Get Gutsy with Carla | Why Pleasure Should Be Considered a Nutrient

The Beauty Chef Get Gutsy with Carla I Why Pleasure Should Be Considered a Nutrient

When we think about what nourishes us, most of us can rattle off a list of macro and micronutrients, minerals and maybe a few superfoods. But while worrying about whether we’re getting enough of vitamins A, B and C (plus the rest!), we often forget about vitamin P.

That’s P for pleasure. The abstract, personal-but-universally desired feeling of happiness, satisfaction and gratification that we all chase. Because pleasure can boost so much more than our moods—it also has a powerful effect on our immunity, metabolism and even our skin.

In their book Feeling Good Is Good For You, researchers Carl Charnetski and Francis Brennan explain the measurable connection between pleasure and the immune system, arguing that it promotes good health, helps protect us from disease and is the best antidote to stress. All the more reason to find small yet significant daily joy rides: taking a dip in the ocean, cozying up on the couch, enjoying a healthy sex life, getting in a workout—you do you!

Similarly, when it comes to food, the ancient Ayurvedic system of medicine advises against eating when unhappy, angry or distracted. As studies show—and anyone who has felt unfulfilled by a sad desk salad can attest—eating too fast, conducting a heated debate during a meal or consuming our food without awareness are all barriers to healthy digestion. 

And it’s not just how we eat, but what we eat. As nutritional psychologist and author of The Slow Down Diet Marc David explains, the appearance and taste of our food also has positive effects on our metabolism, with pleasure flicking the same switch in our brains that turns on relaxation, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Similarly, keeping our gut microbes happy can also have a profound impact on our capacity for pleasure. That’s because 90 percent of our mood-boosting hormone serotonin Is produced in our gut. Another neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps reduce stress and improves sleep, is produced by beneficial bacteria. 

As outlined by Harvard Medical School, consuming probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented wholefoods may be beneficial in helping to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Eating more fibre from plant food and less meat will also keep your gut microbes—and thus us—happy, too.

Of course, it can be hard to enjoy our food while worrying about what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. But healthy and pleasurable don’t have to be mutually exclusive terms when it comes to the kitchen. Think: these gut-friendly sweet potato fries, Swedish meatballs and a super-comforting rhubarb and pear cobbler you won’t want to miss.  

Are you getting enough vitamin P? If not, how are you hoping to increase your daily dose?

4 Signs Your Liver Needs a Little Love

Whether you’re welcoming the arrival of spring as we are in the Southern Hemisphere or prepping for the festive season ahead, this is the perfect time of year to hit reset. 

If—like many of us—the below sounds familiar, your liver might be telling you that your insides need some TLC. That’s why we created CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder™—a nutrient-dense, bio-fermented, super-greens supplement to help purify the body from the inside, out. With an intense dose of Certified Organic, alkalising wholefoods, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics and antioxidants, it was designed to amplify your body’s natural detoxification processes and support smoother, clearer skin.

It’s worth noting that many of these symptoms could be indicative of other health conditions, so it’s always important to check in regularly with your health care practitioner.

You’re Bloated

Struggling with digestive issues is one of the most obvious signs that you need to reset. Symptoms like feeling bloated, gassy, nauseous or constipated are not only uncomfortable, they may hint bigger concerns like an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, leaky gut, food allergies, intolerances or IBS. The liver sends processed toxins to the bowels to be excreted, but if your bowels aren’t moving properly (as a result of your gut), your body can’t properly expel waste and toxins.

You’re Feeling Exhausted

While some degree of stress is inevitable, insomnia, being more tired than usual or even after seven or more hours sleep shouldn’t be par for the course. As the body’s chief detoxification organ, fatigue and lethargy might be signs that your elimination pathways are overwhelmed.

You Can’t Shake That Cold

If so, it’s likely your gut microbiome is out of balance. Since 70 percent of your immune system lies in your digestive tract, it makes sense that your body’s ability to fight a cold or flu is heavily reliant on the state of your inner ecosystem.

You’re Breaking Out

As we know, the state of your complexion a good indication of what’s going on inside the body. If your liver isn’t functioning properly, the skin attempts to pick up the slack by eliminating waste through the skin cells. The results? Pimples and acne. 

If this sounds like you, we’d recommend following our free 14-Day Cleanse Program, which is full of recipes and simple-yet-effective diet and lifestyle advice. 

Simple Ways to Nourish Your Gut for Better Brain Health

The Beauty Chef Simple Ways to Nourish Your Gut for Better Brain Health

Our much-loved #30DAYSTOGLOW Challenge is back for another year! For the month of September, join us on a journey to luminous skin and a healthy, happy belly by taking a teaspoon of GLOW™ every day. Below, even more reason to take care of your gut…

Battling brain fog? Memory like a sieve? While it’s tempting to reach for another coffee, the key to a sharp mind actually starts in your belly…

At this very moment, there’s a delicate dance taking place between your gut and your brain. An incredible network of neurons, chemicals and hormones, known as the “Gut-Brain Axis”, is sending feedback up and down a complex information highway that operates between your belly and your brain. Given that our brain health—and consequently, our mood—is so strongly influenced by the bugs in our gut, eating in a way that nourishes this community of microbes is essential for a healthy mind-body connection. 

Read on for three simple ways to help boost your brain health.

Get Gluten-Savvy

Eating foods that contain gluten—think most breads, cereals, packaged foods and even some sauces—has been linked to increased intestinal permeability and leaky gut. Leaky gut has been shown to prompt an inflammatory response in the body, which can become chronic if the immune system is constantly triggered. This is because the junctions in the gut lining become permeable, allowing endotoxins and food antigens to pass through.

If you decide to go gluten-free, be sure not to skimp on fibre. Enjoy plenty of fibrous veggies and include some gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat in your diet too. Your gut bugs feed on fibre and use it to make short-chain fatty acids, anti-inflammatory compounds are great for skin, metabolic, brain and gut health. 

Limit Your Sugar Intake

Too much sweet stuff not only creates an imbalance in gut bacteria but can also lead to gut permeability and inflammation. Again, this is bad news for our brain. The brain is the most energy-demanding of all organs in the body and needs a certain type of sugar—known as glucose—to function at its best. But more glucose doesn’t necessarily mean more brain power! In fact, high blood glucose levels have been associated with mood disorders, poor memory and impaired mental capacity in people with type 2 diabetes. Evidence also shows that dysbiosis or inflammation in the gut can be a contributing factor to some mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression. Limit your intake of added sugars (which you’ll mostly find in processed, packaged food) and instead focus on enjoying the natural sweetness of fruits and veggies—your brain gets plenty of glucose from these sources alone.

Nosh On Healthy Fats

Fat is a highly efficient fuel source for the brain. In fact, your brain is approximately 60% fat and needs dietary fat, specifically omega-3s, to build brain cells. What’s more, fats are the vehicles that transport fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) to the brain. Some of our favourite sources of dietary fat include wild-caught salmon, small oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, grass fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil and free-range organic eggs. Healthy fats also benefit the skin, so eat up! 

Want to discover more ways to boost your brain health and improve your mood? Check out these 6 healthy happiness hacks

5 Skin-Loving Ingredients You Need to Know About

Our much-loved #30DAYSTOGLOW Challenge is back for another year! For the month of September, join us on a journey to luminous skin and a healthy, happy belly by taking a teaspoon of GLOW™ every day. Below, how to maximise your glow for inside-out radiance… 

It’s not news that a diverse diet full of colourful veggies, fibrous fruits and plenty of H20 is key to a gorgeous, healthy-looking complexion. But did you know that GLOW Inner Beauty Essential™ contains over 20 Certified Organic wholefoods that promote skin radiance and rejuvenation? These wholefoods are supercharged using our unique fermentation process called Flora Culture™, which makes the nutrients in the formula more bioavailable, while also creating a broad-spectrum probiotic. Pretty nifty, right? Below, we break down some of our hero ingredients: 

Maqui Berry

No surprises here—berries are the star of the edible skincare world. They contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which studies show are linked to some pretty impressive skin-protective properties like increasing elastin and hyaluronic acid. They’re also rich in vitamin C, which is imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen. Our fave? The exotic Maqui berry, an antioxidant-dense superfood that grows in South America.

Microalgae

At this point in the wellness game, you’ve probably heard of spirulina and chlorella. These sought-after green smoothie ingredients are super nutritious and possess some well-documented anti-inflammatory properties. But there’s one type of microalgae that trumps them both: Dunaliella salina. Rich in nutrients and naturally high in antioxidants, it contains more than double the mineral content and at least three times the beta-carotene of spirulina—the antioxidant that converts into vitamin A, which is necessary for hair growth and can help improve acne and the appearance of pigmentation. 

Queen Garnet Plum

Bursting with vitamin C, this sweet superfruit supports collagen synthesis, which in turn, contributes to healthy, plump-looking skin. It’s also a rich source of health-boosting anthocyanins, containing far more than the average supermarket plum. 

Turmeric

This bitter spice is rich in phytonutrients (natural chemicals produced by plants) like curcumin that have strong anti-inflammatory benefits. Inflammation contributes to a whole host of skin problems (think dryness and acne) and also breaks down collagen and elastin. Read: premature aging. 

Sunflower Seeds

These little power parcels are full to the brim with skin-loving goodness like vitamin E, zinc and B vitamins. In fact, a ¼ cup serving of sunflower seeds contains 34% of your RDI of vitamin E and 32% of your RDI of selenium, a mineral essential for normal immune function as well as the maintenance of healthy hair, skin and nails. 

Looking for new ways to enjoy GLOW? Try these delicious gluten-free Pancakes with GLOW Yoghurt and Berry Compote.

Almond & Cinnamon Pancakes With Glow Yoghurt & Berry Compote

SERVES 2

Give your belly at little extra TLC throughout the #30DAYSTOGLOW Challenge with these nourishing gluten-free pancakes. Containing GLOW Inner Beauty Essential™ – our comprehensive inner beauty blend with over 20 bio-fermented wholefoods – this delicious recipe will boost your beauty, nourish your gut and enhance skin radiance. Plus, it’s delish! 

INGREDIENTS:

Pancakes:

  • 3/ 4 cup (75g – 2 ¾ oz) almond meal
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 large organic eggs, separated
  • 1/ 4 cup (60ml – 2 fl oz) drinking coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, melted & cool, plus extra for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (unpasteurised)

Berry compote:

  • 1 ½ cups (180g – 6 ½ oz) frozen mixed berries 
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

GLOW yoghurt:

  • ¾ cup (180ml – 6 fl oz) coconut yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons GLOW Inner Beauty Essential

Topping:

  • 2 teaspoons cacao nibs

METHOD:

  1. To prepare the berry compote, place the berries, water, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until berries soften and the released juice begins to reduce to a syrupy consistency.
  2. To prepare the GLOW yoghurt, mix the yoghurt and GLOW together in a small bowl, to combine. Set aside. 
  3. To prepare the pancakes, place the almond meal, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda in a blender and pulse to combine. Add the egg yolks, coconut milk, maple syrup, ghee and vinegar and blend to make a smooth batter. 
  4. In a separate bowl whisk the whites, until soft peaks form. 
  5. Gradually pour the batter into the whites, folding to combine. 
  6. To cook the pancakes, heat a large non-stick or cast-iron frying pan over low-medium heat. Dip some kitchen paper into ghee and rub over the hot pan to lightly grease.
  7. Cook the pancakes three at a time, spooning ¼ cup (60ml – 2 fl oz) of the batter for each one around the pan, allowing a little room between each. Cook for 1 ½ minutes or until the base is golden brown. Using a metal spatula run around underneath the edge of the pancakes to ensure they aren’t stuck. The pancakes are very light and soft. Carefully flip in one motion. Cook for 1 minute, or until golden brown. Transfer onto a plate, cover to keep warm and set aside. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  8. To serve, stack the pancakes, top with glow yoghurt and berry compote. Scatter with cacao nibs.

Download your BELLY BEAUTIFUL e-Book now and discover more inspiring ways to incorporate The Beauty Chef products in to your day.

7 Healthy Eating Hacks to Boost Your Digestion

The Beauty Chef 7 Healthy Eating Hacks to Boost Your Digestion

Taking part in the #30DAYSTOGLOW Challenge? Read on for some super-simple ways to help get your gut into gear…

Good digestion depends upon more than merely making healthy food choices. That’s why it’s often said that we are not only what we eat, but what we actually digest. Eating too fast, too much, too late at night, or eating when we’re not even hungry can all disrupt our digestion, reduce our ability to absorb nutrients from our food and slow our metabolism. Likewise, eating while stressed, upset or distracted can slow our digestion, causing imbalances and symptoms such as bloating, gas, low energy, foggy thinking and inflammation. Here’s how to set the stage for optimal digestion which in turn can help support a faster metabolism, better nutrient absorption, deep sleep, clear thinking, better moods and immunity, radiant skin and best of all, more energy.

1. Sip, Sip, Sip

Begin your morning with a big glass of warm water with a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to get your digestive juices going. Stay well-hydrated throughout the day by sipping herbal teas that support digestion (think ginger, peppermint, fennel, dandelion and chamomile) along with filtered water to keep things moving—don’t forget one of our Inner Beauty Boosts for an extra dose of skin-loving goodness. Aim for around two litres of H2O a day but avoid chilled or icy cold drinks and don’t drink too close to mealtimes—Ayurvedic practitioners believe these dampen your digestive fire. An hour before bedtime, brew a calming chai latte using SLEEP™ Inner Beauty Support to soothe your nervous system. 

2. Eat With Your Eyes First

Making your food look appealing actually stimulates your salivary glands. This initial phase of digestion—called the cephalic phase—can be triggered by the mere thought of food along with smell, sight and taste. Begin by noting the colours and aromas to kickstart your digestive juices well before you take your first bite.

3. Make a Date With Your Plate

No more eating on the run! Set the table (or clear your desk) and plan to sit down and eat your meal mindfully. That means no screens, no meetings or reading at the same time. Take a few deep breaths to calm your parasympathetic nervous system before you begin. Then send silent thanks to all those who help grow, make, transport and sell the food you are about to enjoy. Savour it.

4. Get Chewing

Remember to chew each mouthful 30-50 times until it’s almost liquid to help your meal mix with salivary and digestive enzymes. This begins the chemical breakdown of carbohydrates and fats. Plus, it sends a signal to the rest of your gut that food is on the way, triggering the digestive glands to secrete mucus, acids, juices and enzymes. As studies show, eating slowly may also help you feel full faster.

5. Dress It Up

Raw foods contain digestive enzymes that help break down the contents of our stomachs, so including some leafy greens or some freshly chopped herbs with cooked foods supports digestion and gut health. Adding a little grated ginger helps stimulate digestion and peristalsis (the movement of your stomach muscles) plus it’s an anti-inflammatory. A side serve of raw lacto-fermented sauerkraut will also support digestion and help balance your gut microbiome.

6. Think About When as Well as What 

Think about whether you’re actually hungry or just bored. Likewise, observe whether you are feeling stressed, sad or anxious and how that emotion may have affected what you feel like eating. Eating too frequently can put strain on your digestive system, making it sluggish and imbalanced. And remember to try and eat your last meal at least three hours before bed to allow time for digestion.

7. Listen to Your Gut 

Pay attention to your symbiotic other—aka your gut microbiome—and listen to what it’s telling you about your eating habits, food choices and energy levels. Your gut feelings can reveal a lot about which foods to avoid! Common culprits include processed foods such as white flour and refined sugar, trans fats, gluten and dairy. Don’t forget that different gut bacteria feed on different nutrients, so for good digestion, go for diversity.

Have you tried any of these tricks? Let us know in the comments below!