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6 Reasons I Love Sardines + Sardine Mash Pot Recipe

Written by Lee on . Posted in anti-inflammatory, Blog, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Digestion, Dinner, gut health, Heal Your Gut, healthy gut. digestive health, Learn, Lunch, Nutrient Rich, Recipe Book, Sugar Free, Super Foods, supercharged food, Supercharged Food Menu

sardine mash pot

Why on earth should I eat sardines? Now before you turn your nose up on these commonly rejected tinned swimmers, you may be surprised by the answer. In fact there is not just one answer to this question. There are several reasons why a good old can of sardines should make an honoured appearance in your pantry.

Sardines might not immediately seem like the most joyous of foods, but they’re so insanely beneficial you’ll be sure to fall in love with them. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids and energy-boosting vitamin B12, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. This mash is an inexpensive and nutrient-dense meal for when you feel like a boost.

Here are the top six reasons why I love sardines, and why they're one of my favourite supercharged foods for good health.

1. A superior source of omega 3’s

Everyone needs more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets due to the use of processed vegetable oils in foods, and feeding livestock on corn and grains, rather than green pastures. Sardines are a wonderful source of high-quality omega-3 fatty acids. Research is showing that omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA may help to support the tolerance of probiotic strains within your gut microbiome; making sardines an excellent gut health superfood.

2. No worries about mercury

The small size of the sardine means that it has less opportunity to pick up and accumulate mercury. The skinless and boneless sardines are even lower in mercury, with up to 50% less mercury than regular sardines because the mercury is stored in the sardine’s spinal cord. Many people say they also taste better. Larger fish, even salmon contain significant more concentrations of mercury than the tiny sardine.

3. High in vitamin B12

A Vitamin B12 deficiency, even a mild one, can cause symptoms including nerve damage, poor mental function, problems with oxygen uptake into cells, and depleted energy. One can of sardines provides a whopping 338% of your daily Vitamin B12 needs!

4. Anti-inflammatory

The numerous benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are related to their ability to act as an anti-inflammatory, making them a super effective treatment and prevention of hundreds of medical conditions. Omega-3 rich sardines have a remarkable ability to help defend against mood disorders like depression and anxiety, ADHD, arthritis, infertility, heart disease and inflammatory gut conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Homemade Kombucha

Written by Lee on . Posted in Autumn, Blog, Candida Friendly, Dairy Free, Digestion, Drinks, drinks, gut healing, gut health, Heal Your Gut, healthy gut. digestive health, micro flora, microbiome, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Seasonal, Snacks, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Supercharged Food Menu, Vegetarian, Winter

kombucha

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).

Homemade Kombucha

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Method:

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.

Yum! 

Gut Healing Salmon Chowder

Written by Lee on . Posted in Autumn, Blog, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Candida Friendly, Dairy Free, Digestion, Dinner, Gluten Free, gut healing, gut health, Heal Your Gut, healthy gut. digestive health, Lunch, micro flora, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Seasonal, Soup, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free

salmon chowder

 photo by a happy HYG'er

The votes are in, the #HYGers have had their say and Salmon Chowder has come out on top for the most popular gut healing recipe from my four week Heal Your Gut program!

It’s also a great way to up the anti-(inflammatories) on your Omega 3 quota too.

If time is of the essence you can make it ahead and enjoy the next day, giving a chance for the flavours to meld together even further.  It’s a hearty, comforting and satisfying bowl of deliciousness featuring beautiful pieces of salmon floating across a sea of creamy broth. It’s an ideal meal for the whole family too so you don’t have to just cook for one.

Why is gut health so important?

The gut is the gateway to your body and not only significantly influences your physical health, but it has a major impact on your mental health.  The stomach or gut is one of the key connections to your brain and emotional health and the health of your immune system.

The world within your gut is multifaceted and involves an interdependent relationship between living organisms called micro flora.  Micro flora is the complex, diverse microorganism species that live in your digestive tract. These organisms are also referred to as gut flora and are most easily understood as fitting into the categories of either "good bacteria" or "bad bacteria."

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