Gut Health - From Table to Toilet
Early this year sh*t went down, and it happened fast. Before we could even process what was going on, shops were closing and every single one of us realised that we never thought to count how many toilet paper rolls we use in a year. So we collectively decided that the currency of the future was going to be just that - toilet paper. And since we were all sh*tting ourselves anyways, we might as well get all of it... The most indispensable and yet unappreciated item in the house got to assert its importance in the most powerful way there is - by becoming unavailable.
Barely delayed by the silent scream of our buttholes protesting how they were going to get cleaned during an apocalypse, another concern timidly presented itself. Actually having something to eat. We started capturing canned foods with the same satisfaction as if they were pawns on ‘The Queen’s Gambit’. Pablo Escobar might as well have been dealing flour. So many of us in similar but different circumstances, locked in our homes, with not much to do, and a pantry full of random sh*t.
As our relationship with lockdown hobbies fluctuated like Kombucha girl’s expression, we tried to find our footing in an uncertain world. We gave the sourdough makers sh*t. Then we tried to make sourdough.
Whether our creativity was spurred by being forced to combine the last four things left in our pantry, or by the fact that for the first time in a long time we couldn’t count on our usual line-up of two or three places close to our offices, we all took to the kitchen.
We at Wype are well aware that what goes up must come down, and this week instead of sitting next to you on the toilet, we are sitting down at the dinner table and taking a closer look at what happens on the other side.
We aim to help you out at the end of the long road from table to toilet, but just like a road, it is all connected, and sometimes its just as much about the journey as the destination.
Do you have the guts?
Your gut microbiome is unique, and researchers agree that this unique set of friendly tummy bacteria is created within the first 1000 days of your life. What you might not know is that your relationship with these little guys can affect your health, mood, and well of course, your trips to the bathroom. Furthermore, scientists keep discovering links between our guts and our brain, suggesting that this connection might be more powerful than we previously imagined.
Yes this is starting to sound like the beginning of a buddy cop comedy, and if so, who would you choose to represent your gut-brain axis? And what are the foods that are most beneficial to the friendship of this unlikely duo?
Forget the processed foods
Seriously, if there is anything that you should do for yourself and your gut health, is ditch the processed foods. Of course a lot of the foods we eat are somehow processed, for example if we were at a restaurant, the food would have been processed by the kitchen. The goal is to reduce the degrees of separation between the original ingredient and what ends up in your mouth. You want that ketchup to have been a tomato, say, less than 17 processing steps ago. You want your ketchup to still remember the tomato field, and its tomato brothers and sisters.
Variety is the spice of life
When it comes to your guts, monogamy was never an option. This collection of bacteria likes variety, as different nutrients can support different species of bacteria and help keep your overall microbiome healthy. So try to eat a diverse diet, rich in whole foods, your gut bacteria like to play the field and keep it casual.
Gut for you
Omega-3 fats: Mostly found in fatty fish, look out for Salmon and Mackerel
Fermented foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha
High-fibre foods: Wholegrain and wholewheat food, beans, broccoli, peas, avocado, artichoke
Polyphenols: Red wine, cocoa and dark chocolate, olives, hazelnuts and pecans
Fruit and veggies: ‘Nuf said!
Supplements: Supplements can seem like a simple solution to ace all of the dietary requirements without having to learn a bunch of difficult words, but getting what you need from actual food is healthier, and will avoid the possibility of you ending up washing out everything you don’t need in some very expensive pee! Also always consult an expert before adding supplements to your diet.
Eating for longevity
For every one of us sneaking in a snack with a list of ingredients that we can’t pronounce, there’s a community of super old people living their best lives. And their diet gives us clues as to what their secret might be:
The Blue Zone Diet: Sardinia, Italy - Nicoya, Costa Rica - Okinawa, Japan - Loma Linda, California - Ikaria, Greece
What the people these lands have in common is that they don’t spend a lot of time dieting, they don’t know about Keto or Paleo or the latest diet fad, and that they use food as a way to carry on family traditions and reunite around a common passion, a table covered in delicious food. How can we learn from them? Well here is a quick cheat sheet for our Wypers.
Keep your friends close, and your veggies closer: If you don’t like veggies, now is the time to start. Not everything that your parents told you is true, but unfortunately, this is one of the solid tips we got in our childhood.
Swipe left on meat: If you think meat is your best friend and the only place where you can get good protein, think again. If you’re a habitual carnivore, try swapping that beef prime-rib for some chicken, pork, or even lamb. Why not take it a step further and commit to a couple of vegetarian days a week and see how you go?
Under the sea: Yes The Little Mermaid was your favourite Disney movie, and Sebastian narrowly escaping Chef Louis scarred you for life, but you might be able to carry this trauma for a little longer is you swap some of your favourite meats for fish, a couple times a week.
Milk, but for humans: We know it’s controversial, but our digestive system is just not optimized for milk or milk product consumption (other than mother’s milk!). Once again, we don’t advocate for removing your favourite diet staples altogether, but you can give some milk alternatives a try, these days there are so many easy swaps available. Other than that, choose olive oil over butter when possible (ok maybe I’m a biased Italian…).
Eggvrything in moderation: Don’t rely on any element of a healthy diet (except for veggies) too heavily, which means just like everything else in this list, eggs are good for you, when consumed in moderation.
Bean there, done that: Now that your diet is as blue as can be, and you’re ready to see yourself into the next century, don’t forget about your beans! They are the cornerstone of the Blue Zone diet.
I’m going Nuts!: What about snacks you say? Nuts are your friends in this department. Watch out though, they are good for your health, but too many of them might not be great for your waistline.
In conclusion, there is no need to overhaul your diet all at once, why not try small changes a couple of days a week, and see how it goes! Meanwhile, try to go for whole foods that you can still recognise from the original ingredients, shop local when possible, and be weary of ‘low-fat’ and ‘diet’ labels. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are!
There is however one recipe that matters the most to us here at Wype - what goes into your poop. We hope that this brief foray into that recipe will have entertained you, piqued your interest, and provided some useful tips. But know that we at Wype will always be there for you (and your butt), no matter how naughty you have been eating!