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I’m sometimes (okay, most of the time) busier than I know how to handle, which is why I’m super-dedicated to keeping my body as healthy as possible – and for me, this starts in my gut. For a long time, I’ve followed all the basic gut-health tips – you know; take probiotics, stay hydrated, fill up on fibre, limit foods that are high in fat, eat on schedule and so on – but only recently after a visit to Health Works, did I learn how to take my gut health to the next level.
Located in the upmarket Hyde Park Corner shopping centre, Health Works was started almost 25 years ago by owner Linda Weech who’s a self-proclaimed ‘old hippy girl’ and works closely with her colleague Tandy McLeod. Linda started Health Works with the idea of helping people take responsibility of their own health by focusing on what they eat and drink the supplements they take and the quality of their sleep – all factors that can dramatically impact how you feel. The result? Instead of a normal supplement store, it’s a quirky, relaxing, zen kind of space. There’s even a Buddha corner.
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I arrived at Health Works for my one-on-one with Tandy and was taken through to the consultation room, where they perform all sorts of tests (like DNA tests) for the various services they offer. I was assured that Health Works doesn’t take the place of doctors, but instead assist in your wellness journey rather than focus on a concern or disease. I explained what I knew about gut health to Tandy and then she gave me some fascinating recent scientific information on the microbiome, and how your gut just about affects every aspect of your health.
As it turns out, the little critters (AKA the bacteria in the microbiome) play a starring role in the ability to dictate what we eat, how hungry we are, our cravings and how many calories we extract from the food we eat. They’re also to blame for those unwelcome food cravings.
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Tandy gave me a full consultation on how to alter my daily diet to optimise my gut health. In the morning, she swears by a cup of warm water with freshly-squeezed lemon to help stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid and kick-start your digestion for the day. She recommends a breakfast smoothie with a scoop of her favourite Vibrant Health Green Vibrance plant-based superfood powder that contains over 25 billion probiotics and, of course, a calcium/magnesium supplement. Tandy recommends Bio-Cell Butyrex.
In the afternoon, Tandy says you can’t go wrong with a mega salad loaded with gut-loving ingredients, such as spinach, broccoli, carrots, chopped cucumber, sautéed mushrooms, sugar snap peas, sweet potatoes, black beans and kimchi. Oh, and avocado – don’t forget the avo! Top it all off with a dressing of apple cider vinegar, which is also great for your gut.
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Lastly, in the evening, Tandy suggests a veggie stir-fry – a quick and easy dinner that will allow you to go to bed early. While food and exercise are critical to your gut health, she reminds that slowing down and making sure you’re relaxed is equally important. Overall, Tandy says if there’s one single diet that’s best for your gut, it’s the Mediterranean diet – so if you aren’t a vegetarian, this may be a better eating plan to follow for you.
I now know why the gut is thought of as the second brain – it sure controls a lot of how the body functions!
Hyde Park Corner, corner of Jan Smuts Avenue & 6th Road, Hyde Park
011 325 5168
Candice, the Editor of Hello Joburg Magazine, is a coffee-drinking, fashion-obsessed lover of anything and everything lifestyle related. She’s also a self-confessed foodie, champagne enthusiast and devoted bargain hunter.