Mixed Feelings for Mother’s Day

Let me begin by saying that being a mom is without a doubt the best experience of my life. And that I am constantly in awe of how much so many moms are able to handle not only while raising their children but also throughout the rest of their lives.

But, like some other holidays we celebrate in our society, Mother’s Day brings up many conflicting feelings and thoughts for me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think mothers should be celebrated, it simply stirs up a lot of “stuff” for me and I feel like maybe I’m not the only one.

I honestly didn’t know if I would ever have children. I didn’t have any close friends with kids and I never held a baby until I held my own. I’d lived with excruciating migraines for decades and the thought of having to care for a little one while in the throes of such pain was mindboggling and had me believing that I wouldn’t be able to be a “good mom,” but quite suddenly in my 30s I knew I wanted to have my own family and the fears subsided long enough for me to do so. I was optimistic that somehow I would either have the support I would need or that the migraines would magically disappear. Neither turned out to be the case, but I found my way to care for my kids when the pain hit and, thankfully, the duration of those headaches did begin to lessen (and finally disappear altogether).

I’ve been a Solo Mom from the get-go. I lived with my kids’ dad for the first 10 years of being a mom, but I was still doing it all solo for a variety of reasons. Nine years ago I made the decision to leave that relationship to create a healthier, happier life for myself and my children and while there have been times when I’ve wondered how I would ever manage, it was definitely the best decision I could have made for us.

I find that I face a lot of disturbing feelings around Mother’s Day… I spent a decade either not being acknowledged or celebrated in any way for my role as a mom or I was made to feel guilty or like I was indebted for being “treated” to a meal made by someone other than myself. Gifts that come with the proverbial “strings attached” are not gifts at all. They are a messed up type of torment.

I’m very happy to share that I am now surrounded by people who acknowledge me as mother/friend/fellow human being who’s just trying to do her best on Mother’s Day and throughout the year (Thank You!!!), but even with the support and love I receive regularly, the painful feelings from past experiences still lurk around the back of my mind and this year in particular they are “shouting out” for my attention. I guess there is still much healing and understanding for me to do on this front.

Again, let me state that I LOVE BEING A MOM. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s at once the most joyful and challenging experience I could ever have imagined. I’m a totally different type of mom than I ever expected I would be and honestly, I’m super proud of myself for that. I love my own mom, but we rarely talked about much other than day-to-day events. I guess because of that, communication has been a very high priority for me in my relationship with my children. We talk about everything. The ridiculous. The mind-boggling. The difficult. The embarrassing. All-Of-It. I never wanted my kids to worry about approaching me with something and, for the most part, we’ve done well with that. I have been that mom who was there to help their friends out when they were in a jam, and I’ve been that Momma Bear who drove through a snowstorm at 2am on a weekend night to retrieve a child from a sleepover and give the “mean girls” a piece of my mind. The spectrum of momhood is vast!

Apart from my own mixed feelings over my own journey as a mom, I am very aware of the journeys of others.

Moms who’ve lost children. Women who’ve longed to be a mom but it simply has not happened for them. Children who’ve lost their moms. Moms in abusive relationships. Moms whose children have been taken away from them. Moms who live in dangerous parts of the world. Moms who’ve been widowed. Moms struggling with illness. Moms who didn’t have a great relationship with their own mom. Moms struggling to feed/house/clothe their children. Moms working multiple jobs who barely get to see their kids. Dads who’ve had to step in as both mother and father figure. It’s celebrations such as Mother’s Day that make me hyper aware of how many different experiences there are and that the life of a mom is NOT a one-size-fits-all gig.

And that’s what prompted me to share this today. We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s easy to assume that all moms are loving every minute of it and to forget the different types of challenges people experience. Its not all sunshine and roses…

Am I writing this because I’m opposed to Mother’s Day? No, absolutely not. Do I think we should acknowledge all the moms on Mother’s Day? Yes, absolutely celebrate the moms in your world. We thank you for it!

The good, the bad, and the ugly of this Mom Life… I give thanks for it all each and every day. I can’t even imagine who I would be today if I hadn’t become a mom. My children are the biggest blessing I’ve ever received and I don’t ever take it for granted.

So, a big heartfelt shout-out to the many moms out there. Your experience is your own. No two are alike. Be true to YOU.

Always from the heart,

Jennifer

You Could Get an Entire Day Back This Way

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut of plunking yourself down in front of the TV and suddenly the evening has disappeared? It happens. We are creatures of habit and sometimes those habits don’t always serve us very well.

I’m not going to be that person who tells you “you should get rid of your TV and never watch it again!” because honestly, this is real life and sometimes watching a show or a lighthearted movie can be helpful. And sometimes, we need a half hour to ourselves to get something done (like dinner!) and if the kids can watch one show while we do that, then so be it!

I will, however, keep encouraging you to decrease the amount of time you watch. And there’s very good reasons for that. Here are just 5 of them:

You Won’t Sit as Much if You’re Not Watching the Tube

We were not meant to sit for as long as many of us do. There’s been research done that shows that sitting too much every day can lead to a long list of unhealthy conditions that can cause pain, and have a negative impact on your overall health and physical fitness. Since most television is viewed sitting down, when you stop watching as much TV, you’re likely standing more and being more active, which is a very good thing! With the extra time you find watching less TV, you can get outside and garden or go for a walk/run which would be amazing!

Your Brain Becomes More Alert & Healthier

Researchers have discovered that staring at a television set can cause changes in your brain chemistry. Some of the negative impacts of staring at an electronic screen, television or otherwise, may include signs of a decreased memory, an inability to plan, organize and take action, and less mental clarity when you really need to focus. With less time in front of the tube, you can enrich your mind with amazing books (actual or audio) or find some amazing podcasts to inspire you!

You’ll Discover You Have More Free Time Than You Realized

Do you often find yourself complaining that there’s not enough hours in the day to get everything done? Think again! Take out some of the nearly 28-34 hours of the TV watching that the ratings/habits company, Nielsen, says you are spending in front of the tube each week, and you can find yourself more than 1 full day of extra time on your hands. WooHoo!

You’ll Likely Notice a Positive Shift in Your Own Belief System

Television is a one-way form of communication. People you’ve never met, that maybe hold views, beliefs, and values very different from your own, create the content that you consume. When we watch too much TV (and especially when we aren’t super selective about what we’re watching) you can begin to lose the ability to form your own thoughts, opinions and beliefs. Lightening the TV load can allow you to truly tap back into what you feel is most important in YOUR life.

You’ll Stop Feeling “Less-Than”

Let’s be honest… TV content can create incredibly unrealistic expectations. Most human beings are not even remotely close to the “perfection” that is presented in mainstream TV – you know, slim, trim, super sexy, incredibly smart, abundantly wealthy AND successful, which is how its often represented in TV-Land. Now I’m not saying you can’t aspire to improve the quality of your life and if that list of qualities is what you’re looking for then absolutely choose some shows that inspire you, but don’t get caught up in the comparison game. Especially when it’s not accurate. I mean, honestly, life is raw, and real, and complicated, and BEAUTIFUL. When you decrease the amount of time you’re watching (and possibly comparing yourself to what you see on the screen) then you can focus on your own life and whatever changes you truly want to make. Then you can can set some goals and start taking the actions you really want to to create a life you LOVE.

So what do you say? Are you ready to really take stock of how much time you’re spending gapping out in front of the TV and then make the decision to start claiming back some of your own precious time?

Always from the heart,
Jennifer

Making some simple changes to their daily habits to help support better quality sleep on the regular is something I work on with moms in my online coaching program, The Real Life Reset System. If this sounds like something you want to know more about, I’d love to chat with you some more! I offer free 30-minute Mom Life Clarity Calls and regardless of whether you choose to work with me or decide to wait, you’ll leave the call with a better handle on what your best “next steps” will be.  Book your free Mom Life Clarity Call here.

It’s Time to Get Moving!

It seems like it wouldn’t make sense, right? I mean, you’re wiped-out tired, barely enough energy to get through the day and someone is telling you that you should exercise ?!?

I get it, I’ve totally been there and honestly there are still days that hit like that in my life. But what I’ve learned over the years is that when I’m feeling exhausted, getting myself moving is usually EXACTLY what I need to do!

Why?  Really… why???

Well, exercising not only improves your energy levels YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT, but it also helps improve your overall health and sense of wellbeing… including your mood!  I know I always feel better emotionally after I’ve gotten myself moving.

Finding a type of physical activity that works for YOU is key.  If you’ve been in my world for awhile now you’ve likely heard me say “we’re all built from the same stuff, but we’re all put together a little bit differently.”  And that’s a thing. In addition to our individual life circumstances that will have an influence on what type of exercise we gravitate to naturally and what we will be able to actually do.

Be True to YOU! That’s how I roll in my own life and in my coaching practice. (It’s also the name of my new podcast!)  There are 4 cornerstones to wellness that I work with:  Movement (physical activity), Sleep, Fueling Your Body, and Mindset and while those remain constant with everyone I work with, there are a variety of ways to incorporate them to suit everyone’s individual needs.

Yes, your friends might swear by trail running, but your knees simply can’t take it without aching for days… okay, how about a lower impact version and you go walking instead?  Running isn’t really my thing, but I will go for miles and miles power walking through my neighbourhood or hiking the park trails near my home.

Some of my besties absolutely LOVE hitting the gym and lifting what seems to me mindboggling weights.  I have super cute hot pink 2lb hand weights that I keep in the living room so I can do some light reps while I’m watching TV or listening to an audiobook.  We’re all doing some strength training, albeit mine is quite low-key, just in ways that work for and appeal to each of us.

Okay, so you’re tired and I’m saying Get Moving!  Here’s why.

Exercise can do great things for you like:
* increase your endorphin levels
* improve your heart health
* help improve the QUALITY of the SLEEP you get (OMG, this one, right?!?!)
* sharpen your sense of clarity and mental focus
* and it can have a positive affect on your overall mood and disposition.

So put your thinking cap on. How can you start moving more in your daily life?  Pick something simple to start with so you can keep going and keep growing in your journey to improve your health.

Always from the heart,
Jennifer

Making some simple changes to their daily habits to help improve energy levels and ditch daily exhaustion on the regular is something I work on with moms in my online coaching program, The Real Life Reset System. If this sounds like something you want to know more about, I’d love to chat with you some more! I offer free 30-minute Mom Life Clarity Calls and regardless of whether you choose to work with me or decide to wait, you’ll leave the call with a better handle on what your best “next steps” will be.  Book your free Mom Life Clarity Call here.

Making Time to Unwind

The Mom Life is a busy one, no doubt about it. But its not very realistic for any of us to expect to be able to go-go-go and then hop into bed and promptly fall asleep, right? I mean, we probably have a little routine when we want(ed) our kidlets to fall asleep and this is your gentle reminder to do the same for yourself!

Unwind time is the signal we send to our bodies that we are preparing to rest and it can be super simple or elaborate if you like! As I always say, not only are our circumstances different, but while we are all made from the same stuff, we are all put together a bit differently… so its best to Be True to YOU and to figure out how you unwind best.

Whenever possible, and it is possible although perhaps not always easy, shutting down screens an hour prior to bedtime is highly recommended – for moms and kids alike! Screens of all sorts can be overstimulating for the brain and the blue light that is often emitted from them can disrupt our sleep cycle. If you can’t completely eliminate screens before bed please search for the options to change the display to “night mode” which is usually a warmer, dimmer light.

Speaking of dimming lights, that is a good idea as well. Turn off the super bright lights in your home an hour or so before tucking into bed to create a cozier more restful environment. This also simulates the natural flow of day and night which factors into our body’s circadian rhythm.

With screens off (hopefully!) you can spend time alone or with the kids reading, listening to some music, or playing cards or board games. Bathtime before bed is also a highly recommended way to unwind and prepare for sleep, just be mindful that you don’t have the water too too hot as that can overstimulate as well.

Personally, my unwind time looks like this these days: because I work on my coaching business for an hour or two after dinner. Pyjama time follows work (I rarely work in PJs) and I do my best to have most of the lights off or dimmed and the radio or TV turned off. Then I get comfy on the couch with a blanket and a tiny snack like almonds. I knit, read or listen to an audio book or podcast for 45 minutes before my regular bedtime (remember my previous suggestions this week about regular sleep and wake times?). My brain and body are in the habit of knowing that sleep almost always follows this sequence so falling asleep is the next logical step and it usually happens quite quickly.

If you don’t already have an unwind time habit I highly recommend beginning ASAP. Its the little steps like these that we make on a consistent basis that set us up for success!

Making some simple changes to their daily habits to help support better quality sleep on the regular is something I work on with moms in my online coaching program, The Real Life Reset System. If this sounds like something you want to know more about, I’d love to chat with you some more! I offer free 30-minute Mom Life Clarity Calls and regardless of whether you choose to work with me or decide to wait, you’ll leave the call with a better handle on what your best “next steps” will be.  Book your free Mom Life Clarity Call here.

The Bedtime Brain Dump

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep is to unburden your brain before bed!

Something I used to really struggle with was bedtime monkey-mind… you know, when you finally get to crawl into bed and get all cozy and then your brain remembers every little thing that you had to put off “til later”! Ugh!

So I modified a creativity tool that I learned years ago and worked it into a nighttime routine to help me clear my mind so I could have a better chance at falling asleep and staying asleep.

Super simple, all you need is a pen and some paper. You can do it right before you tuck yourself in for the night or you can get cozy and have the paper and pen on your nightside table. Just start writing. All the things you wanted to remember to check the next morning, next week, so-and-so’s birthday is in a few days, you’re out of laundry detergent and need to grab some tomorrow so you can get caught up on laundry, you saw a cool recipe for a spicy casserole you want to try… seriously, write it ALL down. Then if there’s anything you know you really need to act on when you wake up, put a big star next to it or underline it and voila! You’ve got it all down where you know where to find it after your great night’s sleep.

We are often so busy during our days with so many things and people calling our attention to them that its just natural we have to put some thoughts aside in the moment. Don’t let them ambush you when you are ready for sleep! This is one sleep routine tool that you can start making use of right away!

A mind free and clear and ready to sleep is a beautiful thing…

Making some simple changes to their daily habits to help support better quality sleep on the regular is something I work on with moms in my online coaching program, The Real Life Reset System. If this sounds like something you want to know more about, I’d love to chat with you some more! I offer free 30-minute Mom Life Clarity Calls and regardless of whether you choose to work with me or decide to wait, you’ll leave the call with a better handle on what your best “next steps” will be.  Book your free Mom Life Clarity Call here.

Catching Some ZZZs (and why how you fuel your body matters!)

Most likely its come to your attention at some point in your life that there are certain things we should avoid if we want to get a good night’s rest. The most common thing we’re warned about is CAFFEINE and I know its a tough one to give up (or even cut back on). So I’m not going to tell you to go cold-turkey on that unless you want to… but I am going to let you know that because caffeine has a half-life of 8 HOURS, you’re gonna want to make sure you aren’t having any coffee, tea, pop or energy drinks a good 8 hours before bedtime to give you your best shot as sleeping well. Oh, sadly I need to add chocolate to that list as well as it contains caffeine too. Have your treats a little earlier in the day!

In addition to caffeine, eating too much food, or having fatty foods like burgers, pizzas, or fully loaded nachos late in the day can stress the digestive system and wreck havoc on your nighttime rest by causing indigestion and/or bloating. Best to enjoy in moderation, maybe by enjoying a good sized salad along with a piece of pizza or smaller helping of nachos. Keep it a bit more balanced and less taxing on the tummy.

One more thing to be mindful of as far as what you’re consuming close to bedtime… alcohol. Yup. I know it can be super tempting to pour a nice big glass of chardonnay or something to help unwind at the end of the day, but hold off. While a bevvy like this might seem like it helps you drift off to sleep quicker, it actually interferes with you getting quality sleep at night. So yes, you might be snoring away in bed for the whole night but you’ll like wake up feeling like it was only for 4 hours. Best tip if you are looking to improve your nightly slumber? Avoid the bedtime drink or have it at least a couple hours before you’re going to tuck in.

Okay, so those are the thing you want to try to reduce or eliminate to improve how much rest you’re getting at night. Happily there are certain things you CAN have closer to bedtime to help make things better!

Try adding a nighttime snack of a handful of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. These all contain natural melatonin which helps regulate our sleep/waking cycle. Your grandma’s standby of a warm glass of milk before bed is actually a good idea if you like milk! It contains both tryptophan and melatonin. CHERRIES were such a lovely surprise to me in my research to find sleep-supporting foods! This fantastic fruit is a powerhouse of sleep support. Cherries contain 4 different sleep regulating compounds: melatonin, tryptophan, potassium, and serotonin. Finally, while I advised against caffeinated tea above, chamomile tea IS recommended and has been used traditionally as a remedy to help insomnia. Chamomile contains a flavonoid compound called apigenin which has sleep-inducing properties… but just have one cup – you don’t want to be waking up in the middle of the night because you’ve had too much tea and need the bathroom! LOL!

On that note, staying hydrated throughout the day will also aid your sleep at night. When you are dehydrated, it can cause leg cramps and sore joints which can wake you or prevent you from dozing off easily. One last note on fueling your body for better sleep quality… sometimes our diet simply might be lacking in a nutrient that our body is low on or has trouble assimilating so we need an extra boost. This was a big discovery for me as I made my way on my own wellness journey. I spent a decade trying to ditch my exhaustion and get some decent sleep and everything I added to my daily habits helped, but it was finding the right supplement that finally clicked everything together for me. That final missing puzzle piece, if you will.

Magnesium, B12, Calcium are just some of the supplements that can help improve quality of sleep. As I always say, “We are all built from the same stuff, but we are all put together a little differently.” And we all have differing life circumstances. If you feel like you might need to supplement to give your body a nutritional boost, I highly encourage you to check in with your healthcare practitioner to see what you might be lacking. I’ve taken supplements pretty much my entire adult life because I was aware of some gaps in my nutrition. Now that I’ve found a super simple and effective 3 step supplement system that I can get done as soon as I wake up in the morning has made all the difference in fueling my body well. If you’d like to know more about the line of nutritional supplements I’ve fallen in love with, check out the Nutritional Support page at http://www.breezewellnessbc.com

Soooo, are you up for taking a good look at what you’re putting into your body and how it (or lack of it) might be impacting your sleep? It is one more step you can take in setting yourself up for sleep success with a routine you can stick with!

Cheers to catching those quality ZZZs!

Did You Know that Clutter Can Affect Your Sleep?

Ideally, a bedroom is a place that’s dedicated to rest, with only essential furniture like nightstands, bed, dresser, and, possibly, chairs in it. Maybe a reading lamp with a warm-white bulb in it, can provide a calming light source. That’s it. Everything else could be seen as a distraction to the task at hand – some shut-eye.

When you try to fall asleep surrounded by stacks of papers, piles of laundry, miscellaneous toys, gadgets, projects… well, you might not think it is messing with you but studies have shown that clutter like that can trigger both anxiety and stress in some people. Your subconscious is very much aware of the disorder around you.

Take the first step to improving your quality of sleep by decluttering your sleep space, and creating a peaceful environment to relax in. People who had more clutter also reported more sleep disturbances – and even daytime disturbances – showing that a cluttered and chaotic feeling room can affect your whole day, not just your night.

Seriously, getting rid of clutter will both relieve the tension in your mind and allow you to take advantage of the bedroom’s benefits. Remove the clutter in order to let your eyes and your mind rest.

A super simple way to do this is to take an empty laundry basket, tote, or even just an empty box, and gather all non-essential items to relocate elsewhere like the closet, a spare room, or the basement if you’ve got one. As you clear space, don’t forget the area under your bed. According to feng shui, the area under the bed should be open so energy can circulate and nourish you while you sleep. One BIG caveat to this suggestion: I want you to mark each basket, tote or box with a letter (“A”, “B”, etc) and then make a note on your calendar or planner to sort and deal with that letter on a specific day. And do it on that day. You don’t want to stuff the “stuff” just anywhere and then forget about it! LOL!

EASIEST thing to do to begin decluttering your sleep space and start creating that peaceful place where you can slumber peacefully? Make your bed each morning for a fresh start to your day. Not only will your bedroom look calm and peaceful all day – there is nothing better than crawling into a freshly made bed when it’s time to sleep. How is making your bed “decluttering”? Well, I know that when I see a rumpled messy bed it feels cluttered and chaotic… when I see a bed that’s put together, it feels tidy, less stressful, and totally inviting. Super simple way to start to set the stage for better sleep!

Sweet Dreams to you!!!

Did you know that I host a private Facebook group for moms? It’s called Level Up Your Mom Life and its a super supportive community for moms who are ready to ditch daily exhaustion and finally get their energy & focus to a place that allows them to live their best Mom Life! If this sounds like you, please check it out HERE.

Because I’ve Been There…

Why did I choose to create a wellness coaching program just for moms?

Because I know what it feels like to have the bulk of parenting responsibilities fall to you in addition to working and keeping a home.

I know the struggle of sleepless nights, daily exhaustion, and feeling like everything is out of control.

I’ve experienced the despair and feelings of inadequacy when the day slipped by yet again with little quality time with my children and the overwhelming sense of “missing out”.

I turned all those things around for me and my family through a lot of trial and error, by connecting with experts in the fields I needed help most with, and via ongoing education until I had a system in place that I could easily work into my life and stick with!

I don’t want any other moms to lose years to struggling like I did.

THAT’S why I created The Real Life Reset System – to help moms ditch their daily exhaustion, level up their energy, and find the focus they need so they can do all that they have to do (and WANT to do) in their busy mom-lives

It’s all online, so it can work into any mom’s schedule

If this sounds like something you want to know more about, I invite you to book a free 30-minute Mom Life Clarity Call. At the end of our call together, you’ll leave with a better idea of what your best “next steps” can be regardless of whether or not you choose to join The Real Life Reset System.

Looking forward to chatting with you!

Always from the heart,

Jennifer

Turning It All Around

Seeing me today, you’d be forgiven for not having a clue that I spent my first decade as a mom barely getting out of the house, let alone doing anything active or outdoorsy.

But let me tell you, the exhaustion that arrived with the birth of my first child hit HARD and kept growing with every passing day.

Sleep issues, erratic eating habits, and growing disorganization at home wore me down to a shadow of my former self. In fact, it got to the point where I wondered if I was going to end up completely missing out on the best parts of momhood because I was always feeling totally wiped out.

Sometimes it takes a real “wake-up, shake-up call” to make us aware of the fact that we have been pulled miles away from the life we dreamed of… and that’s exactly what happened to me. And I’m so grateful for it because it forced me to make the changes that led me to finally ditch that daily exhaustion, level up my energy once and for all, and finally take control of my mom-life.

It was over a decade of “lost time,” for me, but I am MORE than making up for it now!

Quality time with my kids – ✅
Getting outdoors and making the most of all 4 seasons where I live – ✅
Having the energy to do all that I HAVE to do AND what I WANT to do – ✅

It took time, education, and a lot of trial and error, but I figured it out… and I put it all together to share with other moms so they don’t have to go through the frustration and “lost years” that I went through. I’ve been there. I totally underst

If you’d like to find out more on how you can get additional support in levelling up your energy, making the most of your Mom Life, and getting the rest you need to function at your best, just send me an email with the Subject: I’m Ready To Hear More, Jen by clicking HERE.

Prebiotics 101 – what the gut needs

“Pre”biotics?

Yes! They’re the food that we feed our probiotics, the friendly gut microbes that are oh so important for good health.

Our gut microbes are alive, and they need to eat too. Their favourite foods are called “prebiotics” and include dietary fibre and resistant starch. The same fibre that keeps us feeling full slows down digestion and provides roughage that keeps us regular. Resistant starch helps promote healthy blood lipids. Both of types of prebiotics (fibre and resistant starch) are linked with many health benefits.

Technically-speaking, a prebiotic has three qualities:

  • It needs to be undigested and reach the colon intact;
  • It needs to be digested by our gut microbes; and,
  • It needs to stimulate our health-promoting good gut microbes.

Now that we know what prebiotics are let’s dive into their health benefits.

Health benefits of prebiotics

Prebiotic fibre helps keep us regular by bulking up our poop. It gives it substance and form, so it’s not too runny or liquid. In fact, more fibre is often recommended to help with symptoms of diarrhea. Prebiotic fibre used to be thought of like a broom that sweeps food through our guts, but we’re learning more about its health benefits beyond this role.

For example, prebiotics can also help to maintain normal bowel structure and function, and even enhance blood flow to the cells of the colon.

Those are some of the health benefits of prebiotics themselves. But we get even more health benefits when our friendly gut microbes eat and digest them.

For one thing, our gut microbes use prebiotics to make short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs (e.g., butyrate) can feed the cells of our colon to keep them healthy. SCFAs also inhibit the growth of bad gut microbes, and can even increase mineral (e.g., calcium and magnesium) absorption. These effects are all linked to the slight acidity caused by the acids in those SCFAs.

Dietary fibre also binds to healthful phytonutrients (phyto = plant). These phytonutrients are lost when the fibre is removed from the food. But, when we eat the prebiotic fibre, our gut microbes release these phytonutrients so we can absorb and use them.

Where to get prebiotics

Dietary fibre and resistant starch are the main sources of prebiotics.

Prebiotic fibre is found mostly in plants; both fruits and vegetables.

Resistant starch is any starch (a type of carbohydrate) that goes through most of our digestive tract without being digested. It’s not broken down by our digestive enzymes because it’s “resistant”… until it gets to our gut microbes in the colon. Resistant starch is found in starchy foods like whole grains and potatoes.

One of the big differences between fibre and resistant starch is that all of the fibre we eat is undigestible. All of it reaches our colons. Resistant starch, on the other hand, is just a small percent of the starch we eat. Most starch is digested and absorbed along our digestive tract, and that part is not considered to be prebiotic. Only the small amount of starch that is resistant to digestion and makes it down to the colon to feed our probiotics is prebiotic.

Prebiotic fibre is found in fibrous fruits and vegetables. It’s essentially what’s removed when we make juice – the pulp. It’s one of the reasons why eating whole fruits and vegetables is more healthful than replacing them with juice.

Here are some great sources of dietary fibre:

  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Pears

Resistant starch is found in:

  • Whole grains (e.g. oats)
  • Potatoes
  • Cornmeal
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Green bananas

Starches can be made resistant by cooking and cooling these foods before eating them. The cooling process allows the starches to re-shape themselves into a structure that is harder to digest (i.e., more resistant).

Conclusion

Prebiotics are fibre and resistant starches that feed our gut microbes. And when we feed our gut microbes, they help keep our gut healthy and have other health benefits too.

Do you ever juice your amazingly healthy fruits and vegetables and have a ton of leftover pulp? What do you do with it? I have a great recipe for using that oh so healthy prebiotic fibre in a delicious way.

Recipe (Juice pulp): Brownies

Serves 12

¾ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (prebiotic)
3 tbsp coconut flour (prebiotic)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
2 cups juice pulp, firmly packed (prebiotic)
½ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup maple syrup

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8”x8” baking tray with parchment paper.

Add cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Whisk eggs, pulp, oil and maple syrup.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine well. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the baking dish.

Bake for 30 mins until the top is firm and edges just start to pull away from the dish.

Allow the brownies to cool.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: I like to blend the wet ingredients in my blender to make cleanup easier.

References:

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/your-gut-bugs-what-they-eat-and-7-ways-feed-them

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/juicing-removes-more-than-just-fiber/

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/resistant-starch-colon-cancer/

https://extension.psu.edu/prebiotics-how-to-feed-your-good-bacteria

https://www.monash.edu/medicine/ccs/gastroenterology/prebiotic/faq

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-fibre

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