Gut to Know... Hannah Ebelthite
We caught up with Hannah Ebelthite, freelance health and fitness writer with over 20 years' experience on national newspaper and magazines and co author with Amanda Hamilton of the G Plan Diet which came out top for weight loss, positive gut changes and value for money on ITV's Save Money: Good Diet, back in October.
How and when did you discover the importance of Gut Health?
As a health writer it's a topic I've long been aware of – the importance of good digestion for all aspects of wellbeing. But I perhaps ignored it on a personal level, thinking I didn't have any digestive issues myself. In recent years though, so much evidence has emerged on the huge role our microbiome plays in the body, physically and mentally – and we're learning more all the time. It was reading The Diet Myth, by Professor Tim Spector, that really brought that home to me. And it was following The G Plan Diet, as devised by my co-author, nutritionist Amanda Hamilton, that proved it to me. I lost weight, had more energy, better skin, improved mood… Other diet and wellness trends will come and go, but this is one area of health where we can easily make positive changes and reap huge results. So it's here to stay.
What Gut Friendly tips do you employ daily? Fermenting etc?
Fermented foods and drinks feature daily but I have to confess I buy them. Nailing my own kombucha, kefir and sourdough is definitely on my New Year's to-do list! I usually start the day with a kefir or natural yoghurt smoothie, then a big quinoa or brown rice salad for lunch, into which I'll stir some raw sauerkraut, seeds, whatever veg and salad I have around, plus some more protein. Dinner is normally one of the G Plan recipes which I've batch cooked, or my husband is great at knocking up stir-fries, broths and phos. He's a big fan of kimchi and has it with everything but that's one fermented food I've not yet found a taste for - too spicy for me!
Whats the simplest tip you could offer people on Gut Health?
Make your diet more diverse. Stop having the same breakfast every day, the same few sandwiches on rotation for lunch, your favourite dinners over and over. Where most weight-loss diets are restrictive and miserable to follow, a gut-healthy diet is a joy, because it's about discovering new foods and recipes and being adventurous. Enjoy a rainbow of fruit and veg, a bounty of nuts, seeds and different grains. When I plate-up a meal now, I think, 'What else can I add?'. It's liberating!
Where do you see the future for Gut Health awareness?
The message is definitely getting out there that we can have a positive influence on our microbiome - the general public is a lot more clued up than they were a year or two ago. I think supermarkets will soon have gut health sections, in the same way as they have free-from aisles. All the lovely pre- and probiotic foods and fermented produce in one place for those interested in a healthy digestion and more. And I believe probiotics will become increasingly tailored to the individual, as scientists identify more strains of gut bacteria and what their roles are in health. They could be the future of medicine.