It’s no secret that the gut holds the key when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. It can help improve your mood, your energy and get rid of unwanted bloating. Struggling with all the above, guest writer Amanda Bootes, attempted to reset her gut and here’s what happened…
Did you know we have more bacteria in our gut than cells in our body? And we are constantly topping up these toxins through what we are putting on and into our bodies. This increase can cause a negative impact on the delicate microbiome (bacteria levels) in our gut, which can cause anxiety, depression, hormonal imbalance, sugar and carb cravings, bloating – and a whole heap of unwanted, stressful and potentially dangerous symptoms.
So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be time to trust that gut instinct and reset your gut.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO RESET YOUR GUT?
Modern life can be stressful on the body’s microbiome and just like how our body needs time to rest and recuperate so does our gut. By resetting and replacing all the inflammatory and aggressive foods that damage the gut lining and replacing them with gut-friendly alternatives we can do a number of things; increase the good bacteria count, create a strong and thriving gut and heal and seal the gut stopping all those nasty toxins leaking out.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
“A gut reset can be as steep as you would like it to be” says Catherine Farrant co-founder of Ossa Organics Gut Reset who found the benefits of gut-health and bone broth (we will get into that shortly) when she was pregnant with her first son back in 2012. Thinking of Ossa as “a recommendation on how to reset your gut health and kickstart the body’s natural healing process”, Catherine steers clear of the words ‘detox’ or ‘diet’ and focusses on the Ossa Gut Reset as a starting point and a place to learn rather than a bible.
The Ossa Gut Reset is a 14-day challenge that embraces the natural healing power of bone broth combined with apple cider vinegar, fresh organic vegetables and lacto-fermented foods such as kefir and sauerkraut. This combination of gut-friendly foods ultimately acts like a broom for the digestive system, sweeping out toxins and bad bacteria and replacing it with healing and connective-tissue-building compounds such as collagen, amino acids and gelatine to help repair the gut lining.
BUT DOES IT WORK?
I was sceptical when I was asked to do this re-set, but with a noticeable increase of irritability, mood swings and exhaustion hitting every day it was time to do something about it. I suffer badly from PCOS [polycystic ovarian syndrome] which can play havoc on your hormone levels and insulin resistance and comes complete with sensitivity to bloating and an unbalanced microbiota. And with the symptoms playing up more than ever before, maybe it was time to stop blaming the ovaries and start looking at the gut for some answers.
The challenge starts with a Bone Broth Cleanse which you need to do for a minimum of 4 hours, up to a max of 24 depending on your ability to control your hanger levels. Deciding to go all in, I opted for the full 24-hour cleanse where I was allowed to consume as much bone broth as I liked throughout the day – and nothing else.
I started the day with the chicken broth which I warmed in a mug and sipped on while attacking my emails and tried to distract myself from what I was about to put my body through. I was pleasantly shocked at how nice and rather normal the broth was as I rather expected to feel like I was chugging down a watered-down gravy at 9am.
The guide recommends you keep plenty of fresh water to hand, not only for the many benefits of H20 but also to counteract the natural saltiness within the broth.
Lunchtime hit and I struggled to bring myself to drink another bone broth. I missed the feeling of actually crunching my food but warmed another mug of chicken broth and persevered. I powered through the rest of the day remembering and repeating to myself a phrase that I read within the guide “you are not going to make any change without a bit of effort… when we get uncomfortable, this is when we grow”. The journey to a happier gut requires a lot of will-power but also a lot of self-love. The Ossa Gut Reset is not only about connecting with the food you are eating but also to create a new mindset for yourself – to take things a little slower, to be kinder to your body and to learn to love yourself inside and out.
The rest of the week saw the introduction of real food starting with Bone Broth Soups with organic fresh vegetables and lightly pan-fried meat cooked in ghee. Each day starts with a glass of filtered water and a good quality probiotic which Ossa recommends changing regularly. Followed by breakfast including poached eggs and avocado, sprouted oats or Ossa-inspired pancakes which are created with coconut, banana, cinnamon and raw honey.
The Ossa reset guide was created with the mantra of nourishing your body with every meal but not feeling pressured to do it all at once. Catherine regularly states throughout the guide that gut health is a gradual lifestyle change and does not need to happen overnight. She advises to start by challenging yourself to incorporate a cup of bone broth into your day or into your cooking each week.
Bone broth, which is the premise of the Ossa family and backbone of the Ossa Gut Reset, actively encourages gut healing and restoration from the inside. Bone broth has been consumed across the world for nearly 2,500 years and research has shown that many elements of inflammation in the body can be treated with foods that heal and seal the gut. It also aids recovery so is perfect for pre or post workout and helps boost a healthy immune system.
What I loved most about the guide were the delicious and innovative recipes that replaced traditional ingredients with the nutrient dense bone broth for a quick and simple gut-friendly meal. My favourite being Jack’s Bone Broth Shepherd’s Pie which I will continue creating long after the reset is complete.
Having the world’s biggest sweet tooth, I thought I would miss sweet inclusions to the meal plan – with everything being very savoury led. But the natural sugars from fresh produce and added sweetness from the raw honey really kept those cravings at bay. I stick to Manuka honey, full of a natural probiotic which plays a crucial role in nurturing the helpful bacteria in the gut. Even now, after finishing the reset my constant need for a sugary pick-me-up has long gone. I still and will always crave something sweet but am completely satisfied with a few squares of dark chocolate rather than a whole bar of Dairy Milk.
I can’t say for certain that the reset has healed my gut, not without a doctor getting all up in there. But my bloating seems under control for the first time in a long time, my energy levels no longer drop around 3pm, my mood stays consistent throughout the day and my unhealthy snack habits have long gone. One thing I will never get on board with though is dropping my delicious and creamy avocado into a boiling mug of bone broth as a snack. It goes lumpy and thick and is not for me, thanks.
Main image: Ossa Organic
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