A healthy gut is a key part of good physical and mental health at every time of life so it is crucial that you nourish your gut with healthy foods. However, with all the talk about prebiotics, probiotics, fermented foods and more, it can be very hard to know exactly where to start. Here are five easy ways to nourish your gut as well as a resource that may make it even more fun!
5 Ways to Nourish Your Gut
1. Prioritise Vegetables
When meal planning, many of us think first about the meat, fish or protein and then build our meals round that. Ideally, you want to turn this premise around completely and think first about the vegetable element of any meal.
Once you have determined a vegetable dish, you can then serve the meat, fish or protein as an accompaniment, not as the main event. Try my Easy Vegetarian Orzotto with Mediterranean Vegetables or my Easy Vegetable and Cashew Stir Fry. Either can be served as a stand-alone meal, or as an accompaniment to a small serving of chicken or fish.
2. Ditch the Ready Meals and Processed Food
Although there is a time and place for ready prepared food, the closer food is to its natural state when you eat it, the better. Even “gluten-free” and “vegan” ready meals may not be as healthy as we think. Cook from scratch where possible, using fresh, unprocessed ingredients. My Easy Vegetable Tagine is vegan and there’s a gluten-free option too.
3. Eat Fibre Rich Foods for Prebiotics
While many of us are trying not to eat too many carbohydrates, it’s really important not to eliminate fibre from our diets. Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of fibre. Garlic, onions, leeks, brassicas (cabbage, Brussels sprouts) and legumes are also rich sources of prebiotics.
Resistant starches help with prebiotic formation as well. You can make starches more resistant by heating and cooling foods. For example, trying making Potato Salad with potatoes which have been heated and cooled. Keep the skins on for extra nutrition and fibre. Cooking and cooling pasta and grains has the same effect. Salads using cooked pasta and cooked cooled grains are a great way enjoy foods containing resistant starches.
4. Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, yogurt (be sure it’s not too high in sugar!), miso, kombucha and pickles are rich sources of probiotics. Fermented foods can improve digestion, increase our immunity and help us maintain a healthy weight.
5. Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Sugar can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This can then cause you to crave more sugar, which can lead to inflammation in the body. Inflammation can make you feel generally unwell, with lots of digestive issues. Very high levels of inflammation are also believed to be a cause of more serious diseases.
Learning more about how to nourish our guts can lead to lots of benefits including improved digestion, sleep and all round good health. Just a few small changes can make all the difference.
Nourish Your Gut Workshops from Fearless in the Kitchen
Jen Roach’s Berkshire cooking school Fearless in the Kitchen is set in her beautiful home and garden near Warfield. She has recently begun offering in person cooking days once again as well as online classes.
The day I attended this in person Nourish Your Gut class in 2019, Jen taught us how to make preserved lemons, homemade kimchi and lots of other wonderful recipes that were both healthy and delicious. Jen now teaches the same things online, sending out shopping lists and recipes so you can cook along with her in your own home.
Nourish Your Gut All Day Long
At the class I attended, Jen was joined by Jenny Tschiesche of The Lunchbox Doctor, who talked to us about nutrition and gut health. We learned how to make White Potato, Spring Onion and Feta Breakfast Muffins. They were made with buckwheat flour. I would never have thought to make muffins from leftover cooked potatoes and I was pleasantly surprised by just how delicious these savoury treats were. We then talked about the benefits of fermented food, before making our choice of kimchi or sauerkraut to take home.
We made a mid-morning snack of Aubergine, Carrot and Cannellini Bean Hummus, marinated Labneh cheese, and a gorgeous Miso Salmon Pate, along with crackers and flatbreads. Lunch included Jackfruit Tacos with Corn Salsa, Saffron Cauliflower with Apricots and Pistachio, and Harissa Baked Peppers served with quinoa. Jen had also made some Falafel with red lentils, chickpeas and pea flour.
From top left, clockwise, we have Harissa Baked Peppers, Saffron Cauliflower, Corn Salsa, and Jackfruit Taco filling. Jackfruit really does taste like pulled pork, especially in the flavourful barbecue sauce it was cooked in. Instead of tacos, we had pea flour pancakes as taco shells. They were absolutely delicious! Pea flour is packed with fibre and protein.
I learned so many new recipes at Jen’s Nourish Your Gut Class and I also came away with a much broader knowledge of how to nourish my gut and stay healthy. Jen is lovely and Fearless in the Kitchen classes are very convivial and supportive. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that Jen and I hosted an afternoon tea workshop together online in early 2020!
You can find out more about Fearless in the Kitchen here. The next online Give Your Gut Some Love Classes is scheduled for Friday 27th May 2022. Please note the recipes taught may vary from those I have described but all will be nutritious and nourish your gut!
Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. You should always consult your doctor before making any health changes. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet or treatment for a medical condition.
Disclosure: I have not been paid for this post, but I was gifted with the Nourish Your Gut workshop by Fearless in the Kitchen back in 2019. As always, I am sharing my honest, personal opinions. Full Disclosure Policy