What is the Clever Guts diet?

This is not a conventional diet, in the sense of a weight loss diet, though you may well lose weight when you are doing it. Our main purpose is to provide tasty recipes and point you in the direction of delicious foods that have not only been shown to be super healthy, but which have also been shown to help feed and reinforce the army of microbes, also known as the microbiome, that live in your gut.

The microbiome consists of trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live mainly in your large intestine or colon. Together they weigh around 1-2kgs and until relatively recently they were largely ignored.

The reason you should care about your microbiome is because lots of research has, over the last few years, shown that having the right mix of “good” bacteria in your gut is vitally important for your long term health. It’s a bit like rainforests being vital for the overall health of the planet. Or on a more personal level, which would you prefer: a lovely wild garden brimming with colours and life, or owning a backyard full of snarling dogs and broken furniture?

We now know that the microbiome can influence everything from your immune system to your mood, from the allergies you develop to the amount of weight you put on. As you get older having lots of “good” bacteria living in your gut is increasingly important, as they will help you fight infection and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, as well as depression and common gut disorders.

I have done a lot of travelling in some of the poorer parts of the world and as a result I have, in my time, had a number of serious gut infections. I have been fortunate that my gut has always bounced back, though the fact that I eat a gut friendly diet must also have helped.

Others, though, are not as fortunate. Over the last few decades there has been a huge rise in common gut disorders, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as well as food allergies and things like gluten or lactose intolerance. One of reasons for this is because poor diet and overuse of antibiotics have killed off lots of the “good” microbes, also known as Old Friends, that live in the gut. These Old Friends are responsible for keeping your immune system in check. Without these Old Friends your immune system is liable to over-react, leading to all sorts of gut related problems. The answer is to do all you can to bring them back and help them thrive. That’s what the Clever Guts Diet is all about.