Are you looking for recipes to supercharge your gut?
Or, are you thinking to yourself: “why on earth do I need to look after this irrelevant part of my body?”
Whether you’re one extreme or the other, help is on the way!
Looking after the gut is your gateway to the health of your overall body. Inside you there are trillions of living microorganisms and the majority of them live very happily in the gut. It's not just the area where you digest food, it also has important connections to your brain and immune system, as well as influencing the interplay of hormones in your body. Can you believe that your gut health can even affect the length and quality of your sleep?
When your tum's a little disgruntled and out of whack, it makes your body more susceptible to a multitude of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation, obesity, and anxiety and depression, as well as insulin resistance.
If you’re keen to improve your health and maintain energy levels one way to do it is through nutrition and by eating high-quality, wholesome food, just like this lovely Greened up Shakshuka recipe from my book, Supercharge Your Gut.
That sounds great and all, but surely, it’s easier said than done. Who has time to slave over a stove every day?!
That’s where you’re wrong!
Much of your gut health is in your own hands. When looking to supercharge your gut, it’s so ok to be simple with it. By taking one easy step at a time, and not stressing about being perfect, you can be on your way to looking after your body’s most influential part for good. If you want to find out more about just how to supercharge your gut, be sure to check out my latest book or my two-day Supercharge Your Gut Program.
One of the first ways to look after your gut is to give it some time to rest. As a result of processed foods and chemically driven choices, our digestive systems have become overburdened and confused. By consuming slow-cooked and cooked foods like bone broths, soups, curries, and adding healing spices such as turmeric and ginger to your meals, your body will allow itself the time it needs to rest and digest whilst still healing and sealing the lining of the gut so you can absorb more nutrients from your food.
Using bone broth or veggie broths as a base to meals means you can enjoy key minerals and ingredients such as gelatine which are just as nourishing for your insides as they are for your outsides.
Root vegetables, like parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes are naturally gluten-free, rich in prebiotic fibre and provide a whole load of nutrients. Plus, they have a low glycaemic index which means they won’t induce inflammation or digestive issues. I love roasting root veggies in the oven and using them to make thicker and heartier soups. The pre-biotic fibres in these vegetables help to maintain a healthy community of bacteria in the gut and can ease digestion.
Just because something has diet written all over it, it doesn’t make it healthy, sugar-free sweeteners and soft drinks are not always gut friendly. Sugar-free snacking is often the culprit of many gut issues as they can aggravate the gut due to the artificial additives they contain. These additives and chemicals get swept up into the digestive system and end up in the colon, which is the opposite thing you want to happen when you’re supercharging your gut.
Staying hydrated is another easy way to look after your gut health. The simple technique of drinking water and herbal tea helps to flush out bad bacteria within the gut and can bring balance and flow back into the digestive system. This will keep your gut happy and functioning at its prime.
If you’re looking to spice things up, adding spices to your meals is a great way to keep your gut in check and add some delicious flavour to your cooking. Chilli can reduce inflammation and help with problems within the gut by reducing negative gut bacteria. A famous yellow spice that has been on the lips (…and everywhere else because it stains literally everything!) of every health guru for the past few years is turmeric. Turmeric is another warming spice that is rich in anti-inflammatory properties due to its high levels of curcumin. Curcumin can help alleviate digestive issues, ease digestion and turn our gut health from silver to gold.
Garlic is one of my favourite wonder-foods that can help combat sickness, high blood pressure and gut issues related to an unbalanced micro-flora. Garlic can help detoxify the body from heavy metals too. I mean, if you’re looking for an excuse to eat garlic bread, this is it. Just replace the Supermarket white bread with a piece of my Golden Gut Pumpkin and Nut Loaf and we’ve got ourselves a deal.
While I’m not going to be the person to tell you to stop eating raw salads as they can be enzymatically fruitful, some people with sensitive digestive systems can struggle with eating and digesting raw vegetables, so it’s important to listen to your body and be mindful of what it’s saying. If you feel a bit like the Michelin man after eating a big bowl full of delicious raw vegetables, it may be time to slow down, put the oven or stove-top on and start to cook your vegetables instead.
Now that we're on the topic of cooked veggies and spices, nothing screams out to me more than my beloved Greened up Shakshuka recipe. There’s nothing (and I mean nothing!) better than the smell of this dish wafting through the air. Plus, it's totally easy too. It's a one-pan wonder that you need to try out ASAP.
Shakshuka celebrates the flavours of the Middle East and North Africa, and is one of my favourite ways to jazz up the humble egg. Loaded with medicinal spices and bursting with lycopene, this tomatoey one-pan wonder won’t fail to impress. It’s a beautiful way to enjoy a communal breakfast (lunch or dinner!) with loved ones.
Not a vegetarian and want to beef it up?
Just use 2 red capsicums rather than 1 green one. After sautéing the vegies, add 300gms minced (ground) beef and brown it in the pan, breaking up any lumps and letting it cook through. Instead of mint, top the shakshuka with chopped coriander (cilantro).
Greened up Shakshuka
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, white part only, washed well and sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 green capsicum (pepper), diced
- Pinch of chilli powder or paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seeds
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)
- 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) tinned chopped tomatoes
- 250 g (9 oz/13)4 cups) frozen peas
- 1 large handful of baby English spinach leaves
- 4 large free-range eggs
- mint leaves, to garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat.
- Add the leek, garlic, capsicum, spices and bay leaves and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the capsicum is softened and the spices are fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes and peas, then bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until the peas are nearly done. Stir in the spinach.
- Make four divots in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Cover and leave for about 3–5 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking; the yolks should still be soft.
- Serve straight from the frying pan, garnished with mint leaves.