I have Dr. Megan Rossi on today’s episode. A Ph.D. researcher who has studied the gut and improving gut health, she’s really passionate about helping people eat a wider variety of plants. You’re definitely going to want to tune into this episode, as Dr. Megan Rossi shares a lot of simple, small tricks that you can implement today to improve your overall health, gut health, vitality, and energy. So without further ado, let's jump into the interview with Dr. Megan Rossi.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/245
Follow me on Instagram!
- The gut and the three things it really impacts (5:46)
- Optimizing the gut is such an important part of our overall health and overall well-being. (7:17)
- How does one measure their gut health? (9:07)
- Plant-based diversity is the cornerstone of a healthy diet (10:25)
- Six different plant categories: Super Six (10:25)
- Benefits from plant-based intake (19:42)
- People need to understand that looking after your gut and eating more plants doesn't need to cost them anything extra (32:48)
- 3 Steps to improve gut health (37:33)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 245.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:47
Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, and today on the podcast, I have Dr. Megan Rossi, and she is a Ph.D. researcher who has done a lot of work, researching the gut, and improving gut health. And one of the things that she's really passionate about is helping us to be able to eat more plants and to make it easy to eat more plants and eat a wide variety and diversity of plants. I found this conversation with her fascinating, and I really loved what she shared because I feel sometimes when we go to improve our health, a lot of us know that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but she really kind of expands that idea of its not only fruits and vegetables, but what she calls the super six, and it's really about getting a diversity of those six into our diet. And you'll hear towards the end of the episode that she really speaks to the competitor in me, and maybe you'll relate to wanting to win, and she kind of has a game that we can start to play with ourselves in terms of increasing the diversity of plants that we are including into our diets. So you're definitely gonna want to stick around for this episode because there are lots of simple, really tiny tricks that she relates in this episode that you can start to implement today to start to improve your overall health, your gut health, and your vitality, and feelings of energy. I think most of us are looking for, “Hey, I want to sleep better, I want more energy, and I want to feel better.” And she really starts to make the connection between how eating more plants can really help us to get there. So without further ado, let's jump into the interview with Dr. Megan Rossi.
Amber B 2:31
All right, I am so excited to welcome you to the podcast, Dr. Megan Rossi. Megan, thanks for being here today.
Megan R 2:38
It's an absolute pleasure.
Amber B 2:40
I am really excited about this. I was telling Megan before we hit record that I think this is really going to land with a lot of you because I know that eating healthier and fueling your body is a really important thing that most of you are focusing on. And we're going to really dive into the vegetable side of that today with Megan. So first off, let's just have you introduce yourself to my audience. So who are you? And what are you known for?
Megan R 3:04
Yeah, so I'm a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a Ph.D. in gut health and I actually work as a research fellow at King's College in London, so I think it's fair to say that I live and breathe all things, nutrition, and gut health and I actually am Australian but ended up in the UK after finishing my Ph.D. and showing that actually nourishing our guts can improve people's lives in very real and often surprising ways. So it's not just about gut symptoms, it's things like better hormone control, better metabolism, and better mental health, and I knew that if I really wanted to help people, I would have to continue after my Ph.D., in terms of the research world to really further that investigation. So I moved from Australia to the UK, and I continued to work as a research fellow there, but I think about a year into working exclusively as a researcher, I just got a bit frustrated, despite the amazing research that was coming out showing how we could very simply and easily transform our lives via gut health. It wasn't being translated. So as one does in the 21st century, one set up a health doctor on social media, and just so many opportunities from that have arisen, including the new book, How to Eat More Plants.
Amber B 4:19
It's so awesome and I think a lot of people don't understand that connection between bench research and then actually getting it out to the masses. It's one thing to publish it in a scientific journal, and have it be peer-reviewed, and that's the gold standard but that next step of now, making sure everybody hears about it, often it's not the researchers that are doing that pushing, so I think it's so cool when someone who is doing the research then can come out and like also be spreading it to the masses.
Megan R 4:46
Yeah, look, it's just such an injustice to all of this amazing kind of research we're finding out about our body, and I continued to see patients as a dietitian and found that people coming to me thinking that they were doing the best where they got because they read it on a blog about being very restrictive with their diet and going on these crazy fast, etc. And here, I was seeing a very forefront of the research was completely opposite of what people thought was good for them, and it was just that injustice to this organ that I'd fallen in love with and saw so much power that was like, “I need to do something about it like this needs to get out there.” So yeah, that's why I kind of set up the social media path.
Amber B 5:29
That's awesome and gut health really is an emerging field. I mean, this is only something in the last little while that we've even paid attention to, and realize how much our gut can impact our health. I mean, so you're really at the forefront of emerging science in this area, which is really exciting.
Megan R 5:46
Yeah, look, I mean, when we talk about gut health and think everyone's heard of the word but what it is exactly it's not often communicated, and actually, it relates to this nine-meter-long digestive tract that delivers food from entry all the way to exit. Now, that nine meters is incredibly important for three things. One is digestion. If you don't have a good gut lining, no matter how healthy the food you put into your body is you're not going to get that nutrition from your gut into your blood to feed the rest of your body. So digestion is the first one to get the most out of your food. The second one is the immune system. So 70% of our immune system lives along that nine-meter digestive tract and that's why, not just things the common core but even things like COVID, we were seeing people with better gut health had a much lower risk of becoming unwell if they did get COVID. But it's the third element to that nine-meter-long digestive tract that's brought fame over the last couple of years, and that's just the discovery of the trillions of bacteria that live along that nine meters, and anyone who's into science will know the science-y name is the gut microbiome. If you don't like that science-y name, I nicknamed it my GM but essentially, it's this community that has so much power in terms of transforming our health and it's not as complex or restrictive, as I think we've been led to believe to look after it.
Amber B 7:00
Yeah, can you describe it a little bit more? You kind of talked about the gut and the three things that it really impacts, but when we start talking about health, and our overall health, and our overall well-being, why is optimizing the gut such an important part of that?
Megan R 7:17
Yeah, look, we've discovered that so many of the things we thought human cells deed, like hormone production, vitamin production, impacting brain function, impacting our metabolism. We thought that was just down to human cells but because of technology, we've now been able to, I guess, identify the types of microbes that are living in our gut and understood that actually, they're doing a lot of that work for us and keeping them happy, in turn, keeps the rest of our body functionally optimally. So in the book, How to Eat More Plants, I talked about things like the gut metabolism axis, the gut skin axis, the gut-brain axis, the gut hormone axis, and what I mean by axis is this two-way connection that occurs between both, so I've got very much seems to be at the center of regulating these other elements and an example is with estrogen. We know that gut bacteria actually help regulate the amount of estrogen throughout our body, and we're seeing things like people who go through menopause, if they look after their gut health, they have a much lower risk of having things like hot flushes, for example. And even people are struggling with PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc. Again, looking after that, focusing on the gut, I've certainly seen in clinic, and we've got research now to back it up, can significantly improve that diagnosis and, yeah, it's really just been over the last couple of years where I guess this landmark scientific discovery has uncovered the power of this organ and yeah, that's why I'm so excited about sort of getting that information out there.
Amber B 8:56
Yeah, so we can talk about improving gut health, which is a buzzword of like, “I want to improve my gut health.” But how does one measure their gut health?
Megan R 9:07
Yeah, so when I was writing my first book, Love your Guts, because everyone literally has half a dozen number one question I get is how do I not have gut health? And I was thinking, “Gosh, it's tricky, because it's no single assessment.” So when I was writing the book, I came up with this 10-Question assessment, which I can get. I can give you guys completely free online to all your followers, so they can have an idea of where their gut health sets because what I wanted to really get across to people, it doesn't necessarily mean the absence of gut symptoms means you've got good gut health. I talked about things in the questionnaire like how stressed, how often you're getting sick, do you have a family history of conditions, etc. And it gives you a score from 0-20, where you sit on this gut health scale, and then it can help you identify what areas you need to focus on to really reach kind of your optimal gut health because everyone's on a very different gut health journey, and that's why I believe about the kind of personalizing it and making it work for you wherever you are.
Amber B 10:09
Yeah, that's really good. That's really awesome. One of the things that you talk about, and we're going to kind of move into, “Awesome, I want to improve my gut health. What are some of the ways that I can do that?” You talk a lot about plant-based diversity, so what is that? And why is it really the cornerstone of a healthy diet?
Megan R 10:25
Yeah, so we've known for a long time that people who eat more plants seem to have better health, live longer, look better, feel better, everything. We never really understood why. Until recently, we now understand that plants contain dietary fiber, and fiber is something that human cells can't digest, so when we eat plants with fiber, it goes through most of our digestive tract undigested, unlike fats and protein which we digest by human cells. It gets a lower part of our intestine where we have those trillions of bacteria, and fiber then feeds those gut bacteria, so bacteria are the unique ones that with the enzymes to break down that fiber, produce all of these amazing chemicals, which then regulate our appetite hormones, communicate with our brain function, communicate with our estrogen levels, and our hormones, etc. So that's essentially why we've been missing, it's because plants feed our gut bacteria. But when I talk about plants, I think it's important that we know, I'm not just talking about fruit and veg, and I think this is a bit of an outdated kind of concept where the government's– wherever you live, whatever country, they always say, “Eat more fruit and veg.” And what they're forgetting is actually, there's new science out there now that talks about the six different plant categories, and in the book, I call them the Super Six and they are your whole grains so things like your Ode to quinoa; you've got your legumes so things like your chickpeas and lentils, you've got your nuts and seeds; you've got your fruit; you've got your veg, and your herbs and spices. Now, each different plant category– so each different, super six member provides our body and gut bacteria with different types of nutrients so if we're cutting out or not getting one of these super six in our diet most days, we're actually not feeding our gut bacteria; that diversity they need to be able to work at their optimal health. So that's where this new concept of diversity comes in, and I talked about in the book in terms of helping people very easily it sounds like a lot but it actually it's very easy and I'm sure we'll talk about some simple tips to achieve it by getting 30 different types of plants each and every week from those super Six. If you do that, you will have amazing gut health.
Amber B 10:40
That's awesome. So in terms of fiber, is there a recommendation that you're giving your clients to be aiming for in terms of fiber intake per day? And are you differentiating between soluble and insoluble fiber?
Megan R 12:58
Yeah, so that's a really good one so when we talk about fiber, historically, we still in a lot of practices. They talk about soluble and insoluble just to separate out the two types but actually, what we know is as close to 100 different types of fiber, and they don't nicely fit into soluble versus insoluble and so actually, that's one of the reasons why that diversity comes into play because we want all 100 types of those archery fibers that don't necessarily fit into soluble versus insoluble. Now, in most Western countries, we're getting less than 20 grams of fiber in a day. Most government guidelines recommend about 30 grams of fiber a day in the US and for males, it's 35 grams. Yet, we know our ancestors had over 100 grams of fiber a day and there have been amazing studies, which highlight really trying to improve our mental health, and what's worked is 50 grams of fiber a day. So in the menu plans in the book, I generally aimed to achieve at least 50 grams of fiber in people's diets a day, which, again, I hope we do talk about some of the really simple tweaks you can do to achieve that because it's not extra effort, extra cost. It's just thinking slightly differently when you're at the shops.
Amber B 14:19
Yeah, that's really good. Yeah. And we will get into that. But before we do, are you suggesting people titrate up their fiber intake I imagine if you're jumping from the standard American diet, you're consuming 15 grams of protein, and you go all the way to 50. That's going to be kind of a shock to your system. A lot of people start getting constipated, or they start being bloated, so are you helping clients to titrate it, or what recommendations would you make as you're making these transitions in your diet?
Megan R 14:47
Yeah, absolutely and I think that one of the really important elements in the book is about how to eat more plants. It's about following the protocol to increase them gradually because the worst thing I hear as people go, “Plants don't agree with me”, right? “I get bloated. I want to have them but I just can't because it don't agree with me”, and my past 15 years as a dietitian, I've not met a gut that I haven't been able to teach, to eat, and max out and get their 50 grams of fiber a day, but as you said, there need to be some steps. The first one is slow and gradual and this will depend on how sensitive your gut is, so some people need to go really, really slow in the book, I've got the sensitive gut menu plan. So if you notice that you're quite a sensitive gut person, you're prone to bloating, maybe you've got IBS, then that's the path I suggest you follow because what I've done is I've taken out certain types of fiber in that menu plan where it's more likely to cause gas and bloating and these are called FODMAPs. We know FODMAPs are beneficial; they feed our gut bacteria but actually if you've got a sensitive gut when you're starting to increase fiber, you want to reduce the amount of those certain times. So I've certainly taken the guesswork out of it, you don't need to be a whiz. You literally just follow the kind of recipes that are listed there but in a practical sense, it might be half a cup of veg extra each day for the first week and then see how your gut feels and then maybe increase an extra piece of fruit in your diet each day for the next week and then increase every couple of days have a quarter cup of beans in your diet, and kind of that really slow progression, as well as ensuring having plenty of fluids. Because we know that fiber in order to work its magic it needs to be fully hydrated so trying to get that fluid. And if you don't like water, it doesn't necessarily have to be water. I've got a great fermented Ginger soda in the book, which is a really tasty bubbly macro made so it doesn't add any chemicals the microbes make the gas bubbles, which gives that nice refreshing mouthfeel, etc. Or you can have some water with some Barry's kind of crunched in or something like that to get your hydration up.
Amber B 17:09
That's awesome and I super appreciate it because I think a lot of times people will hear about gut health, or they'll listen to a podcast like this, and they'll just want to go balls to the walls, and then the exact thing happens where they're like, “I'm gonna eat 50 grams of fiber”, and then they're like, “That was terrible.” And then you're like, “Well, that's because you went from 15 to 50. Let's slowly titrate that up a little bit.” So I love that idea of just slowly working on increasing it over time. I think it just makes it more doable for people as well. So you've kind of been teasing some more like simple tricks, so what are some other simple ways that people can just get started today in coming away from this podcast being like, “Yes, I want to consume more fiber; I want to consume more plant sources.” What could be a couple of those next steps that they could start with?
Megan R 17:55
Yeah, so what I would recommend is literally taking five minutes out to jot down all the different types of plants you had yesterday. List them out and then just make a kind of a goal to yourself that this week, you're going to add in one extra plant that you wouldn't normally have and then do that each week and that can help you build up the amount that you're choosing. It's a very simple way to achieve your 30 different types of plants but then there are also very simple hacks at the grocery store. Whenever you're there, think of diversity. Don't just get your pumpkin seeds, get your mix seeds packed. Don't just get your broccoli, get your stir fry mix of veg. Don't just get your chickpeas, get your three-bean mix, as long as it's in water and not in brine or something like that. So don't just get your blueberries, get your frozen packers mixed berries. Now, that diversity concept is going to give you local plant points in turn giving loads of more these things called phytochemicals, which feed the gut bacteria and in turn, it allows them to work at their finest for you so that diversity concept is something that we should all be thinking about when we're at the shops.
Amber B 19:06
And that's super easy, right? I love that tip because it just requires a simple substitution of something that's almost the same as a three-berry mix. Is almost the same as blueberries but just a little bit more diversity and that makes it super simple to get started. So let's talk about benefits, right? So there are obviously benefits to increasing the fiber benefits including more plant sources in our food. What are some of the immediate benefits that clients start to report versus some of maybe the longer-term benefits that you start to see after you've been at this for a while?
Megan R 19:42
Yeah, so I think the immediate benefits, I hear people saying things as they've just got more energy within a week, or so they just feel they can run off to the kids for longer. Also, sleep. They say that they're less likely to wake up at night. They're kind of sleeping through it. Skin is another one. They feel that they report just having more of a skin glow and actually, there is a science behind that in terms of the gut-skin connection, which I kind of go through in the book that two-way relationship that occurs and not to go on a tangent. But we also have billions of bacteria on our skin, which act like a second skin, it's called our skin microbiome. So our gut microbiome and our skin microbiome are communicating, so if you nourish them, they, in turn, can have a positive impact on things like your skin glow. And then in terms of, I guess, the longer or the more intermediate-term effects so I'm talking after a month or two, people start to notice their mood increases as well. They start to feel that little bit more positive, as well as things like weight management. So certainly, within a month or so, people go actually, “I feel a little bit lighter. The scales are telling me that as well.” And then it depends how long people want to go for, and what they want to focus on, and then I would say probably four months, etc, I'm seeing things like hormones really start to turn a corner. In terms of things, whether they're people going through menopause, or even fertility, there's some research there around broadening up your diet, adding more plants in not only plants and I think that's probably an important concept. They talk in the book that I recommend eating mostly plants but doesn't need to be only plants and a stand for animal cruelty, religious, and cultural reasons why someone might want to be 100%, plant-based, ie vegan. But in terms of just health, being vegan doesn't necessarily mean any healthier as I talked about in the book. If you do choose to go down that path, there are certain supplements I would recommend you take because you can't get certain supplements 100% from plants, so things like your long chain Omega three, you can't get them other than algae oil supplements.
Amber B 21:59
That's awesome. Are there certain categories of people for the benefits even more exponential? And the reason I'm asking this question is that you had mentioned estrogen production and specifically with menopause and so I have to imagine women who are going through menopause, this is something that could really be something that really can make a difference for them. Are there other categories of people that are similar to that where it's this really could be a linchpin in your health?
Megan R 22:26
Yeah, I would say people struggling with mental health, there's been some really powerful studies and people who have clinically diagnosed moderate to severe depression. And adding more plants into their diet, again, it doesn't need to be “plant only” had a significant improvement in their depression scores and in a number of people in that clinical trial, actually, it resolved their depression. And it's certainly something I see in my own clinical practice, so, we know that there is two-way communication occurs between our gut and our brain and depression is very heterogeneous, I totally get that, so I'm not saying we can resolve everyone's depression via that gut-brain access, but we have hard evidence that it can certainly help out a large number of people.
Amber B 23:13
That's really awesome. So one of the recommendations you make is you, correct me if I'm wrong, so 30 different plant sources? Is that what we're looking for throughout the week? Is that right?
Megan R 23:23
Throughout the week.
Amber B 23:24
Yeah. Okay, so then that comes down to four and a half a day, so that if that feels a very large number, right? For 30 different types so are there other recommendations that you have for– well, this is a question. Are you keeping track of like, “Okay, I got number one, I got number two, I got number three.” Or what does that look like to make sure that you're hitting those varieties, like 30 different types throughout the week?
Megan R 23:52
Yeah, look, when I talk to people who are new to this concept, I say absolutely get it in the book. I've got a little kind of a template where people can add up from each of the Super Six. How many they've had? Stick that on your fridge, get one for your kids, get one for your partner, and make a little fun game out of it. And it's so fun to see on social media, that people tagged me with their kids' scores versus their scores and having this household competition and what it does is not only creates that kind of excitement and that interest, particularly with the kids, but actually then start to learn a little bit more about your normal eating habits and go, “Oh look, I actually don't eat any legumes, or actually, I haven't had any seeds for the past week.” And then you start to see kind of where you're missing out. Me, personally, because this has been the way that it's been for quite some time, I don't keep account anymore. I have sporadically done it, and I'm up to 70 plant points a week because it is actually really easy the more you get into it. But yeah, I think it can be a really fun kind of competition to have at home or in the workplace to start cloud counting your plant points and see who's the winner each week.
Amber B 25:09
Okay, you're speaking my love language. It's like, “A competition? I'm in.” Like, “Let's play a competition.” So this is probably the competitive part of me that's like, “Okay, but what's the amount that's needed?” If I have half a teaspoon of some quinoa, does that count? Or is there an amount that I really– it doesn't you need X amount to be able to “count”.
Megan R 25:30
Yeah, so what I've done is given each different plant a whole plant point, so whether–
Amber B 25:38
You have thought this through. Rules and strategy.
Megan R 25:43
Yeah, I have rules to it. I mean, there have to be rules, right? It's competition so all plants, except herbs and spices, only get a quarter of a point.
Amber B 25:55
I'm gonna interrupt you because I had this question before that. Do they have to be fresh or does dried count?
Megan R 26:02
Dried is great. That's a really good source of these plant chemicals but because we have such small amounts of them, that's why I've just given them a short order. Now, for the plan point system, I haven't mandated the portion that you need to have in order to get a point because I wanted to keep it quite simple. But what I've definitely noticed over the past decade, when I've watched people's behavior, no one really ever has just a quarter of a teaspoon of quinoa. If they have that.
Amber B 26:32
If they like that, they would be me. I would try to cheat. I want to win.
Megan R 26:36
But you'll end up being like, “Oh, I've got leftover, so I'm going to have that the next day.” And then the next day or you bought it in your house and therefore, it's just there and you end up tossing it into things. So I say people as a first step, don't fixate on portions. If you're going to really competent, or you've got some cheaters in the house like you, I do have portion sizes which include things like cook fed, just like a quarter of a cup, or half a cup, grains, again, a quart, half a cup, etc. So you get a better idea. Nuts and seeds 30 grams, etc. Get a better idea of what a portion is but typically, over the whole seven days, even if you only have a teeny amount of mixed seeds, you probably do that at least three or four times, and you'll end up getting a portion of it. So complexity out of the way, don't necessarily fixate on portions until you're more confident, and then you can start making sure it's at least one full portion.
Amber B 27:36
I love that. What is one thing that you wish more people understood about the diversity of plants?
Megan R 27:44
Yeah, that's a great question. I think plants in general, what I really wish people understood is that you can enjoy them. I think it's such a barrier. Certainly, when I met my husband, he was like, “I hate plants.” And there are two things that I wish people knew: One, is that anything can taste bad if it's not prepped right. So think about a steak, if you fry the hell out of it, it's all rubbery and dry. Still gonna be nice. The same goes with plants, and I think we just haven't been taught, and I certainly wasn't how to make plants taste nice. And that's why in the book, I do have the AD recipes because it's about making literally a stir fry sauce that takes five minutes to make but has all of the amazing flavors that will make plants taste good. And one of the things I love testing people with is my Brussels sprout pesto, and I give it to people who say, “I don't like brussels sprouts.” Obviously, I don't tell them there are Brussel sprouts in it when they're tasting it, and they're always like, “Oh, this was really nice pesto.” And I'm like, “Guess what the main ingredients pears are it's Brussel sprouts.” And so it's those sorts of things, highlighting that it's just dressing plants up. You don't need to spend hours in the oven all that sort of stuff. That's a bit misleading. Making a quick, five-minute dressing can transform the flavor. And then the second element of that is that, actually, you can teach your tastebuds to love plants, and this is not only something I saw with my husband, and clients actually share a case study of the book in the book, which I think a lot of people can relate to. This particular client knew that plants were good for him. He was actually a doctor and he just didn't really like the taste of them. So we went through a process of just slowly sneaking them in, and I'm talking about whenever he was having a smoothie, I would get him to blend in Frozen cauliflower. If he was having bolognese, I would get him to add half a can of lentils to it and all these ways just to slowly added in. And after two months or so, he was really getting along with this. I had a particularly hard shift at work, and he admitted to me that he had one of those McDonald's sort of burgers, and he was making– I was so disappointed. I could see the look in his eye, and he was literally horrified. He's like, “When I've been into that burger, I just did not get that same buzz that I used to. I just didn't really enjoy it.” And I'm like, “It was magic.” And I'm like, “It's not magic. It's science.” And our tastebuds regenerate every 10 or so days. Our mouth also contains billions of bacteria, and these bacteria change our tastebuds as well. So we do have scientific studies that show that after four weeks of adding more plants into your diet, you do start to crave them more, so they're a bit of a ramble, but they're probably the two things that I wish more people would understand you can make plants taste delicious, but also the more you add, the more your taste buds will start to crave them.
Amber B 30:54
Awesome. Do you have one tip that you can pull for people to try out in terms of like, “This is a really great way to make plants taste better?”
Megan R 31:03
Yeah, I would say if you're having something a takeaway of any form, I would say add in some lentils to them because for example, Indian or Chinese or even pasta, Italian pasta, when you get takeaway, usually has so much sauce attached to it. You add in some even frozen veg to it or some lentils to lentils or something like that and what it does, it allows the veg to really absorb that flavor and become so moerish and delicious. That's a really simple one. If you want to just make plants taste good on their own, something like drizzling it with some olive oil, some smoky paprika, or some rock salt in the oven for 20 or so minutes, roasted up and whether it's something like capsicum or mushrooms even things like kale, it will make it taste delicious.
Amber B 32:01
I love the idea of taking a sauce that you already love, and you know you like that flavor and just sneaking something in it. It's like you're like the flavor just kind of coat it with the vegetable or the legume, or whatever it is that you're looking at.
Megan R 32:15
I'm all for pestos and stuff like that. In their book, avocado pestos which are just made add to some frozen plain veggies make them so delicious and moreish. Everyone goes back for more.
Amber B 32:29
What about the cost? Because I know that's a big thing that runs through people's minds is like thinking about, “Oh my gosh, fresh fruits and vegetables and things at the store. It's gonna be so expensive people are concerned about finances right now.” So what tips do you have to keep that cost under control and not explode your grocery budget?
Megan R 32:48
Yeah, look, I'm really passionate about people understanding that looking after their gut and eating more plants doesn't need to cost them anything extra. In fact, studies have actually shown that it can reduce your household bill because then one of the recipes in the book I've got is my spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells. And what I've done is taken out half of the cheese and replaced it with the Canada mix beans. That straight-up cuts the cost because cheese is much more expensive than canned beans. They're super accessible and they also taste delicious. A test on the family that doesn't even know that I made that switch. The same with meat. Adding in a can of lentils and taking out half of the meat of something like lasagna or Bolognese. These sorts of things can really reduce the cost overall but then things like frozen veg. We should not snap frozen veg. I always have a packed for those busy days in the freezer ready to go. A lot of them actually quite nutrient-dense because they snap-freeze them. Same with things like frozen berries. And then people are on a budget, I say definitely buy in bulk when you can and then freeze them for next month or next season and always buying season on that note, and you know things are in season by how much they are. Don't just have any head. I'm going to the shop, so they have to buy strawberries because strawberries are out of season. They can be three times the cost. It's ridiculous. So it's about all the recipes in the book and pretty much whatever recipes you're following. They can be adaptive. It says fruit, you don't necessarily need to have strawberries. I'm sure It'll work with watermelon or whatever sort of same-colored fruit that's in season and say with veg. I'm all for throwing in a stir fry any leftover kind of cut-up wilted veg you've got going. You don't always have to have the perfectly-shaped veg to make a really delicious stir fry. So those sorts of things really can highlight that. It can save you money actually eating more plants.
Amber B 34:50
That's awesome. Okay, list the Super Six for me again.
Megan R 34:54
Whole grains, nuts, and seeds, your fruits, your veg, your legumes, and you heard some new spices.
Amber B 35:04
Okay, vegetables, fruit, herbs, seeds, nuts, grain. Which one is missing?
Megan R 35:10
Amber B 35:11
Legumes. Awesome. Okay, because what I want to do is I want to play a little fun game with you. I just do a rapid fire of your favorite of each of those. Are you ready?
Megan R 35:20
Let's do it.
Amber B 35:20
Okay. So favorite vegetable?
Megan R 35:24
I love bok choy. With soy sauce and garlic.
Amber B 35:30
Megan R 35:33
I think watermelon moment summer here. Love a good watermelon. Just a quick note on that. Add some live yogurt to the watermelon so what happens is full fat lighter. Just natural yogurt. What happens is that fat from the yogurt helps your body absorb this nutrient in watermelon could lack pain, and protects your skin from UV damage by quite a load, so again, that's where the diversity comes in mixing foods instead of just having one that you eat alone.
Amber B 36:03
Like also found in tomatoes. Yes. Yeah
Megan R 36:06
And papaya. Yeah.
Amber B 36:07
And papaya too. Okay. So awesome. Favorite herb?
Megan R 36:12
Amber B 36:14
I love smoky paprika. I only discovered smoky paprika about maybe two or three years ago, and I'm like, “Wow, this is so much better than regular paprika. Where's this been all my life?”
Megan R 36:23
I know. I do. I agree.
Amber B 36:26
Okay, seeds and nuts?
Megan R 36:28
I love walnuts and seeds. I'm really into chia at the moment.
Amber B 36:32
Awesome. Favorite green?
Megan R 36:36
I love frico. Have you had a frico before?
Amber B 36:39
No, I've never even heard of that.
Megan R 36:40
You know what? So many people have never heard of it before. Yeah, it's in all our mainstream supermarkets. I'm not talking about fancy, healthy food stores. It's just hidden at the back so it's a delicious kind of nutty grain and I often switch it for things like risotto. The risotto rice and things like barley. I love it. Definitely give it a try.
Amber B 37:06
I'm gonna try it. I'm gonna try to find it. Favorite legumes?
Megan R 37:10
Butter beans at the moment. So creamy. So creamy.
Amber B 37:13
Yeah, they kind of remind me of lima beans. They're so big.
Megan R 37:18
Yeah, I love them.
Amber B 37:19
That's awesome. Okay, well, this has been so much fun, Megan. Thank you so much for coming on. Is there anything left that you're like, “I want to make sure anybody who's listening to this walks away from something that the podcast,” what would that thing be?
Megan R 37:33
I think my top three tips. My first one is getting in your 30 plants if you can each and every week. The second one, particularly for people who've got gut issues is chewing your food well. That sounds so easy and simple, but studies have actually shown it, and I see it in clinics all the time. If you're struggling with bloating or funky poops, chewing your food at least 20 times can be an absolute game changer because we not only physically break down the food. We have enzymes in our slab that chemically break down the food to support digestion so chewing your food well. And then the third one is distressing. It's not just all about food for gut health. We know that there is two-way communication. If you're stressed up here, it literally strangled your gut and means that the bacteria can't work at their best. So I know you know I'm a mum as well. It's very hard to have time for yourself. You don't have hours to do yoga flows and all the rest of it, but I'm talking five minutes to do some belly breathing or even if you're going for a walk with the kids, just trying to listen to your footsteps as you're walking for five minutes and just be really present and mindful can really calm that two-way communication that goes between the gut and the brain.
Amber B 38:39
I love it and then last will you tell us a little bit about your book?
Megan R 38:42
Yes, so How to Eat More Plants is my latest book, which I'm really passionate about so my first book is called Love your Gut and that was all about how people could get on top of their digestive issues whether it's food intolerances, bloating, constipation, IBS, etc. And then from that people are like, “Okay, great, I'm feeling good.” But now, I know that I've got actually linked with hormone health, brain health, and skin health. I want to now max out on it. What should I be eating? So that's when How to Eat More Plants came to being where it's packed with not just the information and science but the practical elements of the recipes and if you've got a sensitive gut, follow this eating pattern. The sensitive meal eating– sensitive gut menu plan so then you don't get those painful gut symptoms. If you're a bit of a binge eater, and you can't keep traveling the house because you can't be surrounded around it, then I've got this mindful eating protocol that I get you to follow to really reengage your relationship with food. So there are a lot of practical strategies, I've got five minutes strategies for relaxing that gut-brain axis in terms of box breathing and cuddle hormone enhancing that through a number of touching techniques and all of that sort of stuff. So I wanted the book to be very accessible, but always backed by plenty of science because we know the science works, right? And I've seen it transform the lives of thousands of my patients of over the past 15 or so years, so I just want people to feel better. And this is what the science says, can really move that dial on how people feel and look.
Amber B 40:24
That's awesome and we will link all of that up in the show notes, so you can check out that book, as well. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast and sharing your knowledge with my audience.
Megan R 40:34
It's an absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Amber B 40:38
I hope you enjoyed that episode. Like I said in the episode, we will link up everything that she talked about in the show notes, so if you're wanting to check out her book, that will be linked under bicepsafterbabies.com/245, and then we'll also link up she said that she would send me the questionnaire that you can fill out to kind of get a sense of where you're at with your gut health so that will all be linked up in the show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/245.
Amber B 41:07
Thanks for being here. If you enjoy this podcast episode, please subscribe on whatever platform you're listening to and leave a rating and review that really does help the podcast. It helps the platforms to know that people are listening and people are enjoying and that really helps the podcast continue to grow to reach more people. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber. Now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
Hey, friend if you heard the news. We have a Biceps After Babies Radio Insider list. If you love Biceps After Babies Radio, you don't want to miss a thing. Head to bicepsafterbabies.com/insider to join the group. You'll be the first to know all things about the podcast, see some behind the scenes and get special messages from yours truly. We want to make this a special community for those who are fans of the podcast. And last, did this episode particularly resonate with you? If so, will you please share it? Either send the link to someone who would find it valuable or take a screenshot and post it to your social media and tell your friends and family why they should listen. Make sure you tag me @biceps.after.babies so I can hear your feedback and give you a little love. And you know, if you aren't already following me on Instagram or Facebook, that's the perfect time to hit that follow button. Thank you for being here and listening to Biceps After Babies Radio.