Lulu Adams, pre and postnatal personal trainer and wellness coach speaks to Tara Sinclair from Rhythm Kefir
I’m a bit of a gut geek. Over the last few years, my approach to ‘training’ has changed massively, mostly due to the fact that my two little ones (Willa, 2 and Effie, 7 months) have had a huge impact on my life both physically and mentally – both pregnancies were hard, and my recoveries weren’t easy either. I found that my usual approach to training of ‘just get it done’ and leave nothing at the door just didn’t fit with my life as a mother. I needed balance, and that meant I needed to listen to my body better.
I’ve been a big fan of probiotics for a while, but it was only recently that I found Rhythm Kefir, and embarked on their 30 day intensive course to ‘reset my gut’, because I was exhausted, my skin was bad, I was bloated, and suffering serious headaches – all despite the fact that generally I’m a pretty healthy person in terms of diet and lifestyle! Long story short, but it really did work. I felt calmer, more energized, my skin got better and my headaches disappeared…
I spoke with Tara Sinclair, at Rhythm Kefir about what makes their product so great. Rhythm is a small company with a hugely passionate team who are paving the way in the busy market for truly effective probiotic products. They very kindly provided us with their ‘everyday shots’ (which have recently launched in Sainsbury’s) at our last retreat for our new mums – and are generously giving YOU, our Tribe followers, an exclusive discount on both the 30 day intensive range, and their everyday shot range.
Use ’30-day-rh-course’ to purchase their 30 day intensive course for £200.00 (usual RRP £375.00)
Use ‘Rhythm-25-health-off’ to receive 25% off everything from their online shop
SO WHY IS OUR GUT SO IMPORTANT?
The gut is so much more than just a system to digest food, and it’s super important to give it some love during pregnancy and early motherhood. Yes it plays a central role in breaking down food for nourishment and cell repair, but there are two other jobs it does that really matter to us mammas, both during pregnancy and beyond.
The lining of the gut is the first line of defence within our immune system: the right amount of good bacteria enables us to fight off the nasty bacteria that enters our bloodstream through food particles, general dirt and the very air we breathe. We are exposed daily to a certain level of bad bacteria. This is inevitable, as the gut is part of a long tube that is ‘open’ to the outside world via our mouth and our bottoms (!). This isn’t a design flaw though – as by keeping the good bacteria on its toes, the gut becomes more experienced at fighting off these bugs (practice makes perfect, hey?). If you often experience colds, headaches, fatigue, and/or skin breakouts, it might be time to give that gut some TLC.
Also, there is now increasing evidence that the gut is actually our ‘second brain’. Ever heard the term ‘trust your gut’? Well there’s more sense to that saying than we might think. The gut contains more neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) than the brain itself – which can be why when we’re feeling stressed or anxious, we often reach for the nearest sugary treat, because the body knows that the gut is the quickest route to get these neurotransmitters firing efficiently to fix our emotional equilibrium. This means that if the gut is struggling in any way, it can’t be any use in helping to keep your emotions in check. Low moods, heightened anxiety and broken sleep patterns (not just because baby is waking!) are signs again that the gut might need a helping hand.
WHAT CAN NEGATIVELY AFFECT OUR GUT IN PREGNANCY AND EARLY MOTHERHOOD?
Just like humans take antibiotics to fight off unwanted bacteria, we also put chemical sprays onto plants to protect them against fungal or bacterial attack. Unfortunately, when these are sprayed onto fruit and vegetables, we wind up eating them, too. Chemical residue can impact our gut flora, so choosing organic is best in this regard to avoid it.
Antibiotic medications interfere massively with the balance of our microbiome within the gut. While antibiotics are designed to attack bad bacteria, they indiscriminately wipe out our ALL the good bacteria as well, whose job it is to prevent the bad stuff from entering our bloodstream.
Having said that, we know full well that during pregnancy and early motherhood, if we are struck down with a bacterial infection we often want to get well as quickly as possible, and we are by no means saying don’t take antibiotics – just know that this will leave your gut in a vulnerable state afterwards.
If our bodies sense that we are threatened in some way, we automatically switch into something called ‘fight or flight’ mode. This was designed (back in caveman times) to help us prepare for an attack of some sort. Back then, ‘stress’ meant we either needed to run fast, or we needed to fight, so our blood is diverted to our muscles rather than our tummies. However, our environment today is very different to caveman times, and we don’t often find ourselves under attack from a wild animal…instead though, what we now perceive to be a ‘threat’ might be a lack of sleep, a screaming baby, the looks or comments we get when our toddler throws a tantrum in a supermarket or an argument with a partner over who last emptied the dishwasher! Which means, that we are switching into this ‘stressed out’ state far too quickly. If your gut is constantly in this stressed state, then it won’t be working efficiently to do any of its other jobs.
SO HOW CAN WE IMPROVE OUR GUT HEALTH?
Consume Plenty of Fibre
One of our body’s main methods of eliminating the ‘bad stuff’ is through our poo! However, we can’t do this job properly unless we’re getting enough fibre to keep things moving along and passing though. After childbirth our digestive system can be affected physically by a number of factors (anaesthetic used during labour, temporary lack of muscle tone in abdominal area, medications used for postpartum pain relief and vitamin use – particularly iron supplements. So remember to eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, chia seeds, legumes, soaked/activated nuts, quinoa and brown rice to really boost your fibre intake.
Think of your intestines as one giant tube that propels food along. As this food travels through the tube, nutrients and water are absorbed. The body also puts toxins, metabolic by-products and excess cholesterol back into the tube for elimination. But without sufficient water, the intestines blocks up and transit slows down. Staying hydrated helps to keep materials moving through your digestive ‘tube’ soft and moving freely, thereby supporting the entire absorption and elimination process.
Digestion really does begin in the mouth. Your saliva contains enzymes that start to break down starches in food as you chew. Plus, the act of chewing also signals to your brain that the process of digestion is beginning. The other benefit of eating slowly is that you’re less likely to overeat: eating slowly gives your body plenty of time to actually acknowledge that you’re full!
Take a probiotic
And my biggest piece of advice for new mothers, who find themselves in a stressed state due to broken sleep patterns (and especially those that have taken a course of antibiotics in the last two years), is to give your gut a boost with a probiotic supplement. Studies have shown that when women increase their probiotic intake during pregnancy and after birth there is almost a 50% chance of reducing the risk of allergies in their babies. It can also help to:
• Reduce risk of preeclampsia
• Minimize morning sickness
• Decrease chances of gestational diabetes
• Build your baby’s immunity
• Prevent eczema in babies
• Keep colic away
• Prevent nappy rash and nappy yeast
• Avoid postpartum depression
• Aid postpartum weight loss
…And this is where Rhythm Kefir comes in.
The official definition of a probiotic is “a microorganism introduced into the body for its beneficial health qualities. Broken down further, these microorganisms (or good bacteria, as they are also known) then go about improving or restoring gut flora which leads to the various health benefits”.
Probiotics can be found in various natural food sources, such as yogurt, fermented cheeses, such as gouda, cheddar and Parmesan) and fermented vegetable products, such as miso, sauerkraut and pickles). There is also an array of probiotic supplements readily available in supermarkets and chemists wherever you look.
Now kefir is a sort of blend of the two. It’s a cultured, fermented drink (so it’s natural) that has been drunk by our ancestors for optimum health for over 2000 years. It’s made using kefir grains, which are actually complex micro-organisms themselves. These grains are a perfect symbiosis (or harmonious balance) of bacteria, yeasts and enzymes. The complexity and composition of these living organisms varies from one type of kefir grain to another, however, it is the harmony of these micro-organisms that gives kefir its unique status and qualities.
One way of explaining it simply is when these grains are put into a ‘carrier’ such as coconut milk, they then feed on the nutrition inside the liquid whilst they are fermented and in exchange they give out baby probiotic bacteria. Much like humans though, they are live and therefore need to be constantly fed or they get stressed and starve to death.
You can only get kefir from kefir grains (they are naturally occurring and cannot be man made). They grow and multiply in milk/plant based milks/water and small pieces break off the big cluster, which also start growing – and so it goes on…
But probiotic pills seem to be everywhere, and are often cheaper. How is kefir different from these powdered probiotics?
When compared to probiotic pills, kefir always comes out as being more beneficial. Besides the fact that it’s almost always better to get nutrients from whole food sources, kefir also delivers more beneficial bacteria than probiotic pills, as the food itself actually protects the bacteria from being killed off by your stomach acid as you digest it.
The bacteria in the pill form is less protected, and more likely to be inactive by the time it reaches your intestines, plus they are freeze dried which is a bit like turning a grape into a raisin and expecting it to have the same nutritional properties. Providing healthy bacteria is also not the only benefit of kefir. It is also contains other nutrients and minerals that your body needs
So why choose Rhythm Kefir over other milk based kefirs on the market?
There are numerous kefir brands on the market these days. However Rhythm is the first non-dairy, unpasteurized kefir on the market with such a large diversity and high potency.
· We use live grains unlike other kefirs which use freeze dried cultures.
· Our kefir is made using coconut milk so 100% dairy free, vegan and gluten free
· It’s 100% natural
· It’s raw pressed
· There are literally billions of live bacteria (2 billion in the everyday shots, and 200 billion in the intensive course shots!)
Rhythm stays as close to mother nature as possible and have had incredible results with various customers on array of gut related and immune issues which can be seen if you click here.