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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

Autumn Reboot - The 7 Day Gut Health Challenge For A Better Mood

Are you feeling a bit sluggish, demotivated, in need of a little refresh? We are saying goodbye to Summer days and hello Autumn. During the seasonal changes in our outside environment, we experience more change internally as well. Think about it, the weather is changing therefore our body is being exposed to different molecules too. All we really are is a bunch of chemical reactions (and so much more). So, these new molecules are going to be impacting our system. Learn how you can support your body during the summer to autumn transition through this 7 day gut health challenge designed to help you ease into autumn with a better mood.



Autumn Reboot Reflection


Autumn, also called fall, is a time to go within, detoxify and shed old energies. We reap what we sow. Ask yourself, how well did I do in Spring and Summer? Honest answers will provide accurate recalibration where necessary. During the months of Autumn take inspiration from trees as leaves change colour and fall away with ease. We too, like trees are encouraged to change our life philosophies as we learn and adjust to our ever changing circumstances. Notice trees don't fight this change. It happens for them.


This 'Autumn Reboot' is about letting change happen for you. There are times to grow, times to pause, times to shed and times to learn. This is another opportunity to shed before we go into a winter stillness to learn.



The Science Of Good Mood Foods


Your gut and brain communicate with each other through the ‘gut-brain axis’ - the vagus nerve. What you eat affects this communication pathway and your mental wellbeing (because food is chemicals). Research estimates 80% of the communication flows from the gut to the brain. About 50% of our dopamine, the go ‘get it’ and ‘drive’ neurotransmitter is produced in your gut. The question of ‘how are you so motivated?’ may begin with good gut health. The gut also provides 95% of total body serotonin. This 'happy chemical' is a precursor to melatonin, the sleep hormone, which sets of a cascade of reactions in the body. So, if you want to improve your mood, start with your gut health.


Follow these 7 steps over the next 7 days for a healthier gut and better mood.


The key here is stacking the habits over the 7 days so that Day 2 you are still 'doing' Day 1 and adding Day 2 to your day. You can expand the challenge over more days as you nail each step. For example, it might take you 7 days to nail 'Day 1'.


So what if it takes you 7 x 7 (49) days to better gut health? The time will pass anyway. In 7 weeks you could have a happier and healthier gut microbiome or be exactly where you are now (I assume this is grumpy and bloated). It's a challenge! If you would like more guidance and accountability during this time: book a free discovery call here. Take this challenge to the next level by joining the May 'Detox By Design 5 Day Wellness Challenge' where we will dive a little deeper into the science and spirituality of detoxing.


DAY 1: Get 5 serves of vegetables & 3 serves of fruit today


One serve vegetables = 1 cup of raw vegetables e.g., lettuce, tomato or carrot OR = ½ cup cooked vegetables e.g., pumpkin, zucchini or mushrooms

One serve fruit = 1 piece of fruit e.g., banana, apple, orange OR 2 smaller fruits e.g., apricots, plums or kiwifruits OR 1 cup fruit salad, grapes or berries


What this may look like:

A pear with breakfast + an apple with lunch + berries in your snack

2 serves of fresh vegetables at lunch (2 cupped handfuls, 1 in your sandwich and 1 one the side) + 3 serves of cooked vegetables at dinner (1/2 of your plate)



DAY 2: Choose Whole Grains

Go for wholegrain/wholemeal bread and pasta, wholegrain and higher fibre breakfast cereals such as Weetbix, Oats, UncleToby’s Plus Fibre, Freedom Foods cereals, Vita Weat crackers, Rice, Buckwheat. Simply swap whatever processed white grains you are currently consuming for a wholegrain variety. Even if it is as simple as white sourdough to wholegrain sourdough or white wraps for whole grain wraps.



DAY 3: Hydrate and make water your drink of choice

Aim for a minimum of 2L/day, and if you can challenge yourself to get 3L. Our body is 60% water, our brain is 75% and our blood 80% water. Even mild dehydration results in a drop in concentration. If you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated. Water helps us absorb nutrients from food as well as excrete toxins. Admittedly, drinking enough water can be a challenge even for me. Especially on colder days. We all have our own preferences so here are some recommendations:


If you like soft drinks (which have nothing good in them for your gut bugs) swap to kombucha. You can purchase large bottles of kombucha and add cold or hot water for more of a tea like drink which will also cut the fizz a bit that causes bloating.

If you like flavoured water add your own natural flavours such as lemon and mint; frozen raspberries; lime and cucumber.

Brew naturally caffeine free teas such as rooibos add a teaspoon of chia seeds and leave in the fridge overnight. Grab and go.

If you're an avid coffee drinker (more than 1 a day) swap half your coffees for decaf long blacks. Caffeine stops the absorption of many nutrients. Yes, there are many health benefits to coffee beans and tolerance level is very much case by case. Read more here.



DAY 4: Focus on Unsaturated (Healthy) Fats

Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), use avocado, enjoy oily fish (like salmon or mackerel), include a closed handful (30g) natural mixed nuts in your day occasionally.


What this may look like (choose 1-2 per day):

Have Avocado on whole grain toast with eggs cooked in EVOO for breakfast

Add Avocado to your whole grain sandwich or wrap at lunch

Add nuts/seeds to your afternoon snack of yoghurt and berries

Make chia seed pudding or overnight oats with chia seeds

Have salmon for dinner with a side of sweet potato, broccoli and roast capsicum drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil



DAY 5: Add Beans and/or Legumes

Add red kidney beans/ black beans to your usual taco night

Add 2 cans of lentils to your minced meat and use leftovers for a bolognese

Crush chickpeas and avocado into a chunky paste for sandwich or afternoon crackers

Blitz together peas and avocado into a smooth paste for whole grain toast at breakfast with smoked salmon and cherry tomatoes

Try my Tuna-Bean Paste that has been a hit with clients that don't even like tuna!

Make your own lentil and rice patties, black bean koftas or try Syndian frozen patties



DAY 6: Include probiotic foods daily

Check the label - it should state the name of the probiotic strain, the quantity of probiotics and the associated health benefit. Probiotic rich yoghurts include Chobani, Jalna and Vaalia. Try Kefir and Filmjolk which are a bit more sour in taste and like a running yoghurt.



DAY 7: Eat the Traffic Lights - Choose Seasonal Plants

Make sure your meals have a red, yellow/orange and green plant-based food as a minimum. Once you’ve nailed the traffic lights, expand to include other colours of the rainbow including blue and purple. As we are leaving summer and going into autumn you'll find a blend of the two more readily available and at reduced prices. Look at your trolley as you stock up and remember to check in with the traffic lights.


Summer plant foods: Apricots, Bananas, Figs, Kiwi, Oranges, Pineapple, Melons, Avocados, Asparagus, Capsicum, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Watercress


Autumn plant foods: Apples, Pears, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Pumpkin, Tomato, Zucchini, Spinach, Rocket, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Carrots, Celery, Potatoes



Summary:


Day 1 - Get your 5 Veg & 3 Fruit

Day 2 - Choose wholegrains

Day 3 - Water

Day 4 - Focus on unsaturated fats

Day 5 - Add beans/legumes

Day 6 - Include probiotic foods

Day 7 - Take inspiration from the Traffic lights


These 7 days will help you reach the recommended 30+ different plant-based foods weekly shown to improve gut microbiome diversity which has been associated with beneficial health outcomes including better mood. Remember all REAL (minimally processed) plant-based foods count towards those 30: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, lentils, herbs, spices.


If you would like more guidance and accountability during this time: book a free discovery call here. Take this challenge to the next level by joining the May 'Detox By Design 5 Day Wellness Challenge' where we will dive a little deeper into the science and spirituality of detoxing.

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Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. Promoting consciousness in food choices helping people heal. Dietitian & Wellness Coach, Health Presenter, Gut Health Specialist - Kathy Ozakovic.

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KEYWORDS: Detox, Autumn, Diet, Healthy, Eating, Dieting, Nutrition, Nourish, Nutritious, Health, Gut, Gut Health, Plants, Vegetables, Fruit, Plant Based, Hydration, Whole Grains, Wholegrains, Wholefoods, Food, Foods, Mood, Good, Reboot, Refresh, Cleanse.

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