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The Gut Stuff: Our Journey to Gut Health

You may know Alana and Lisa from the Gut Stuff as musical duo The Mac Twins, but they have made it their mission to empower gut health in everyone and they want to shout it from the rooftops, they’ve written this post  for us to make sure everyone “guts” to know the basics…

Up until a few years ago we were just two young DJ’s travelling too much with shocking sleep patterns and even more shocking eating habits. We grew up on a deep fried pizza and chips plus a Greggs softie for lunch, washed down with fizzy drinks and a yum yum. We don’t come from a background where is ‘wellness” is known and the shops are full of jaggery and goji berries, but we did always have a curiosity for how and why peoples health differs so much and if there are things within our grasp that can change it.

The curiosity cemented itself into cold hard facts (and a lotta poo samples) after we volunteered for twin research at Kings College. We had everything tested from our bone density to our mental dexterity (you just have to name as many animals as you can) and OFCOURSE had to send off poo samples every day in the post for 2 months (lucky postie). Some of the tests were quite gruelling so lucky for us (and them!) They made some scientific breakthroughs discovering that even though we had 100% the same DNA we only had around 30-40% the same gut bacteria. Which means that if we can be sold the same diet/lifestyle then NOONE can and also that we have the power to change our microbiome.

What on EARTH is the microbiome you ask?

Let’s start with the basics; microorganisms (or microbes for short) are microscopic organisms, meaning we usually can’t see them with the naked eye. As we can’t see them, we’ve always underappreciated these little creatures, which are everywhere on earth, and I mean everywhere. Microbes have been found living in volcanos, 11km under the sea, under Arctic ice. They’ve even been found living in the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest place on earth, which is essentially like the Moon.

Any community of microbes living together in one environment is called a ‘microbiota’. And all of the genes of these microbes are called a ‘microbiome’. But often these terms are used interchangeably. And you have your own microbiota/microbiome! Although you can’t see them, there are trillions and trillions of tiny living organisms living all over your skin, up your nose, in your mouth, in your lungs on your face and, you’ve guessed it, in your gut. In fact, there are so many of them in your body, they actually outnumber your human cells. Yep, there are roughly (very roughly) 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body and only 30 trillion human cells. And that doesn’t even include all the fungi, viruses and lots of other microbes. You are a walking, talking, microbial ecosystem.

Ruari Robertson - read the full article here.

As we were going through the research we were meeting scientists from loads of different departments and realising that the microbiome not only affected digestive health but LOADS of other things and we needed to tell everyone…. But et’s face it, talkin’ about the gut ain’t sexy, just googling it brings up a rather disturbing mosaic of beer bellies, intestinal diagrams - and the main reason for our misconception with the word gut health - perfectly manicured hands, cupping toned, soft stomachs - its no wonder we’re all confused.

4 in 10 of us have a digestive issue at any given time and we’d rather talk about ANYTHING else than our gurgling midriff and toilet dashing, SO we created the Gut Stuff to break the poo taboo and provide an unbiased platform for people to delve into the world of gut health regardless of their prior knowledge or interest.

Not only are our day to day lives dictated by our digestive health, with one in five people needing to take time off work due to their symptoms and over a quarter (28%) avoiding going out (Love Your Gut report 2018), but what we eat also affects our children and our grand children (?!) So we need to start tuning in and listening to our second brain, our partner in crime, the dennis to our menace - our gut.

HOWEVER as the category and interest grows the cowboys start to ride into town peddling detox’s and tummy teas, so it makes it a difficult world to navigate - we’ve grown an expert team ion scientists, dieticians, GP’s and nutritionists to keep us all on the right side of the tracks.

Simple swaps

One of the main things we’ve learnt is it can be a simple as a few swaps and behaviour changes. Heres our faves below:

  • Yoghurt for Kefir - Kefir has so many different types of strains of bacteria and its so versatile, we like to swig it from the bottle in the morning
  • Gherkins for Sauerkraut - Similar flavour but sauerkraut is fermented ;)
  • Diet Coke for Kombucha - Again both nice and bubbly but Kombucha is full of gut goodness