What’s your gut telling you?
How often have you been asked that question, and under what circumstances: a career move, choosing a mate, investing in a new home, selecting a school? Interestingly enough, it isn’t your gut making those decisions at all, but the limbic part of your brain which is responsible for processing and controlling emotions. When we face big decisions, there is definitely a response of emotional pull in our “guts.” It serves us well and leads us to choose with emotion and with facts.
But really, what’s your gut telling you?
So much of my passion revolves around preparing food and gathering around the table with loved ones. Food plays an integral part in the nutrition of our bodies. Food nourishes; feeds our many organs and delivers a variety of important nutrients to all the components that make us whole.
A down and dirty science lesson
Did you know that what makes us whole is comprised of overwhelmingly more microbiota than DNA; and that we also need food to feed our microbiomes?
The human body has just over 21,000 genes, the DNA that makes us unique. But these are not the only genes that make us human and pale in comparison to the microbes living in and on our bodies, which total 100 trillion. Comprised of bacteria, fungi, viruses and archaea (a group similar to bacteria), these microbes depend on the cells of one another to replicate and give life alongside our genes. When you compare those numbers, the importance of feeding our microbiome becomes clear.
The bacteria in our body plays a key role in development, digestion, immunity, skin and even behavior and mental health. There is also strong evidence that a healthy microbiome affects the developing child’s brain during the first 5 years of life.
How do we feed our microbiomes? Fermented foods are an excellent source of probiotics, as well as kombucha and kefir yogurt. Miso soup is another great avenue, full of lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria. On the whole, Americans consume a diet laden with processed sugary foods, high in saturated fats. Pair this diet with the rise of prescribed antibiotics over the past 20 years and overuse of antibacterial soaps + hand sanitizer, we now have a recipe for a very malnourished microbiome.
Not surprisingly, because our microbiomes haven’t been well fed mixed with the lifestyle changes mentioned above, we’ve seen a rise in the following conditions:
- Poor or weakened immune health
- Leaky gut disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Allergies (both food and environmental)
- Poor Digestion
- Poor amino acid + vitamin synthesis
Probiotics: My journey to a healthy gut
Probiotics are now a staple in my diet, as well as that of my family.
As some of you have followed me for some time, you may recall my journey in food took a sharp turn upon the birth of our first daughter in 2011. We had a healthy pregnancy and were set to deliver mid May naturally. At 39 weeks, I fell and landed partially on my stomach. No damage was done to baby or mom, but the fall caused her to turn into a breach position the next day. This led to a C-section delivery three days later.
The downfall of our cesarian delivery meant that her first contact with bacteria were those in the hospital’s delivery room and on the doctors’ and nurses’ skin in lieu of through the birth canal and mom’s skin. Babies who don’t inherit a robust microbiome from mom are more at risk for contracting illnesses as soon as they are born.
In our story, her biome was weakened and we spent the next 5 months experiencing a baby with severe reflux, failure to thrive, intense gut discomfort and multiple food intolerances. It was not until we met with a Pediatric Gastroenterologist that we discovered a plan of action to attempt to ease her tummy troubles. Fast forward to the birth of our second daughter in 2014, we saw ourselves going down the same path of discomfort, reflux and sleepless nights for both baby and parents.
That’s where my deep dive into the pool of “what’s in our food, and what is it doing to our bodies” began. In the name of convenience and mass production, our foods are stripped of their naturally derived healthy ingredients and laden with sugars, fillers, preservatives and GMO’s. This paired with an unhealthy biome has led us to be a population looking at more cases of juvenile diabetes, depression, obesity and autoimmune diseases than ever before.
It wasn’t until recently that I was introduced to the concept of our bodies as a microbiome, and our total health is not only tied to the quality of food we feed it – but also how critical it is to feed our biome of bacteria and fungus a healthy diet. In today’s fast paced world, it’s become more and more difficult to obtain the nutrients our biomes require to maintain good gut health.
I had certainly attempted a number of probiotics for myself and my girls as infants – but finding one that had multiple strains of healthy bacteria (vs. 2 or 3) – moreover the right strains for our bodies at the appropriate age was difficult. Pair that with the multiple food intolerances they had, finding a line that was allergen free and non-GMO was also important to me. We used probiotics when our digestive tracts were in distress or while on antibiotics, but I can’t say that we ever experienced a real change. I was neither a strong opponent or proponent of probiotics.
When Lifestyle meets Life Change
This winter, I was given samples from a relatively new to the market probiotic company called LoveBug. First of all, the name struck me as we have always referred to our first born as our little love bug – to this day her nickname is “bug.”
I immediately looked up information on the company and discovered the very reason they exist is because their CEO had a very resonating story from the birth of her first son and the health problems they encountered post birth. I was drawn to the quality of ingredients, noting that they are non-GMO, allergen free, sugar free + include no chemicals, artificial flavors or preservatives. They even go so far to pack their bottles with organic cotton, because quality of ingredients matters to them.
Believing in how they manufacture their products is great, but the proof is in the pudding. When I received the products, both my girls had recurring bouts of ear infections and were on antibiotics for the better part of the month. Two days into the LoveBug probiotics, we noticed a dramatic change in their gut and digestive health. I myself noticed a drastic change in my gut health and even noted changes in my skin for the better. (Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a cleaner + more glowing complexion?)
Fast forward 2 months: my family has noted many benefits from taking a daily probiotic. What I had hoped for from other brands, we have experienced with LoveBug. I have noticed a stronger immune system in both girls, regular BM’s (they’re cleverly noted for being #1 at #2), less tummy discomfort, changes in our skin and the beginning benefits of healing their biomes from previously mentioned issues. As a mom, I am constantly seeking out ways to provide my family with healthy nutrition. This now also includes nutrition for our biomes; after all – it’s 90% of our composition.
I was so passionate about this company and LoveBug’s vision to be the voice of change and health to our babies and lifestyles that I engaged in discussions with the CEO to work for LoveBug. What began as a happenstantial meeting quickly morphed into a merging of passions between two moms with plans to educate and encourage healthy bodies of families everywhere – a critical portion of this being healthy microbiomes.
I’ll never forget the discussion she and I had about purpose and passion. As we chatted about health, motherhood and the current landscape of overall health, she looked at me and said “If trends continue, the current generation of babies being born to millennial moms will be a generation that suffers most from cancer, diabetes, kidney failure and poor health. That means we, as moms will be the generation that sits back and lets it happen. I refuse to sit back and let that happen.”
Cue the goosebumps and the beginning of what I’m sure will be the most purpose driven career platform of my life.
To learn more about LoveBug + their entire line of probiotics, visit www.lovebugprobiotics.com
I’m confident you’ll love their products + vision, and I’m so excited to share my journey with you.
Cheers to your good health!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LoveBug Probiotics. The opinions and text are all mine.
- Collen, Alanna. 10% Human. How your Body’s Microbes hold the key to health and happiness. New York: HarperCollins, 2015. Print
- Sugar Coated, 2015 Michele Hozer. (Documentary via Netflix or IMDb)
- Fed Up, 2014. Stephanie Soechtig. (Documentary via Netflix or IMDb)