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Okay you are all WAY ahead of me on the gut health thing – you all seem to be making your own kombucha and kefir. My friend Clare makes her own kefir by fermenting coconut water, which sounds totally nuts and I will definitely be trying it as… soon… as .. I… can… be ……. a r s e d.

So this post is purely admin really, a mustering point for a more specific chat, advice and anecdotes about gut health and particularly about fermented foods, which are really good for your “micro biome”, which is a loony word for the billowing bacteria and fuck knows what else that hangs out in your insides. It all in theory broadly contributes towards digestion, which slows down as you get older – like bloody everything else – and maybe needs some help.

(This is also where the chewing your food a lot comes into play. I have started doing that and have found that if you chew your food 15 times or more it basically disappears in your mouth as you chew. Without even swallowing. Magic disappearing food! I must confess here that I am historically one of the world’s fastest eaters. I have in the past got hiccups from trying to swallow fully half a cheeseburger at once and it sort of gets stuck in my gullet and stretched my oesophagus and gives me hiccups. Fact. So I kind of like the chewing your food a lot thing because it feels like you’ve eaten 20% less than you actually have.)

Anyway – slow digestion means that stuff just kind of hangs about in an unwelcome way in your large or small intestine or WTF it’s called, a bit like a guy who turned up already drunk to your lunch party and now it’s 9pm and he won’t leave.

There are books upon books and pages and pages on the internet about how to improve your gut health but a key thing seems to be introducing fermented food into your diet.

The main ones are:

Live yoghurt

Sourdough bread

Kimchee

Miso

Sauerkraut

Kefir

Which are all reasonably available if you have a poke about your local supermarket or health food shop. I eat live yoghurt every day and a miso soup made from paste probably once or twice a week. I get a delicious kimchee from a whole foods store down the road but it absolutely stinks to high heaven and Giles won’t eat it and slightly objects to it being in the fridge, which is fair enough really, so I eat that when he’s not here.

I have ordered from Ocado something called “baked milk” kefir, which is arriving so that I can make my own judgments on this very divisive topic.

The key thing to take from this is that a working gut, (of which refined sugar is the main enemy, I’d just like to point out), and a swift digestive system *ought* to in theory reduce bloating. But bloating, if you ask me, is a bit of a vague and not mega helpful term that could mean “water retention” or “I’m getting my period”.

It’s true that I don’t find I get what I used to term “bloating” very much any more, but I have made so many other changes to my diet – more fibre, fewer calories, way less red meat – that it could be a combination of all of those and not necessarily the fermented food. Still, it’s all pretty delicious.

Except the kefir. Probably.