Food glorious food, it’s something we all think about at least three times a day, and the effects of how and what we eat can be far reaching. In this week’s episode of The Healthy Gut Podcast Rebecca chats to Sarah Butler from Organic Angels about all things organic. Not only does she run an organic delivery business, but she has three kids so is well versed in how to get kids excited about food. Sarah also shares her own personal journey with an autoimmune disease and how she has taken herself and her family on a journey to improve the health of their digestive systems.
In Episode 16 of The Healthy Gut Podcast, we discuss:
✓ What ‘organic’ really means and why it’s a good choice for us generally, and also specifically when treating SIBO
✓ Cooking seasonally, how to adapt your cooking style to ensure that your produce is at its freshest
✓ How, with planning, you can make your kitchen more efficient and cost effective
✓ Engaging and inspiring kids around embracing a healthy diet
✓ Using the 5 pillars to health in our approach to food
✓ How we can help to protect our microbiome through a more organic approach to our diet
✓ Using a meal planner to keep our diet on track
Sarah Butler is the co-owner of Organic Angels, which she and her husband Scott started in 2006 out of a desire to source certified organic produce for when their first son was about to start on solid foods. Sarah has been on her own gut healing journey for Thyroid Autoimmune and is passionate about healthy eating and healthy lifestyle.
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Rebecca Coomes is an author, entrepreneur, passionate foodie and intrepid traveller. She transformed her health after a lifetime of chronic illness, and today guides others on their own path to wellness. She is the founder of The Healthy Gut, a platform where people can learn about gut health and how it is important for a healthy mind and body and coaches people on how to live well with SIBO. Rebecca is the author of the world’s first cookbooks for people treating Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and the host of the SIBO cooking show and The Healthy Gut podcast.
R: Welcome to Episode 16 of The Healthy Gut Podcast. Today I’m joined by Sarah Butler who is the co owner of Organic Angels, which she and her husband Scott started in 2006 out of a desire to source certified organic produce for when their first son was about to start on solid foods. Sarah has been on her own gut healing journey for Hashimoto’s Thyroid Autoimmune and is passionate about eating healthily and having a healthy lifestyle. So Sarah and I talk all about her own personal journey around food and wellness and overcoming that condition, and also why she believes eating organic produce is so important. So I hope you enjoy Episode 16 with Sarah Butler.
R: Welcome to the show Sarah. It’s great to have you here.
S: it’s good to be here
R: So we’ve really done some really great stuff with each other since I decided to change my health and heal my gut. And so I am really excited to have you here on the show today to talk all things organics. And I just love your business and I have been a customer of yours and love your produce. So I would love for you to tell the listeners of the healthy gut podcast how you came to be organic angels. Like what your own health journey has been to get you here today.
S: Alright. Well organic angels was an idea probably about 11 years ago. So it has been 10 years in business and at that time our elder son Charlie was 6 months and we had to introduce him to solid foods and I started to read a lot about organic and there it was this gorgeous pure breastfed baby and I was about to feed him. I was just really mindful about the pesticides and herbicides in foods and I just didn’t want to give him that. So we just looked at getting organic for him really just for those solid foods and those first foods. And then over time we were like, “Ah this tastes really nice.” Like it really tastes better and feels like it’s better for us and then like both my husband and I were working at that time. And where do we get organic food home delivered? And there really wasn’t many out there at that time. And so we decided to start the business ourselves. We just researched the idea and took us 12 months to kind of get it off the ground and that’s how it starter.
[1:51] R: Yeah wonderful. And you have had your own personal highs and lows with health issues as well haven’t you?
S: Yes, they came more to the surface probably 2 years ago. Always had issues like irritable bowel and some thyroid issues and stuff like that. That’s kind of always showing up a little bit the thyroid especially on my blood test. And it kind of came to a point around 2014, so 2 years ago now where I just, I felt so tired and I felt like there is this heavy weight on me all the time and I was just getting strange symptoms like tingly legs and really extreme cold hands and feet and really feeling depressed and anxious and all those kinds of things are coming to me and even when I had seen a chiropractor at that time. He just said to me, “You just feel like your body is just so fatigued and that’s not normal for a woman your age and for your diet.” And that’s when I started to explore what was going on at a deeper level and have some blood tests and stuff and that’s where thyroid autoimmune Hashimodo’s came up for me.
[3:06] R: interesting. And what was been your path to treatment and to healing from that?
S: well just the way that I am wired I automatically looked to my diet to how this could be part of how I could heal myself. And I just started to do some research about thyroid autoimmune and came across the autoimmune paleo website by a lady called Mickey Trescot in the USA> and that was a life saver for me because it had all the information that I needed. I bought, downloaded a cookbook and I pretty much just started on this diet. I went and saw a naturopath at the same time. he was able to give me some things just to support me all the way because even though with thyroid autoimmune, leaky gut is obviously linked to that and then my vitamin D, my iron and all of those essential mineral we’re just drastically low. We had to kind of like building those things back into my system.
[4:20] R: and how are you today? How has your journey been and what did you do to build those things back into your system?
S: so I am feeling heaps better today. Two years on, it has been amazing. It’s something that I constantly have to look at like… but initial gut repair that I did when I first found out in that whole treatment period was probably a 12 months journey of cutting out quite a few things in my die, introducing some supplements like digestive enzymes, vitamin D, oils, iron. I even had an iron infusion at that time. Just taken a lot of supplements that support me and so that initial kind of 12 month gut repair I just saw massive change in how I slept. I mean obviously everything else incorporated. I actually got into meditation and actually learned how to manage my stress through all that time. So it was kind of a big kind of not just the diet. It was some supplement helped, some naturopath helped and meditation and yoga that really kind of helped through that journey.
[5:42] R: and what was the changes that you had to make to your diet given that you are a very healthy eater and obviously have an organic approach to the food that you eat. What did you have to change about it?
S: Well that was really interesting. I was not a happy person. I was quite angry when I found out I had these because I was like, “what the heck?” Like I have just been eating organic for like 10 years or like 8 years at that time. I had a really clean diet. What’s going on and so I had to kind of overcome a little bit of resentment about that. But see I’ve had things like sour dough bread and organic milk and I was having lots of eggs and all those kinds of things. And so when I had to cut out eggs, dairy, grains and night shades and nuts, I was having a bit of a meltdown about that. It was full of…
[6:45] R: and it is totally understandable as well. I think especially given that you weren’t coming from a diet that was unhealthy, you were eating a very healthy diet and it would have been very tough to be told, “Hey these foods that you consider healthy aren’t working for you.
[7:06] S: Yeah. It was a real shift and at that time like we got three kids and running the business and I knew that it was just gonna take a lot of commitment and so after the initial meltdown and I thought, “This is not gonna help if I am just gonna be stressed out and anxious about this whole process because that’s not gonna help me get well.” So I just kept telling myself that I am gonna embrace this, I can do this, I am gonna be just be really organized. I mean I am a super organized person anyway. So I just read a lot of lists, did a lot of menu planning. And really most of my spare time during that period was in the kitchen. And that’s because even though that really gave me shit some days, that was my commitment. Weekends or time off I would be in the kitchen preparing meals to help me get through the weak.
[:58] R: and that can be quite a challenge and I know that I have heard from many people who feel a little aggrieved at how much time is required to spend in the kitchen cooking from scratch when you are healing your gut. How did you approach that? You are a really busy woman. You’ve got a really busy business, growing buskins and you are a mum of three, a wife and running a household. How did you find the time to fit all of that extra cooking in?
[8:32] S: Looking back from that particular period I was just, I mean it’s still my life today but back then when it was hard, just reminded myself that this is what I have chosen to do. This is the lifestyle I am choosing to lead. And I am grateful that I got access to all of these beautiful organic fruit and veg and I just kept reminding myself that that’s my choice and that is my lifestyle and that’s what I want to do and that’s what I want my kids to see. And so like I said just every moment really I was in the kitchen. That was a big sacrifice. But now it’s not so bad. Now I have lapsed, not completely lapsed but I have taken my foot off the pedal a little bit and I can relax a little bit more. But it’s still like that today even two years on and managing the kids and diet and healthy living at home, it’s still my choice and I still remind myself that I want to be able to make things to put in my kid’s lunches. I don’t want anything packaged and I think that it’s trying to remind myself, “Yeah just to be grateful for that and I think there is so much convenience out there and we fall into this convenience mindset. But really it really actually doesn’t have to take a lot of time to do this and I have become really efficient over the last two years to make it all work. That is probably how I make it work. Just efficiency, simple recipes that are healthy and doing bulk cooking and stuff like that helps as well.
[10:15] R: do you have any tips for any of the listeners around how to become efficient when cooking everything from scratch?
S: Yeah I think I am a big menu planner and I never was but now I do it because I think it is the only that works if you really want to be efficient in the kitchen. Like I spent time an hour a week over a cup of tea with my recipes, my iPad or whatever and I write down what I am doing for the week. Mainly dinners. And then I write down a couple of snack ideas and then I’ll write down what I am going for each night and if I know that I got a day off for a couple of hours I can spare, I will just remind myself to start preparing meals for the meals a couple of nights away.
I have a family mix which also really helps. And you know I make up double batches of muffins and freeze them because every time I bake something, honestly it’s real life vultures in this house. They will go for it like crazy creatures. So I gotta hide them in the freezer.
[11:33] R: and for our US listeners where family mix hasn’t really taken off, I don’t even know if it is being sold there. It is literally like the most incredible contraption isn’t it? It’s a blender and a cook and a chopper and a dicer and everything. All in one. It looks like a blender but it’s like a blender on steroids. It’s pretty amazing. It’s on my wish list. I really want a family mix. One day I’ll have one.
[12:01] S: for sure. Yeah they are definitely worth it. Definitely.
R: and where do you go and seek your recipe inspiration I should say to then do your many plans? Do you have like a little book, do you have bookmarks on your computer of where you store recipe files? Do you have a folder of actual physical recipes? Like how do you go about doing that?
[12:26] R: I just tend to be a bit fluid with it. So I usually grab a scrap piece of paper. Usually I scribble on a newsletter or something. And I scribble on the back of that what I am doing and just handwrite what we are doing for the week and then I will just kind of pull out some recipe book. And I still got some favorites like Donna Hay or Bill Granger or Jamie Oliver. Some of those guys, I love their recipes but I will get some inspiration and I might tweak it. So take out the gluten and all the dairy options. And usually I just tend to just kind of work around those recipes and obviously I got your gorgeous cookbooks and I use the P. Devin Paleo cook book and yeah there’s a few good paleo apps out there too. Eat Drink Paleo, I like. Yeah I like the Mickey Trescot, the autoimmune paleo as well. So there are some really good no sugar, grain free, dairy free options.
[13:36] R: There are. And in the show notes I have also got a link to my menu planner, sorry my meal planner. For anybody that is wanting support on how to plan out a weeks’ worth of meals, my meal planner lists breakfast, lunch, dinner, deserts, and snacks and you can write down the recipe source as well. And Sarah, you and I have used that. We have run some workshops together that are around gut health and we have used that for people. We know that comes in handy. So other people like to do their menu planning. It’s great I find to have written down in one place be it on the back of a school newsletter or an official meal planner.
[14:23] S: to think some people are quite resistant to meal planning. I know I was because I was like, “I don’t want to be like this. My life is a routine. What do I need to do this for?” can I just be more free with it. But you know if I didn’t have kids and stuff like that I would probably would. If the kids are away and they are not around, I don’t mainly plan. I can be a bit more fluid and just make up a salad and do whatever. But just when work is 5 days a week and kids and stuff like that, I have just come to the realization that that’s the best way I function and it’s a great routine. It helps me budget with my shopping. I don’t even know we have beautiful access to the fruit and veg which you know is unlimited and I am just so grateful for that.
There are still other things I need to get. So I manage to do a lot of that online and just get that home delivered to.
[15:13] R: I would like to talk around your children and husband’s I guess acceptance of you changing your diet. Were they happy to go along with mum changing the way that you were eating and assuming that will have an impact on their diet? Or were they resistant? How did you manage that with the broad of family because a lot of, particularly women, contacting me saying, “How do I manage my family?” I don’t want to be cooking multiple meals, every meal time, so How do I do this for the family?
What was your journey with that and whether you’ve got any advice for our listeners today?
15:59] S: yeah that’s a good one. When I first found out I had the thyroid autoimmune, we also did some stool testing and found out that I had a parasite and so did all of the kids and my husband. So we were just so. “What the heck?” we were all having mini meltdowns. But I remember just sitting around the table with the kids and just saying, “Right this is the goal. This is what is going on and this is what we need to do to kind of get rid of these bugs and for us to get well.” So really what was coming down sugar and telling them, “Ok no more fruit. We will just stick to the low sugar fruits and minimize the grains and let’s stick to gluten free. We are desperate and we need a sandwich. We can do that.” and we told them it was gonna be a 5- 6 week process. And they were really good with that because we had some gut healing stuff to give them at the same time. so , I think when you engage the kids in a conversation and I try to be relaxed when it comes to diet and health and wellbeing because I don’t want to create a mixed message so that they see me stressed out and you got to do this, you got to do that. You trying to have this and you are trying that because I don’t like putting that too much strictness on it because I don’t want them to have a mixed message about healthy food when they are older. I want them to have a healthy perspective.
So, even now when we are doing cooking at home and stuff like that, they have just got to really good acceptance of it. I think they have always known it and lived with it. and you know something really quite amusing happened recently. My middle son got invited to his first McDonalds party and inside I was really like, “No you can’t do that.” and we have talked to the kids about it, I didn’t say Mc is evil. I am not trying to jam it down their throat. But what I do try to say is Mc is not good for you and it’s not just that. It’s about animal health and wellbeing as well. I kind of give them the broader picture rather than slamming it and saying it’s just bad for you. Just try to give them an educated decision about it. and so he goes to this McDonalds party and he comes back and he goes, “Mom that was just horrid, didn’t like that at all. The burgers were gross. The only things nice were the fries,” he said.
[18:34] R: and isn’t that great that he got to make that decision himself?
S: yes. You know and he said to me, he even said to me, “Mom when I am a teenager, I am gonna go to McDOnalds you know, once a month.” And after that party he came back and he goes, “Mom, I know I said I am gonna go to Mc when I am a teenager but I am not gonno go. I am gonna go to some other places.
[18:56] R: and how old are your kids just for the listeners so they can get some understanding of what their ages are.
S: So Jacob who I was just talking about, he is 8. And then my eldest is 12 and I’ve got a 4 years old.
[19:08] R: Great spread.
I think you have raised something really interesting and that is around anxiety around meal times and food. And kids are so perceptive of what is going on and I really think what you said is fantastic around you choosing not to bring anxiety into meal times with your family because you have recognized that that could be picked up by your kids and passed on to them and that you want them to have a healthy relationship with food. And I think part of the journey with kids, if they are not having to eat restricted diet because of allergies or intolerances or being on very specific protocols. Giving them the opportunity to make decisions on their own like your son did around McDonalds that he experienced it. You hadn’t said, “Don’t ever go, it’s disgusting. It’s the worst thing in the world. and he came back having… his pallet is obviously so used to beautiful organic produce and then to taste highly processed food like McDonalds, I am sure his taste buds must have thought, “What on earth is this? This is not food. We are used to eating real food.”
S: yeah I think so.
[20:30] R: So talking about food, let’s talk about organic food because I’m one of those people for a long time, I’ve got to admit that I used to think that organic food is just a marketing term. Just a marketing term to make people spend more money on their produce. So in really simple terms, can you explain what organic actually means?
[20:56] S: So organic is food or products made with no chemicals, GMO products, pesticides, fungicides. And there is an emphasis on healthy rearing of animals and with the produce. So it’s like fruit and veg. Yeah so it’s just all, no herbicides, fungicides, sprays, chemicals, and all that kind of thing. So what that means, usually when we are talking with our growers that supply us, some of them are quite big properties and they have been farming for generations. But their yields are often smaller. So it’s a lot more labor intensive. And so that’s why you know the perception around price of organics is so expensive. You will pay more for it because firstly the farmer is getting the good price for their work. I mean we have spoken to them personally and they are the type of people that I say they are on the front line. They are working their bums off to provide and support us with certified organic fruits and veggies.
And US, we are so much importing coming in from overseas and all that kind of stuff and food miles and all that stuff. These are local growers in our country who are trying to keep this industry alive and it is a growing industry. The more that we support it, but we are keeping their farming alive and it’s sustainable farming and we have walked around some of their properties and some of them have bought in the past like our apple growers sharing how he just bough grazed land. I think that was like 30 years ago. And he was introduced stems and established trees now. a lot of the wildlife has come back and so it really is just so much better for the environment on so many levels as well.
[23:07] R: and what about in terms of flavor, do you believe that there is a difference in the flavor of organic produce versus what we probably call traditionally raised produce?
S: yeah absolutely. I think it’s the flavor that gets people the most. Like it was definitely the thing that we were starting to feed our eldest back when he was a baby. We actually went, “Oh this actually tastes… there is so much flavor to this pear compared to a non-organic pear.” And that was kind of the conversion point for us. And it’s often the flavor that gets the guys. Women are probably the main shoppers with us but we get a lot of healthy conscious men as well. But when I speak to customers, sometimes their thing is, “Oh my husband has tried that apricot and he said oh my God this tastes amazing.” And that’s often the thing that really stands out with organic food is that it does taste so much better.
[24:08] R: and on that flavor point, I remember when I first met you and I first ordered some of your produce and I had a pumpkin, a squash as it is known in the US. And it was literally like the most incredible flavor I have ever tasted. It was amazing. It was so sweet and delicious and I roasted some up. I could bathe in it. I loved it that much. And just the comparison to pumpkin or squash that I had been buying from a market but it wasn’t organic. And it was a significant difference in flavor.
[24:49] S: I think the thing that tricked to kind of get around with organic food is the season. So everything is obviously seasonal. So you are not gonna get… while in the supermarket, you are still picking up winter fruit. You are not gonna get that with organic produce and I think that can be a bit of blockage for some people because they are like, “I like my capsicums now or I want my onions or garlic now.” But sorry it’s just not around at the moment and I think you know for someone like me who is used to be like I need onion every time I cook or I have this every time cook this dinner, I have learned to adapt and go, “ok if I can’t get that, that’s no big deal. That means I am gonna try using something else.” And it’s a bit of a mindset shift as well. Just kind of getting youth head around being a bit more fluid and a bit more flexible with your cooking.
[25:40] R: Why do you think it is important for us to be cooking with seasonal produce rather than produce that has been on around
S: Well I’ve been getting the best and the freshest and you know it’s kind of it’s funny like winter time is citrus fruits and stuff like that. Well there is a reason for that while we are inundated with oranges and mandarins. You know it’s vitamin C, full of folic acid and all the good things our body needs to fight off the colds and flus and I just kind of…I love that relationship with food like now we decided to get apricots and they are only around for a short time. It’s like, “Yes I am gonna like just enjoy this. I am gonna do some jamming. I am gonna freeze some if I want to or preserve stuff.” It’s just that kind of… you know knowing that a good thing is coming but a good thing comes to an end and that’s ok. And our kids recognize that too because they get all excited when it’s mango season now. We are bringing in mangos and it’s like the best thing to have after dinner and I just love every year they go through this excitement. When something is in, they know that relationship with the seasons. And I think that is just a really beautiful thing.
[26:57] R: I think it’s great to reconnect with our planet and the way that Mother Nature provides foods at certain points in the year and that it isn’t available all year round. It’s funny you were talking about mangos because on the SIBO biphasic diet, mangoes are to be avoided. And I love mangos. I just think they are one of the best fruits in the world. so when I got through my SIBO, I tell you what, when summer time rolled around again, I was devouring mangos. I love them. I absolutely love them.
I think the other thing to make note of and new research is coming out which is one of the reasons why I personally am moving more towards organic produce. And I will be honest, there are times when I don’t always eat organic. But just the research around the herbicides and pesticides and chemicals that are sprayed on the fruit and vegetables to keep bugs off them. They can now see there is a direct correlation between killing the bugs at the plant level and killing our microbiome. And I think more studies will come out talking about that link.
But for my perspective given that my gut health has been severely compromised in the past and i would still say is compromised. So I am on a journey to recovery. When I think about the produce that I put into my body and because I eat a very heavily plant based diet, I now have made the decision. Well if I am going to be eating lots of plant based foods, then I need to think about what’s on those plants. And am I doing myself any damage by ingesting foods that may have been sprayed with quite toxic chemicals. And that’s why I really shifted a lot to organic produce and with the aim that one day I will be completely organic.
[29:07] S: Well I think it is a journey. For a start it was harder, we slowly made the conversion and even if we’re introducing to a 50/50 thing to start off with, that’s a really good way to kind of getting into organics and I think with the cost factor like for us now…I mean even when we first started the business, you know when we were building the business but not necessarily like running it, but we were choosing to eat organic at home. It was like, “Ok so we are in a budget. Can we tweak a little bit so that we can allow and extra 20 bucks a week or an extra $50 a week into our budget to do that. And we just started to make sacrifices like well let’s reduce the wine. Let’s do this one bottle of wine a fortnight or something. Let’s not do take-away or that kind of thing. So we just kind of… and even now it is still the health and wellbeing is a priority for us even when we are budgeting every week. It’s like we put aside money knowing that that’s what we want to spend it on.
And yeah it is a journey and I think you can slowly introduce organics over time. I think if you are a meat eater, certified organic meat is I would say that is a priority. I would go certified organic meat before certified organic veggies.
[30:41] R: and why is that?
S: Well when you think about like the whole food system is very screwed up in my mind because you just look at the amount of highly processed foods in the shops. The way animals are now treated for mass farming and meat production. Research shows that we have watched, you know there are a lot of educational shows you can watch actually about that. It’s a real eye opener. And for me with the meat, certified organic is important or at least you know sustainably ethically raised meat and there are some butchers out there who might not be certified organic but have an ethical to their business.
It is really important because when you look at what mass meat farming does, it’s quite horrendous to watch and I actually couldn’t stomach that. So if I had a choice, what would it be? I would start with your meat. But if you are vegetarian or you can do both then incorporating certified organic veggies as well is a great way of doing it. And the boxes that we do as well I think are great because you pay like a certain amount each weak and you get in a box into your seasonal fruit and veg and people love that because they know they are spending that much amount per week and that’s what lasts them for a week. And it really does end up being quite cost effective. So in the long run it is definitely great value I think. The problem is that there is so much fruit and veg out there that is so ridiculously cheap. And that is just sending a mixed message to consumers and that is actually not the ideal, the real price of food.
And you know there are farmers that have to cut their prices so much to compete with cheap supermarkets. And so that’s why organic is perceived more expensive. But in the long run really that is the real cost of food. When you look at the work that goes into creating that food and producing that food. So it is a bit of blind shift to try and get your head around and see it from the broader picture, not just the price tag on it.
[33:02] R: The other thing I forget to get head my head around when it comes to choosing to eat organic produce is the way it looks which has been conditioned by our big supermarket chains around the world that our fruits and vegetables must look perfect and big. And we are used to getting enormous capsicum or bell peppers. We are used to getting these enormous apples. They are blemish free and they don’t have any marks on them.` when you get organic produce, often it might not look so perfect because it hasn’t been sprayed to an inch of its life and it may not have been it hasn’t been genetically modified to look perfect. And I also find that some of the super market produce can last and last and last and you think, “Is this ever going to go off?” and real produce shouldn’t last forever. It should go off. It should get moldy. That is nature’s natural mechanisms. So I think also that sometimes it’s a behavioral shift around the way you buy your produce so that you are not buying enormous quantities and expecting it to last for two weeks because it may not.
There is something called the dirty dozen and I would love to talk about whether you feel that there is such a thing as the dirty dozen and that is touted as – if you are going to avoid particular items and go organic you should do the dirty dozen. Do you agree with that list?
[34:37] S: Look I heard about that a long time ago. I am not sure how true that might be today. I mean they are certain from the reports and stuff that most produce is sprayed to some degree and non-organic produce and I don’t know about that. I am not so convinced about that. I think if people want to really try and start eating organic but they don’t want to use, go and spend hundreds of dollars a week. You don’t actually have to spend a hundred dollars a week. I mean it’s just, it really can be cost effective. You can grow your own. Farmers market is great where you can actually talk to the farmers and just find out… they might not be certified organic but they have probably grown it without sprays. So you have those conversations with them and find out where you food is coming from.
[35:33] R: yeah. Definitely
S: Sorry, just what you were saying with the produce looking perfect. You know that really is a driver for consumers is for everything to be perfect and shiny and looking great in a super market. And wastage is just unbelievable and a real environmental problem. But with organic, we are seeing some really great quality organic produce now. Over the last ten years, we have seen farming has evolved, new technology, all that kind of stuff. We are seeing some really perfect looking organic produce but they do come in odd shapes and sizes and for us when we pack in people’s boxes we are trying to be very careful on quality because we understand quality as important. People are paying for quality as well.
But we are not looking for perfection at the same time. And so it is that kind of balance offering the best to our customers but you know not being so picky over perfection. So some blemishes will be there and there will be some caterpillars crawling around your corn most likely but you just need to put them in compost and eat the corn.
[36:41] R: Yeah. You are like really aging your produce. What impact would you say that going organic has had on both yours and your family’s health and lives?
[36:55] S: I think we just feel good like we just feel healthy and as you mentioned before I mean we are always on a journey. We’d never really arrived and I don’t think we never will be. It’s just kind of this constant journey. Because we are so passionate and conscious about wellbeing and health and our diet, it’s just something that fascinates me all the time and I am always exploring and I feel so tuned in to my body now that if I have gone off online or had a little… or ate something on the weekend that I know it didn’t agree with me then I know how to kind of recalibrate and get back on track and I can see that in the kids as well and even now, even the story about my son and McDonalds. They know how to make good choices.
But I am not there to stop them… bring home candy cane and all that stuff that they are doing. You know Christmas time or whatever. It’s like ok just give your teeth a good brush tonight. I try to be just be too strict but I think we have seen in it in our kids. They are quite healthy kids. They don’t really come home with a lot of bugs and very rarely do we actually get sick at home. Since I have done a lot of gut repair and the gut repair with kids, I definitely notice that to be better.
And yeah I think you know it’s just food is just such a big part of our house. And I would really be just so sad if this wasn’t a big part of our lives I think.
[38:37] R: yeah and food is glorious. It’s our nourishment. It’s what keeps us alive and it really should be celebrated even when we are super restricted because we are going through particular treatments or our systems are really compromised and we whittled down to a near couple of foods. I still think looking at how one can find pleasure and joy in food is really importanteven I you are left with some chicken and rice because it is nourishing you. And working towards being able to incorporate more foods into your diet and that was the one thing that i just looked forward through so much going through my SIBO treatment was the day when I could eat more broadly. And I am really to say that now. These days, I eat a really broad diet. I know what to eat in moderation and I choose to avoid grains for the most part but every now and then, on the weekend, I had an artisan made sour dough loaf with organic flour. Beautiful. But that was one offer for me. That is a special treat and I had some bread and then I won’t eat it again for some time. But food is glorious. It’s just such a joy and particularly when you can sit down and enjoy it with others.
One of the things that I learned as I went through my journey was that i needed to address more than just my gut health. I had to address my 5 key pillars to health which was my awareness, my nutrition, my movement, my mindset and my lifestyle.
And given that Sarah you have also gone on your own journey and so as your family around food, I thought it would be great if we could touch on those 5 key areas. Just to see if you had to address any of them in your own journey and what you did. So if we start with awareness, that was my first piece, could you see that there were any areas of any parts of becoming aware that you needed to address on your journey?
[40:51] S: Yeah, I think when I was diagnosed with the thyroid autoimmune, I just became really aware of how pinnacle gut health was. That was the biggest awareness for me. I don’t think I’ve had that much awareness of it beforehand and it really was such a fascinating journey and it all just… it was like the light bulb moment. It was like this all make sense and I just believe that gut health is just pinnacle to everyone, not just for you and I had our issues. I think it’s just something that it can be linked to so many problems in people’s health and mind.
[41:37] R: it can definitely. And we have been talking around food and nutrition quite a lot and you have shared with us around how you got really focused on menu planning and making it a priority to eat well for yourself and your family. Was there anything else around nutrition that you address that we haven’t talked about?
[42:02] S: I really enjoyed the last couple of years to in a lot more fermented foods making my own ____ and kombucha and I go through phases with that. It’s not like a weekly thing or like I might have a break for a couple of months and then I’ll start again. So the fermented foods was a big thing that we have started to introduce more. Yeah and I think just being a bit more relaxed, I have pretty strong opinions about food in general but I am really conscious that I am not ramming it down my kid’s throats to the point that they resent me for it. So I just have found a really nice healthy balance and now that they are a bit older too that helps. But even with my youngest, we still have issues at the dinner table but it’s a non-negotiable thing really with the dinner and what’s there on the plate. It’s just kind of “that’s it.” that’s what you are getting and you can have a big breakfast if you don’t want it.
And so I am just trying to be a bit more, I know that sounds quite harsh, I’ve been actually a bit more relaxed you know with the kids and I am finding that I am just enjoying it again. That is the stage of the journey that I am on at the moment. It’s just really enjoying the process and not letting that be a stress.
[43:44] R: I think that is a really great advice. Find enjoyment in it. The third step was movement and I recognized that I had become quit sluggish and haven’t been moving my body, what’s your approach to movement?
[43:50] S: movement is a big thing and it’s one of the things at the moment…it’s always been a blockage in the past because I have never really exercised loads because I always run around for 10 years packing organic fruits and veggie boxes. And I think well that is good exercise. But for me when I came out of this thyroid autoimmune and I could feel myself on the mend and I feel like I have been in this kind vortex. It was hard. You know it’s really difficult when you are in those restrictive diets and unwell. I really sympathize people who listen to this and are in that stage. But I was turning 40 and I went,” Right I am gonna do something big. I just need to do something big.” And so I booked in to do the Everest base camp trek and that required me to really move and get physical and get training hard. And training like I probably never trained before. And I really love that. I was just blown away by the strength that I could build up and the fact that I actually did do the trek and made it to the top and back down and healthy and well through the whole thing.
And that was October 2015 and so while my fitness isn’t to that same level, I find that the best routine for me is setting my alarm. before the kids get up I’ll do Yoga in my bedroom for half an hour and I will do my meditation and then I try and get out and do a yoga class a few times a week as well and do some walking. And that’s kind of what I do. I used to do cross fit and stuff like that and I found that that was probably just too hard on me with my autoimmune. I would just get to wound up like flared up with it. So I just decided to reduce that intensity and just do yoga. And I find that morning routine is what helps me get going.
[45:54] R: I am the same. I find that if I exercise in the morning, it sets my day up really well. And if I wake up and I think, “I’ll do it tonight.” It generally doesn’t happen because the day gets away from me and even though I don’t love getting up early, I know that it’s the best way for me to move my body.
But I love going out for walks with my podcast. I am an absolute podcast addict. I have 20 podcasts on the go at one time and it’s my hour, on my own. No one is contacting me. Me, my podcast, and I walking around the streets, breathing fresh air, hopefully with some sun on my skin and it’s my kind of walking meditation as well.
[46:39] S: So good. I think strength training is really good and I kind of feel like I would like to get back in to that. but when I was training for Everest, it was a lot of stairs and stuff like that. And this was really good for building muscle and so I am trying to motivate myself to get back and do a bit more. So that’s my thing.
[47:00] R: what an achievement as well. So well done for actually doing that because…. Wow! That is an achievement. The 4th piece was my mindset. I really really needed to address the way I approached things and thought about things. Did you have any areas with your mindset that you needed to address?
[47:22] S: God yes. That’s huge, the mindset. And it’s so fascinating like, Yeah the self-talk, the stuff that we kind of tell ourselves on a sub-conscious level sometimes, it can be really unhealthy. So all I have done the last two years has definitely been a mindset journey as well. I mean meditation has been really great for that. But just reading some books like You Can Heal Your Life by Louis Hay and some other books like that just really help me to look at myself and actually speak life into my body and into my life rather than going, “Ugh here we go again.” And you know I used to write things out and I put it on my mirror and I still got stuff cluttered around the bathroom that I say to myself and look at myself and say. They say that training your mind is the hardest muscle to train and it is an exercise that you have to be really disciplined in doing for you to see the benefits.
So I’ve got to the stage now, I mean I do have my moments and my lapses but I can pick myself up a hell of a lot faster than when I used to. If doubt and fear comes in I am able to really kind of pull myself out of those things now because I’ve got a real backlog of positive messages that I say to myself to help get out. And having Scott, my husband with me through that journey is also great because we can pull ourselves out of it with that as well. And every day we got our manifestations, our prayers that we kind of speak out and even when life is tough and not just through kids and family and business, it’s lots of stuff. We just kind of go to that place and pull ourselves out.
[49:32] R: Yep. I think learning how to walk awaya or move forward from those negative zones that we can find ourselves in particular, those of us tha have been chronically unwell. It is a very very easy place to find yourself in when you feel sick all the time and it is hard to feel positive. But finding something that you can thingk positively about can often really help.
[50:03] S: It’s scary being in that place. Fear comes in. am I gonna be like this forever. Am I ever gonna get out of this. Does this mean I am gonna get something else you know. And all these kind of things and I think what I started to do was I try to just watch where I was feeding my mind. So I try not to read too much information that I knew this was gonna trigger that fear and doubt in me. And looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “No I am well. I am healthy.” And even around the whole gut area. You know I just rub my tummy which you know after three babies isn’t nice and taut. But that’s ok. I will just kind of rub it and say, “I love you guys. I love my organs behind you. I am really grateful that you are gonna work well and I can absorb all the nutrients on it and I am gonna get well.” And I know it sounds crazy but I will just talk to my body like that. And I still do that. And I see myself as a well person. In my mind’s eye I look at myself when I am 60 and I can see myself as one of those lovely old ladies brisk walking on the beach and doing yoga and hand stands and stuff like that. That’s who I want to be. And so that’s where I keep going not as a sick person. I see myself as a well person.
[51:26] R: yeah I love it. And it’s something that I really have to change myself as well because I also want to be a really healthy, fit, and active older lady. And I don’t want to be frail and crippled and diseased. And it’s interesting you talking about just looking at parts of your body. Because I suffered from terrible bloating for pretty much my whole life until very recently. I have always absolutely hated my abdominal area because for the most part, it was really swollen and I looked pregnant. So I never knew what having a flat stomach was. And whilst I don’t have a flat stomach now, I don’t have perfect abs and perfect 6 pack, I’ve really had to change that conversation internally. So I don’t hate it anymore and now, like what you do, I send a lot of love to it and thank it or coming on this journey with me and healing and moving forward and not bloating like it used to. And I am not sure if I will ever have a washboard flat stomach but I don’t send all that hatred to it anyway. And it does sound a little bit mumbo jumbo, but I think that when we are telling ourselves positive messages, then it helps the whole body go on that journey. And like you, I really visualize the lady that I want to be in my 80s.
I am constantly thinking about, well not constantly. Everything I do, I think – is this going to help me be healthy or hinder me to be healthy? And my goal is actually to go into my hundreds. I want to be old. I really want to get in to triple figures. So in order to get to a hundred and beyond, I need to be healthy now.
[53:11] S: That’s so good.
R: the 5th piece for this journey of mine has been around my lifestyle. So addressing all of the key components that support you to live a healthy lifestyle like sleep, stress, relationships, friendships, or anxiety or all of those types of things, have you tried to address any of those areas on your own personal journey?
[53:57] S: For sure. I mean it’s just important, especially the last thing, I mean the whole mindset thing does open up so much around that area and I think for me now like sleep is really important. So both my husband and I were really strict. 9:30 lights out.
R: Wow! 9:30. My gosh. I would love to achieve that one day.
[54:04] S: I mean we are just discipined, I set my alarm from ten to six so I have that kind of half an hour with some moment and hot water and yoga and that kind of thing in the morning. And Scott, we are up early with the business anyway. And then the kids are up. So that is kind of easy for us to do.
I do a lot more reading. Because the kids were young, every time I read a book I fall asleep because you are just so tired. But I really indulge in so much reading and reading some really good books, helping me on my journey. And you know late nights don’t really happen that much. So if we catch up with friends we often do early dinners and we are home kind of all that. I don’t really drink that much anymore and with the kids, what we have introduced and it doesn’t happen all the time but we call our Saturdays el Shabbat which is a no tech day. So no TV and no phones and no iPads and games and that means no phones and computers for my husband and I. And we tell the kids, “Hey we are doing Shabbat tomorrow and that means we all sit around and have a nice big breakfast together and we might read a book together. If the weather is crappy, we’ll stay inside and play games.” We generally just try and get outside and that has been a really big thing to introduce into our family this year especially. And we will carry on doing that. At the moment it’s Christmas with busy social stuff but we just notice a really big difference in our kids when we did that.
[55:48] R: I love it. I think that is great. It is all about connection and family and as humans we just thrive on human connection and I think that is a really great thing that you have implemented with your family.
I love it.
[56:03] S: yeah it’s good. We like candles at dinner time. I will do a special diner and we like candles and we like go around the table and tell each other something what we love about each other. It’s beautiful
R: How special. And that creates wonderful lasting memories for your kids as well that they will look back with fond memories of that when they are older. Who knows they may implement that in their own families when they are parents themselves.
Sarah it has been just wonderful having you come on to the podcast today with us at the Healthy Gut podcast. If people would like to get in touch with you what is the best way for them to find you?
S: well organic angels is on… our website is organicangels.com.au. You can find us on Facebook and Instagram. Follow us on Instagram because we just love Instagram. You are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can personally email me email@example.com. And yeah we are around.
R: Wonderful and I have got all of those links in the show notes. So if you would like to reach out and connect with organic angels make sure you head to the show notes. And Sarah you have got a special offer for our listeners as well. Those of our listeners that are based in Melbourne Australia anyway because you are yet to do international deliveries.
S: And so for customers that are in Melbourne and in our delivery areas, so there is the post code search on our website. When you order online and you use code THG which is he healthy gut THG you can get $10 off your first order with us.
R: Wonderful! And I use the home delivery service myself. I love it. It’s great. It’s like a real surprise box every week. Then I get in the kitchen and Love coming up with new recipes of your produce. So if you are in Melbourne and listening to this podcast i do highly recommend that you order yourself a box.
Sarah it has been great having you on the show. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom around all things organic and also sharing your own personal health journey with us.
S: thank you. Thank you Rebecca. I really appreciate you inviting me here. It has been wonderful.
R: My pleasure