We caught up with the lovely nutrition Guru Eve Kalinik ahead of the launch of her new book “Be Good To Your Gut”.
How and when did you discover the importance of Gut Health?
Without sounding like a total cliche the ‘epiphany’ arrived for me because of personal reasons many years ago. But it has been a long journey since then which has involved trying various different approaches (some totally whacky/some life transforming) switching careers and completing my training as a Nutritional Therapist. As a practising therapist who specialises in gut health it is really important to keep up to date with the constantly unfolding developments in this area, which means regularly reading studies on the subject as well as attending various seminars that I can then translate into my own clinic. The research in the area of gut health and the microbiome is relatively new and it is changing all the time. However what is become increasingly more apparent is that we are uncovering just HOW much the gut has to play on not just digestion but much more broadly on our overall health, insofar as the microbiome has been referred to an organ in its own right. I think thats truly fascinating and makes me hungry (excuse the dreadful pun!) to learn more and hence the reason why I choose to concentrate my first book ‘BE GOOD TO YOUR GUT’ on this very subject.
What Gut Friendly tips do you employ daily? Fermenting etc?
Well I have a morning mantra of sorts which is my daily glass of kefir that I ferment with raw dairy milk. I also combine that with a daily shot of SYMPROVE probiotic that I have as soon as I get up. I feel like the combination work well together and get my gut off to a flying start. I regularly include sauerkraut (thats more to do with having a Polish father) which, gut health benefits aside, tastes awesome and try to make this myself as well as encouraging my clients to do the same. Whilst thats not always possible for everyone there are some great brands out there, so just look out for the unpasteurised ‘kraut which retains natural beneficial bacteria and enzymes. I’m also big on cheese because it’s delicious and it’s an excellent natural source of beneficial bacteria, my advice is to stick with the unpasteurised stuff, manchego is almost always in my fridge, and usually a decent gouda too. And obviously in moderation. I also think that Fermented by Lab is great to check out, which works on a “monthly box” basis. Its great for those who are just foraying into the whole fermentation thing.
Aside from that I do make an effort to eat prebiotic foods daily that includes onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, under-ripe bananas and stewed apples, just to name a few, as these can help to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. I believe its not just about supplying the gut with probiotic and fermented foods, but also nourishing your own ecosystem and thats where these kind of foods come in.
However just as importantly is HOW you eat on a daily basis. Having meal times in an environment that is not stressful has much more of an impact than we realise. That means not eating whilst furiously tapping away on an email, or having multiple media devices on the go so that you are putting the body and crucially the gut into ‘rest & digest’ mode which invariably helps digestion work better. It also allows you to eat more intuitively as you are concentrating on what you are doing – eating and not emailing.
What’s the simplest tip you could offer people on Gut Health?
Start with the simple things first like chewing your food. Its pointless spending time and effort having prebiotic, probiotic and fermented foods, virtuous salads and the like if you are just adopting an inhale approach to eating. Sitting down, with cutlery and taking time over meals to chew and appreciate your food is not just the basics of good gut health and it also doesn’t cost a penny either! Sit. Chew. Be present.
Where do you see the future for Gut Health awareness?
I think this is really the future for health and wellbeing more generally and even in the last year alone the excitement around gut health has continued to expand and develop. I think once upon a time people were a bit nervous or felt awkward talking about it, so its great that the stigma is slowly being removed and we are able to talk about our wondrous gut much more openly. As the research also unfolds and specific strains of bacteria are being isolated with links to specific conditions it seems as though we may be able to get prescriptive with our probiotics and thats a very exciting time ahead indeed. I for one, cannot wait.