Gut Health 300

At long last, the practical final installment of the gut health series! This post is to help provide practical tips to increase probiotics and prebiotics in ya life to increase your gut/ overall health! Before you get started you may want to recap the previous posts in the Gut Health series. 



Here are some of the easiest ways to add healthy bacteria into your gut! 

  1. The easiest way to get more probiotics in your life is to take a probiotic supplement. For more info on how to pick the right one - read Gut Health 200. However, they are expensive, and if your gut is already in good shape, it may not be necessary to continue long term. I always advocate to try to get the bulk of your nutrients from whole foods, and here is no different. 
  2. Lean in and switch to the 'booch instead of soda. Kombucha - you've probably heard of this bubbly, magical drink. It is actually fermented tea, and is an awesome way to get more good bacteria in your life. Make sure you find brands that keep the sugar to no more than 4gs per serving. Bonus, if you are hooked on soda- it is a great substitute!
  3. Add more fermented foods into your life! Fermented foods such as kimchi (the national food of Korea! A spicy pickled cabbage dish) or sauerkraut (European origin pickled cabbage dish) are #shedapproved and are loaded with the good stuff. This is particularly good in the winter when fresh produce is less available (or historically was less available! That is how people would stay healthy all year round!). While Kimchi is not available everywhere, you can opt to go to a Korean mart and they are typically sold there. Many grocery stores sell sauerkraut. If those aren't in your neighborhood you can always make it yourself (Links: How to make easy kimchi at homeHow to make sauerkraut in a mason jar).  
  4. Greek yogurt (or Siggi's Icelandic style) and kefir are Month 1 #shedapproved and a great source of good bacteria. You know that watery stuff that sits on the top of yogurt? Don't pour it out or avoid it- that's where the healthy bacteria live! Be sure to mix it in fully! My one warning here is to avoid added sugar in your yogurt/kefir. Better to get the plain, full fat versions and add your own berries and honey! 
  5. Beer and Wine! Whaaaaat? Alcohol? Yep. The catch? Commercial beer is rigorously filtered and won't have the health benefits. Just another reason to try home brew! Also, don't overdo it. It negates the health benefits! Stick to one beer or glass of wine at a time (2 tops!) to maximize the benefits and prevent weight gain!  


Prebiotics keep the good gut bacteria happy and healthy! Because they need food too! The key to making gut bacteria happy? FIBER!!

  1. Freeze pre-ripe (lightly green still) bananas to add to your smoothies. You don't notice the flavor/texture difference as much as if you just ate them outright. Bonus - there is less sugar in these nanners so they are better on the waistline!
  2. Raw dandelion greens salad with raw asparagus (see recipe below!). Refreshing, light, crunchy, and yummy!
  3. Jicama chips (I mean fries. I swear I don't know where these Britishism are coming from)! So refreshing in the heat of summer. Check out the recipe below! 
  4. GG crisps/crackers. Month 1 Shed approved and LOADED UP with fiber. Be sure to look for the ones with psyllium husks (pumpkin and sunflower seed versions have this) on the ingredients list for gut friendly bonus!
  5. Any other fruits and veggies you like. The key here is the fiber, so leave the skins on (where you can - ie cucumbers, apples, etc) and eat up all the pulp you can! 

Here is a list of some of the top prebiotic foods not included above: 

  • Raw chicory root - the top source, with almost 60% fiber
  • Raw Jerusalem artichoke 
  • Raw garlic
  • Raw leeks
  • Raw onions 
  • Cooked onions
  • Whole wheat 
  • Legumes

This is by no means an exhaustive list, it's more of a prompting to get some new healthy eats in your routine! I hope you found the Gut Health series educational and beneficial. What are you going to do to add more gut friendly foods into your routine? Leave me a comment here or on Instagram! - AHS

Mexican style raw Jicama fries 

jicama fries chips mexican style tajin gut health prebiotics


  • 1 jicama
  • Extra virgin olive oil (start with a tbsp, add as necessary)
  • Tajin* or other chili lime seasoning blend to taste


Peel jicama with a vegetable peeler. Cut into "fry" shape. I made mine a bit thicker. Coat lightly with olive oil and Tajin. Eat immediately for a filling snack and/or appy!

*Tajin is a Mexican spice blend that is amazing on fruit- it's incredible on watermelon too! You can order off amazon or get it at your local Mexican store if there is one close to you! You can also make this gringo style with paprika, onion powder, and chili powder.  

Dandelion Greens Salad

(adapted from the SHED program) (serves 1) 

This salad is an amazing summer detox salad and gut health booster! 


  • 1⁄2 apple, chopped (skin on!)
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 cups dandelion greens
  • 3 spears of raw asparagus, chopped into 4 bites pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1⁄2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle of parmesan (optional)


Mix ingredients in a bowl and enjoy a crunchy gut healthy lunch! 

Superfood Profile: Bee Pollen

benefits of bee pollen superfoods natural allergy prevention

In honor of allergy season being in full swing,  I thought it would be helpful to provide some insight on Bee Pollen and why it is so extraordinary. 

I had my first experience with bee pollen a few years ago. I was working at a local juice and smoothie shop- and we offered bee pollen as an added superfood boost. I would put it in my smoothie every day, and I swear I never had a spring so unaffected by allergies. Knowing this information and how it affected my own system inspired me to learn more, especially as future years sans bee pollen were quite miserable. 


what is Bee pollen? 

Bee pollen comes into existence when honey bees harvest pollen from a variety of plant sources. The bees add their own goodness (nectar) into it, and store it in honeycomb. Through this process it becomes a bonafide complete superfood. It has amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and more! It's pretty incredible. It is not considered vegan because bees create it- however, no bees are harmed in the harvesting of the pollen. 


You've probably heard of pollen as an allergen itself, so why would eating it be good for you?

Essentially the thought is that it helps your body build its immune response to pollens. If your immune system is prepared, you will experience less symptoms once allergies are in full swing. This is also why buying local bee pollen is the best if you would like it to help with your seasonal allergies. When you use local bee pollen, the bees are harvesting pollen from plants that likely will be your triggers later. 


If I want to prevent allergies, when should i start taking it?

It's best to start a few months in advance to build up an immune response. So probably too late to save you this spring. You can start next month to prepare for autumn allergens, though! That being said, I've noticed a difference with one dose (probably placebo effect but hey, I'll take it!) - so I will still be taking it this spring, even though it's late in the game! 


I don't have seasonal allergies, why would I want to add this to my routine?

Key word: SUPERFOOD. This stuff is amazing. I mentioned its a complete food, so it essentially is a natural vitamin supplement. Here are some of the many reported benefits: 

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Protects against liver toxicity
  • Improved energy levels 
  • Improved gut health 
  • Acts as an anti-oxidant
  • Natural stress reliever
  • And many more! (Want to learn more? Check out "Further Reading" at the bottom of the page)

What to look for when buying 

As mentioned before- first and foremost- try to get it locally. I live in Chicago- but farms in other areas of the state or in southern Wisconsin, Michigan, and northern Indiana all would probably be fine because we all share similar Midwest weeds and plants. Check with your local farmers market or try Whole Foods, they often will try to use local vendors. 

Next, it's great to find kernels with a variety of color. They range from yellow to black - depending on what plants the bees took the pollen from. It you have a diversified mix it will help cover you to a variety of plant allergens. 

It comes in a variety of forms (capsules, liquids, etc.) but get the whole kernels. Less processing is always best! 

Side note: there are a lot of similar benefits to eating raw organic honey, however, it is really hard to find unpasteurized honey. The pasteurization process kills off a lot of the beneficial nutrients. Bee pollen on the other hand, not being a liquid, does not get pasteurized, so it retains it's nutritional integrity better. 


How to best eat it? 

My preferred method of ingesting :) 

My preferred method of ingesting :) 

I prefer using kernels on top of my smoothie bowls or mixed in to a smoothie (post blend). Always eat it with other food. If added to fruit it is supposed to activate quickly in the gut!

If you have any serious allergies (I'm talking anaphylaxis) ESPECIALLY to pollen, talk to your doctor about ingesting bee pollen. If you are worried you may have an allergic reaction, you can test by putting one granule on your tongue until it dissolves. If there is no reaction, add another. Repeat until you feel confident you will not have a reaction. 


Further Reading

Want to learn more? Check out these resources!

How Bee Pollen Could Cure Your Allergies - Mind Body Green

Top 8 Bee Pollen Benefits - Dr. Axe

Top 10 benefits of bee pollen - Be Healthy

What do you think? Will you give bee pollen a try? I am definitely going to add it back into my routine! Happy June! - AHS

Gut Health 200

Time to LEVEL UP friends! 

Part two on our gut health journey will walk through: 

  • how to tackle leaky gut and digestive issues
  • how to pick a probiotic supplement

I hope you find part two informative and useful! 

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Y'all ready for some more education? 

Have you ever heard of leaky gut syndrome? It's more common than you think. If you have more than one food sensitivity you more than likely have leaky gut.

The cells that line the intestine are supposed to be connected tightly together. Leaky gut occurs when the "glue" that keeps them together has been destroyed and spaces open up between the cells. Toxins, microbes and even pieces of food can get into the body - no bueno. This can create many problems in the body, and can even cause auto-immune diseases. 

Image courtesy of Dr. Axe. 

Image courtesy of Dr. Axe. 

According to Dr. Leo Galland, director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine these are some of the top symptoms you could be experiencing if you have a leaky gut:

  1. Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
  2. Nutritional deficiencies
  3. Poor immune system
  4. Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
  5. Excessive fatigue
  6. Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
  7. Cravings for sugar or carbs
  8. Arthritis or joint pain
  9. Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
  10. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn's

So what do you do if you suspect you have leaky gut? Well first, we get down to what could be offending foods in your diet. We tackle this with (step 1:) an elimination diet.* 

For 3 weeks eliminate the following foods from your diet: gluten (and any grains that could be cross-contaminated by gluten), dairy, corn, soy, and eggs. Some advise to also eliminate shellfish and peanuts.  After the three weeks reintroduce one category at a time (every 4 days) to observe your body's response. Eat the food several times a day for 2-3 days and observe. If you have a reaction right away, you do not need to keep eating it. 

Step 2: If you identify trigger foods- keep them out of your diet for 6 months. The body is remarkable and can remember! Give it time to forget and most likely you will be able to add those bad boys back into your diet eventually.**

Step 3: Add in foods to heal the intestinal lining! Hello, probiotic beauties! See last week's post for a for an in-depth look at probiotic rich foods. More below as well. In addition to probiotics and prebiotics, coconut oil, ghee, and foods rich in glutamine (animal proteins, beans, spinach, cabbage, parsley, etc) are great for this step as well. 

Step 4: Bask in your healed, glorious body! 

Add a probiotic supplement

vitamins and probiotics

Let's talk about adding a probiotic supplement into your life. Eating probiotic rich foods is not the easiest so unless you plan on making it a priority – supplementing is your best bet! Additionally, if you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above - you can target specific issues by what imbalance you are trying to recover from.  I won't go too depth here, but this article breaks it down by symptom. 

Buying a probiotic is notoriously difficult because there are so many out there, and its hard to be informed about every option out there. Here is what you should look for: 

What to look for in a probiotic supplement

Identify the best bacteria strains

You want to make sure you are getting diverse strains of bacteria- because we are all about well rounded gut flora! There is some debate on if "more is better", but some advise for CFUs” (colony forming units) in the billions. Instead focus on a variety of strains. A good brand will list them out. Some of the best strains to keep an eye out for are below:

B. longum

  • Benefits: maintaining the integrity of the gut wall, decreasing stress, memory improvement, helping relieve constipation

B. bifidum

  • Benefits: improves digestion of dairy foods, breaks down carbs, fat, and protein into smaller components so the body can use them more efficiently, boosts immune response, reduction in IBS symptoms and ulcerative colitis

L. acidophilus 

  • Benefits: supports a healthy balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria, immune function, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, supports nutrient absorption, improves digestion of dairy foods


An expiration date

An expiration date ensures that you are getting live strains of bacteria. Probiotics are not going to do you any good if the strains are dead. Without an expiration date listed, there is no way to tell if you are buying living strains or if they are already dead! Probiotics are not cheap, so don't skip this advice! 


Smart packaging

Moisture and heat can kill off microbes so it is important to make sure that the packaging will protect them!  You should store supplements in a cool, dark place but refrigeration is best. Some brands have developed amazing delivery systems that are shelf stable, but to be safe, opt for the fridge. 

Guys, this post was longer than anticipated, so I decided this is now a 3 part series! Our last section will tackle ways to get whole food probiotic and prebiotics into your normal routine! I hope you have enjoyed the series so far. Please leave me a comment here or on instagram if you have learned something new! Cheers! AHS

*As a reminder, I am not a doctor. I only play one on TV. Please consult with a healthcare provider when you undergo lifestyle changes.

** This is for food sensitivities. If you suspect you may have celiac disease or other autoimmune diseases, please consult a healthcare provider.