteria because probiotics are live bacteria! When a food or supplement contains probiotics is actually has bacteria in it that continue to live on in your gut. 

Choosing a probiotic supplement 

Not all probiotics are created equal. Also not everyone should take a probiotic supplement so consult your doctor first.

When looking for a probiotic supplement look for a few things: 

The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics recommends looking at the following criteria before choosing a probiotic:

1. Proof of efficacy. Probiotics must be tested (and be shown effective) in humans to determine health benefits.

2. Quality and quantity. Probiotics can be effective at varying strengths. Scientific studies have determined health benefits from 50 million to more than 1 trillion colony forming units per day. A probiotic with higher colony forming units doesn't necessarily equal better quality or effectiveness.

3. Package information. Strain, quantity of colony forming units, serving size, health benefits, proper storage conditions, expiration date, and additional corporate contact information all should be provided on the label.


 Now on to prebiotics! Though probiotics alone provide very useful benefits, they have a greater effect when combined with prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics are a type of insoluble fiber. Meaning you can’t digest them, but your gut bacteria can and they use them as food to multiply and proliferate. When you eat a diet low in fibre those important gut bacteria that mostly live lower in your digestive tract can starve and this can cause a gut imbalance like I spoke about earlier. 

So eating prebiotic foods is important for keeping your gut bacteria healthy and in return they keep you healthy!  

Adding prebiotic and probiotic rich foods is a delicious way to improve your gut health, but how can you add these foods into your diet? 

Best Prebiotic Foods 

  • Onions, leeks, garlic
  • Bananas, apples, pears
  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichokes, celery root
  • Dandelion
  • Oats and barley 

Best Probiotic Foods 

  • Yogurt, kefir
  • Sauerkraut, kimchi (also a source of prebiotics)
  • Kombucha
  • Miso, tempeh (made from soy for anyone with allergies) 
  • Pickles (raw, non-pasteurized)

When adding these foods into your diet you don't have to worry to much about getting the right amount of pre and probiotics, just get a variety. 

Simple Ways to Get Pre and Probiotics into your diet daily: 

Eat Fermented Foods! 
Many fermented foods are the best of both worlds because they're prebiotics and probiotics. Some examples of fermented foods are sauerkraut and kimchi. 

Drink kefir in the morning
Kefir is a fermented milk product (cow, goat or sheep milk) that tastes like a drinkable yogurt. Kefir benefits include high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics.

Replace your juice or pop with kombucha
After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B-vitamins, enzymes and probiotics. Look for one that's low in sugar. 

Put yogurt (and bananas) in your smoothies
It’s recommend when buying yogurt to look for three things: first, that it comes from goat or sheep milk if you're lactose intolerant or have a dairy sensitivity; second, that it’s grass-fed; and third, that it’s organic. Yogurt is one of the top (and tastiest) probiotic foods. Bananas are rich in fibre and make a great edition to your smoothie. 

Add in handful of dandelion greens to your salad
Dandelion greens are a great fiber-rich substitute for greens in your salad. They are one of the best prebiotics and adding them into a salad is a simple way to fit them into your diet. 

Make leek soup
Leeks are a delicious edition to many soups. They have a mild onion taste and add a yummy flavour. Thanks to their high fibre content they are a great prebiotic. 

Eat chocolate (what!! 😀)
Okay before you get to excited I'm not talking about milk chocolate. I'm talking about raw cocao. It's a tasty prebiotic food that contains flavanols that increase healthy gut bacteria. 

Adding in high fibre foods with probiotic rich foods can help your gut thrive.  

 

10 Tips For Making Meal Prep & Batch Cooking Super Easy

So in my perfect world I would just go to the grocery store every day and see what inspires me for dinner. Unfortunately in the real world "ain't no body got time for that!". By trying to make at least a few freeze ahead dinners every Sunday you can avoid the dreaded what to make for dinner after work. I've heard of some mystical creatures that make a months worth of dinners but i've never managed that. Maybe one day! Here's what my typical batch cook day looks like:

1. Completely clean the entire kitchen and make sure the sink and dishwasher is empty. (Trust me don't skip this step).
2. I chop up and prep most of the recipes ingredients before. (Just store in the fridge what you won't be using for a while).
3. Organize the meals into two groups. Ones that are pre cooked (like a soup or casserole) and ones that are raw and will be cooked in a slowcooker.
4. Make the un cooked slow cooker meals first and add them to their ziplocs or containers and freeze.
5. Cook the rest of the meals by time and temp. It's a bonus if you can cook two things at once at the same temp.
6. Let everything cool then either add the fridge or freezer depending on recipe and when you'll be eating it.
7. Clean clean clean.
 

My top 10 Make-Ahead and Freezer Tips

  1. Get a good slow cooker that has 6-7 quart capacity, has a timer, and has a warming function for after the timer goes off.
     
  2. Stock up on glass containers, which are great because you can freeze and reheat in the same container (plus they don't leach our harmful chemicals from plastics!). Also stock up on ziploc bags.
     
  3. Chop frequently used ingredients ingredients like onions and garlic all at once, and just distribute amount needed to each recipe when the time comes. This will save on cleanup, and watery eyes!
     
  4. Use fresh, not previously frozen, meat in the dishes. Meat should never be thawed and then re-frozen.
     
  5. If the dishes are being cooked prior to freezing, cool to room temperature or until the steam has stopped, then cool completely in the refrigerator before freezing. This will avoid freezer burn or excess moisture in the dish when it is reheated.
     
  6. Choose recipes that freeze well. Casseroles, one-pot meals, soups, chili, and meatballs all stand up to the freezer well.
     
  7. Choose recipes that can easily be doubled or tripled.
     
  8. Label everything with the name of the dish, when it was prepared, and thawing/reheating instructions in case someone else is preparing dinner.
     
  9. Clean as you go. Everyone is different, and some may prefer to just tackle the massive sink of dishes at the end of the day, but that overwhelms me. If something is cooking on the stove, I try to jump in and clean up as much as possible while I wait. For things like measuring cups and spoons that I may need over and over again, I hand wash them as I go so I can use them as needed.
     
  10. Plan Ahead. Make a list of the meals you want to make, then make your grocery list. Shop one day, and cook the next so the day isn’t too full. Try to organize your list by the department the items can be found in the grocery store (i.e. produce, meats, dairy). If I need the same ingredient for multiple dishes, I write the different amounts needed on the same line in pencil then add it up at the end so I know how much total I need to buy. For instance, if I’m making 4 dishes that call for various amounts of ground beef, I’d write: Ground Beef: 1 pound, 1/2 pound, 3/4 pound and then purchase 2 1/4 pounds

Do you batch cook? What's your best tip I want to know!

How To Bring Balance To your Gut In 5 Steps

Living a holistic lifestyle promotes bringing balance into your life for better health. There is an area where you many not have realized that balance is so important, and that’s in your gut! There are bacteria that live in our digestive tracts—what science types often call the gut microbiome. Our bodies play host to trillions of these critters, and they make up a mini-ecosystem that helps us break down the food we eat and absorb its nutrients. That’s not all they do! They also regulate our immune systems, give us energy and protect your gut lining.

Good bacteria in our gut live with us in a mutually beneficial relationship. We need them and they need us. There are also neutral bacteria that are neither beneficial nor harmful. Then there are harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. They live off of the food in your gut, and are harmful to our health. These harmful organisms usually exist in the gut but are kept at low levels by the good and neutral bacteria. When our body is out of balance, the bad bacteria take advantage of the opportunity and proliferate, potentially causing harm to our bodies.

Functions of good bacteria:

  • Producing short chain fatty acids which supply much of your energy
  • Producing a number of valuable nutrients notably B vitamins and vitamin K
  • Participating in the metabolism of drugs, hormones and carcinogens
  • Protecting the you from infection by pathogenic bacteria (through competing for space and production of anti-bacterial substances amongst other methods.)
  • Maintaining a healthy intestinal pH
  • Enhancing immune function

What goes wrong?

When the amount of friendly bacteria is reduced and the other bad bacteria and pathogens are able to increase their numbers and this is when illness can occur. There are a number of factors that can lead to the bad guys overgrowing and causing problems with your health.

The most important factors are:

  • Antibiotic use
  • Use of the birth control pill
  • Use of other hormones, especially immunosuppressants like steroids
  • Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

What damage do bad bacteria do?

When the balance between our good and bad gut bacteria gets out of kilter, it can be associated with a number of diseases and conditions – such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD), Diabetes, Obesity, Heart disease, Allergic disorders, Celiac disease, Asthma and certain Cancers.

What kind of imbalance do you have?

  • SIBO (Small inestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) Occurs when bacteria normally found in the large intestine travel up to the small intestine, where they overgrow and add to the relatively small number of bacteria already present there. This abnormal overgrowth of bacteria can result in poor absorption of nutrients from our digested food and the breakdown of certain carbohydrates before the body is ready, causing GI symptoms such as upper GI gas and bloating after a meal.
     
  • Candidiasis: Specific overgrowth of the yeast candida albicans and similar species is a special kind of gut imbalance. These organisms, which are part of the normal flora of the gut, mouth and vaginal mucus membranes can become opportunistic pathogens during overgrowth. This is usually the consequence of chronic antibiotic use, oral contraceptive use, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), high consumption of sugars/white flour/pastries, alcohol use, or immune system suppression (caused by stress, infection, aging or other imbalances).
     
  • Parasites: Parasitic infections are, unfortunately, more common than we would like to think. Parasites can be microscopic organisms (amoebas) or very large organisms (worms). Detecting and treating parasites is vital. Treatment might include pharmaceutical anti-parasitics, potent natural anti-parasitic supplements, high potency comprehensive probiotic supplements, and nutrients to support liver and immune health.

Tests for an imbalance

These tests include:

  • Breath hydrogen tests: used to test for an imbalance in the small intestines, or SIBO; glucose is consumed and levels of hydrogen in the breath are tested; pathogenic bacteria break down glucose and release hydrogen gases, and therefore levels of hydrogen.

  • Stool analysis: a stool sample is taken and analyzed for indications of bacterial imbalance.

  • Genova IP test for leaky gut: a non-metabolized sugar is ingested and measured in the urine to evaluate how much sugar, if any, is able to permeate through the intestinal lining

  • Candida testing: includes blood tests for IgG, IgA, and IgM, antibodies that respond to Candida yeast bacteria, and a urine test that detects tartaric acid, a waste product of candida

  • U-Biome tests X 2 (start and end): using swabs from the mouth, nose, gut, genitals, and skin, the microbiome is sequenced, offering a picture of the bacteria species that inhabit the body

  • Zonulin testing: circulating zonulin (a protein that regulates cellular tight junctions and therefore has implications on intestinal permeability) levels are tested in the blood; high levels infer intestinal permeability.

The treatment for any imbalance in the gut is the 5 R approach:

1. Remove

First, identify and remove the factors that may be contributing to your symptoms, including:

  • Stress: Stress can impair your digestion and absorption—particularly if you eat too quickly, too much, or at varying times of day.
  • Allergenic foods: Develop an elimination diet plan with your physician or nutritionist to help determine if you have food allergies. The diet involves removing potentially allergenic foods for a length of time (the length of the elimination phase will vary based on your individual needs and protocol), then reintroducing the foods, one at a time, every two days, while monitoring for symptoms. Potentially allergenic foods include processed foods, oranges, dairy, eggs, corn, grains with gluten, pork, shellfish, beef, veal, soy, peanuts, alcohol, coffee, soda, refined sugar, chocolate, ketchup, and most other condiments.
  • Pathogens: Bacterial and yeast overgrowth, viruses, fungi, parasites, and other toxic substances are common contributors to gut-related symptoms. A variety of tests, medications, and dietary and home remedies are available through your physician or a functional medicine physician to identify and remove pathogens.

2. Replace

Second, replace stomach acid and digestive enzymes, which may be lacking in your gut. Lab tests, such as fat absorption tests and gastric analysis, can help determine what factors need to be replaced. Work with your physician to determine supplements that could support your healing, such as:

  • Digestive enzymes, including protease, lipase, amylase, and pepsin
  • Hydrochloric acid

3. Reinoculate

Third, for six to twelve weeks, reinoculate your gut with good bacteria to help regain a healthy microflora balance. Intestinal microflora are microorganisms that live in our gut and are helpful in aiding digestion and nutrient absorption. This can be accomplished with a variety of foods and supplements:

  • Fermented foods: These foods include tea, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha.
  • Prebiotics: These are non-digestible plant components that nourish the body’s microflora. They include:
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria that aid the digestive process and keep our gut health and intestinal function strong. Probiotics are available as supplements; purchase a refrigerated brand with live, mixed flora such as lactobacillus and acidophilus.

4. Repair

Fourth, repair the lining of your gut through good nutrition—this can take up to six months. In addition to an allergen-free, healthy diet, a variety of foods and supplements may help to reduce inflammation and support cell growth in your digestive tract, such as:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Glutamine
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin D

5. Rebalance

This is where lifestyle really comes into play. It is important to address the external stressors in your life. With practices like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, good sleep and other mindfulness-based practices, you can help reduce stress that will protect your gut and subsequently, your entire body.

Autoimmune Journey - Brianna's Celiac Story

Today sharing her autoimmune story is Brianna! She has celiac disease, type 1 diabetes and multiple food allergies and intolerances, but still manages to thrive! You can find all sorts of product reviews, restaurant reviews and inspiration on her website: A Different Kind Of Survival Guide.

Website: https://adifferentsurvivalguide.wordpress.com/
Instagram: breezygfreezy 
Twitter: Breezygfreezy

Tell us about your self! Who are you?
My name is Brianna Wolin and I’m the voice and human behind A Different Survival Guide and breezygfreezy. I’m a type 1 diabetic, celiac, with multiple food allergies and intolerances, as well as IBD and a few other odds and ends that sees my life as a perfectly imperfect series of over-planned events. I seek to show people that a love of cooking and food trumps all—and easy, quick, affordable, and delicious meals are absolutely always on my agenda.

When were you diagnosed with celiac disease? What was life like before?
 I was diagnosed with celiac at age 5, one year after my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes. Though antibodies were elevated at the time of my t1d diagnosis, I wasn’t ill and they sent me home with my parents still reeling with the first diagnosis and ultimately concerned about the potential second. Within a year, I was a classic celiac case— endless gruesome abdominal pain, vomiting, failure to thrive, weight loss, and a ballooned stomach.

After diagnosis?
After diagnosis, my mom put my house into full celiac mode—with about 98% of all food completely safe for me to this day and even when Iw as away at college! The only appliance/cooking item we have for gluten is a separate toaster and one freezer drawer/pantry shelf. Otherwise my entire home is Brianna-safe. I went to college at the University of Michigan where they were unable to accommodate my food needs. As a result, I lived in a studio apartment for four years and developed some of my best food creations to date!

What's helped you the most after your diagnosis?
While most people think the rise of gluten free must be helpful to a celiac like myself, I find the opposite. The thing that has truly helped me the most is the support of my family and friends—never writing my needs off as unimportant or too much to handle.

What has been the silver lining or something positive that has come from your life with celiac disease?
The silver lining is absolutely my cooking and baking skills, as well as the development of my blog and social platforms. I love connecting to others around our love of allergy friendly/gluten free food, and I’m always looking to make the next fun, simple meal in the kitchen.

What's you favourite recipe or product?
Favorite recipes and products are so hard to name! I will say that I have a different brand for each flavor cookie that I think is best—no one line has me sold on more than one of their flavors!

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on a gluten free diet?
Stand up for yourself. We are not fad dieters, and people may treat us like we’re the latest annoying thing on their plate. Stay strong, never compromise your safety, and make a stink when you need to!

Thanks for sharing your story Brianna! If you're interested in sharing your autoimmune journey you can email me at livingnaturallyautoimmune@outlook.com

 

 

A Guide To Buying Healthy Ethical Meats (Organic Vs. Conventional)

There is always controversy surrounding eating meat and whether or not it's healthy. Not all meat is created equal, there are some big differences between conventionally raised meats and organic meats. It gets confusing pretty quickly with terms like grass fed, free range, organic, raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics and grain fed. I wanted to create a go to guide that simplifies buying meat so if you're part of the 81% of people in the world eat meat regularly you can do so in a healthy and more ethical way.

Meat should be a condiment
It’s also important to keep in mind that a serving of protein is about the size of a deck of cards (3 oz), not the typical Fred Flintstone–sized portion size. Remember to keep your portions in check and eat plenty of plant-based foods with your protein, which provide you with the fibre, vitamins and minerals that aren’t found in meats.

Beef

Cows are supposed to eat grass, this is what their digestive systems are designed for.  Conventionally raised cattle are fed GMO corn, soy and animal bi products, instead of grass because it's cheaper, but it's not without consequence. This diet is tougher for their digestive systems to break down and can lead to major health issues for the animals because it creates a acidic environment. These health concerns can include liver abscesses, acidosis and ulcers. Overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions commonly found in industrial feedlots.

The majority of beef (about 97 percent) for sale comes from conventionally raised cattle that begin their lives grazing in grassy pastures but are then shipped to and packed into feedlots and fed mostly corn and soybeans for three months to almost a year. The animals are most likely also to be given antibiotics and hormones. That practice is considered to be the most cost-efficient way to fatten up cattle: It takes less time, labor, and land for conventionally raised cattle to reach their slaughter weight compared with those that feed on grass their whole lives.

When cows are free to roam the pasture and feed on their natural diet of grass, you get a more environmentally friendly product free from antibiotics and hormones that boasts significantly more health-promoting nutrients,

  • Two to five times more omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are important for regulating inflammation, hormonal balance and supporting a healthy heart.
  • Higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA is shown in studies to help lower cholesterol, reduce body fat and fight inflammation.
  • Four times more antioxidant vitamin E. Vitamin E is needed for a healthy cardiovascular system and vibrant skin.
  • Ten times more vitamin A. This vitamin is an important antioxidant required for healthy vision and skin.

Terms
Grass Fed- Like I mentioned above cattle are usually grass fed for a portion of their lives so essentially most beef could be labelled grass fed.

Grass Finished- This means that the cattle was fed grass throughout the entirety of it's life. It's important when buying meat to make sure that it's grass finished meat and has been eating grass over the course of it's life.

Organic Beef-

  • Born and raised on certified organic pasture
  • Never receive antibiotics
  • Never receive growth-promoting hormones
  • Are fed only certified organic grains (corn is a grain) and grasses
  • Must have unrestricted outdoor access

Cost:

Conventional $4.95 per pound
Without antibiotics $6.55 per pound
Organic $5.62 per pound
Grass-fed $7.38 per pound
Grass-fed organic $7.83 per pound
(According to consumer reports)

Chicken


We've all seen those value packs of chicken breasts, thighs and wings, but you should really think twice before purchasing. It's always tempting to save money at the grocery store, but if you buy conventionally raised meats they're subject to the same overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions and unnatural diets conventionally raised cattle are.

Labels can state free-range, free-run, 100% vegetarian feed etc., while the chickens are still being exposed to pesticides, antibiotics and GMO feed made with animal bi-products.

The organic label is the only one that ensures the product is

  • free of pesticides and herbicides;
  • fed organic feed containing no animal by-products;
  • free of antibiotics; and
  • free range.

The National Organic Standard, as set out by the USDA, makes rules for the humane treatment of livestock animals. Under these conditions, organic chicken farmers must provide living conditions that allow healthy and natural chicken behavior. Organic chickens have access to the outdoors, direct sunshine and sufficient space for grooming and exercise.

Terms

  • Natural- means there are no artificial ingredients or preservatives. That claim can be made for most chicken sold at grocery stores.
  • Hormone-free- Hormones are not legally allowed in poultry.
  • Farm-raised- This term doesn't mean much considering just about every chicken sold is raised on a farm.
  • Antibiotic-free-  has significance to those who are concerned about consuming an animal treated with antibiotics. An organic chicken cannot be treated with antibiotics.
  • Fresh means the chicken has never been cooled below 26 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 degrees Celsius).
  • Free-range chickens have access to the outdoors and a roost for resting with a minimum of two feet per hen.
  • Free-run chickens are not confined to cages and have free “run” of the barnyard floor, but may not have access to the outdoors.
  • Organic Chicken must be raised with certified organic feed that contains no animal by-products or antibiotics and any supplements, such as vitamins, must be approved by a certification body.

Cost:

boneless, skinless organic breast meat are averages around: $7.87 a pound
Regular chicken breasts: $3.18 a pound

Seafood/ Fish

Unfortunately pollution and fish farming have effected the quality of the seafood you can buy today. It's more important then ever to make healthy choices when picking your fish and seafood. 

  • Choose smaller fish, such as sardines, Atlantic mackerel, wild salmon and herring to reduce your exposure to heavy metals such as mercury. The larger the fish, the longer it has been in the ocean collecting heavy metals. The larger fish also eat the smaller fish and that accumulates heavy metals in their bodies. When toxic heavy metals accumulate in our bodies, they can cause digestive distress, chronic fatigue and impaired cognitive function.
  • Switch it up. Eating a variety of fish provides you with an array of nutrients and creates a more sustainable supply chain.
  • Make sustainable choices. Make sure there’s plenty of fish for future generations by buying fish that are harvested using sustainable practices. Here’s an awesome list of sustainable, low-mercury choices for seafood via the wonderfully resourceful folks at The Environmental Working Group.

Terms

Line- and net-caught fish: Line-catching includes hook and lines used for recreational fishing, longlining (a main line carrying several thousand short lines), and trolling (several unconnected lines slowly dragged behind the vessel). Line-caught fish are generally higher in quality than those caught in a net.

Farmed fish: Aquaculture―the practice of raising fish in enclosed ocean pens or freshwater ponds or tanks―has expanded dramatically in the last 30 years and now supplies about half of our seafood.

By practicing proper portioning, eating a ton of plants and buying high-quality meats, you will keep your body and your budget in balance. Listen to your body and eat what makes you feel your best, healthiest self.

Autoimmune Journey - Linsey's Celiac Story

Today sharing her autoimmune journey is Linsey! Her story is relatable and inspirational for anyone struggling with an autoimmune disease. So many of us can relate to the emotional and physical roller coaster that dealing with an illness can bring. Enjoy her story below!

Tell us about yourself:
My name is Linsey (a.k.a lilmissceliac), and I was born and raised in West Michigan. I am a creative, detail-oriented individual who went back to school at the age of twenty-six after a difficult time in my life to pursue a BA in English Language & Literature and a minor in writing. After graduation, I completed two editorial internships where I worked with editors on fiction and non-fiction titles and then secured a full-time job in publishing. My hobbies include reading, traveling, hiking, cooking, journaling, spending time with family, and pursuing anything that brings beauty, wholeness, and health.

When were you diagnosed
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in July of 2014.

What was life like before and after?
Life before diagnosis was both rewarding and difficult. It was rewarding because I loved school, my job, my social life, and being free to travel and explore. I studied in London, Germany, Poland, and traveled most of Europe; I was a tutor in my college’s writing center; I wrote award-winning papers; I had a large community of friends and colleagues. On the flip side, in 2012/2013, I started not feeling well. My symptoms were severe migraines and fatigue. By the end of 2013 (graduation), I could not walk from the parking lot of my school to the building – I was that fatigued. I would even park in the faculty lot (which is close to the doors) and get ticketed just so I didn’t have to walk far. The year of 2014 (while working) was spent going to doctor after doctor, and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. I was losing weight quickly and was told to “eat more” or “go eat some cheeseburgers” which I actually did and got worse! I lost fifteen pounds in six months, fainted at work, and had multiple trips to the ER. By this time, I lost most of my social life. My symptoms were headaches, migraines, brain fog, weight loss, digestive distress, hormonal issues, extreme fatigue, etc.

Finally, in July of 2014, a functional medicine doctor told me to go gluten and dairy free. I was tested for Celiac and the Gliadin and Tissue Transglutaminase antibodies were sky high off the charts. After undergoing an endoscopy, Celiac Disease was confirmed. You would think by going gluten-free after diagnosis would get me feeling good right away, but my path to healing took time, rest, and figuring out a healthy diet. In the midst of this, I ended up losing my job and relied on the love and support of family during the healing process.

What has helped you the most?
After diagnosis, a few key concepts helped me which took time to figure out and learn. First, contrary to what mainstream doctors say, I found, that for me, a gluten-free diet alone will not heal the gut. I started eating gluten-free but did not feel better. I actually lost more weight and was down to 89 pounds. It wasn’t until I cut gluten, dairy, sugar, and grains (in addition to processed/packaged foods), which can be highly inflammatory, that I began to see improvement. The change in diet was difficult for me. I actually had to go through a grieving process and kept reverting occasionally to snacks. I loved my potato chips, soda, ice cream, sugar, and the freedom to eat whatever I wanted. Emotionally, I really struggled with it; yet eating real foods and finding the right supplements helped me finally gain some traction. Secondly, I had to learn to be kind, loving, and full of grace to myself. Chronic illness takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. When you are so sick that you can’t work, meet with friends, do all the things you used to, you begin to experience a broad range of emotions and feelings about yourself. So, there’s like this emotional part of the disease that can sometimes be more difficult than the physical symptoms. Meeting with a therapist and a few close family members and friends who understand the disease proved to be helpful. Remembering that my worth does not come from performing but from the One who created me and values me and loves me just because I exist is something I meditate on daily. Finally, I discovered the importance of movement. I began walking when I couldn’t do anything more, then I practiced yoga and stretching, now I do high-intensity interval training (burst training) for a short period of time per day. Combing diet, mindfulness, and movement was key for me after diagnosis.

Something positive/silver lining
As I’ve looked back over my journey, I’ve realized that Celiac Disease has made me more and more into the person I was created to be. It has taught me to love myself and be more loving, to slow down and live at a pace more suitable to me, to let go of my control and plans, to have compassion on the underdog because I have been there myself, to never take for granted health and wellness, to cherish my relationships with friends and family, to honor my body by taking care of it with real food, exercise, and positive thinking.

Favorite recipe/product
I have learned to love cooking and decided if cooking was going to be a big part of my life, I might as well have some fun and make art out of it (i.e. Instagram). One of my favorite recipes is a guacamole recipe my family and I developed. Avocados offer so many health benefits, are gut-healing, and most people love them. I enjoy guacamole as a snack with veggies, plantain chips, sweet potato chips or as a condiment on burgers. I love putting a dollop on boiled eggs or salads. I also enjoy Tessemae’s All Natural Dressings/Marinade/Dip. There are many different types with real ingredients. The products are non-GMO, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free. I used to make my own salad dressing, so this was a great find and time saver.

Advice for those with celiac disease
If I had to give advice to someone just starting out on a gluten-free diet, I would say to show yourself grace. It takes time, research, mistakes, and a lot of label reading to get it right. I’d also say to eat whole, real foods as the majority of your diet. Just because a product is gluten-free, doesn’t make it healthy. In fact, products can be loaded with sugars and starches and other anti-nutrients. Furthermore, the FDA established a gluten limit of less than 20 parts per million for packaged foods that are labeled gluten-free. This is a tiny amount, and should be safe, yet I believe some Celiacs could react to it. Finally, keep going and never ever give up. At my time of diagnosis, I felt like I was dying. I’ve learned that the body is this incredible, complex, beautiful machine that has the capability to heal if we honor it and live how we were created to live. I now find so much joy in helping others live as fully as possible.

Linsey has an amazing intagram account! Follow her here

If you're interested in sharing your story you can email me at livingnaturallyautoimmune@outlook.com! I'd love to hear from you.

 

Eat This, Not That For A Healthy Gut

Keeping your gut healthy can ward off disease, give you energy, strengthen your immune system and boost your overall health. Potential gut distributors are everywhere, from the food we eat, to the stress we feel.

What we eat is the biggest factor for gut health. Everyday you either eat foods that help or that hinder your gut. So how do you know if your gut is off balance?

Let's start with what a healthy gut looks like. Inside your small intestine is where the large majority of gut bacteria live. When your gut is healthy it has a strong gut lining and a broad range of good gut bacteria. These human digestive-tract associated bacteria are referred to as the gut microbiome.

Unhealthy Gut Symptoms

  • Acid reflux
  • Throat and nose issues (clearing throat, runny nose, etc.)
  • Gas/bloating
  • Inflammation anywhere in the body
  • Skin disorders anywhere on the body
  • Negative reactions to food
  • Loose stools or constipation

From a holistic perspective it's important to get to the root cause of your symptoms. An imbalance of gut bacteria may be the root cause of the following conditions:

  • Celiac/ Gluten Sensitivity
  • Yeast Overgrowth
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Food Allergies/ Sensitivities
  • Skin Conditions
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Weight Gain
  • Bloating
  • Leaky Gut
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Depression

Harmful foods
When you have problems in your gut like an overgrowth of bad bacteria, inflammation and leaky gut it can negatively affect the health of your entire body. A damaged gut means that the barrier that's supposed to keep what's in the intestine out of the rest of the body isn't functioning properly. This allows toxins and tiny food particles to come into the bloodstream and cause full body inflammation. Eating foods like refined carbohydrates, sugar and modified and processed foods all contribute to an unhealthy gut. 

 Refined Carbohydrates
Not all carbohydrates are created equal, some are harmful to your gut and others are beneficial. Simple or refined carbohydrates like in baked goods, pop, and processed grains like white rice and refined flour are harmful. They not only cause weight gain and blood sugar issues but can create an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut.

Modified and Processed Foods
Eliminating processed foods from your diet has numerous benefits. These foods contain additives that disrupt gut bacteria. 

Anti Nutrients
Antinutrients, which include phytic acid, lignans, saponins, phytoestrogens, oxalates, phenolic compounds, and others, are found in almost all foods, although the types and amounts vary tremendously from food to food. Legumes (including beans, soybeans and peanuts) and grains contain the most lectins, followed by dairy, seafood and plants in the nightshade family. Repeated exposure to lectins may eventually damage the gut wall leading to leaky gut.

So does this mean you should never eat these foods again? It's a controversial topic in the world of nutrition. You can dramatically lower the levels of these anti nutrients by cooking the foods, soaking them and sprouting them. If you have an autoimmune disease or digestive problems eliminating foods high in anti nutrients or at the very least taking the measures to lower them (like sprouting and soaking) can be beneficial. 

Healthy Gut Foods
The ideal diet for a healthy gut involves foods that feed the good gut bacteria and have anti inflammatory properties.

Resistant starch
Resistant starch is a specific type on complex carbohydrate that travels to the colon and gets fermented by gut bacteria. This fermentation produces short chain fatty acids that are key for gut health. Foods high in resistant starches are green bananas, green peas, cashews and raw oats.

Fermented Foods
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are ideal foods for a healthy gut. They contain live bacteria called probiotics and prebiotic fiber to nourish your good gut bacteria. Eating some fermented foods everyday can help to keep your gut a happy, healthy place.

Vegetables
Plants have indigestible dietary fiber the food that feeds you good gut bacteria. Eating enough of indigestible plant matter to nourish your gut bacteria is essential and the most important thing you can do for a healthy gut. It doesn't matter what you eliminate, if you aren't eating enough plant foods your gut will suffer. When we don't eat enough plant fiber we are starving our good gut bacteria, so make eating your plants foods your top priority.

When it comes to down to eating for gut health getting enough fiber and plant foods and limiting your sugar, processed foods and potentially reducing your anti nutrient intake is key for a healthy gut.

5 Ways To Build A Successful Career With A Chronic Illness

There are many fears that surround working when you have a chronic illness. Will I fit it? Will I be judged? Will I preform well? Can I do this? Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data shows that 47% of adults ages 21 to 65 report having at least one chronic health condition. The fear of working with a illness shouldn't keep you from having career goals. You may have to consider making adjustments or even changing your plan all together, but that doesn't mean you can't have rewarding career. You might be worrying that disabling symptoms will prevent you from leading a satisfying and happy life. While chronic illness can seem like a roadblock to success, it can actually show you want you really want in life. You may or may not be able to work the typical 9-5 job but with some careful planning and thinking outside the box you can create a career life that's fulfilling and gives you purpose.

My own chronic illness career story involves rethinking a plan I had laid out for years. I was going to school to be an audiologist when I developed viral encephalitis which has left me with weakness, speech and balance problems. I knew I couldn't work a typical job, so I decided to completely change careers. I'm currently going to school to be a Holistic Nutritionist and my focus is going to be helping those with chronic illness and autoimmune disease. I knew that working from home would give me the freedom to support myself while being realistic about my abilities.

#1

Design your vision

Just starting out? Decide where you want to be, or what you want to achieve. Plan out the direction in which you want to move, and determine the skills you’ll need to get there. Ask yourself what kind of career can I start that allows me to use my background, expertise or schooling and gives me the flexibility I need when I’m not feeling well, and allows me to continue to be successful.

Research the field you're interested in. Ask someone currently working in the job you're interested details. It's always good to get an insiders opinion. Even if you can't meet with them in person, many will be willing to do a phone interview. Ask questions like, how physical is your job? What are the stress levels like? What are the difficulties that someone with chronic illness may face in your job? See if it's an environment you could be successful in. If yes, build a resume.

#2  

Own It!

When and where to bring up the fact that you have a chronic health condition is tricky. There is the fear of not getting the job because of prejudice or judgment. Whether you choose to bring it up before or after you get the job is up to you. You've done your research and you're confident you can do the job successfully. So let your interviewee know in a confident and fact based way that you have this illness and how it will affect your work but way's you can still succeed. Focus on your strengths, not on what you can't do. If you stay positive the interviewer will see that and be impressed. If you're already working and have been diagnosed with an illness at first it might be best to keep the information on a need to know basis. As you get more comfortable and learn more about your condition then you can choose when is the best time to let others you work with know.

#3

Have Support (At Work & Home)

Living with chronic illness can feel like a lonely experience. You’re surrounded by people who don’t face what you do everyday, and that makes you feel separate and different. You can feel like it's hard to get any support if others don’t know what you’re going through. It's important to build relationships with others in your workplace. People who understand your illness and can be there for you. They might be supervisors, fellow colleagues, or even a mentor. The main thing is that they are aware of your strengths and talents, and are willing to support you. Don't be afraid to ask for special accommodations because of your illness. Employers in Canada are required to make every reasonable effort, short of an undue hardship, to find an accommodation for an employee with a disability.

At home it's important to have a good support system. Whether it's friends, family, a partner or spouse. Having someone outside of your work to help give you advice can be very helpful.You can't always talk to someone in your workplace, so having someone to talk to outside of work can give you a different perspective.

#4

Make you're health number 1

Working can be stressful and can take time away from self care. When you have a chronic illness making your health a priority is even more important. Swapping your diet for one full of healthy whole foods can have a huge impact on your health. Nourishing your body properly will reduce your chronic disease symptoms improving all aspects of your life. Eat plenty of healthy fats, vegetables, fruits and fermented foods. It's important to find natural ways to reduce stress like yoga, low impact exercise, meditation, reading, listening to music or whatever works for you. The more you make your health the number one priority the easier your life will be.

#5

Learn To Roll With The Punches 

Living with a chronic illness is a struggle. Unexpected circumstances can change everything. A worsening of symptoms, a new diagnosis, or any new stresses in your life can throw a wrench in your plans. Don't just push yourself to your breaking point just to prove you can do it all.

Having resilience is all about rolling with the punches. Find the line between not letting fear control you but not pushing yourself into misery just to prove yourself. You may have to work part time, get a different job or take a leave of absence. You may have to find a job where you can create your own hours or telecommute. Make sure you're always prepared for what could happen.

You're chronically ill so you have already learned how to be strong, resilient and brave. With your work you can still to do amazing things and achieve a lot, you just have to figure out creative ways of doing it. Try not to dwell on your limitations, focus on your strengths. 

Are you working with a chronic illness? What has it taught you?

10 Ways to Shop Organic on a Slim Budget + Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen

One of the main reasons people tell me they don’t shop organic is the COST.  Well I’ve got some good news, with a few tips and some savvy shopping, you can shop organic affordably and on even a students budget. Being on the Autoimmune Paleo diet means buying all organic produce and grass fed organic meats, so i've learned a few things on my students budget.  Every Sunday I go grocery shopping, plan out all my meals and batch cook for the week. It seemed for foreign at first but now it's now become second nature. Here are some of what i've learned shopping organic on a budget.

Why Does Organic Matter?

It matters because pesticides are toxic by design! Different

pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems

, including hormone disruption, cancer and brain toxicity. Stop asking yourself why organic food is so expensive and ask your self why processed and packed foods are so cheap. In 1950 30% of a households budget was dedicated towards food vs. only 13% in 2003 – and I can guarantee you it’s not because were eating half the food! Meat and dairy (animals products like chicken, eggs, cheese, butter, yogurt, milk, etc.) are the most important to buy organic because of the combined risk of pesticide, anti-biotic and cancer causing growth hormone exposure. Whatever you do, do not skimp here.

10 Ways to be Able to Buy Organic on a Slim Budget 

 #1 Use Coupons

 Check the websites of your favourite companies for coupons and special promotions, almost all of them have some. Even though it's old school you can also cut coupons out of flyers and newspapers. It takes some time and organization, but the more you do it the easier it becomes. 

Coupon Websites:

Canada:

The Healthy Shopper

Smart Canucks

United States:

Mambo Sprouts

Organic Deals 

#2 Buy What's on Sale

Buying organic is more expensive then non organic almost all of the time, unless you buy what's on sale. When you find the right sales it can be even cheaper then the non organic version. Be careful for the sales where you buy multiples (2for1) for a lower price, because then you can end up buying more then you need. Another bonus of buying what's on sale is you get a variety of meats and vegetables into your diet. Most of us eat about 15 foods all the time, just in different variations (like fries, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes). It's important to get different foods into your diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies and food sensitivities.

#3 Make It Yourself

If you can make it instead of buying it, then do it. I promise it will save you money. Making granola, kale chips, smoothies, and juices yourself is a little but more effort but it pays off. You usually are paying a lot extra for the packaging and advertising so be wary of that.

#4 Budget

Write out a weekly and monthly budget to help you keep track of both erratic spending and responsible spending. This will allow you to see your spending habits and help you prioritize purchasing organic food within your budget.

#5 Buy In Bulk

 Stores like Costco and Walmart make organic more affordable to the masses. Also, stores in Canada such as Winners and Homesense often have a food section. As for meat, grass fed organic meat prices can be a shock at first. What I do is buy them in cases or in bulk. After I get home I divide up the meat into individual serving sizes and freeze. That way none of it get's wasted and it lasts even longer.

#6 Grow It Yourself

Sprouts and herbs are my two favourite foods to grow at home. Despite my mom being able to grow anything, I didn’t inherit her green thumb, so if I can do it, so can you!  Even in a tiny apartment you can grow a little garden.

 #7 Shop Seasonally

I have often found that organic food in-season is cheaper than it’s conventional counterparts. This is especially true if you shop at farmers markets and their fruits and veggies are growing in abundance. Another tip is dont be afraid of farmers markets, a lot of the time they're cheaper then conventional grocery store.

#8 Buy Frozen

9 times out of 10 the organic frozen produce at the store is cheaper than fresh, especially if the fruit or vegetable is out of season. If done properly frozen foods can be just at nutritious as fresh. You can also buy local produce when in season and freeze to save for out of season, for example in the spring and summer spread berries on a sheet pan and freeze overnight and then store for the fall and winter.

#9  Use the “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen" (see below)

The EWG releases a list every year of the fruits and vegetables with the least amount of pesticide residue and the most. If it's all you can afford, try and just buy the dirty dozen organic.

#10 Eat In

By making all your own meals you can save a lot of money that can be spent on groceries instead. Eating out on a regular basis has a way of destroying your budget. So save it for special occasions or every once in a while. If you're worried about your cooking skills there are plenty of youtube videos and books with tips and fast recipes.

Supplements For A Healthy Gut

While the first step in this healing process is unquestionably to change your diet in order to stop any further damage to your gut. In addition taking the following supplements can be very beneficial in aiding in and speeding up the recovery process of healing of a leaky gut.

1. L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is fundamental to the well-being of the digestive and immune systems. Glutamine is great for repairing damage to the gut, helping the gut lining to regrow and repair, undoing the damage caused by leaky gut.

2. Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root is a supplement a supplement with many uses, one of them being digestive relief. It contains a high mucilage content. It eases the inflammation in the stomach lining and treats both diarrhea and constipation by creating a protective lining on the digestive tract.

3. Slippery Elm

slippery elm contains mucilage and stimulates nerve endings in the body’s intestinal tract to increase natural mucus secretion, which is part of the stomach’s protective lining and helps combat ulcers and excessive acidity in the digestive system. It also contains important antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel symptoms.

4. Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are plant or microbial-based supplements that support the breakdown, absorption, and utilization of macronutrients. Taken with meals, they work with the body’s own reduced supply of enzymes to achieve maximum digestion and support intestinal repair mechanisms.

5. Probiotics

Our gut is full of good and friendly bacteria that help us properly break down and digest our food. They help keep our gut in check and prevent bad bacteria from overgrowth. Unfortunately, these friendly bacteria can be depleted and disrupted by taking antibiotics, steroids, acid-blocking medications, eating a poor diet, and many other factors. Taking probiotics on a daily basis can help you regain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.