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60 seconds with the Intestinal Gardener

While surfing the internet on a damp, dark night in Scotland, I happened upon this great gut bacteria blog with a fantastic name, the Intestinal Gardener! The Intestinal Gardener, Kristina Campbell M.Sc. is a freelance science writer from Canada, and author of the best-selling book The Well-Fed Microbiome Cookbook. Kristina writes and consults internationally on scientific topics related to gut microbiota, nutrition, probiotics, and the gut-brain axis with a view to bring science to the masses and she is here today to give us 60 seconds of her time.

Hi Kristina, how did you come to write the book The Well-Fed Microbiome Cookbook? I’m a science writer specializing in the microbiome, and I typically do a lot of technical writing and ghostwriting for experts. But when it comes to science as a way of knowing about the world, I’m driven to find ways of connecting with people who don’t usually seek out scientific information. Since we all engage with food, I thought it would be interesting to write a very approachable cookbook that included an engaging introduction to gut microbiome science.

What is your favourite recipe in the book? I make the strawberry syrup a lot: pureed strawberries with orange zest. I eat it on weekends with spelt pancakes and whipped cream.

What is the coolest thing you know about the human microbiome? I love the idea that my microbes are incredibly responsive to everything I eat. There seems to be no bite of food that’s unimportant to them. I find it’s the ultimate motivator for eating well: knowing that an audience consisting of trillions of microorganisms is assembled and waiting to see what enters my gut next. For them, it can be a matter of life or death.

What practices or protocol do you follow to keep your garden flourishing? I pay close attention to my diet and try to get lots of fibre and live microorganisms through the food I eat. I seek out yogurt and kefir, and use fibre “hacks” like putting mashed up lentils in meat dishes at home. From time to time (for specific reasons) I take probiotic supplements. Also, I regularly practice yoga, but I’m still waiting for the research showing the effects it has on my intestinal garden!

Check out Kristina's blog the Intestinal Gardener here -

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