5 Days Of Better Gut Health | Try Living With Lucie | Refinery29

I’m Lucie Fink and this week is Five Days
of Gut Health. Happy December everyone and welcome back to
Refinery29’s YouTube channel. If you’re new here be sure to click on the
little subscribe button in the corner now and give this video a thumbs up if you’re
excited to learn about the gut. We are rounding up 2018 with a video topic
that’s been very important to me over the past year. As many of you know in 2017, I had a cholecystectomy
or gallbladder removal surgery. I have a whole video about that entire journey
on my personal YouTube channel, so definitely check that out after this. Ever since the surgery I’ve now gone back
to a completely normal diet. My digestive system is functioning a-okay,
but before and just after that surgery you really need to watch what you eat, without
a functioning gallbladder to produce and store your bile you might not be able to digest
food that well. So ever since that operation I’ve been learning
a ton more about nutrition and in particular how to take care of my gut. To start off this episode I’m gonna get a
little bit scientific on you. First and foremost the big question of the
day, Your gut is your entire
gastrointestinal system, it’s a muscular tube running from your mouth to your anus. Okay, I promise I’m not gonna be silly this
is science. And inside of this digestive tract there are
trillions of bacteria or microbes. So when people use the term gut microbiome,
they’re referring to all the different strains of good bacteria that reside in there. Bacteria that can help with your digestion,
your immune system function and so much more. Another major component of gut health is the
gastrointestinal barrier or the GI barrier. This is the mucosal barrier inside of our
intestines that needs to simultaneously allow nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream
while still blocking harmful organisms or pathogens from getting in. There is so much more science that I could
get into upfront here but instead I’m going to show you what I did on Monday. Remember the little Scoby baby that I grew
last month during Five Days of Trying New Skills? After letting it grow and grow it
was finally time for the second fermentation process, so we’re now one step closer to having
kombucha. Because of the fermentation process that takes
place, when you’re drinking kombucha, you’re essentially drinking some live bacteria and
a good kind. According to our Refinery29 article, there’s
no great evidence to suggest that kombucha will cure you of anything, but there is some
research that suggests getting more of those bacteria in your diet may be beneficial for
your digestion and your mental health. The first step here was brewing a fresh batch
of organic black tea. I dissolved white sugar in it and then let
it cool to room temperature. I poured that mixture into a gallon sized
glass jar, it was large. And then it was time to pull
out my scoby. Side note, you have to keep everything squeaky-clean
throughout this entire process, so I washed my hands multiple times and also sterilized
everything in boiling water. My Scoby had been in the cabinet for a couple
of months and it grew so large that it had multiple layers and eventually it got so heavy
that the Scoby sunk and another Scoby formed on top of that one, so when I ultimately pulled it out, I was pulling out three giant slimy Scobys. I picked the one that I like best and dropped
it in the jar and then I set the other two Scoby’s aside to add to my friend’s Scoby
Hotel. I added two cups of the previous liquid, which
is known as the starter liquid. Then I covered the jar with the kombucha cloth
and set it in the dark in the cabinet. Good luck little kombucha. It’s now gonna take at least another week
for this big batch to ferment but once it’s ready I’ll be adding some flavors bottling
it up and finally filling my gut up with good bacteria. I started to catch on fermentation with Monday’s
kombucha, so Tuesday was all about diving deeper into fermented foods. Mary Karlin the author of Mastering Fermentation,
defines fermented foods as Fermentation increases the amount of certain
vitamins in the final food product and also when you eat fermented foods you’re consuming
that good bacteria and sending them straight to your gut. If you’ve taken antibiotics for any reason,
while they might have succeeded at getting rid of the bad bacteria inside of you, they
also might have wiped out the good strains of bacteria. So eating fermented foods is a great way to
replenish that good bacteria. On Tuesday, I tried making one of the most
well known fermented foods, sauerkraut. I pulled the outer leaves to offer some green
cabbage, then I cored the cabbage and shredded it into strips, I added caraway seeds, sea
salt and grated ginger and then with clean hands,
I dove right in there and started massaging the mixture until the cabbage got softer and
some juices started coming out. After about 10 minutes, I packed it all into
a sterilized mason jar and then I covered it with those outer leaves just to make sure
that it was airtight in there and I filled it all with a fermentation lid. There’s a lot of science behind what’s happening
in that jar but essentially there’s natural bacteria on the cabbage and that bacteria
is digesting the natural sugars in the cabbage. And as they digest those sugars they’re producing
carbon dioxide and organic acids. Eventually the environment in that jar is
going to become too acidic for the bad bacteria to thrive, so good bacteria will develop in
a place. I stuck this jar in another dark place in
my cabinet and the fermentation process will take place over the course of about three
days. If you want to try making some fermented foods
at home there are so many options for you out there and there are recipes on every corner
of the Internet. Sauerkraut is a quick and easy one but there’s
also homemade yogurt, kimchi, sourdough and so much more. By wednesday
I realized that I’ve been exploring many of the food-related aspects of gut health, but
I hadn’t yet checked out some of the lifestyle aspects. Johns Hopkins University, my school, put out
an article about various ways to support your gut health, aside from just eating the right
foods. And three of their major players were get
more sleep, move more and manage your stress. So on Wednesday I spent the whole day following
some idealistic lifestyle rituals, that are recommended for improved gut health. The first thing I did was ditch my morning
coffee. I’ve actually heard both pros and cons
about coffee when it comes to gut health, so on the one hand many people say it’s dehydrating
and people tend to feel like their stomach is gurgling after they drink it, but on the
other hand coffee is a fermented drink. So I’m just assuming different people react
differently to it, but by all means if you know more please share with the class. So instead of coffee, I made myself a tumeric
latte, which I thought was perfect because of turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties. I mixed almond milk, turmeric, honey, fresh
ginger and ground pepper in a blender, and then poured the drink into a saucepan
over the stovetop to steam it. When it was ready I used my electric froster
to make it a little extra foamy, like a latte. And then I turned my phone off and began the
day with some morning meditation. According to another Refinery29 article, studies
have shown that meditation can help us build our mental resilience against stress and it’s
something that I’ve actually been working to include into my life daily. I’ve heard that staying hydrated is an important
way to keep your gut happy, so I filled up a big reusable water bottle and then got ready
for tip number 6, moving. I did a few quick exercises at home to get
my heart pumping, which is a great way to release endorphins and start the day with
a little bit of sweat. And in the evening on wednesday I got into
bed nice and early, I read a little bit of my book about happiness, and then I turned
the lights off before 10:00. One thing I loved about wednesday is that
I really felt like I was having such a healthy and positive day, but when I actually look
back at the things that I did that day I realized that these are pretty easy activities to include
in my everyday life. And listen I get that everyone’s schedule
is different and you might not be able to live your ideal health
day every single day, but you can start slowly by adding some of these things into your life
and eventually might become second nature to you. Let’s talk about the gut, brain connection. A lot of people refer to the gut as the second
brain, the enteric nervous system or the layers of nerve cells that line our GI tract. Is the nervous system that regulates our digestion
and communicates with our brains. There have actually been a lot of studies
linking gut health to mental health, but the truth is this area is still being
heavily studied and it’s not entirely clear to us just yet how the two work together. The director of the Johns Hopkins Center for
neurogastroenterology says that, for decades doctors and researchers have thought that
anxiety and depression contributed to issues like IBS, bloating, diarrhea, constipation
and more. But he also says that some more studies might
be showing that it’s also the other way around and perhaps digestive issues can contribute
to us feeling more anxious or depressed. In a Refinery29 article,
they cite a study that shows how the bacteria in your gut can actually affect the molecules
in the area of the brain that is associated with anxiety and depression. When I started doing research for this episode
one topic that continually came up was bone broth. I’ve now heard many nutritionists gush about
bone broth, explaining how it’s packed with minerals and also with collagen, which can
help improve your hair, skin, nails and joints. But there’s also been some evidence that collagen
can positively impact your gut health. I began exploring bone broth a bit this
summer and I first started by visiting some of those bone broth shops that have been popping
up around New York. But one thing I hadn’t tried yet was making
my own bone broth at home from scratch. So on thursday I followed Wellness Mama’s
recipe for homemade bone broth. I found the beef bones really easily at Whole
Foods, and I first roasted them to bring out the flavor, then I let them sit in water and
apple cider vinegar for 30 minutes before I added the chopped up vegetables and spices. I brought the mixture to a boil, and then
I let it simmer on low heat for about eight hours. When it was done
I skim the impurities off the top, I set some aside in a glass container to put in the freezer
for later and I used the rest of it to make soup for dinner. So I sauteed some vegetables and mix them
in with the bone broth, then I added a heaping serving of ramen noodles and a couple of hard-boiled
eggs the top. I don’t know if it looks as amazing as it
tasted but it was a giant bowl of dinner and it was delicious. The final lesson of the week is understanding
probiotics versus prebiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria found in certain
foods and supplements that help add to the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. You’ve likely heard of people taking a probiotic
supplement before and essentially they’re just hoping to add to the good bacteria that’s
already in there. And prebiotics however are non digestible
food ingredients that act as the food for the good bacteria in your gut. You can find prebiotics in foods that have
fiber like garlic, onion, whole-wheat, pasta, asparagus and sweet potatoes. So one is the bacteria themselves and the
other is the food that feeds the bacteria. The wider range of plant foods that you eat
the more types of bacteria you’re feeding and the more diverse your gut microbiome will
be. I found a few recipes online for probiotic
smoothies and I made one of them on Friday. I chose a peanut butter berry recipe, which
called for blueberries, peanut butter, flax seeds, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and
the big ticket item kefir. Kefir is a fermented yogurt like drink that’s
filled with probiotics. It’s kind of sour tasting,
but if you like the taste of Greek yogurt, you’ll probably like this too. Probiotics are a very interesting topic because
supposedly many of the probiotics on the market right now are made with strains of bacteria
that just can’t withstand the heat of your stomach acid. So that means they would die in your stomach
before they even get to your intestines. Some people believe that spore-forming probiotics
are a better choice because they’re hardier and they can supposedly withstand that heat. So if you’re interested in learning more about
this I would highly recommend you do some research into a brand called, Silver Fern. They’re definitely on the expensive side,
but they claim that their bacteria can survive and thrive in your gut and it’s gotten great
reviews from many of the health and wellness bloggers that I follow. I love this week because I feel like I got
to try so many new things, but I also learned so much that I’m so excited to share with
you all. If you already have some gut health issues
there are so many things out there that you can do to try to help heal your gut, and even
if your gut is totally fine and it’s already functioning pretty well, it’s still great to
learn how to maintain that health. If you have any more tips and insights related
to gut health please share them in the comment section below and let me what you want to
see me try next time on Try Living with Lucie. See you next year. Hey YouTube! Thanks for watching this episode. Click here to watch another five day challenge video, here to subscribe to Refinery29 on YouTube and right here for my personal YouTube channel. Happy New Year everyone!

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