Blend11 – The FAQ’s

Here’s a list of the most frequently asked questions we get at markets about Blend11! Hopefully if you have a burning question, it’s covered – if not, feel free to send it in & I’ll do my best!

FAQ’S:

Q:What does Low FODMAP mean? And why should I should know or care?

A: Low FODMAP foods contain low levels of the rapidly fermentable carbohydrates known to trigger IBS symptoms. Researchers from the Monash University in Melbourne developed a diet keeping FODMAP’s low (The Low FODMAP Diet) that can really help people with IBS or other gut issues to better control their symptoms (& get back to living a normal life!) It is becoming recognised globally as one of the first ‘prescriptions’ to try for those with medically diagnosed IBS. It helps approx 75% of IBS people to gain control & lessen symptoms.  

The acronym stands for: 

F………Fermentable (broken down by your gut microbes)

O……..Oligosaccharides (fructans & galacto-oligosaccharides)

D……..Disaccharides (lactose)

M…….Monosaccharides (fructose – in excess of glucose)

A……..and

P……..Polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol & maltitol). 

The diet is NOT a diet that we should all start following, it’s really just people with IBS, SIBO, bloating, pain, bowel irregularity or IBD who should be aware of this – to help understand & get control of their symptoms. Low FODMAP eating is not intended as a long-term healthy diet (many really healthy foods are high in FODMAP’s). But it’s just handy to know what foods can make you feel a bit funny in the tummy if you eat too many. For me (no IBS), I notice apples (more than 1 a day) & other fruits can make me a bit uncomfortable…but small amounts are totally fine. By far the most common FODMAP reactions I hear about at markets are to onions & garlic, wheat & milk products. Legumes are right up there too. 

Q: What is a ‘best poo ever?’ 

A: No 4 on The Bristol Stool Chart! The ’smooth sausage’ – the holy grail of poos! We should all aim for mostly number 4’s (variation is normal & ok, but as long as you usually see number 4’s, you’re doing well!) PRINT OUT THE CHART FOR YOUR TOILET DOOR. Good gut = good poos. 

CLICK TO WATCH ACTIVATION

Q:Why do you have to soak Blend11? That’s annoying / time consuming / weird / I like it better crunchy…

A: When seeds absorb water they think ‘yay, it’s rained – now is our time to start growing!’ They are stimulated to release enzymes, which start to break down the stored nutrients (meant to nourish the seed & support growth before roots & leaves have developed. Enzymes are great for us, plus we can then get more nutritional benefits from the Blend. 

If you think about it, seeds are designed to pass through the digestive system of whatever animal eats them so that they can then start growing in a nice pile of manure once they come out the other end! They are designed to withstand digestion. When we pre-soak them, we ‘trick them’ into coming out of their dormant, protected state. Soaking / activating makes them much easier to digest, the protein content increases & the nutrients become more bioavailable. This process (soaking seeds / grains) is also being introduced in the farming industry to achieve better feed efficiencies etc for livestock, (there’s a lot of research & evidence behind it, not just some crazy market soggy-seed-sellers)! 

Q: How many days can you keep the wet mixture in the fridge? 

A: Soaked Blend11 is fine in a sealed container for up to 3 days in the fridge. This is something we’ll know more about once the CSIRO research has been completed (we’ll let you know how long is the optimal soak time). We have been recommending 3 days for the past 6 years with good results. 

Q: It looks like muesli, but is way more expensive??!!

A: The price question is always there when you have quality food, simply because we are now surrounded by so much poor quality food! We have become used to expecting cheap food products because food manufacturers develop products with emphasis on price point & not enough care factor about nutrition & health. In most cases, you get what you pay for! Most seed blend / muesli manufacturers will fill their packets up with the cheaper ingredients like sunflower seeds (just look at the first few listed ingredients to see what the main proportion of a product is). I could have made Blend11 much cheaper but I don’t like the fatty acid profile of sunflower seeds to be eating them every day (really high in omega 6 which we get plenty of).  I preferred to make the product much heavier in anti inflammatory omega 3’s, coconut & monounsaturated) as sunflower oil is used in so many processed foods etc – most people get too much. And everything in Blend11 is certified organic (except the almond flakes), so that obviously adds to cost (but also to benfits – gut microbes & human bodies both hate chemicals). 

Blend11 has some pretty awesome therapeutic actions, so our ingredients cannot be compromised (the effects may change, & we would have A LOT of cranky customers!). We’ve actually tried to make a cheaper formula, but it didn’t give the same results when we tested it on a few ‘regular’ customers! Plus we often get feedback from people trying another brand that it’s ‘just not the same!’ Second or third best poos –  if you’re lucky!

Q:Can I eat this if I have diverticulitis? 

A: Yes, but you always should soak the mix at least overnight & even smoothie it if you’re still worried. Most people over the age of 60 have some diverticular pockets, & many will never have any problems / acute attacks even though they continue to enjoy nuts & seeds. Many people with pockets are just fine with eating whole seeds, drs are starting to become aware of this (the gastroenterologist I do a bit of work with is on the same page). Listen to your body on this one though, most people are fine with soaked seeds, almost all will be fine with soaked & then blended. It would be highly unlikely to get any adverse effect from a smoothie with soaked seeds, this is exactly what people with a sluggish bowel & diverticular disease really need, to keep the good bugs well fed & the baddies away, keep the bowel moving easily with no pressure build up, as well as keeping the bowel lining healthy & nourished with loads of short chain fatty acids (amazing anti-inflammatory by-products of fibre fermentation). 

Q:This is really high in fat?? Surely it’s not healthy then, it’ll make me fat!!?? 

A: OMG, this question comes at me still, mostly from 55-75 yr old ladies who are often overweight due to insulin resistance brought on from a decades of low fat eating (with the compensatory carb overload!) 

Eating fat does not make us get fat. Fat makes us feel full, keeps us looking great, esp skin & hair, it supports fat burning ability, & will decrease hunger / cravings for sugars & carbs thus preventing insulin resistance, the main cause of obesity! Most people feel really good on a diet high in healthy fats, this blend contains a great balance of omega 3, 6 & 9, as well as monounsaturates & mct’s. Blend11 is almost 40% fat, compare the nutritional panel to other muesli type products (& look at the sugar & carbs line too!). The carb content is mostly fibre & the sugars are very low (& their absorption is also slowed by the fat fibre protein hit). 

Q:I can’t eat grains. Blend11 contains millet, buckwheat & amaranth! 

A: These grains are – gluten free, low reactive, high protein, soaked overnight to improve digestibility / decrease reactivity, & the millet & amaranth are cooked. Buckwheat is technically a seed, not a grain. Most people are totally fine with a little soaked buckwheat, & a few puffs of millet & amaranth (millet & amaranth are only 2.5% of the mix by weight, they just look like more as they’re full of air – so actually Blend11 has very minimal grain content).

Q:Fibre makes me fart. Do I really need more?

A: Your gut is like a fermentation tank. Farts mean there is a lot of fermentation happening. Fermentation is good! Our butthole is the release valve – like you’d want to loosely cover anything that you’re fermenting so it doesn’t explode! We would explode too if our butt couldn’t let gas build-up escape when it needs to! By-products of fibre fermentation (& fart production) are SCFA’s ’Short Chain Fatty Acids’. These act as anti-inflammatories & are extremely beneficial to the gut lining as well as the rest of the body. They actually pass through your bowel lining & into your bloodstream, so think about this – if your’e farting it means you’re fermenting. Surely a few extra farts is worth it to get your gut producing plenty of these amazing systemic anti-inflammatories! Any increase in fibre can temporarily make you a little more gassy, but it should settle right down as your microbes adjust. But yes, fibre does make you fart, & farting is a healthy thing!

Q:That bag is tiny, I’d be finished that in 2 days!

A: This is not a regular muesli. It’s used more like a ‘topper’. You only really need 50g daily (2 heaped tablespoons or 1/3 of a cup) to see the digestive benefits. Some people find that they only need to use it every second day or a few times a week, so the bags last much longer than you would expect. You mix it into something else, like fruit / yoghurt / smoothies / porridge / bircher etc. 

Q:Can my baby have this? 

A: If your baby is eating plenty of solids & there is no known reaction to any of the Blend11 ingredients, they can try it for sure. Always soaked, start with small quantities & observe response. 

Q:Can I have this during pregnancy? 

A: Yes!! Pregnancy is one of the most important times to focus on getting your gut microbes right because your baby will (all going to plan) get covered in them during the birth process!  A healthy gut microbiome passed on to bubs will mean less chance of eczema, allergies, hayfever, obesity, diabetes, anxiety & depression in later life. Feeding your good microbes with diverse fibre during pregnancy will help build your baby one of the foundations for a healthy start in life, a diverse microbiome. Added bonus is, pregnancy constipation / sluggishness is relieved! We get really great feedback from pregnant mums & a Blend11 smoothie is awesome as a ‘one handed’ quick & nutritious breakfast option while breastfeeding too!

Q:Why are there so many ‘gut health’ gurus, books & products now?

A: Because drs & scientists are finally taking notice of us crazy poo-obsessed naturopaths & began researching, only to find out (surprise surprise) that your gut health can heavily influence so many health issues! Of course every manufacturer is now using that knowledge to sell more gut friendly food & gut health supplements.  Research will continue to uncover more about our gut as technology improves & more funding is allocated. We only know the tip of the iceberg now, the next few years will be very interesting (& will see a flood of even more gut support products come on to the market). We’ve been talking about it & collecting feedback from you guys for 6 years now in markets, & the shift in general consumer awareness during that time has been massive. We used to get blank looks when saying ‘it’s good for your gut’. Now we get knowing nods from most people – but also some skepticism because ‘everything is good for your gut health these days.’ Guess you can’t win!

Q:Is this a probiotic food? I already take them after I have antibiotics. And I eat kimchi & kefir. 

A: No – it’s not a probiotic. It contains PREbiotic fibres to support your probiotic population. Prebiotics are things that support the growth & encourage good balance of gut bugs. Blend11 contains a very diverse range of ‘microbe accessible carbohydrates’ to ensure that gut microbial fermentation occurs along the entire length of the colon.  Gut microbial fermentation keeps your bowel lining healthy, helps decrease inflammation both in the bowel & also systemically throughout the entire body. 

Q. I don’t think I need this stuff, my gut is fine…I think…

Hmm – in this day & age, it’s unlikely that your gut is fine. Our gut microbial balance is not very healthy, for a few reasons…Crappy processed food choices, chemicals in our food & environment, high levels of stress & 3 generations of too many antibiotics & other chemical medications (whilst sometimes essential & life saving), are a big reason for that.  It can take months or even years for people to get their guts back on track after a course of antibiotics – some support with pre & probiotics / fermented foods is essential here, & eating plenty of diverse, fermentable fibres (like Blend11) can really help make sure you’re feeding the good guys so they can start to repopulate nicely. Even if you have no gut symptoms, a daily dose of diverse fibre can be a great preventative gut (& whole body) tonic.  

If you have a question that is not answered above, just shoot me an email or comment below.

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

p.s. If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’d like to try some Blend11, or are interested to find out more….so here’s a BONUS – try Blend11 (no shipping charge) by using this coupon at the checkout: tryme – limited number of coupons offered, so if it does not trigger free shipping then you’ll just need to get to one of our markets or stockist.

What is a FODMAP?

Should I be avoiding FODMAP ’S too…?

Well first you need to know what they are, & what they can do – then ask yourself that. You may have had friends telling you they are feeling great on a ‘low FODMAP’ diet. Or you might have seen products springing up in supermarkets claiming to be ‘FODMAP friendly’. Do you need to know how many FODMAPS are in your lunch today? Or can you afford to remain ignorant on this one?

Answer this quiz below to see if you need to be worried about FODMAP ‘s…

Never Heard of Them…until now, is this just a new dietary trend?

A Monash university research team developed the low FODMAP diet in 1999. They have proven, through their research that limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for many people with symptoms of IBS. The diet has been published in international medical journals and is now widely recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS, go Australia!

What is a FODMAP?

The word ‘FODMAP’ stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. It’s basically just an acronym used to remind us of the complex names of a few ‘problem’ carbohydrates that just would not be practical to keep saying you are avoiding, or to write on menus. ‘Excuse me waiter, is this dish free from Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides & Polyols?’ FODMAP’s it is!

Why are FODMAP’s so troublesome?

FODMAP’s ‘suck’ fluid (via osmosis) into the small intestine & bowel. They are also easily fermented by our gut bugs – a byproduct of this process is gas. So all that fluid, plus the gas can = bloating & discomfort. It also influences the muscular contractions that keep things progressing through to the ‘finish line’ (hopefully the toilet). This muscular influence can go either way – faster or slower, resulting in diarrhoea or constipation. But…this only occurs seriously in those battling with IBS – in fact, these very symptoms are generally what people walk in to the Dr complaining of – to then be put into the ‘you have IBS’ box.

So how do I know if I could benefit from avoiding FODMAPs?

Start a food diary – ask your body! Simply write down everything you eat & drink (including supplements etc), the time you consume it, & then in a different column – record how your gut is feeling / any symptoms (also with times of day). A pattern should start to emerge, which might point to a few foods as the main culprits for you. You can then check if they are high in any types of FODMAP’s. Some people are super-reactive to some types, but fine with other FODMAPS. There are many resources which can help with this (I’ll give details below).

What foods are they in?

FODMAP
Click the image for a bigger and better viewing.

There are many food lists online, but if you seriously wish to trial the diet (& you should if suffering from any IBS-type gut issues), I’d advise getting the Monash University App (it is very informative & helpful when shopping / planning meals) & uses a traffic light system to really show how much of a certain food you should be able to have in one sitting. It isn’t free, but will be super valuable to anyone struggling to know what they can & can’t eat. Just head to the app store & get it on your phone – or print out a list from another reputable site & stick in on your fridge / pantry / kitchen bench. Remember to take it grocery shopping, or just keep a copy in the car / handbag.

Is the FODMAP diet a permanent thing? Or can you become FODMAP tolerant again?

The team from Monash Uni recommend the diet as a ‘way to find out which foods are setting you off’, so you can gain control over your IBS symptoms – it is a sort of elimination diet, not a lifelong list of things to avoid. Many people will tolerate some of these carbohydrate-types fine, & can reintroduce them once it’s been established that they do not cause any problems, but some foods may always cause issues for individuals, at least without some sort of intervention (i.e. manipulation of gut bacterial population, or other supplementation).

It’s not fair! Why do some people not need to worry at all?

FODMAPs will still pull fluid into a non-IBS-sufferer’s bowel, & will still be fermented by gut bacteria – but for some reason there are people who experience severe symptoms when this is happening…& people who don’t even notice! Why? Nobody seems to know for sure, but if you think about it – the main variables would be 1) the amount & types of bowel bacteria available to ferment the FODMAPs, & 2) the connection between the nervous system & the gut – controlling the muscular contractions etc. If you have loads of FODMAP fermenting-types of bacteria – you’ll get loads of fermentation happening & therefore loads of gas. If you have a nervous system-gut connection that is highly sensitive / reactive – it might be completely freaking out with all these backward & forward messages saying that there is gas / bloating etc happening, & will likely either go on strike or go into overdrive (constipation or diarrhoea)…maybe – there’s still a lot of research to be done here, but my bet is that working on the gut bacteria you have (i.e. stop feeding them so many FODMAPs for a while & starve them out / take herbals & specific pre / probiotics aimed at improving the microbial balance) & supporting your nervous system & brain (i.e. massage, yoga, exercise – whatever de-stresses you) will yield the best results.

TAKE THIS QUICK QUIZ TO SEE IF YOU SHOULD GIVE LOW FODMAP A GO:

(if you answer yes to 1 or more of these Q’s – you’re definitely a candidate!)

1. Do you often get bloated? But with no real foods / triggers / pattern you can put your finger on as the cause?
2. Do you avoid eating out / stick to ‘safe’ foods when you are out & about, for fear you’ll end up with diarrhoea?
3. Do you seem to feel worse when you try to ‘get healthy’ by eating more fruit & veg / high fibre foods?
4. Have you cut out gluten & dairy (& improved) but still aren’t 100%?

If you know anyone who’s been to the Dr & been diagnosed with IBS, but still hasn’t tried this diet – please share, they will thank you – it really helps a lot of IBS folks!

ps – to save you time looking it all up, Blend11 & PondWater are FODMAP friendly, NeoBlend & BallBags are generally not! (Though you may be fine with them depending which FODMAPS you can’t tolerate & which ones you’re ok with).

pps – for any vegans (or big plant eaters) looking to trial a low FODMAP diet – this eBook could be very useful :-)