Forget juicing – it’s so 2015!! Get yourself a slow cooker! – it’s a fab little thing… Slow cooked food (particularly meats on the bone) allow us to heal the gut lining which improves everything from allergies, skin conditions, inflammation (arthritis, heart disease, anxiety, etc). I’m not joking… the gut flora balance is key to everything we are and do. My next book ‘The World Within’ will be on this. The evidence is overwhelming that we are all progressively becoming more and more imbalanced – due to toxins, high carb diet (which our bodies are not designed to handle -see below), lack of breast feeding and high rates of Caesarian births (which fail to innoculate the new-born), stress, antibiotics and anti-bacterial products (which kill everything good and bad). As a demi-vegetarian (strict veggie from 21 – 34), I was surprised when I started to get ill with allergies, skin conditions, anxiety and joint pain (all manifestations of inflammation in the body). I thought vegetarianism was the answer but it didn’t suit me completely – though please note I’m not saying one should eat loads of meat – this is obviously environmentally unsustainable AND unhealthy. The main thing is – vegetarians in Western countries tend to rely more on carbohydrates to fill up when they lack protein and fat; for me this was mainly grains (rice, bread, pasta) with some soya products and cheese so my diet was anything but healthy. Carbs promote inflammation – particularly processed ones by increasing production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. This in turn sets up an inflammatory cycle in the body, unbalances our gut flora, increases our blood sugar promoting diabetes and Alzheimers to name but two chronic conditions. Check out Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter for the full story on this. Now I have done the research and it appears that slow cooked meats on the bone may be the key to healing the gaps between the cells in our guts (leaky gut syndrome) which afflicts so many. See the GAPS diet here. This was a shock to me as I assumed that vegetables were the way forward; juicing of course uses this idea. However, although most of us certainly could do with increasing our vegetable intake massively, we do need the gelatin from collagen provided by slow cooking on the bone. It increases the intake of essential minerals and important amino acids tyrosine, proline and glycine helping to close the gaps of leaky gut. However there are some important variations in the protocol when you’re following a truly GAPS diet; see here for more information. So for now, keep an eye out for news of the Microbiome Medicine Summit happening from Feb 29th to March 7th. Here’s where you’ll really learn of the importance of the gut in health. It can’t be overestimated. I’ll be publishing more details on my Facebook page for Alchemy therapies.