When it comes to how to improve gut health I definitely believe in a holistic approach, it’s not just about what you eat but also your everyday lifestyle and the energy you keep around you.
Being your own alarm clock
Let’s start at the beginning, which for me is around 5:30am or 6:00am. After monitoring and managing my circadian rhythms, I now wake up naturally with my own biological alarm clock.
A big trick that has made this possible for me are my blue light blockers. I wear these sunglasses from about 6:30pm every evening and they help to limit my exposure to blue light in the evenings. Light blockers help to manage the bodies natural rhythms of sunset with exposure to orange/red colours at night, restricting the amount of the blue and white light which comes from screens that are associated with sunrise in the morning. You can even change your settings on your phone to change the light in the evenings, although I find it best to put my phone away at least 30 minutes before bed, clear my mind before sleeping. However If I am battling to wake up, I also have a SAD lamp panel that I sit next to for a bit. SAD lamps or SAD lights are a form of light therapy designed to help ease the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and living in grey and rainy London for me this can be paramount.
Before I get out of bed I take my basal body temperature. This is a fantastic method of contraception and can empower us as woman to understand, respect and tune into our cycles. I use an amazing app called Femometer to keep all the data. This used to feel like a mission but soon enough it has become like second nature and for me it definitely beats the side effects and hormonal suppression of the pill and IUD’s.
Breathing and movement
I find it so important to have ‘me’ time and that usually is 15 minutes in the morning before the kids wake up. Instead of scrolling on my newsfeed in the morning or checking emails I start my day with a short meditation or some qi gong, depending. One of my best friends has taught me all about Qi Gong and bioenergy and I have learnt how to move to energy around and away from me when it is negative. This time is a great way to start your day on a positive and active note rather than a reactive way of responding to emails.
But first, Organic Bone Broth
Once the kids are fed (usually my famous Ossa Pancakes ), being a woman who can become adrenally fatigued, I will add good fats to my breakfast and make what we call a Bullet Bone Broth. Warming a nourishing cup of organic Bone Broth on the hob, add a teaspoon of MCT oil or coconut oil and a teaspoon of grass fed butter or ghee and blend (optional extra depending on how brave you are to add a pinch of organic turmeric powder and a raw egg). The froth beats any cappuccino!
Heat and heeling
Three times a week I spend 20-30 minutes in the sauna, there is a huge study and subsequent paper published by Dr Rhona Patrick on the power of the sauna and heat therapy to expediate healing and detoxification.
I also believe in moving your body in ways that work for you, I do yoga, animal movement training, capoeira and inversion practice. Don’t ask me to go the gym for HIIT or cardio. I have listened to my body over the years and I know what makes me strong and what inspires me to get moving and the gym for me isn’t one of them. I always advise finding a practice that best suits you and this varies from person to person. Do what you enjoy otherwise a gym membership, a yoga program or a daily jog will become a chore and then quickly become a passing fad.
I decided in August 2017 that I would try go upside down once every day. This has been an amazing testament of practice makes perfect and I stand on my hands, head or forearms upside down for 1 minute every day. This and stretching out my body has been powerful for me.
You are What You Eat
The pressure of being a Mum and an entrepreneur also comes with a lot of strain so I treat my body with respect and eat mostly paleo, non inflammatory, low carb meals which include high quality fats, well cared for meats, organ meats, wild fish, fish eggs and lots of bone broth, apple cider vinegar and fermented foods.
We love Ghee, butter, avocados and nori sheet (we have an amazing recipe for nori wraps for kids) and the boys are known to eat a variety of beautiful natural foods as we believe in the restorative and healing properties of natural foods. This is what inspired Ossa Organic, by healing my children, my husband and myself through food.
Night time rituals
I bath in Epsom salts and bentonite clay twice a week to expedite detox and healing as a result of living in London and I make (when I can) all our cleaning products with a mix of essential oils and vinegar ( all natural and much cheaper than commercial brands). I have had fun making suncreams and body lotions over the years and my friends are testament to my constant brewing of healing lotions and potions at home.
I use Ossa Organic tallow which is the skin’s most bio-available emollient, seeping beautifully into dry skin as opposed to commercial petroleum based emollients that sit on top of the skin in an unnatural layer. I use this home made balm every night with essential oils that I find soothing and also help for a more restful sleep. For me using these natural products on my skin has helped remove “toxic load” from my body from the everyday products such as petroleum and harsh antibacterial gels and makes me feel faster and nimbler at fighting potential viruses, bugs and colds.