So, June is over, but I technically started this letter a few days ago and then life got in the way a bit, and I didn’t send it out, so let’s pretend its still June, haha.
In baby news, I am one week away from being officially in my third trimester!! I can’t believe how fast this year is going. (Also, I feel so huge already and I still have 3 months left!!, which freaks me out, no joke). We have started the process of getting his room ready. Majority of the the stuff that was in there, got relocated /stored (or rather, threw into a box that went into attic). We also bought the paint and supplies. I don’t want anything too “baby” or “blue” just because he’s a boy, so we are keeping a rather neutral theme (walls are going to be light gray), but then add in some fun details along the way. I’ll post pictures on IG, when its all done.
I am halfway through my health coaching program, so excited!! I have learned so much already and I cannot wait to help people and spread my knowledge! This past month, we focused a lot on digestive issues, like gluten-sensitivity and how the microbiome plays such a fundamental role in our health. Also a lot about autoimmune diseases, allergies, food sensitives and leaky gut, and how nutrition plays such a huge role in helping people with these types of ailments too. Very interesting stuff.
I have thought all month about what to include in this month’s newsletter. I was thinking about getting back to basics.
Since “gut health” has been getting a lot of attention these days. For good reason though. Like many things, I have seen that many people still don’t have a good understanding of how our digestive system works and how it’s literally tied to our health. So,
“What’s up with gut health?”
We have about four major organs involved in our digestion system (there are other helper organs, but let’s keep things simple): Mouth, Stomach, Small Intestine and Large intestine.
I think we all have a rough idea of how each work, but there are some things that I have found teaching the digestive system in class that many people don’t realize exactly how each work.
1. Mouth. Yes, you taste and chew food (hopefully!). But in addition to chewing, there are actually enzymes in your saliva that already begin breaking down food further. So, the longer food hangs out in your mouth, the better, because in addition to chewing it, the enzymes (especially ones for carbs) are actually breaking things down on a molecular level as well.
Quick explanation of an enzyme: Its a protein. It looks like pac-man (yes, like the video game). It has a mouth and everything. You have thousands of enzymes in your body (not just in your digestive system). They are molecules that make your body more efficient by making new molecules and also by breaking apart other molecules.
Ok, back to to digestion.
2. Stomach. The big takeaway for the stomach is that it contains hydrochloric acid (which is crazy acidic, think pH 1-2, it would burn your skin if you touch it). The acidity of your stomach is so crucial for making sure proteins get broken down, pathogens get destroyed, and smaller food molecules can broken down. If the pH changes at all, these things just won’t happen. What could throw the pH off: Medicines (like an antacid…or others), bad food choices and even age can play a role.
Side note: The pH scale is not linear, so even minor changes in the actual number, are actually big changes (The difference between pH 1 and pH 2 is 100 fold). So it’s a big deal if something affects that number.
3. Small Intestine: This is where majority of your digestion happens. There are lots of enzymes here waiting to break things apart as small as possible. One enzyme for each job. Again, these enzymes are dependent on the pH of your small intestine (which is actually basic, pH 6-8). So, if somethings messes with that number, they won’t work. Their job is to break things down as small as possible to get absorbed in the cells of your small intestine. Nutrients can only enter your body (for their destined purpose) if they are absorbed. No absorption = nutrients are useless. THIS is why they talk about the health of your gut being important. You could eat all the good things in the world, but if your small intestine does not absorb them, it’s pointless because they aren’t actually entering your body. The key thing here is to make sure your small intestine works properly. If the walls of your small intestine are damaged (from meds, bad food choices, allergies, disease, etc), nutrients will have a hard time getting absorbed OR the wrong things will slip by (creating even more havoc..aka “leaky gut”).
4. Large Intestine. Everything that did not get broken down (and absorbed) by this point, ends up here. The major player here is bacteria! There are no enzymes here, only bacteria. The bacteria in your large intestine has been a big focus lately and there is a lot of research being done on it that is basically telling us, these little guys are doing A LOT. In addition to helping us break down food, they are linked to our mental health, autoimmune diseases and to our overall health in general. They even believe that these little guys are talking to our nervous system about other things. Isn’t that crazy? This is why you have seen an emergence in probiotics, fermented foods, and just gut health in general. What throws them off: meds (like antibiotics), bad food choices, chemicals, etc.
So, what did we learn? A lot of things can throw off our body’s ability to digest food properly: too much medicine (especially antibiotics and antacids), wrong food choices and too much exposure to chemicals. If we don’t absorb our nutrients properly, they won’t actually get into our bloodstream to go to the cells in our body. If we throw off the bacteria, it can lead to a whole cascade of problems that are linked to depression, brain fog, fatigue, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalances, allergies, and basically so many things.
Most of people’s “issues” are linked to bad digestion (improper nutrient absorption), but don’t realize it. If you suspect this may be the case for you, let me know and I can help your correct it.
Arbonne’s nutrition program is also programmed to fix digestion too. Most people see it as a way to lose weight, but really you lose weight because your digestion is being fixed! Win win! I see now how powerful their program is to helping people fix a lot of problems…all stemming from digestive issues!! This program is perfect for people who don’t know where to start, work better with a support system, or just like being told what to do, because you get all the tools you need to be successful at it, like recipes and a support system!
Super easy, quick,”real” pickle
Does anyone else love pickles, like I do? I don’t even think this is necessary a pregnancy thing either. I always loved them. I recently found out that pickles are a good way of adding more fermented foods into your diet to feed the good bacteria. However, those vinegar ones we generally buy in the store, don’t count! You have to make “real” ones. I found this super simple way to make them and I’m already on my 3rd batch this month.
You just need a clean jar, veggies to pickle (like cucumbers, if staying conventional), salt, dill (dried or fresh) and one garlic clove.
The amount of water and salt you need depends on the size jar you have. But for a regular sized one: Mix in 1-2 tab salt into 2 cups filtered water (you are making a brine). Its ok, if salt settles to the bottom.
Cut up veggies and shove into jar with the garlic and about 1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tab fresh). Pour in brine. Place (don’t tighten, keep lose) lid on top of jar. Place jar in a dark place in your kitchen (like in a cabinet). Let sit for at about 3 days.
That’s it! You should see tiny bubbles and cloudiness, and of course they should taste like pickles. If anything smells or tastes off, throw away and try again. Store in fridge.
These are for dill flavored ones, but you can totally change up the flavorings to your liking! Let me know if you try them!
Lia’s Favorite Product of the Month
In keeping with today’s theme, I figured it made sense to showcase Arbonne’s Digestion Plus. This is a supplement, so it will not replace a bad diet, no matter what. Its job is to “supplement.” But if you are doing the 30 days clean eating program (which in itself improves your digestion), or already feel your eats are good, it’s a nice compliment. What I love about it is that it contains the trifecta: probiotics (good bacteria), prebiotics (food for the bacteria) and enzymes! It also contains other natural things to help like chicory, peppermint and chamomile. Its safe to use everyday, and I think it tastes really good, sort of like unsweetened tea.
It comes in single serving packets (really easy to travel with). I tend to be really lazy about it and eat it like pixie stick, and then chase it with water (haha), but you can do it the real way and mix with water too. Some people also mix it in their smoothies or with a fizz stick. I make little “shots” of it for my husband to drink, because he’s lazy like me and prefers to shoot it, haha.
I wrote two blog posts this month about what my time in Vegas and also my top 5 personal development books that have really helped me. Both posts are very personal to me and took me a while to write, so check them out!
My health coaching business is almost ready to go live! Yay!! If you would like a free health consult with me, I would love to talk to you! It can be via phone, video chat, or in person! Or, if you know of anyone, just send them my way too!
Follow me here! Instagram @balancedlifewithlia
Arbonne products can be seen here! Liaplaner.arbonne.com
And if you are interested in a deeper discount on products, want some extra cash, an extra income stream to “take the load off” or just a fun thing to do! Arbonne is letting people sign up to be consultants this summer for only $49!
That’s insane! Very few places where you can literally have your own business for the cost of a dinner out! Let me know if you have any questions about this or anything!