I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa and Alana (aka The Mac Twins) at an event earlier this year and was seriously inspired by their knowledge and passion for gut health education. As one of the major and most influential food trends to emerge over the past year or so, you don’t have to look far to find ‘good for the gut’ options popping up in newspapers and on restaurant menu’s. As every one of us is individual, in both tastes and health needs, I’m fascinated by the effect that certain types of food have on the body and couldn’t wait to catch up with the girls to hear more about their mission to shake up the wellbeing industry. Read on to find out more…
For anyone that doesn’t know, talk me through The Gut Stuff and what you do…
We are primarily an online resource to empower people to look after their Gut Health, through knowledge straight from the scientists mouths, then giving the tips and tools people need to do it themselves!
As a chef, I find macrobiotics absolutely fascinating and mainstream outlets are finally starting to get on board with promoting gut health; what was your initial inspiration to start The Gut Stuff?
Primarily we’re DJ’s and presenters so if you’d have told us we’d have had a gut health business even a year ago we would’ve laughed our heads off. We got into it pure organically as twins are a great constant for medical research, so we became the “chief guinea pigs” for Tim Spector at TwinsUK research at King’s College London where we discovered that despite having 100% the same DNA our guts have only 40% the same microbiota, which could explain why our bodies behave so differently. Thus our ‘gut journey’ began.
We (alongside our Co-Founder India Wardrop) then made it our mission to bring the real science to the public. We launched a YouTube series featuring the world’s leading scientists in Gut Health including Tim Spector, Trevor Lawley, Sandrine Claus and Fiona Powrie amongst other great scientists and its all kind of snow balled from there.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced since starting the site? I can imagine you’re asked some pretty infuriating questions about healthy food…
We find it really frustrating that 1 in 3 people live with a digestive issue that a little bit of knowledge and understanding could help, and a guess a big barrier has been bridging the gap between scientists, then clinicians then nutritionists and dieticians and down to the public. It also angers us that health and wellbeing is still seen as quite a middle class luxury and we’re here to change that.
On a positive note, what’s been the most rewarding thing about launching the site?
Getting lovely emails from people saying how much its helped them – we always send them round the team for a boost.
From one girl boss to another, what advice would you give you other women wanting to start their own business/website/brand?
Get the fire in your belly, it’ll be the thing that gets you up in the morning, the thing that helps you leave parties early and makes all the sacrifices and lack of cash worthwhile.
What is your favourite part of working for yourself and as a female duo?
Building something from scratch is absolutely terrifying and you make up most mornings going “WTF!”, but knowing your painting your own path and giving other people jobs really is the better feeling. We fight like cat and dog, but theres a visceral bonding and trust there that no one can break, plus we’re exact opposites which is useful for running a company.
Alongside The Gut Stuff, you’re presenters and DJ’s – how do you find a balance between work and home life?!
Ahaha we don’t – working on it! We work very very long days, office in the morning then on tour or gigging at night – we try and schedule time together where we ban ourselves from talking about work – it usually lasts about 12 minutes.
What are your future goals for The Gut Health?
That its so instrinsic in peoples lives, that no-one talks about it – almost like brushing your teeth.
What do you enjoy doing to relax after a stressful day?
Alana’s a fan of hot yoga and Lisa loves reading about the Mitford Sisters (V Random!).
Talk me through your day in food: do you have time for breakfast in the morning? What are your go-to ingredients?
We both usually fast until lunchtime to rest our guts, Alana finds this easy, Lisa tends to get HANGRY. Although we’re marathon training at the moment so we’ve been having porridge and fresh berries. At lunch we’ve been trying to all eat together as a team to “eat mindfully” and have a natter so we’ll put big bowls of grains and salads and soup in the middle and all tuck in. We’ve been getting veg boxes delivered to help us be a bit more experimental and increase our diversity. Last night I made stuffed savoy cabbage with turkey mince and other bits and bobs and a spicy tomato sauce on top – made far too much as per usual, but it did the trick!
Where are your favourite places to eat out?
With our gut health hats on then High Mood Food, and generally just any pub that does a good roast and massive glasses of red wine ha!
If I came over for dinner, what would you serve?
Hmmmm neither of us are that great cooks, Lisa’s better than Alana, but the kitchen looks like a hurricanes had a run around it by the time she’s finished. So we’d probably as you to help us ha!
Are there any specific ingredients/foods you couldn’t live without?
SAUERKRAUT, straight from the jar, on top of stews, in salads, everywhere really. Oh and sesame oil – theres a fab dressing you can make with Kefir, sesame oil and miso paste – we lather it over everything.