“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” reads a South American proverb.
Escoffier claimed “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” A staple and medicinal cure-all in traditional households and the prime ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from meat or vegetables is a beautiful meal-base ingredient to always have on hand in the freezer, and has been revered for generations for its ability to nurture the sick and nourish families.
For chefs, stock is the charmed elixir for making soul-warming soups and spectacular sauces.
Vegetable broths made mindfully at home are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to use up leftover veggies, making it a fabulously frugal and environmentally friendly household staple.
If you’re looking to be a more conscious consumer, a homemade stock using up all of your on-hand veggies are the perfect way to enter into the world of frugality, and can help you to justify spending a little extra on quality organic ingredients as you find use for every last skerrick of produce to create delicious meals for you and your family to enjoy.
Beyond adding delicious flavour as the bases of sauces, stocks, soups and stews, they also act as a supercharged “tonic” that are wonderful for adding a dose of healing nutrients that are empowering for health.
Many of the minerals and vital nutrients contained within vegetables are actually bound up within the cell walls of the raw product. Long, slow and gentle cooking actually allows for the breakdown of the cell walls of veggies so that your digestive system can have easy access to the uptake of nutrients.
This is an especially helpful process if you suffer from leaky gut or malabsorption. Adding broths and stocks is an extra insurance policy to ensure that your body is being flooded with easy-to-digest nutrients and it's one of the staples in my book Heal Your Gut and Heal Your Gut online programs.
I love to experiment with different flavours of seasonal vegetables, herbs and scrap leftovers to create nourishing stocks and tasty, nutrient-rich broths that are both delicious and healing.
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Lights, camera, action...I'm so happy to announce my brand new 2-Day Heal Your Gut Maintenance program is now live.
If you're thinking about joining, I want to give you some information to help you decide whether it's right for you. I've designed this program specifically for you. I want to make it as uncomplicated and achievable as possible.
You'll enjoy simple yet delicious recipes, get help every step of the way and have access to a team of experts as well as information, videos and daily emails to educate and motivate you.
If you've been suffering with low energy, fatigue, gut issues, weight issues, auto-immune problems, or any condition aggravated by a poorly functioning digestive system this program will really help you to get back on track.
Or if you've already completed our four-week Heal Your Gut eCourse and want to maintain good gut health long term and looking to continue gut maintenance two days a week, this is the perfect way to do it.
Think of it as 5/2 fasting with a gut healing twist!
The great part about joining is that it's affordable and you only need to commit two days a week to create and maintain a healthy gut and still enjoy a balanced lifestyle.
You'll also wave goodbye to any existing tummy troubles, pain and bloating forever and learn ways to never feel weighed down or uncomfortable again!
Read some of our current testimonials from happy HYGr's here.
WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE 2-DAY HEAL YOUR GUT MAINTENANCE PROGRAM?
- It’s not time consuming and is easy to implement into your normal daily routine.
- You only need to do it two days a week to maintain great gut health. It really couldn't be any easier!
- It’s not difficult to maintain each week and doesn't require major changes to your life.
- I know that it will inspire you, motivate you and bring about a sense of true vitality and energy to your body and you'll feel like a new person.
- It will help with weight reduction and balance if that's an issue for you.
- You’ll be provided with step-by-step guidance on how to heal and maintain a healthy gut with food to achieve optimum and enduring health.
- You can enjoy gut healing recipes which are nourishing, tasty, simple to make and easily digestible. All recipes are gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar free and include wholefood ingredients that can be found in your local supermarket or healthy grocer.
- The program takes you into account as an individual and we help and guide you every step of the way so that you can achieve your goals. We also have a team of gut health experts to call upon with any of your individual concerns.
- It's suitable for vegetarians and if you're following a FODMAP diet.
- You'll learn how to set yourself up for a good gut healing day and how to rectify symptoms quickly if you've eaten something that has troubled you.
- It's not a strict or restrictive plan and takes into your account your daily nutritional needs.
- You'll enjoy delicious and nutritious gut healing or gut maintenance recipes tailored to your needs and depending upon the level of improvements you are looking for.
WHAT YOU'LL RECEIVE WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO THE PROGRAM
- Welcome pack
- Two days of recipes, meal ideas delivered to your inbox
- Additional gut healing recipes adapted to meet your specific needs
- Web videos, informative guides and the latest gut health information
- Unique guided audio meditations to nurture you through the process
- Daily expert advice and encouragement to keep you on track
- 24/7 support to answer all of your questions from a team of experts
Make a two day commitment to the health of your gut and you'll be surprised at how good you can feel and the improvements you'll experience in your overall health.
I hope you'll join me in making your gut healthy and happy today.
Join me in healing your gut and look forward to better health and vitality.
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Are you ready to start your morning with a grin on your face? All it takes is this one simple smoothie bowl recipe to turn the corners of your mouth into a beautiful smile.
Delectably thick and chocolaty, with fruity hums of banana and hazelnuts this is my Happy Feels Mocha + Banana Smoothie Bowl.
People will be wondering what has you so chirpy early in the day and as it’s made with coffee, raw cacao and banana, this flavoursome smoothie bowl will give you a natural hit of dopamine (the happy hormone) 😀
Besides being as ‘happy as Larry’, your ability to focus, be motivated and make considered decisions, will also increase. Think about all of the good fats and complicated carbohydrates found in banana and nuts, then times them by two and you’ll find yourself powering through your day like a Russian gymnast, with effortless backflips, half turns and triple twists.
Mentally boosting and slow energy burning, this smoothie bowl has not finished yet! Both raw cacao and bananas are a great source of antioxidants, and bananas provide 10% of your daily potassium intake and 15% of your vitamin B6.
So please don’t have naughty thoughts eating what seems to be a delicious mocha and banana custard for breakfast, soon enough the dopamine will kick in and you’ll be grinning from ear to ear. 🙂
Want to Supercharge it?
The great thing about a smoothie bowl is that you can add any type of sneaky green, and never taste the difference. Try a handful of baby spinach, kale, avocado or even frozen peas, to get a head start on your veggie intake for the day. Ps you don’t need to add the coffee if you don’t want to!
Happy Feels Mocha + Banana Smoothie Bowl
- 1 shot (30ml/1 fl oz) of coffee or use decaf if preferred or dandelion tea (optional)
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 Tbsp Heal Your Gut powder (optional)
- 35g (¼ cup) roasted and soaked hazelnuts (or any nuts of your choosing)
- 1 frozen banana, sliced
- 120ml (½ cup/4 fl oz) coconut milk
- 120ml (½ cup/4 fl oz) of almond milk (or any other dairy free milk)
After brewing a shot of coffee or dandelion tea, add the chia seeds to the liquid and let them sit for a few minutes. Then combine all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until there are no lumps. It can be quite a thick mixture, if your blender is struggling add extra almond milk or water in small amounts to help it along.
Poor the smoothie into a bowl and place more slices of banana and a sprinkle of mixed nuts and seeds on top. All that’s left to do is dig in!
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It’s hard to ignore the growing size of cupcakes and muffins at cafes, bakeries and supermarkets. It seems that many of us have adopted a ‘bigger is better’ attitude towards confectionary.
These monster muffins are often crammed with white flour, refined sugars and added preservatives. Processed carbohydrates and sugars are broken down quickly by the body, causing a rise and then sudden drop in sugar and insulin levels in the blood. This ultimately results in hunger pangs not too long after eating, and a massive drop in energy levels.
Let’s not forget that your gut microbiome isn’t the biggest fan of processing large amounts of sugar, and the outcome of your over-indulgence may linger with you longer than you anticipated.
Conventional sugar-laden treats are all too readily available, making it hard to avoid temptation when you’ve decided to embark on your journey to a healed gut and a zero muffin top.
So what makes my teacakes any different?
Well, I don’t want to burst your muffin bubble, but I do think it’s safe to assume that most muffin and cake recipes out there are more than likely recipes for weight gain! Think of my scrumptious teacakes as a gluten free, fructose free, tummy-loving alternative to those syrupy, lackluster store-bought muffins and ones that are gut health friendly.
Strawberry teacakes taste like the cross between a mini muffin and a scone and the strawberries give a beautiful "jammy" natural sweetness. And just a note, as we head into berry season, I would recommend using fresh strawberries to give the teacakes a little more moisture if you can.
As a substitute for glutinous white flour, I’ve used almond meal and buckwheat flour, which are released into the blood slowly as an energy source, preventing that sudden peak and then drop in blood glucose levels. You can mix and match whatever flours you have available in this recipe but if you're subbing with coconut flour be sure to add a little more coconut milk.
To make this recipe gut friendly, I’ve popped in my special dinosaur powder, AKA Heal Your Gut powder which gently cleanses and sweeps away plaque built up in your gut over time, resulting in reduced bloating and the perfect environment for healthy microbes to flourish.
You'll notice I've included a touch of rice malt syrup as a subtle sweetener as it doesn’t have an overwhelming sugary taste, but you can omit this altogether if you prefer or just use stevia instead.
Coupled with a warm mug of tea, my teacakes are the perfect treat when you’re entertaining guests. It's time to replace stale, greasy treats from the biscuit tin with these. I guarantee that your friends and family won’t ever taste the difference.
- 50g/ 3.5 tbsp organic butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp rice malt syrup
- Alcohol free vanilla
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 2 TBS Heal Your Gut powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (or any milk)
- 1 cup Strawberries cut into quarters or eighths
- 180c for 18-20 mins
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Whisk softened butter and rice malt syrup in a large bowl
- Add eggs and vanilla and mix well
Add to the bowl almond meal, buckwheat flour, HYG powder, salt and baking powder and stir until just combined
- Fold in coconut milk and strawberries, reserving some for toppings
- Spoon into muffin pan that has been greased with butter or coconut oil, or use paper muffin liners
- Add extra sliced strawberries on top
- Bake for 18-20 mins
- Serve with nut butter/ coconut cream/ yogurt and cup or peppermint tea!
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The world is a sweeter place with ice cream in it. I must admit I find it very hard to say no to a bowl of that kind of deliciousness when I’m offered it, but a little scratch beneath the surface of what we currently accept as ice cream has turned the traditional version of this gorgeous treat into a colossal turn-off.
Ice cream originated back as far as the second century B.C, with speculation that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavoured with honey and nectar. The bible speaks of King Solomon being a fan of iced drinks during harvesting. During the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) would send runners into the mountains to collect snow, which he would enjoy flavoured with fruits.
Historians estimate that the recipe evolved into the ice cream we understand today sometime in the 16th century. The Brits and the Italians seem to have discovered ice cream at around the same time. "Cream Ice," as it was called, would appear regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century, but it wasn't until 1660 that ice cream was made available to the general public, when the Sicilian Procopio introduced a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs at Café Procope, the first café in Paris.
Until 1800, ice cream was a rare and exotic dessert only accessed by the elite classes. Around 1800, insulated ice houses were invented and the ice cream industry emerged in America where it was enjoyed by the masses and increased because of technological innovations, including steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment.
After WW2, ice cream became a national symbol for the Americans, and the end to the war was celebrated with ice creams all around. As food technology increased and the supermarket emerged, more pre-packaged ice cream was sold through supermarkets after the 1970’s, and traditional ice cream parlours started to disappear.
These days, rather than the traditional use of cream, whole milk, sugar and egg yolks; ice cream has an ingredients list from another planet. Last time I checked in supermarket freezer section, here are some of the additives I discovered:
A popular vanilla ice cream ingredients label:
Reconstituted Low Fat Milk (56%), Glucose Syrup (Wheat), Sugar, Water, Milk Solids, Cream, Maltodextrin, Vegetable Origin Emulsifiers [477, 471 (Soy)], Vegetable Gum (412), Flavours, Colour (160b).
And a “raspberry” flavoured ice cream creation contained:
Reconstituted Low Fat Milk (53%), Glucose Syrup (Wheat), Water, Sugar, Milk Solids, Cream, Maltodextrin, Raspberry Juice (0.8%), Vegetable Origin Emulsifiers [477, 471 (Soy)], Vegetable Gums (412, 415, 440), Food Acids (330, 334, 331, 327, 260), Flavours, Colours (163, 120, 160b).
Is it just me or is there something seriously wrong with this picture? What have we done to this beloved sweet treat? With fandangle marketing suggesting green fields with cows, and “traditional” “pure” farm motifs, a quick look at an ingredients list on the current top selling supermarket ice creams show that they’re nothing more than a mix of trimmed, skimmed and adulterated ingredients and numbers formed in a chemical laboratory, not a kitchen!
With many people in the modern age struggling with wheat and even dairy intolerances, I’ve made it a bit of a mission to formulate a super speedy but delicious ice cream substitute that’s made from wholesome ingredients, and this is the next best thing to real ice cream prepared the traditional way with cream and full cream milk.
This is a family friendly ice cream recipe that all ages will adore, and is full of antioxidant rich blueberries, gut flora loving coconut milk and delectable creamy avocado which is high in lovely monounsaturated fats that will make your hair shine and your skin glow. It’s also free from sugar, making it a completely guilt free treat at the end of the night that won’t have any negative effects on your blood sugars, or cause any digestive troubles. You’ll just love its creamy sweetness, and trips to the supermarket for a quick sweet-tooth fix will be a thing of the past with this baby up your sleeve!
Here's a little video about how to make it and the recipe is below.
- 1 TBS Heal Your Gut Powder (optional)
- 155 g (51/2 oz/1 cup) frozen blueberries
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup) coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
Purée all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.
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Fermented foods are a beautiful way to increase gut health when your gut is strong and ready.
If you’re familiar with my four week online Heal Your Gut program, (the next round kicks off soon), you'll know that after giving your digestive system a rest and healing the gut lining, when your gut is feeling stronger you can start adding fermented foods to your diet to boost beneficial gut flora. Go gently and see how your gut reacts – try small amounts each day and see how you feel.
Kombucha is one of the most enjoyable and delicious ways to introduce the world of cultured foods into your life, as it basically replaces the need for soft drink, providing a mildly sweet, slightly sour and naturally fizzy beverage that is enjoyed by adults and kids alike.
Kombucha begins life as an ordinary sugary tea, but the addition of a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) transforms it into a fermented drink. The SCOBY bacteria and yeast eat most of the sugar, yielding a drink full of natural probiotics that will dance around happily in your intestines. A small amount enjoyed daily has many gut-healing properties.
Aside from colonising the gut with probiotic bacteria that are wonderful for your immune system, this delicious fermeted tea holds an impressive collection of health promoting properties that have been enjoyed in Russia, Japan, Poland, Bulgaria, Germany, Manchuria and Indonesia for generations. According to the Weston A Price Foundation:
Kombucha is rich in B vitamins and a substance called glucuronic acid which binds up environmental and metabolic toxins so that they can be excreted through the kidneys. Glucuronic acid is a natural acid that is produced by the liver. Kombucha simply supplies the body with more and boosts the natural detoxification process.
Glucuronic acid is also the building block of a group of important polysaccharides that include hyaluronic acid (a basic component of connective tissue), chondroitin sulfate (a basic component of cartilage) and mucoitinsulfuric acid (a building block of the stomach lining and the vitreous humor of the eye).
Kombucha has also been linked to a myriad of other benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. It truly is a tonic rather than simply a yummy beverage.
Don’t be afraid of the fermenting process which can seem like a complex lab operation rather than a kitchen recipe. Honestly, you just have to take the plunge and enter into the world of fermentation to realise that with some basic knowledge of the way bacteria feed on a constant supply of sugars, the process of keeping your culture alive and enjoying it’s wonderful and delicious creations is actually a very straightforward, common sense process that will become part of your daily rhythm.
Once you get the hang of making it, you can flavour it up with ginger and turmeric or even berries. Purchase a SCOBY online or, if you’re very lucky, a friend might give you one. You can buy kombucha online or at a health food store, although once you’ve made your first batch, you won’t need to buy it any more.
You’ll also need a breathable cloth such as muslin (I use a nut bag), a rubber band, and one sterilised wide-mouthed, 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) capacity glass jar with a lid (Mason jar).
- 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) filtered water
- 2 organic black tea bags
- 55 g (2 oz/ 1/4 cup) organic sugar
- 1 SCOBY (see above)
- 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) homemade or store-bought kombucha (see above)
Put the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Pour the tea into the sterilised jar, then add the SCOBY and the kombucha. Cover with muslin, secure with a rubber band and write the date on the jar.
Store undisturbed in a cool, dark, dry place for 7 days, then test it to see if it’s ready. It should be fizzy and slightly sour/vinegary. If it’s still sweet, let it ferment for a day or so longer (usually up to 10 days).
Once the kombucha is ready, carefully remove the SCOBY using a clean long-handled spoon and place it on a plate with a little of the liquid to stop it drying out (then use it to make another batch straight away). Pour out 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) of the kombucha and keep aside to make another batch, then pour the remaining liquid into a jug through a sieve and then into a clean glass bottle with a lid. Secure the lid tightly and make a note on the bottle of the date. The kombucha will keep in the fridge for 2–4 weeks.
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Worms. I’m sorry, this isn’t the most enjoyable subject material, but if you’re a mum or dad with school aged children, you may already be familiar with this unsavoury situation. If you haven’t experienced it in your family yet, it’s time to get informed so that when the problem rears its ugly head you know exactly how to tackle it. I also have some great news on a natural way you can rid your body of these pesky critters before resorting to drugs.
Pinworms, also known as threadworms are the a parasitic worm and the most common worm infection in Australia, the UK and the USA. Kids are more likely to pick up an infection than an adult, probably because of children’s tendency to put their fingers in their mouths, and you may notice worms emerging in your family when your littlies begin day care and school. An annoying truth of the childhood worms experience is that once a child is infected, other members of their household are also likely to get pinworms unless strict hygiene practices are observed.
Threadworms are spread by children scratching their bottom and carrying the worm eggs back to their mouth with their hands. They can also be spread indirectly through food and dust. The eggs can survive up to two weeks outside the body, and once these eggs are swallowed, they hatch in the small intestine and travel down.
Despite the ugly reputation, a pinworm infection is relatively harmless and can be easily treated.
What to look out for
Signs of a pinworm in children include
- Tiredness, or generally feeling “out of sorts”
- Disturbed sleep
- Lowered appetite
- Itchy bottom, especially at night
- Small white worms appearing around the anus
- White worms in stools
Home care practices
When you notice an infection of worms, you can help reduce the spread to family members through
- Discouraging scratching the bottom
- Keeping everyone’s fingernails trimmed and clean. A nail scrubber is a good option.
- Washing hands with warm soapy water after the toilet
- Laundering bedding in hot water
- Vacuuming the house often to remove eggs
Ridding the body of worms naturally
Diatomaceous Earth is a brilliant first step alternative to over the counter drugs and is something that I personally consume regularly to rid my body of parasites, especially during travel overseas or if I suspect an infection. It’s been very effective in gently cleansing my digestive system. And a clean digestive system is the starting point for overall body and mind health. It’s also a beautiful all-rounder for family gut health and cleansing and because it is a food not a supplement, it's safe for adults and children.
Diatomaceous earth is one of the best natural, food based anti-parasitic medications. It works by attracting bacteria, fungi, viruses, pesticides, drug residues etc to absorb them. The hollow cylinder structure allows pathogenic bacteria to become trapped and passed through the body. Larger parasites found in the stomach are actually cut up and killed by the Diatomaceous Earth particles!
My naturopathic grade, Diatomaceous Earth, also known as organic fossil shell flour or as I like to call it Dinosaur powder, also contains 15 minerals that are beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing. With its detoxifying properties, you and your children will be able to absorb these minerals much more effectively! Being high in silica it has the added benefits of better hair, skin and nails too.
One tablespoon of diatomaceous earth taken by an adult, once a day for seven days, can be extremely effective for killing parasites. When used on children, bear in mind that height is a better indicator of the size of their G.I. tracts than their weights. Thus, a child who is 4 feet tall should take 2 teaspoons, and a child who is 2 feet tall should take 1 teaspoon.
You can simply add your appropriate dose to water or juice twice a day, preferably before meals. You can even add it to smoothies or sprinkle it on top of your children’s cereal as it’s completely free of additives, fillers, sugars, artificial sweeteners or preservatives!
Heal Your Gut, Diatomaceous Earth is a safe food grade product and of the highest D Earth grade. When using it, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and always consult your health care practitioner when treating children.
Find out more about my Heal Your Gut Powder here.
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Gut health is by far the best way to nudge off a few excess kilos gained during the over-indulgent festive season.
If you haven’t already tried it or seen it in stores, my Heal Your Gut powder, which is all natural and made from naturopathic grade, organic and fresh water diatomaceous earth is the perfect antidote to seasonal weight creep and will get you back on track.
This all natural food based ingredient will give your gut that little daily spring clean it craves, particularly after a long-winded holiday eating splurge that seems to run for the best part of the new year and beyond.
It’s not just our cupboards that need a bit of tender loving care, our hard working colons do too!
Diatomaceous earth is the superfine fossilised remains of fresh water diatoms, a natural type of hard-shelled algae. For hundreds of years our ancient ancestors recognised algae as an incredible food source, holding magnificent health benefits. But for some reason it has taken us a long time to reap those benefits.
The wonders of algae lie in the silicon makeup. Silica provides an abundance of health benefits, from boosting hair growth, to easing skin problems such as redness, acne and eczema. Slowing down the degenerative break down of connective tissue, to increasing calcium deposits to bone.
Getting sufficient amounts of this super mineral is essential. However, it’s not all in the mineral composition, diatomaceous earth holds many other benefits as it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-any nasties in the form of parasites. It helps with increased nutrient absorption, better immunity and improved waste removal.
Due to the texture of this natural sediment, it very gently exfoliates the intestine wall, sweeping away all impurities that sit in your gut.
These unwanted toxins block our bodies from absorbing vital nutrients, and therefore decreasing our general well being, energy and happiness.
Once the junk has been removed from your trunk, you will nourish and glow from the inside out. It’s easy to take and tasteless too without any additives. It's also suitable for vegans and is gluten and GMO free.
Simply add a tablespoon to water, juice or a smoothie twice a day before meals and scroll down for my favourite gut soothing smoothie.
Happy Gut Banana and Mango Smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- ½ cup frozen mango chunks
- 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
- 1 tsp Heal Your Gut powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
- Pinch cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Place all ingredients to a high-speed blender and whizz until combined and smooth
- Pour into a tall glass
You can also spice up your mornings by adding this fine powder to one of the gut healing drinks from my Heal Your Gut recipe book.
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I was actually going to say hello humans but considering we’re only ten percent human, as ninety percent of our body’s cells are non-human microbial cells, the human element to us all, is well, not so much.
There’s no doubt that eating a healthy diet can influence and feed our good microbes and as digestive worries are becoming more central to many health concerns and symptoms, eating delicious food to keep your gut happy is the key to less discomfort, a flatter belly, more energy and less internal disruption.
Did you know that cultivating a new gut microbiota, can be achieved in a short amount of time with the right food and drinks? Eating certain foods which help your good gut bugs to flourish will change the balance in your gut and help you to absorb nutrients from your meals more effectively.
By the way if you’re not keen on sport please keep scrolling…I am just about to make my very first sporting analogy.
So if you’re still reading, and you were to compare your gut to a rugby match and the microbiome are the two opposing teams, imagine your good and bad gut bacteria team players all having their own unique job to do and positioning within your intestines.
Now think about what the players are doing. Perhaps they’re a forward or a halfback; maybe they’re needed to attack, defend, stay back or are ready to go in for a tackle.
When it comes to being a good gut player, good bacteria are the heroes on the field. They act as halfbacks in our intestinal tracts, calling the shots and controlling the tempo of the game. Good gut bacteria rally together to help your body digest and absorb your food more effectively and unite against opposing forces. The good gut bacteria team as a whole can help boost your entire immune system and send messages to your brain to help regulate metabolism.
Not that we have the sporting talk out of the way, I’d love to introduce you to my good-gut microbe boosting and flavoursome watercress soup from my new book Heal Your Gut. It features two ingredients which turbo charge the anti-microbial action in the gut and are heavily loaded with beneficial fibre, in particular inulin, a fibre source that feeds the good guys inhabiting our digestive system.
This recipe screams springtime slurping, and strikes the perfect balance between being refreshing and light, yet creamy and decadent enough to leave you feeling fully satisfied. It features a combination of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, and fortunately doesn’t taste like you’re mowing into a freshly cut lawn.
A dark, leafy green grown in natural spring water, watercress is the star ingredient in this dish. Gone are the days where watercress was used solely as a plate garnish.
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Today I’m going to introduce you to gelatin-rich liquid gold.
Heralded as a staple in cultures across the globe, bone broth is a key ingredient in gut health and can be enjoyed as a healing elixir, soup, or a welcome addition to casseroles, and slow cooking.
While generally made from chicken or beef bones, my supercharged version is nourishing and comforting and provides similar nutritional benefits to traditional gelatin-rich recipes, but with the comforting flavour of lamb to add variety to your gut healing repertoire. It’s a recipe taken from my new book Heal Your Gut.
Rather than ditching the trimmings and bones from your next lamb roast, keep them stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer and pull them out when you’re ready to make this healing soup. Lamb is a versatile ingredient, and, if prepared correctly, one of the healthiest meats you can eat. In addition to their love of olive oil, the good health of many Mediterranean populations has been partially attributed to their love of lamb.
Lamb is high in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that regulates the control of serotonin, one of the key brain chemicals involved in regulating your mood, and making you feel calm, relaxed and sleepy, three things I’m sure we could all use more of! Because your body can’t produce tryptophan on it’s own, including plenty of tryptophan-rich foods in your diet is helpful for a contented disposition.
Incorporating lamb in your diet will help you build a strong immune system, due to its generous antioxidant content. Lamb is rich in a very highly absorbable form of zinc, important for strength, hormone production, cardiovascular and bone health. When slow cooked as in this recipe, the succulent, slightly smoky flavours of the lamb are drawn out and absorbed by the fork-tender vegetables. The result is comfort food perfection and a helpful meal to heal and seal the gut lining.
Lamb bones in particular house a variety of powerful nutrients that become released when they are slowly simmered in water. Among these nutrients, bone marrow provides the raw materials for building healthy blood cells and a strong immune system. It seems our grandparents were onto something feeding us bone broth to combat the common cold.
Want gorgeous skin, hair and perfect posture? Other valuable nutrients in bone broth include collagen, gelatin, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, glycosamino glycans, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Known as “beauty nutrients” these components combine to promote beautiful skin and hair, as well as help the body maintain proper structural alignment.
Bone broth is also one of the best foods to consume for those suffering digestive issues, as it is rich in glycine and proline. These two nutrients are essential for connective tissue function – they literally heal and seal the gut, making this broth essential for those suffering chronic inflammation or auto-immune issues.
When creating your Lamb bone broth, try to use a variety of both large and small bones, as each have unique health benefits. Larger bones (such as the humerus and femur of the arms and legs) contain more bone marrow and can be beneficial for those with anemia, lung and immune disorders. Smaller bones contain more gelatinous materials, and are especially beneficial for promoting digestive health. This is why bone broth fasts are often recommended for treating leaky gut syndrome or Candida.
To get the most health benefits from your broth, look for grass-fed lamb. Conventionally raised animals are often fed a diet of inflammatory genetically modified grains, which contain herbicides, pesticides, and often contaminated with a range of heavy metals that can further weaken an already sensitive stomach.
In this recipe I’ve added another digestive aids – coconut oil – to increase the healthy anti-inflammatory fat content, and to promote nutrient absorption. There’s a reason a number of vitamins A, E, D and K are labeled “fat-soluble”. In order for your body to absorb these nutrients, you need to eat them with a healthy fat. Coconut oil adds a luxurious, creamy texture to any dish, it has also been found to be superior in aiding the absorption of antioxidants and other nutrients from the foods it is partnered with. It is also rich in lauric acid, which converts in your body to monolaurin, a nutrient found in breast milk that strengthens immunity. When choosing a coconut oil, look for an organic oil that is unrefined, unbleached, and made without heat processing or chemicals.
Make a large batch of this versatile broth over the weekend, and then store any leftovers to use throughout the week. It freezes brilliantly and can be placed in ice cube trays for convenience. You can use the liquid from this broth as a stock base in a range of dishes, or enjoy the soup as is. The longer it is left to sit, the more the tastes of the onion, garlic and bay leaf will meld and develop, and the more aromatic and flavoursome this dish will become.
I hope you’ll enjoy my gut healing broth. It’s comfort and nourishing food at its finest!
Supercharged Lamb Bone Broth
# Supercharged tip
You can make bone broth in a slow-cooker. Cook on low for up to 24 hours, topping up with filtered water if they reduce too much.
Think before you throw out the trimmings and bones from your next lamb roast. Lamb broth provides similar nutritional benefits to a gelatine-rich beef broth, but with the comforting flavour of lamb to add variety to your soups.
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) lamb marrow bones
- 2 litres (68 fl oz/8 cups) filtered water
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Celtic sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Place a flameproof casserole dish on the stovetop over medium heat and melt the coconut oil. Add the bones and stir to coat. Add the lid and transfer the casserole dish to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until bones are browned.
- Transfer to the stovetop, cover with the filtered water and add the remaining ingredients, including seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to as low as possible and simmer for 4–6 hours. Add a little more filtered water from time to time if necessary.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then strain and refrigerate until the fat congeals on top. Skim off the fat and store the stock in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer, or freeze in ice-cube trays.
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Don’t you just love a good infographic?
This one shows the mounting research that suggests the bacteria living in our gut can play a significant role in our overall health.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go beyond the infographic though?
That's exactly what happened to me when I donned my special research specs and did a "Sherlock Holmes" into some of the research currently out there in cyberspace.
I've looked into each area of the brain and body on the graphic to see how gut bacteria may exert an influence over almost every aspect of our health.
Did you know that it’s estimated that our bodies are composed of ten times more bacteria than human cells, with the gut being home to the largest number of bacteria in the body?
It seems that each day there’s a new study emerging showing just how crucial a role the bacteria living in our digestive tract has on influencing our overall health and wellbeing.
Several not only physical, but also psychological, conditions have been linked to an imbalance in our gut flora, with many of our diets comprising of processed, high-sugar and nutrient-poor foods, it’s not hard to see why.
Anxiety & Depression
In 2014, the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health spent over $1 million on new research aimed at better understanding the gut bacteria-brain link. Recently, evidence has mounted from studies in mice that the gut micro biome can influence neural development, brain chemistry and a wide range of behaviors, including emotional behavior, pain perception and how the stress system responds.
Mice found to be lacking a certain bacteria in their gut were actually found to be more anxious and less animated, exhibiting depressive-like symptoms.
Diet also plays an important part. Some foods make us feel calmer while other foods can act as stimulants. Tryptophan can have a positive effect on stress and depression because this amino acid helps your brain produce feel-good chemicals (such as the neurotransmitter Serotonin), making you feel calmer and improving mood levels.
Tryptophan-rich foods may also improve sleep, thereby promoting overall mental wellbeing. Some tryptophan-rich foods include: turkey, chicken, bananas, milk, oats, cheese, soy, nuts, peanut butter, and sesame seeds. Click here to get the recipe for my tryptophan-rich Garlic & Rosemary Chicken
Many neurologists now believe that Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut.
Specifically, untreated Helicobacter Pylori (a type of bacteria that, if left untreated, can live in the gut and cause a range of complications such as ulcers in the stomach lining) has been linked to later development of Parkinson’s disease, although conclusive evidence is lacking.
Helicobacter Pylori may also affect the absorption of Parkinson’s disease medications, and consequently affect the overall response to treatment.
There are also many gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation that occur as prominent features of Parkinson’s disease. Including foods high in dietary fibre, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is important in the overall treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
As medications for Parkinson’s often cause nausea, it may also be wise to incorporate foods known to reduce symptoms of nausea, such as ginger, tonic water and high protein snacks before bedtime. Try my high protein, Baked Salmon with Garlic and Ginger recipe. It’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for brain health too.
New evidence exists suggesting that gut bacteria alter the way we store fat, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel full or hungry. It appears that the wrong mix of microbes may set the stage for obesity and diabetes from birth.
Researchers are now investigating ways in which they may create baby formulas and/or supplements that will promote virtuous microbes while suppressing the harmful types.
When promoting healthy gut bacteria, it’s important to eat a clean diet that includes minimal amounts of processed foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and fermented foods such as kim chi, tamari, tempeh, yoghurt and sauerkraut.
Drinking plenty of water and remaining hydrated is also important; as this helps the body flush out any toxins. Green Juices are an excellent way to detox while hydrating the body, and ensuring you are still getting plenty of nutrients.