Glow with Flo: Week Four

Revitalise your Gut, Revitalise your Skin

Hello you beautious thing you! Oh you are so nearly there! If your inner glow was a cat, it would be purring right now.

So far you have been gently healingnourishing and cleansing yourself inside and out. That’s a lot of work but I have no doubt that you are already seeing and feeling the benefits.

All we need to do for the final week of this plan is to add that final touch of sparkle; to introduce some very special microbes that are going to help light you up from the inside out!

The microbiome has become of great interest to scientific communities over the last year, but what is it and why is it important for our glow?

The vast collection of microbes that live in us and on us contain genetic material that outnumbers our own by 100 to 1. These microbe communities, which make up your unique microbiome, are constantly in flux due to changes in your individual health statuses, the environment, and everything you put in your mouths or on your skin.

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about these communities but we do know that many are responsible for improving our immunity and mental health, for switching certain genes off or on, for cultivating a beautifully functioning digestive system and for supporting clear and healthy skin.

Everything we do to nurture our own health, enables our microbiome to nurture us in return.

In week one you started to heal your gut and your skin, the very places your healthy microbes like to hang out. You got to play architect and contractor, building comfortable and beautiful houses to keep your friendly microbes cosy and sheltered.

In week two you began nourishing your gut and skin with the ingredients that your healthy microbes like to eat! Nothing your microbe workforce likes more than delicious, healthy feasting to set them up for a hard day’s work!

In week three you took those first steps in cleansing your gut and skin: discouraging the unhealthy microbes in setting up shop so that the healthy microbes can thrive instead. Your friendly microbes will be loving having a shiny clean environment to work in and meanwhile the undesirables will be moving out.

So what are we going to do this week? Let’s increase your communities of the good guys so that the celebratory festivities can begin! Your microbiome is about to get partying…

Consume Ferments

Fermented foods and drinks are made by feeding microbial cultures in controlled environments so that they both proliferate and increase the bioavailable nutrients of the food source they were working on.

Does that sound weird to you? Well, without fermentation we wouldn’t have chocolate, cheese, beer or bread! We’d never get to liven up a salad dressing with vinegar, dollop yoghurt on our granola or shake soy sauce over our stir fries.

Traditional ferments such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kvass and kombucha are all made using a similar process but the cultures are still live and ready to join our microbiome work party. They are increasingly available to buy in health food shops or even supermarkets. If not, you can always try making your own.

When introducing ferments to our diet it is important not to increase those microbes too quickly because, as with all parties, too much too quickly can get out of control and leave us with a hangover!

So, go slowly. Each day this week choose between a 250ml fermented drink or a tablespoon of fermented vegetables. If you feel a bit bloated afterwards then reduce the amount you consume the next day.

 

Probiotics

Probiotics are just a fancy name for the live microbes that you can consume or put on your skin (pro = for, bio = life.) Your fermented food and drinks are teaming with some strains and your probiotic tablets are packed with others. All beneficial microbes do different jobs so the wider range you can take the better.

While babies in the womb are sterile, their birth processes, feeding and their environments immediately flood their guts and skin with microbes. These microbes make up unique communities that provide the basis of a lifelong microbiome.

However, probiotics don’t tend to hang around in your system for long. They are travellers, migrant workers that come for the party, work hard and then continue on their way.

The wider a range of probiotics you take over a lifetime, whether in ferments, supplemental forms or from contact with healthy soil-based organisms (picked up when you sit on the ground, hug trees or eat a freshly pulled carrot) the better.

Because you don’t want to overwhelm your system, just take your probiotics as recommended on the packaging. And, if in doubt, take a lower dosage until your microbiome has had a chance to meet and greet these new guests!

Water

You are now used to drinking a full two litres a day right?

Great! Keep it up! I am very proud of you!

Cool Showers

I am not going to insist you take cold showers because I’ve enjoyed working with you and I don’t want you finish this plan hating me!

However…

Even just turning your shower to cool for 30 seconds at the end of your shower or bath is going to invigorate you, get that blood pumping around your system and give you glow! So, if you think about it, wouldn’t it be mean of me not to recommend you add this to your schedule this week?

Do your three minute body brush, bathe or shower as normal before turning the temperature dial as low as you can comfortably manage. Stick it out for half a minute if you can. Then turn the shower off, and feel your body heat up naturally while you dry yourself and rub in some jojoba oil. Feels good right?

Revitalise your Gut, Revitalise your Skin: A Summary

Don’t panic! It looks like a long list but most of these will be ingrained habits by now. You’ve totally got this Glow with Flo plan down!

  • Water – at least eight 250ml glasses a day
  • Sugar – as little as possible
  • Fat – include one or more of the good ones with every meal
  • Vegetables – eat as many organic and seasonal veggies as you can each day
  • Ferments – up to 250ml fermented drink and/or one tablespoon fermented veggies each day
  • Collagen – two tablespoons a day
  • Vitamin C – at least 1,000mg a day
  • Cod Liver Oil – two capsules a day
  • Charcoal – two capsules a day (away from other supplements and from medication)
  • Probiotics – as directed on the packaging of your chosen brand – start with a low dose
  • Body Brushing – three minutes a day
  • Cool showers – 30 seconds after your usual bath or shower
  • Jojoba oil – for skin cleansing and moisturising
  • Clay masks – two or three this week

Don’t forget that if there is anything at all you are unsure about or are having difficulties with this week – I am always happy to help you out! Just email me!

What’s next?

Don’t worry, I’m not about to desert you! Before you finish this week I will be emailing you with some long-term options and a reminder to take a post Glow with Flo! selfie. For now, my beautiful friend, focus on getting that microbiome party started!