Happy First Week Of May!
The beauty of living in the Kootenay’s is that we get to experience all 4 gorgeous seasons. I spend every Thursday travelling to the Okanagan one week and to the East Kootenay’s on the other and each trip entails crossing mountain passes, so I often get to see all 4 seasons in one day. This past week I travelled to Creston twice and seeing buds pop out on the trees and little flowers on the sides of the road really reiterated that Spring has finally sprung!
Happy Gut had the privilege of doing a water kefir demo at the Kootenay Meadow’s farm for the ‘Live like someone left the gate open’ spring cow release this past Saturday. Over 500 people attended the event and it was so fun to watch the cows be released out into the field for the first time this spring. They jumped and danced and frolicked while a live band played Hallelujah! Pretty much how I feel when the sun comes out.
HAPPY GUT CHEERS!
Speaking of happiness, our team at Happy Gut has been furiously brewing, shipping water kefir kits to our amazing customers, delivering to our wholesale customers and working on the next issue of our blog. This past week we even shipped several kits to Ontario for the first time. We are beginning to get noticed! We also had the privilege to check out the Earth to Table Vegan Market in Kelowna!
Now that you know a bit about water kefir basics (see the previous post for details), we want to keep building on all of the lovely ways you can get creative with the brew! We would love to hear what you have been doing with your kefir! Tag us in your photos on Facebook and Instagram @happygutpro, or email us photos to email@example.com of you enjoying your water kefir for a chance to be featured on the blog!
We LOVE our followers!
Now on a more serious note. Our team has decided to feature Autoimmune diseases for the month of May because it is something that is very near and dear to our hearts. Autoimmune disease is an umbrella term for any diseases characterized by abnormal functioning of the immune system. Our immune systems are basically a group of cells and organs that defend our bodies against foreign invaders. When you have an autoimmune disease, that means that your body creates antibodies that attack your own cells by mistake, instead of those foreign invaders. So if you catch a cold virus, for example, your body sends out these antibodies, but instead of attacking the virus army, it attacks your healthy cells. At this time there are over 100 recognized autoimmune diseases, but some common ones include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis,
- Celiac disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Crohn’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
- Multiple sclerosis, psoriasis (including psoriatic arthritis)
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
We know that there are so many more, so if you have a specific autoimmune disorder you would like to see included, please let us know!
Each autoimmune disease comes with its own unique sets of symptoms and challenges, there are some common symptoms shared by all of them.
Some of these symptoms are:
- Chronic pain
- Insomnia/chronic fatigue
- Nausea (typically from pharmaceutical treatment)
Another thing that all autoimmune diseases have in common is that most people experience regular “flares”, where symptoms are worsened and impact daily functioning. Any time symptoms persist for longer than 72 hours, doctors generally consider it a flare of the condition.
**FAST FACT: High fat, high sugar, and a highly processed food DIET has been shown to be a trigger for inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
Autoimmune diseases share many symptoms with other health conditions, and can therefore be tricky to diagnose. If you think that you or someone you know may have an autoimmune condition, write down all of your symptoms and talk to a doctor. There is no one specific test for autoimmune disorders, so you will likely be referred to a specialist (rheumatologist, dermatologist, gastroenterologist, endocrinologist) for further assessment and testing.
*We just want to note that we at Happy Gut are not medical professionals, and our information should never take the place of a doctor or medical professional. Our information is meant to accompany/assist conventional medical treatment. Please be sure to consult with your doctor about any diet/lifestyle changes you plan to take, before you begin*
**FAST FACT: Women are twice as likely to have an autoimmune disorder over men.
Inflammation and Pain
In this week’s blog post we wanted to talk about pain and inflammation. The changing weather alone can be enough to trigger a flare, along with change in diet (all of those delicious spring goodies!), and change in activity levels. Autoimmune inflammation can be external (skin rashes, redness, muscle and joint swelling/pain), and also internal (stomach and intestinal inflammation, gut pain).
Exercise, medication and a healthy diet can all help ease symptoms, and we wanted to introduce a way to supercharge your immunity boosting water kefir brews, to help combat your flares!
Check out some of our favorite inflammation and pain fighting foods:
Raisins: These wrinkly little dried fruits help reduce the inflammation marker TNF-alpha. They also contain a good balance of sugar, perfect for popping into your second ferment brew.
Basil: this fragrant herb is rich in phytonutrients, which help reduce inflammation. The beauty of basil (try saying that five times fast!) is that it comes in dozens of varieties, and can be used in sweet AND savory preparations. Our favorites? Sweet Basil, Thai Basil (more of a licorice flavor), lemon basil and cinnamon basil! Most greenhouses carry several varieties of basil for you to try. Which one is your favorite?
Cinnamon: a beautifully warm spice, that again can be used in sweet and savory preparations. It also contains phytonutrients, and can help with both pain and inflammation. Have you tried using spices in your water kefir brews?
**Pro Tip: We love making a chai spice water kefir using inflammation fighting herbs and spices like cinnamon, ginger, tumeric, and black pepper! Let us know if you want to see the recipe in a future blog post!
Cayenne: chilli peppers have been praised for their health and medicinal benefits since ancient times. They contain natural compounds called capsaicinoids, which give these spicy fruits their anti-inflammatory properties. It is beneficial both on ingestion and also topically. We love throwing cayenne into our morning smoothies for an extra kick! We also enjoy using muscle salves with a splash of cayenne in them to ease pain in muscles and joints.
**Sharing is Caring- One street down from Happy Gut lives a spectacular foraging goddess named Lada from LadaLove Apothecary. She handmakes all of her creations in small batches with wild-crafted, sustainably gathered and garden-grown botanicals. She offers a muscle mender salve like no other. Check it out here.
Cherries: these deliciously tart fruits contain anthocyanins and anti-inflammatory properties. Tart cherries specifically, carry 2x the anti-inflammatory properties! Not in season? You can purchase tart cherry juice in the organic section of your local grocer. Just make sure to read the ingredients. You should only be seeing cherries on the list! Who is excited for cherry season?
Kale: We LOVE our kale! Not only is it rich in sulfur, making it a fabulous detox vegetable, but it produces sciencey sounding Phase II enzymes to further cleanse the liver. The happier the liver, the better chance you have at reducing inflammation. Adding kale to your morning smoothie is a great way to get iron, vitamins, minerals and some autoimmune support.
Blueberry Chamomile Fizz – Second Ferment Fun
1/4 cup wild blueberries (available dried or in the freezer aisle)
1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or 5 small pieces of candied ginger)
Optional: 1 teaspoon maple syrup (unless you are using dried blueberries/candied ginger)-this helps to feed the ferment, and also adds a bit of extra flavor and sweetness.
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice-if you like a bit of tang and an extra dose of vitamin C
Add ingredients to your second ferment (green bottle) and allow to sit for 24 hours.
**PRO TIP: Remember, the warmer the weather, the faster the ferment. Be sure to burp your bottle sooner, if your space is warm!
**FUN FACT: Blueberries are a powerful anti-oxidant, high in vitamin c and potassium, and phytoflavinoids making them a wonderful ingredient to help with inflammation, and they also lower the risk of heart disease!
Blueberry Dream Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie
1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
1 cup (packed) lightly blanched or young nettles (can sub spinach or kale if you don’t have nettle)
*Be sure to use tongs or wear gloves when handling fresh nettles to prevent stings*
1 cup first ferment water kefir
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons raw organic beet juice (can sub for 2 tablespoons of raw, finely shredded beets, but the flavor is more earthy and you will have some extra fibre in your smoothie)-available in the organic aisle at most grocery stores.
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or to taste)
1 teaspoon raw honey (or agave if you are vegan)
Optional: pinch of finely ground cayenne for extra inflammation fighting powerful
Blend for 1-2 minutes, to ensure nettles or greens are broken down.
If it is too thick after blending, add additional first ferment and blend again.
Our amazing team keeps on growing! Happy Gut is proud to introduce our newest team member Annika Cheveldave. This girl is only in Grade 11 but she is on FIRE! Her Instagram page @cheveldavephotography kept catching my attention and after reading her various posts about her health struggles with immunity and the changes that she implemented in her life, I knew that she was the perfect fit for the Happy Gut team. She comes to her photo shoots brimming with enthusiasm about what exciting concoctions we will be featuring and thoroughly enjoying the creative shoots and taste testings. We are very privileged to work with this young lady with a great eye. Welcome aboard Annika!
Find Happy Gut products at the following **NEW** locations
Askew’s Foods – Salmon Arm B.C.
The Light Cellar – Calgary AB
MotherLove Kombucha – Kelowna BC
One Big Table – Kelowna BC
Help us grow!!! If you want to see Happy Gut products sold in your town, please ask your local health stores to contact us.
We Want to Hear From You!
We love our Happy Gut family, and that includes you! Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, or have suggestions or ideas of what you would like to see in the blog. We do this blog for you, so your feedback means everything to us!
You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook or Instagram @happygutpro.
You asked, and we listened! We had several lovely customers ask us where to find some of the products in our recipes. We try to keep our ingredients accessible but also want to feature some fun ingredients that people may not have tried. We hope that our updates in this blog were helpful! Feel free to contact us for further questions around where to find a specific ingredient/substitute near you.
Happy Fri Yay!
Leeza and The Happy Gut Team