While some people fangirl over musicians, artists and the like, I can be found spending my days admiring...nutritionists. As a student myself, I absolutely love seeing others out there sharing their passion for food and wellness, and helping others feel amazing along the way. Jordie’s work has always inspired me and my taste buds! Ever since I tried her sugar free chocolate brownies, she has become my go-to girl for a dose of foodie inspiration. Jordan is a holistic nutritionist and GAPS practitioner, who possess an infectious love for delicious and nutritious home made food. Today we are chatting all things gut health, so dive in beauties!
Hiii Jordan! I am so excited to have you feature on Haven of Health. To get the ball rolling, can you give us a quick down-low on the gut and why gut health is so important?
Hi Jane, thanks so much for having me as a feature guest on your blog. How exciting! Well, a long long long long time ago, Hippocrates said, 'all disease begins in the gut'. Fast forward a few years later and we're only just beginning to realise how accurate he really was. The microbiome (aka our gut bugs) is one of the most fascinating health topics for me to learn, write and talk about because of its vast importance. Our gut microbiome makes up 70-80% of our immune system, it helps us create important neurotransmitters, for example 70-95% of your serotonin (happy hormone) is produced in the gut. We are actually more bacteria than human, we're basically a living, breathing vehicle and host for our microbiome. So what's going on in your gut is going to affect your mood - anxiety, depression, and focus. Basically, our gut microbes are responsible for how we look, feel and think. How cool is that! This is why it's so important we look after them and nurture them, so they inturn can look after us.
We've all noticed the huge boom in fermented foods over the past couple of years. Why does it feel like only recently gut health has become such a household conversation, and how do fermented foods contribute to the maintenance of our health?
It's funny you say that, because fermentation is as old as the hills. Cultures from around the world have been consuming fermented foods for years. Koreans eat Kim-chi, Germans eat Sauerkraut, Indians drink Lassi (a yoghurt drink), various Asian cultures eat pickled veggies, the Japanese enjoy Miso and Natto, and many countries in East and Middle Eastern Europe consume kefir…and us Westerners, well we eat some fermented foods. Think cheese, pickled cucumbers, yoghurt and beer. Although unfortunately, many of these products have more often than not been pasteurised or highly processed, which means its devoid of beneficial bacteria and often packed with preservatives, sugar, colours and other dubious additives. It’s best to make your own so you know exactly how it’s made and what goes into it.
Some of the benefits of homemade fermented foods include; creates beneficial enzymes, probiotics, increases immunity. improves bowel health, preserves food, aids digestion, reduces sugar cravings, increases the bio-availability of nutrients, creates Vitamin K2 and reduces anti-nutrients just to name a few.
Much of your work, including your incredible ebook Sugarless Sweets, and cookbook Gutalicious, has a core focus of minimising our sugar intake. What role does sugar play in our bodies and why do you live a sugar free lifestyle?
I live a sugar free lifestyle because I was once addicted to sugar. I did anything I could to get my daily sugar fix (usually in the way of chocolate). Now as a consulting Nutritionist, I see many clients that come to me trying to go without it (without enough support or guidance), but they end up getting the shakes, irritability, headaches, migraines, fatigue, body aches and pains. This is because it’s a drug, and the addiction needs to be looked at seriously. Studies reveal that sugar can be even more attractive and rewarding than drugs like cocaine. It can also cause havoc in the body if you have gut issues. Sugar feeds pathogens and parasites, can cause skin issues like acne, fatigue, brain fog, a weakened immune system and the list goes on. Over the years I've learnt how to cut sugar out of my diet sucessfully and in the process I decided to work on some fun projects and ended up developing our Sugarless Sweets eBook and cookbook GUTALICIOUS which contains 150 sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, gut friendly recipes.
To keep your tum in tip-top shape, what are three health practises you tick off every day?
1. Consume fermented foods daily. I have plenty of recipes on my website to get you started.
2. Drink enough filtered water. I know it may sound simple, yet over 50% of my clients will tell me that they don't drink enough water. There isn’t really a health issue water can’t help with. You can read more here.
3. The biggest cause of digestive distress is stress. So make you're doing things to de-stress DAILY. Whether its going for a walk, reading a book, catching up with a friend, having an epsom salt bath or doing some deep breathing.
I would love to know, what is your favourite...
At the moment it has to be my keto and egg-free gut loving brownies from our cookbook GUTALICIOUS topped with this Chocolate Avocado Frosting Haha talk about gut loving decadence! I'm also loving cultured bananas because you can use them in banana/ egg pancakes (recipe also in GUTALCIOUS), smoothies, nice creams, smoothie bowls, banana bread and so much more. I'll probably have a new favourite next week though ;)
Oh man, how could I choose just one! Hmm I might end up making a whole list, but some of my favourite foods at the moment are Bulletproof Coffee, my fermented Mango Sorbet (seriously addicted to this), my Kidney Cleansing Green Juice because it makes me feel amazing, all of my fermented food creations and slow cooked lamb shoulder.
At the moment I'm experimenting a bit with Lakanto (which has a caramell-y, brown sugar taste to it), however, I usually use stevia as a natural sweetener.
If you could leave our readers with one piece of advice regarding food and nutrition, what would it be?
I truly believe that 'the worst thing you can put into your mouth is GUILT'. You could be eating the most nutrient-dense food on the planet, however if you're feeling stressed or anxious about what you're eating, you're impairing the breakdown and absorption of your food, suppressing your immune system and increasing your likelihood of experiencing a reaction to a food toxin or pathogen. So try your best to relax. I recommend to all my clients to take 5 deep breaths before each meal to allow your body to come back to a relaxed, calm state before you begin your meal. Try to enjoy every mouthful of food you eat too. But seriously, just do the best you can in each situation you're in and accept that you're not going to be perfect all the time. At the end of the day, we're all just humans having a human experience.
For more healthy recipes and a dose of inspiration, you can keep up to date with Jordan and her beautiful work over on her Instagram and website.
Love and Wellness,