Fuel Your Fitness and Your Gut
The bacteria in the gut play multiple roles including regulation of metabolism, hydration, inflammatory response and oxidative stress. Sounds pretty important for an endurance athlete.
A multiple study review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science indicated that exercise may actually increase the diversity of the gut. The key is working in a periodized training method to stimulate a diverse gut bacteria without causing excessive stress that modifies hormones and ends up eliminating the benefits.
So how do you maintain these diverse benefits? In addition to following a responsible, periodized training program, think of this as a whole new level to feeding your body.
Help your gut breed healthy bacteria through the use of not only probiotics (fermented milk, kefir, cottage cheese, and yogurt) but by also feeding those healthy bacteria with prebiotics.
A prebiotic is a non-digestible dietary supplement that modifies the balance of the intestinal microflora stimulating the growth and/or activity of the beneficial organisms and suppressing potentially deleterious bacteria.
(Break that down? Food for the good bacteria to be able to kick the ass of the bad bacteria.)
Currently, the most common prebiotics are nondigestible oligosaccharides. What’s an example of a nondigestible oligosaccharide? You guessed it. Honey.
Feed the gut: The next time you go to sweeten your smoothie or yogurt, skip the sweetener that won’t help feed the gut and instead try a teaspoon of honey.
History of Honey
Honey goes back in history as far as 2100 B.C. The first story of honey is traced back to a cave painting of honey harvesting over 8000 years ago. The sweet nectar produced by bees was harvested and used from the obvious sweetener, to less obvious burn and rash ointment, and embalming the dead.
In Hinduism, honey is viewed as one of the five elixirs of immortality. While in Ancient Greece it was served as the food of the Gods.
Today, we enjoy honey as a natural sweetener in teas, baked goods, and in some savory dishes as well. Because of the minimal processing that honey goes through, it is able to retain some of the natural trace vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic acid.
*Due to honey being a potential source of C. botulinum spores, it should not be given to infants
Infants under the age of one. Their young immune systems are not able to defend against the strain.
Simple Honey Recipes
Honey Chia Seed Pudding
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 6 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a mason jar (or other container) stir all ingredients together until chia seeds are evenly dispersed. Store in the refrigerator overnight to thicken the mixture.
Strawberry Mango Smoothie
- 1 cup mango
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 cup kefir
- Honey to taste
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Tip: Add a handful of organic spinach for a boost to your daily greens. Can’t get enough smoothies?
Honey Glazed Carrots
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 cups carrots sliced
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- Juice from a large orange (about ½ cup)
- In a pan over, medium high heat, melt butter and saute carrots for several minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and reduce to a simmer until carrots are soft and liquid has thickened to desired viscosity (~20 minutes)
Honey Oat Balls
- 1/2 cup unsweetened natural nut butter
- 1/2 cup granola
- 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
- 2 tbsp honey
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and form into balls. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Honey Dill Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (can also use white wine vinegar)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate.
- Suggested serving: Perfect on top of sliced red onion and cucumber for a crisp summer salad.
Honey Balsamic Marinade
- ¼ cup each honey
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Pour into a one-gallon resealable bag. Add 2 pounds of your favorite protein and allow to marinate at least an hour.
- Once ready, dispose of excess liquid and cook on the grill, stove top, or in the oven.
- Recipe 7
Honey Yogurt Popsicles
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tbsp Honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup blueberries
- Whisk together all ingredients except blueberries.
- Using a popsicle maker or small disposable cups, divide half of the yogurt mixture evenly between cups.
- Disperse blueberries evenly on top of yogurt, then top with remaining yogurt mixture.
- Insert popsicle stick into popsicles and place in the freezer. Allow to freeze overnight.