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Hannah Ebelthite is a freelance health, fitness and wellbeing writer. With nearly two decades experience in journalism, she has held staff posts on Cosmopolitan, Zest and Healthy magazines, and writes for a wide range of...

Health writer and regular contributor to Healthy Food Guide Hannah Ebelthite is co-author of The G Plan Diet, with nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. This gut-friendly plan claims to improve your health and help you lose weight. Here’s how the three-phase diet works

 

Most people have seen headlines linking having a healthy and diverse gut bacteria with everything from better digestion and reduced disease risk to improved mood and weight loss. But they don’t necessarily know how to boost their own gut health – or how easy it can be. When I got together with Amanda to write this book, the idea was simple. We wanted to compile all the exciting new research about gut microbiome and give people a practical guide to reaping the benefits.

I’ll be honest, I had an ulterior motive, too. Last year I turned 40 and had resigned myself to never losing that extra half stone. I was a classic example of the busy person who thinks they don’t have time to be healthier. I’d got out of the habit of making something nutritious for lunch, either buying a sandwich or skipping it completely. Then I’d wonder why I was nodding off come mid-afternoon. So I offered myself up as the guinea pig for Amanda’s plan: it had to be easy, healthy, completely fad free. And work for someone like me.

How does it work?

The G Plan is a 21-day plan divided into three phases:
• Phase one: REST. This is about eliminating all the junk and giving your digestive system a break for five days. But it’s no dodgy detox: I ate lots of good food and was never hungry.
• Phase two: RE-WILD. Over the next nine days, you start to introduce gut-healthy pre- and probiotic foods and drinks. Things like kefir, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut and pickles. This phase took me out of my comfort zone but I was spurred on by a flatter tummy, slimmer waist and feeling more ‘with it’.
• Phase three: REBALANCE. During this final seven-day phase, you reintroduce foods that are potentially tricky for digestion, so you can see how you react to them (or not).

After three weeks, your diet is more natural and diverse and you’ve got into new habits of cooking from scratch and batch cooking (so you feel pretty organised, too). There’s no dramatic falling off the G Plan wagon because you feel so good. (An incentive: a little red wine, chocolate and cheese are fine on a gut-healthy diet.)

I lost 8lb and 3in from my waist in just three weeks

In this short amount of time, I lost the taste for sweet and processed, convenience foods but I wasn’t hungry – or tired. I felt lighter in weight as well as in mood. My skin was good and the usual PMS hell didn’t happen. People remarked that I looked slimmer and I believed them, because I’d lost 8lb in weight, at least an inch each from my arms, thighs and hips and three inches from my waist. Three!

As I write this, it’s several months on and Christmas has come and gone. Yes, I had some mince pies but no, I haven’t piled the 8lb back on. Now we’re into January I’m happily giving my diet a G Plan reboot and already feeling lighter and better. Even my children are in on the act, whizzing up their own kefir smoothies, snacking on nuts and seeds and demanding we make more energy balls! And if you knew my kids, you’d know what a miracle the G Plan must be…

• The G Plan Diet by Amanda Hamilton and Hannah Ebelthite (Aster, £8.99) is out on 12 January. Order your copy at bit.ly/GPlanDiet. And don’t miss our nutrition editor’s review in the February issue of Healthy Food Guide (out on 1 Feb)

Follow Hannah on Twitter (@healthwriter) and Instagram (@healthwriteruk)

Competition

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We have five copies of The G Plan to give away. For your chance to win one, enter here