Guts

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Let this be me! I don’t know whom to credit for the artwork but both the title and art come from Mary Medlicott’s story on storyworks.org.uk

It’s all about guts.  “Speaking up was such a gutsy thing to do, but it was a gut-wrenching experience to watch.”  “Geez I hate his guts.”  “Personally, my gut instinct was that it wouldn’t turn out well.” Seems like we’ve heard lots of gut-based expressions like that the past month or so.  But I’m not thinking about earthy sayings at the moment – such as I did in a recent blog.  I’m thinking about our guts’ health and foods that can contribute to it.  Andy, in Andy’s Corner, is focused on gutsy cowboys.

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Should you wish to order it, the American Museum of Natural History has a card game entitled “Gutsy: the Gut Microbiome Card Game.”

 

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And the Cleveland Clinic has a podcast,  “Butts & Guts.”  Like the title?

Since my knowledge of anything inside of me is minimal, to say the least, I turned to a Colorado College GPB Sister (see my earlier blog about these sisters) for help.  Here’s what Willow has to say about her background and her advice on gut health:

Owning a health food store for 33 years, I  certainly was in an environment conducive to learning about health and nutrition.  I did a lot of reading, went to seminars as often as possible, and I learned a great deal from my customers, things they read and their personal experiences.  I’ve always been skeptical  of food and health fads that are not supported by good evidence or studies.

The gut is so important, your second brain.  What goes on in the gut determines what goes one in the brain.  I’m including an article (editor’s note: we’ve put that article under Food for Thought) that pretty well summarizes what is so important in the gut and what can go wrong.  For a healthy gut, cultured foods provide food for the good bacteria.  That includes any fermented food (not sure about wine) (editor’s note: DAMN!), such as cultured yogurt unsweetened, sauerkraut, raw fermented drinks, tempeh, miso or any raw fermented foodThe key word is raw. If you heat the sauerkraut it kills the good bacteria.  The foods that disrupt the healthy bacteria are SUGAR, flour, artificial sweeteners, GMO foods (the glyphosphate is part of the plant that you eat) It and other pesticides work on bugs to disrupt their gut flora and kill them.  So guess what it does to the human that eats it. 

The secret is lots of organic vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit (which are basically sugar), pasture raised meats (not fed GMO corn and soy), (editor’s note: all the underlining is mine)

Nobody has a perfect diet, but if you eat the not so healthy foods, do so in great moderation.  

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Gut-healthy ingredients

After reading Willow’s suggestions and doing a little internet research, I put together a list of some additional gut-healthy foods to consider when you’re cooking;  foods with lots of fiber are especially important :

  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • navy beans
  • split peas
  • barley
  • oats (steel cut are best)
  • raw leafy greens – dandelion greens are especially good
  • fresh parsley and cilantro
  • raw garlic and onion
  • artichokes
  • sweet potatoes and squash
  • raw celery
  • leeks
  • raw jicama
  • asparagus
  • hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, and flax seed
  • raspberries and blackberries
  • bananas (in moderation)
  • uncooked pears (in moderation)
  • unpeeled, uncooked apples (in moderation)
  • nuts (except peanuts and cashews)
  • pasture raised meats (not fed GMO corn and soy)
  • and the obvious: raw sauerkraut, unsweetened cultured yogurt, raw fermented drinks, tempeh, miso, kimchi

Another piece of advice that sounds reasonable from what I gleaned from the internet: antibiotics kill ‘good’ bacteria as well as ‘bad’. If you have to take antibiotics, make sure you eat lots of foods that boost your guts’ health afterwards.

I’m pleased that we’ve already blogged about a couple of salad recipes and our green drink recipe that all have lots going for the gut:

Plus, we’ve got two new ones to share: “Arugula, Squash, Chickpea, and Walnut Salad and Dandelion Greens, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin Seed Salad with Miso Dressing (see photos and recipes below).  And I’ve created a printable list of these gut-healthy foods, so you can easily reference it when shopping.  If you want to do more reading on the subject of gut health, you can find a couple more very informative articles we posted under Food for Thought.

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Arugula, Squash, Chickpea, and Walnut Salad

Arugula, Squash, Chickpea, and Walnut Salad

Any kind of winter squash will work here, but I like Delicata squash because it’s easier to slice and doesn’t have to be peeled.  If using acorn or that type of squash, peel, deseed, cut into 1/2″ cubes and roast.

Salad dressing

  • 1 1/2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 T olive oil

Salad

  • 2 small Delicata squash, cut in half, deseeded, and sliced into about 1/3″ slices – you want about 1 1/2 cups of slices for the salad
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed and pressed dry with a paper towel
  • 2 packed cups of baby arugula
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 c walnuts, roughly chopped (you can roast them, if you like)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the squash slices (or cubes, if you’re using another type of squash) on a sheet pan and drizzle 2 T of the olive oil over them. Salt and pepper generously and then toss to combine.

In another small sheet pan, place the chickpeas; toss them with 1 T of oil and salt and pepper generously.

Place both pans in the oven and roast for approximately 25 minutes.  The squash should be tender and the chickpeas should have browned slightly and gotten a touch crusty.  If one seems done before the other, remove it sooner.

Allow the squash and chickpeas to cool.

Place the arugula, onion, squash, chickpeas, and walnuts in a medium bowl and toss with the salad dressing, adding the dressing a little at a time until the ingredients are just lightly dressed.  Add salt and pepper, if needed.  Serve and enjoy.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.
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Dandelion Greens, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin Seed Salad with Miso Dressing

Dandelion Greens, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin Seed Salad with Miso Dressing

Orange sweet potatoes such as ‘Garnet’ or ‘Jewel’ have more color appeal, but we actually prefer the pale yellow sweet potatoes, such as ‘Hannah.’

Salad dressing:

  • 2 T yellow or white miso
  • 2 T seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger (optional)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 T peanut oil (or olive oil or sunflower oil)
  • 1 T sesame oil (optional)

Combine all the ingredients and whisk together.  If it’s too thick, add a little water until you get to the desired thickness.

Salad mix

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into about 1/2″ pieces and either stir-fried or roasted (I quickly stir-fried them – but you can add a little olive oil and bake them in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes)
  • 2 heads Little Gem lettuce or 1 small head Romaine lettuce – chopped
  • 2 c dandelion greens, chopped
  • 1/4 c roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)  – or toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts

Optional addition: 3/4 lb. organic, free range boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poached and then shredded or chopped – or a purchased cooked chicken meeting the same standards – shredded or chopped

Just before serving, gently toss the salad mix with the dressing, adding the dressing a little at a time until everything is just lightly coated; you may not use all the dressing.  Add salt and pepper to taste, top with the chicken if you’re using it,  and serve.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Foods for the Gut

  • cultured yogurt
  • unsweetened sauerkraut, raw
  • fermented drinks
  • tempeh
  • miso
  • any raw fermented food
  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • navy beans
  • split peas
  • barley
  • oats (steel cut are best)
  • raw leafy greens – dandelion greens are especially good
  • fresh parsley and cilantro
  • raw garlic and onion
  • artichokes
  • sweet potatoes and squash
  • raw celery
  • leeks
  • raw jicama
  • asparagus
  • hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, and flax seed
  • raspberries and blackberries
  • bananas (in moderation)
  • uncooked pears (in moderation)
  • unpeeled, uncooked apples (in moderation)
  • nuts (except peanuts and cashews)
  • pasture raised meats (not fed GMO corn and soy)
  • and the obvious: raw sauerkraut, unsweetened cultured yogurt, raw fermented drinks, tempeh, miso, kimchi

Suggestions brought to you by Willow in Washington and BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

 

 

 

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