Team TBC reveal their go-to products from The Beauty Chef range

At The Beauty Chef, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. In fact, the clinking of spoons and the buzz of the blender is a daily occurrence in our sunny Sydney office…

Every day without fail, we apply our lovely lotions and drink our probiotic potions – all in the name of good gut health, radiant skin and overall wellbeing. Needless to say, we’re certifiably obsessed with every single one of Carla’s creations, and it shows – each member of The Beauty Chef team radiates with health, happiness and vitality. Below, the team reveals their favourite glow-giving products from The Beauty Chef range… 

Sarah, Marketing & Digital Coordinator – GLOW Inner Beauty Essential™  

Since taking GLOW™ I have seen such a change in my overall gut health and I rarely feel bloated or sluggish! The biggest change that I have seen is with my skin – GLOW has completely eradicated my hormonal acne and given me a glowing complexion! I can’t go a day without it! 

Larissa, Product Development Executive – COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost™

COLLAGEN is one of my must-have TBC products, because I really see the difference in my skin when I take it. It visibly plumps my skin, but also I notice a big difference in my nails too. They grow faster and become so much stronger and less prone to chipping. COLLAGEN pairs so perfectly with GLOW™ in my morning drink and tastes like berries – I cannot go without it!

Tamara, Sales Administrator – FLORA FIX BALM™

Flora Fix Balm™ is my everyday go-to. I keep one on my desk, in my handbag and at home. I love it to hydrate my lips, soothe my dark circles and moisture my dry skin. It’s so rejuvenating and gives my skin an extra glow as well – I can’t live without it! 

Stephanie, International Sales Administrator – PROBIOTIC SKIN REFINER

I am definitely one to stand by the saying “beauty comes from the inside”, however, I do find a lot of benefit in using topical products for my skin as well. The Probiotic Skin Refiner is one of my daily go-to’s. Since using this product my skin has dramatically improved in tone and texture. When it comes to my skincare regime I do not skip a beat, the lactic acid content of the PSR means I am getting a gentle daily exfoliation which in turn gives me smoother and brighter skin, and who doesn’t want that!

Want to experience our staff favourites for yourself? Shop our limited edition Inside Out Beauty Kit and receive a free Flora Fix Balm™. 

Pomegranate & raspberry GUT PRIMER™ tonic

The Beauty Chef Pomegranate & raspberry Gut Primer tonic

MAKES 1 1/4 CUPS

Nourish your belly with this delicious digestive tonic! Designed to help soothe and calm digestion, it contains our restorative GUT PRIMER™ Inner Beauty Support™ powder, as well as fresh ginger and antioxidant-rich raspberries.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (125mL) filtered water
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) sugar-free pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup (60g) fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon GUT PRIMER™ Inner Beauty Support™
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Stevia equivalent to 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste

METHOD:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz to combine.

For more gut-nourishing recipe ideas, check out The Beauty Chef Gut Guide – available now.

Sauerkraut with Carrot, Caraway Seeds & Juniper Berries

SERVES 6

Fermentation is a completely natural biological process that is also pure genius, as it creates bio-active, medicinal foods with immune modulating and anti-inflammatory properties. Fermented fare is the ultimate synbiotic – prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic. It is rich in enzymes that help break down hard-to-digest proteins, making it perfect as a condiment with meals.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg (2 lb 3 oz / 1 medium)  red or green cabbage, outer leaves removed and reserved
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated 
  • 1 large handful dill leaves, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, lightly toasted
  • 10 juniper berries

METHOD:

  1. Cut cabbage in half, remove and discard the core.
  2. Thinly shred, wash and drain, then put in a large glass or ceramic bowl.
  3. Add the salt and massage into cabbage for 2–3 minutes to release its  liquid and to soften. The salt will combine with that liquid to make a brine. Add the carrots, dill, caraway seeds and berries and toss to combine.
  4. Tightly pack the mixture into a sterilised 1.5 litre (6 cup) glass jar, earthenware fermentation crock-pot or specialised fermentation jar with an airtight lid.
  5. Pour brine over the top and firmly press down vegetables to submerge. Cover with reserved cabbage leaves. 
  6. Weigh down mixture using a specialised ceramic weight or smaller jar filled with water to keep the contents submerged (if you are using a jar with an airtight lid, there’s no need). 
  7. Ensure there is a 5cm (2 in) gap between cabbage and the top of the jar to allow for extra liquid released during fermentation. If using a glass jar, cover with a double layer of muslin cloth (cheese cloth) and secure with a rubber band. If using a crock-pot or jar, secure the lid. 
  8. Let stand at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and in a well-ventilated place, for 1-2 weeks, or until the kraut smells and tastes sour. The length of time will vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen. During this time, if using a jar covered with muslin, check daily to ensure the vegetables are completely submerged in brine. 

Sauerkraut can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for a week or so to age before use. You can transfer your sauerkraut into smaller sterilised jars. Make sure to pack the jars tightly to submerge in the brine and seal with a lid. The kraut can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months – where the flavours will continue to develop.

Low FODMAP option: Enjoy sauerkraut made with red cabbage at 75g (2¾ oz) per serve.

For more gut-nourishing recipe ideas, check out The Beauty Chef Gut Guide – available now.

This is how your gut talks to your skin

This is how your gut talks to your skin

Sick and tired of dull, lacklustre skin? It’s time to turn your attention to the gut-skin connection… 

Believe it or not, but your skin and gut are in constant communication with one another. In fact, more and more research shows that where there is skin inflammation there’s also gut inflammation. Did you know that  IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is almost four times as likely to occur in people with eczema, while SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is ten times as prevalent in people with acne?

So while applying clean, nourishing products to the surface of your skin is important, nurturing your gut is the first—and most important—step on the journey to a clear complexion. 

The skin-gut connection explained.

Think of your gut and your skin as biological besties—the lines of communication between them are always open, and when one party is happy, so is the other. In science speak, the relationship between your gut and your skin is commonly referred to as the “gut-skin axis”. This axis can be thought of as a sort of information highway that functions through the microbiome, the ecosystem of bugs that live in your gut. These bugs–otherwise known as microbes–are like microscopic messengers that send information between your belly and your skin. Clever as they are, your microbes like to communicate in a number of ways–some release compounds that send signals to parts of the body, some send signals along the vagus nerve, and others communicate with the brain via the bloodstream. 

Cultivating a healthy skin-gut connection.

“It doesn’t sound very glamorous,” says Carla, our Founder & CEO, “but the gut is where the seeds for health and beauty are planted.” Giving your gut a little extra TLC is a surefire way to cultivate radiant and resilient skin. Here’s how to get your glow on from the inside, out:

  • Reduce inflammation.
    Start by incorporating more gut-healing foods into your diet and eliminating inflammatory triggers like gluten, dairy and sugar. Consider adding a calming and restorative supplement, like GUT PRIMER™, into your day to support digestive function and soothe the lining of the gut. If the lining of your gut is compromised, you might suffer from malabsorption issues, which will prevent you from absorbing many of those delicious skin-loving nutrients, like vitamin C and zinc.
  • Boost microbial diversity.
    Once you’ve soothed your gut, start to incorporate more gut-loving, fermented foods into your diet. These foods promote microbial diversity, boost immunity and bolster your microbiome. Research shows that people with a healthier gut microbiome also have a healthier fatty acid profile in their skin, meaning that their skin is more moisturised, hydrated and protected–all the more reason to take a teaspoon of our gut-loving wholefood powder, GLOW Inner Beauty Essential™, every day! GLOW contains a microbiologist-approved combination of over 20 bio-fermented ingredients, as well as skin-loving nutrients, like vitamin C and zinc, to promote youthful, luminous skin.

Ready to learn more about the complex connection between your gut and your skin? We’ve got you covered.

Get gutsy with Carla | Why it’s important to be a good ‘host’

Cultivating a positive relationship with the trillions of microbes living in your gut is the key to good health. Here’s how to love your gut bugs better… 

The key to throwing a successful dinner party is creating a welcoming environment for your guests, and the same goes for becoming a better ‘host’ to our gut bugs. 

Increasingly, research is showing that our relationship with our microbiome – that is, the trillions of microbes that reside in our digestive tract – may be the most important relationship we’ll ever have. 

It might come as a surprise to many of us that these microbes actually control much of our health and wellbeing. They digest our food, assist in the absorption of nutrients and manufacture some vitamins, essential amino acids and bioactive molecules. They also help regulate many hormones that impact our mood, brain function, energy levels, immunity, metabolism and more. 

We could even go so far as to say that our microbiome is our ‘other half’ – it develops with us from the day we’re born and it’s in constant communication with our brain. For this reason, we need to build a strong and harmonious relationship with our resident microbial cells. In essence, we need to learn how to be a good host for the many microorganisms that call us home – because when these gut microbes are happy and thriving, chances are, we’ll enjoy good health, vitality and glowing skin too! 

SO, HOW DO YOU BECOME A BETTER ‘HOST’?

In The Beauty Chef Gut Guide, I shared some of my favourite gut-nourishing recipes and delved a little deeper into our relationship with our microbiome. While our relationship with our microbiome is always evolving, being a good host involves nourishing and nurturing your gut bugs with wholesome food and healthy lifestyle choices. Getting enough sleep, avoiding toxins in your environment and reducing stress are all important – as research shows that if you’re stressed, then it’s likely your microbiome is too. Arguably, the simplest and most effective way to be a good host is to eat with your microbiome in mind…

EAT TO SHARE.

A philosophy that we explore in the Gut Guide is the idea of ‘eating to share’. In this instance, I’m not talking about sharing with your partner or best friend (although, you should do that too!) but rather, ensuring that you eat in such a way that both you (the host) and your microbes are satisfied. This essentially means eating a diverse, nutrient balanced diet with lots of fibre rich whole foods. Fibre is food for your microbes – they ferment in the large intestine and make health giving compounds called short chain fatty acids that support gut health, metabolic health, brain health and immune health. Conversely, a diet that’s dominated by processed, refined foods will fail to provide enough food for the beneficial bugs in your colon. As a general rule, always aim to have more plants on your plate than meat – your gut bugs will love you for it! 

REST & DIGEST.

Being a good host also means giving yourself and microbiome enough time and space to digest after a meal. As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this is certainly true when it comes to your microbes and their next meal! By fasting for at least 8 hours (which many of us do naturally when we sleep) you’ll give your gut bugs the time they need to enjoy the fibrous foods you’ve eaten and also give your digestive system a well-deserved break.

COMMUNICATE.

Like all healthy relationships, it’s important to communicate! While that might sound a little strange, I encourage you to check in with your body regularly. How do you feel after eating a certain food? What are your toilet habits like? Do you experience bloating immediately after dinner? Our gut microbes are constantly communicating with us, and as their host, it’s our job to listen!

If you’d like to learn more about the concept of being a good host, pick up a copy of The Beauty Chef Gut Guide! It contains plenty of tips and tricks on how to care for the incredible ecosystem that lives inside of you, as well as a four stage gut-healing protocol that guides you through the process of healing, weeding, seeding and feeding your gut. 

Carla xx

The link between sleep and gut health

The Beauty Chef The link between sleep and gut health

‘Sleep is your superpower’ may just be the most scientifically-proven meme on social media.

Good quality sleep is known to improve our moods, memory, and creativity. It lowers anxiety, depression and stress plus reduces your risk of other chronic diseases. And it supports our immune systems.

Exciting new discoveries about the health benefits of sleep (and the impacts of not getting enough) just keep on coming. But the most significant finding of all could be the emerging connection between the quality of our sleep and the health of our gut.

We already know a lack of sleep can increase our risk of obesity, weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Sleep disruption also negatively affects our appetite and insulin sensitivity. But sleep researchers are now exploring how sleep impacts our gut microbiome – and vice versa.

How sleep affects gut health

Recent research has shown that losing sleep may have a negative effect on the health and diversity of the microbes residing in our guts. So, given that microbial diversity is one of the key indicators for good health – a lack of sleep could be costly. Other studies suggest that our gut microbes may actually influence how well we sleep, too. For instance, it has been discovered that our gut microbes have their own internal clocks or circadian rhythms and these rhythms appear to have an effect on the sleep-wake cycles of their human hosts.

Another study found that beneficial gut microbes may also help to protect us from the effects of stress – which as we know, contributes to poor sleep. The study found that a diet rich in prebiotics (for example, the insoluble fibres found in onions, leeks, artichokes and other fibrous vegetables) feeds our microbes which in turn, helps to regulate our stress response and possibly improves our sleep quality as a result. On the flipside, the researchers discovered that even short-term exposure to stress can alter the balance of our gut microbes.

It’s important to note too, that the beneficial bacteria in our gut can also boost our body’s supply of melatonin – our sleep hormone – helping to maintain and support our body’s natural sleep cycles. Given that melatonin has the ability to help protect the gut from stress-induced lesions, getting enough sleep is integral to not only our gut health, but overall wellbeing as well.

It’s no wonder then that experts agree that taking care of your gut health may just be one of the most supportive sleep habits of all.

How to cultivate better gut health – and therefore, better sleep

To improve your gut health as well as your sleep quality, it’s important to first address what you’re putting on your plate. Begin by eating a diverse range of low human intervention foods – unprocessed, wholefoods, as close to their natural state as possible. Think high fibre, prebiotic plant foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, legumes and plenty of probiotic-rich lacto-fermented foods such as full-fat yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut and kimchi.

At the same time, try to avoid processed foods, refined sugars, pesticides and unnecessary antibiotics which can all have a detrimental effect on the health and diversity of your microbes.

And, to supercharge the effects of your healthy diet – indulge in daily exercise, which has also been shown to improve the quality of your sleep and change the composition of your gut microbiome.

How do you cultivate better sleep habits? We’d love to hear your tips…




Rhubarb & Pear Cobbler with Coconut Dumplings


SERVES 6

Looking for a comforting winter dessert that’s both skin and gut friendly? When it comes to desserts, puddings and dumplings are the two that satisfy the most! This warming and sumptuous dessert is like bread and butter pudding meets apple pie. And, aside from being delicious, it will also keep both your skin and microbial community happy, as it’s full of beauty-boosting and fibre-rich ingredients like rhubarb, coconut flour and pear.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz, approx. 1 bunch) rhubarb, cut into 5 cm (2 in) lengths
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz, approx. 3 medium) ripe pears, quartered, cored & sliced into thirds lengthways
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted & coarsely chopped
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon 
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz / ⅓ cup) water
  • 4 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure organic maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g (3½ oz / 1 cup) ground almonds
  • 40g (1½ oz / ⅓ cup) coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/½ tablespoons unsalted cultured butter, chilled & diced
  • 2 free-range organic eggs, lightly beaten
  • 80ml (2½ fl oz / ⅓ cup) tinned coconut milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 80ml (2½ fl oz / ⅓ cup) almond milk
  • Coconut yoghurt, to serve (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas Mark 5). 
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb, pears, dates and lemon zest. Transfer the mix into a 2 litre (68 fl oz/8 cup) capacity ovenproof dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the water and 2 tablespoons of the arrowroot. Add the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, the vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over the fruit and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the ground almonds, coconut flour, remaining arrowroot and baking powder and stir.
  5. Use your fingers to rub in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut milk, almond milk and the remaining maple syrup.
  7. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Set aside for 10 minutes to rehydrate the coconut flour.
  8. Drop six evenly sized lumps of the dumpling mixture over the fruit. Brush with some coconut milk milk and lightly dust with cinnamon. 
  9. Cover the tray with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes until the filling begins to bubble up around the sides.
  10. Remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the dumplings are golden brown.
  11. Serve with coconut yoghurt, if desired.

CARLA’S TIP:  If you don’t have pears, you can swap them for apples with their skins on for a probiotic-rich dessert.
For more gut-nourishing recipe ideas, check out The Beauty Chef Gut Guide – available now.

5 ways your gut health may be affecting your hormones

The Beauty Chef 5 ways your gut health may be affecting your hormones

Your hardworking gut microbes do so much more than digest the food you eat.

While it’s true that they help you to process, synthesise and absorb nutrients – as well as manufacturing some important vitamins, essential amino acids and bioactive molecules – your gut microbial community has a powerful influence over your health and wellbeing that extends far beyond your digestive tract.

As Carla explains in The Beauty Chef Gut Guide, “The gut is one of the most complex systems in the body. It consists of living organisms, immune and nervous system cells and hormonal glands. It’s where we produce and regulate many essential hormones and neurotransmitters and metabolise nutrients and neutralise pathogens and where you will find at least 70 per cent of our immune system.”

The role that your gut microbes play in producing and regulating many essential hormones and neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) has a powerful influence on your moods, appetite, metabolism, energy and blood sugar levels. Thus, supporting the mini eco-system of microorganisms that populate your digestive tract can have beneficial effects on your hormone health.

Here are five ways your gut microbiome can affect your hormone health – and vice versa…

Serotonin

The links between gut health, mood and your sense of wellbeing are complex. But research has shown links between dysbiosis or inflammation in the gut microbiome and mental illness, including anxiety and depression.

Ninety per cent of your serotonin – often referred to as the happy hormone – is produced in your gut. This mood-boosting hormone is also involved in supporting gut motility, sleep, bone and cardiovascular health. Apart from cultivating good gut health, you can also support serotonin production by eating tryptophan-rich foods such as eggs, seeds, nuts, cheese, lean meat and lentils.

Oestrogen

Surprisingly your digestive health can also affect your sex hormones – particularly your oestrogen levels. Your gut microbiota produce an enzyme called B-glucuronidase that turns oestrogen into its active form. However, this doesn’t happen if you have gut dysbiosis or low microbial diversity. When this happens you end up with less active – or useful – oestrogen circulating in your bloodstream and more bound or inactive oestrogen ready for excretion. If your elimination pathways are overloaded, that bound oestrogen gets recirculated, which can cause oestrogen dominance and manifest in symptoms including adrenal fatigue, bloating, mood swings, fluid retention, acne and breast tenderness. Supporting your gut microbiome and excretion pathways can therefore help to avoid a build-up of excess oestrogen.

Appetite, blood sugar regulation, energy & digestion

Your gut microbiome produces a number of digestive hormones including cholecystokinin, gastrin, secretin and ghrelin that help regular your appetite, various digestive processes, energy and blood sugar levels. Ghrelin, secreted by the lining of the stomach, is known as the hunger hormone because it stimulates your appetite when it enters the bloodstream.

GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric acid is another neurotransmitter produced by beneficial gut bacteria such as Lactobacillus. GABA helps reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and improves sleep. Consuming probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented wholefoods may help support GABA production and ease symptoms of anxiety. While mood disorders are complex, research suggests reducing gut inflammation by nourishing your gut microbiome may also be a helpful part of a treatment protocol.

Hormonal acne

The underlying causes of acne may be due to hormonal or digestive imbalances – or a combination of both. Hormonal acne is triggered by raised levels of hormones or sensitivity to the hormone testosterone or other androgens which stimulate sebaceous glands in the skin. This can happen during puberty, mid-cycle or during your period.

Oestrogen and progesterone can affect the speed at which food moves through the digestive tract, causing bloating, diarrhea or constipation at various stages of the menstrual cycle. Constipation can also slow or overload other elimination pathways and lead to hormonal imbalances which in turn can trigger symptoms such as bloating, cramping, mood disorders, headaches, sugar cravings and breast tenderness. And, the stress hormone cortisol can also trigger acne by upsetting the balance of gut bacteria and suppressing our immune system.

All good reasons to love your gut!

Have any questions for us about the link between hormone health and gut health? Let us know in the comments below.