How To Improve Your Gut Health, Learning to Breathe and Organic Food – IbizaLife Part 3

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Happy Saturday everyone! I am back with my final post on the Ibiza diaries. This one is a long one but I can assure you, you’ll go away learning something new. I am talking all things gut health, breathing and organic food. A wonderful combination of elements for overall well-being and positivity.

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Workshop with Rebecca Dennis

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On our final day in Ibiza, we woke up to glorious sunshine and headed to our first activity of the day. This involved a morning breath workshop with Rebecca Dennis. As you will have seen from my previous posts: Sunshine, Detoxes, Gut Feelings & Fermented Food – The IbizaLife Part 1 – Gut-Friendly Yoga, Kombucha & All Things Fermented Food – Living The IbizaLife Part 2… I am a huge fan of her book and her ethos. Rebecca is an author, coach, workshop leader and the founder of the Breathing Tree with a practice at Indaba Yoga in Central London.

From Rebecca’s own experience with depression and anxiety, she now wants to share her positive experience with Transformational Breath. Rebecca specialises in treating issues such as stress, anxiety, addiction, depression and trauma. Rebecca has a true passion for sharing her knowledge on how to heal the body through Transformational Breath. She believes conscious breath work is the true way to inner happiness, well-being and peace.

Before the class, we were instructed to eat something and to slowly unwind before taking part in the workshop. Once we were settled in the room, we were blessed with blankets, mats and even a pillow! Throughout the class we were led down, it was utter bliss. Whilst being aware of my breath, I experienced many emotions, I cried, I felt an incredible sense of gratitude and I even smiled. It was beautiful and I felt amazing. I left the class feeling re-energised, detoxed and totally at peace within my own body. My muscles felt relaxed and my mind was in a complete sense of relaxation.

Honestly, this class took my breath away (pun intended) and I felt completely at ease with being emotional and letting go. Be prepared to unwind, relax and fall deep into a relaxed state of mind. Sometimes, it can be more challenging than you may think and if you find it hard to unwind it could become slightly frustrating. This practice may be something to consider as a series of sessions.

I have never experienced anything like this before. I highly recommended it to people who need to detox, unwind, be in control of their emotions or simply just want some timeout. Her book is an extension of her passion, drive and her knowledge. Another fabulous read.


Q&A With Dr. Sara Celik
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Dr. Sara is a registered doctor with Renew Life and is a Naturopathic Doctor and Homoeopathic Master Clinician with over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. With her extensive knowledge, she is a popular speaker and health expert who has contributed to various magazines and television programs.

Dr. Sara has a huge passion for educating the public about digestive health, detoxification and positivity surrounding optimal wellness. What I adored about Sara, was her kind-hearted soul and her friendly approach to fitness and wellbeing. The common misconception is that staying healthy, looking after our gut and keeping active is challenging. However, that certainly isn’t the case! Dr. Sara has a very similar ethos to me, being positive and mindful towards wellness. She believes that the true healing comes from within. Sara is also passionate about motivating her patients and providing them with the right skills to transform their overall health.

From my own experience’s, I have now learnt that healing starts with the mind and then the body works alongside it. I believe that we have the power to transform ourselves in a natural and empowering way. When we have control over our mind, we become more mindful and more in power of our choices all of which is reinforced by Dr. Sara’s teachings.

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This Q & A has motivated me to make small changes to my lifestyle to ensure I am looking after my gut in a natural and sustainable way.

If you didn’t know, everything begins in the gut and it truly is our ‘second brain’ as well as being our ‘engine’ in our body. How can we function if our gut isn’t populated with goodness and works to its optimal level just like an engine? As Sara suggests our gut  ‘drives our health and wellbeing’.

Our digestive system is incredibly complex, I couldn’t believe how complex it was! We can eat all the vegetables in the world, but it might not heal us. Our digestive system contains a complex variety of microorganisms called ‘gut flora’ or ‘microbiome’, both of which help with digestion. Together, a combination of nerves, hormones, bacteria, blood, and the organs of the digestive system complete the complex task of digesting the foods and liquids a person consumes each day.

For a little background info, we should aim to have 85% of good bacteria working with 15% of bad bacteria to ensure we have a healthy balanced digestive tract. Of course, when an imbalance arises, we are open to lots of problems in the gut – constipation, excess intestinal gas, diarrhoea, vaginal infections and much more.

Eating and being active are just small things that can impact our gut health. However, I also learnt that smoking, pollution, stress and medication can all have a negative effect on our overall gut health and it can take the ‘gut flora up to 1 year to repopulate from just 1 course of antibiotics. Therefore, I always try to treat my problems with natural remedies first, before opting for the antibiotics.

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Not only does your digestive tract digest your food, it also can control your emotions and your stress levels. 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. Serotonin is one of our neurotransmitters that is responsible for our mood, regulating appetite, sleep and relaxation. If our serotonin levels fall off we may experience anxiety and depression. Which explains how your brain and digestive system work in close partnership.

You may have experienced this anytime your stomach flips or you feel a little sick when you experience something that can trigger anxiety. I know this from suffering from depression and anxiety myself. Whenever I had an anxiety attack or felt particularly low about something, I would feel the anxiety in my stomach… My stomach would bloat, knot and I would struggle with my digestion and my appetite. Gut bacteria significantly influences the communication between the brain and the gut. When the gut is full of healthy bacteria, it has the potential to regulate mood and encourage the stimulation of positive feelings – I am all for those positive vibes!

By carrying out relaxing activities and being mindful towards exercise, it will definitely help the stress levels. Not burning out, taking rest days and being kind to yourself. According to Sara, ‘hugging, yoga, singing and dancing’ are all good remedies for helping the gut and reducing stress, these activities can also stimulate the ‘vagus nerve’. Your gut uses the ‘vagus nerve’ to tell your brain how you’re feeling. Surround yourself with loved ones, dance to your favourite song for some exercise and do the downward dog like never before.

I have a wonderful diet rich in nutrients (from my personal opinion) and I exercise daily. I try to meditate and de-stress as much as possible too. However, my digestive health has still been struggling despite this. So, although I am conscious of the food I eat. I am going to try and improve my overall gut health through other remedies. You can too! Here are some simple tips below…

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  • Eat more fermented foods – containing probiotics (live bacteria), such as sauerkraut, pickles, miso, certain types of yoghurt, and kefir (a yoghurt-based drink). 
  • Increase your fibre intake – this isn’t a true issue for me, but I will be more mindful about the variety I choose – legumes (kidney beans, mung beans), chia seeds, flax seeds, steel-cut oats, fruits and vegetables. Fibre promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Meditate and be mindful. Take the time out to de-stress and have fun.
  • Cure sniffles with natural remedies first – before choosing the antibiotics.
  • Use natural makeup and skin care and don’t feed your body with a ‘sea of chemicals’ as quoted by Dr. Sara.
  • Improve healthy bacteria with a daily probiotic supplement – as suggested by Dr. Sara, the good bacteria in the gut helps the immune system and is on guard 24/7 against harmful chemicals. A supplement may help bring things into balance. Of course, ask your doctor before self-prescribing.
  • Reduce the number of artificial sweeteners in your diet – artificial sweeteners are widely used as replacements for sugar. Source your sugars from natural alternatives.
  • Eat prebiotic foods – prebiotic are foods that promote the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut – garlic, asparagus, cooked onions and bananas.
Do your research or ask a fully qualified health professional for some more tips. All of the content is sourced from a fully qualified Doctor. However, please consult a GP before making any drastic changes to your diet.

Dinner at El Portalon

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To finish our final evening in Ibiza, we dined at a hidden gem called El Portalon – a ‘farm to table’ organic restaurant with a produce-driven approach. In the stunning and picturesque surroundings of Dalt Vila, a UNESCO World Heritage walled old town. Serene, authentic and absolutely beautiful.

Chef, organic farmer and author Anne Sijmonsbergen opened her first restaurant, El Portalon, in Ibiza in May. Anne works alongside the restaurateur Justin Mallett – both of which have a huge passion for food, organic ingredients and true cooking excellence. El Portalon is Anne’s first restaurant venture and was followed soon after the release of her debut book Eivissa: The Ibiza Cookbook’  – this book is highly impressive and boasts some beautiful recipes! The book is a vibrant collection of recipes which reinforce her passion and dedication towards food.

The menu at El Portalon is seasonally-led and is formulated around the goodness that is readily available from Anne’s organic farm Can Riero. She also sources additional ingredients from Ibiza’s local artisan producers.

This place is truly impressive and has a relaxed and comforting atmosphere. Check out the images below to explore the true deliciousness. – Thank you, Anne, for creating a wonderful dining spot in Ibiza and I was delighted to meet the chefs behind these masterpieces.

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post! Don’t forget to catch up on the Ibiza adventures here: Sunshine, Detoxes, Gut Feelings & Fermented Food – The IbizaLife Part 1 – Gut-Friendly Yoga, Kombucha & All Things Fermented Food – Living The IbizaLife Part 2

I had the most wonderful time away and I am still very grateful for this opportunity. I have loved every moment of capturing the beauty of Ibiza and I hope I can return soon. I have learnt the importance of gut health, I have detoxed in a balanced way and I am feeling totally refreshed. I want to thank everyone from UK Renew Life for this amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to collaborate in the future.

What I have learnt from this opportunity is that anything is possible. Whatever I put my mind to, I can achieve. This trip away was a true dream come true and I feel totally blessed. Honestly, my heart is full of gratitude. Thank you for reading my blog and thank you for supporting me. Without my readers, this wouldn’t have been possible.

Where should I go next?

I am already eager to travel again!

Jessica, x

 

 

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