There are some simple ways to improve your stomach’s health. Makenzie Jones asked two local experts for their suggestions on meals and food that can help.
Gut health, GI, tummy troubles, whatever you may call it, an upset stomach is not something people want to experience. Some foods are known to cause problems, and some people are more sensitive to certain foods than others, but there are many other factors that come into play with the stomach and digestion. It goes beyond the stomach to every part of the body system that works with food processing. From your mouth to your…well, you know, the way food is processed by the body affects overall health and all the other body systems.
Your gut, which includes all the organs that help break down food, is a place where good bacteria should be found to help regulate everything from immune, hormone, and vitamin and mineral levels. Along with eliminating the unneeded parts of food, it also gets rid of various toxins that get into the body.
There are some simple, yet often overlooked, ways to help improve your gut health from various aspects. Since food (and harmful things) enter through your mouth and nose, an easy place to start is regularly flossing, brushing, and going to the dentist.
Where do you find this good bacteria? Probiotics are a big trend right now, commonly found in fermented foods like yogurt, kraut, and kombucha, but healthy bacteria can be found in many places that you simply breathe. Spend some extra time taking in the fresh air on a hike, garden, or with pets. It is also easy to help the good grow by eating more fiber and by limiting the bad bacteria by reducing sugar.
This simple recipe provides three sources of fermented foods, as well as fiber.
Recipe 1: Miso-Ginger Soba Noodles
This recipe contains three sources of fermented foods: miso, raw apple cider vinegar, and sauerkraut or kimchi. It also provides plenty of prebiotic-rich fibrous veggies like kale and red bell pepper to feed those good bacteria you’re adding to your system.
For the miso vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons organic red or white miso paste
¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar (I use Dr. Bragg’s)
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
For the noodles:
1 8-ounce package soba noodles (look for 100% buckwheat gluten-free noodles)
3 scallions, diced
3 large leaves of kale, stems diced and leaves cut into thin ribbons
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
Chili flakes (optional, to taste)
½ cup of your favorite naturally fermented kraut or kimchi (I love Short Mountain Culture’s Gold Zinger Kraut for this recipe)
Sesame seeds and hemp seeds (optional, as a garnish)
Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the miso paste, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, honey, ginger, and tamari. Set aside.
Cook the noodles in boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold running water (this will help prevent the buckwheat noodles from sticking together, which they easily do). Immediately transfer the cold noodles to a large bowl and dress with the vinaigrette (this will also help them from sticking).
Toss the scallions, kale, bell pepper, and chili flakes (to taste, if you like a little heat) with the noodles.
Divide between four plates, and garnish each with a big pinch of kraut and a sprinkle of sesame and hemp seeds.
This next recipe will help satisfy your own sweet tooth as well as provide an option to get your kids guts off to a healthy start! They may still notice the fermented twang, but as with so many things, learning young is the best time to grow and adapt!
Recipe 2: Probiotic Apple Sauce
1 cup organic, unsweetened applesauce
½ teaspoon – 1 tablespoon sauerkraut juice (spooned off your trusty jar of kraut that you should have in the fridge by now!)
Pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
In a small bowl, stir the kraut juice into the apple sauce. Season with a pinch of cinnamon for added sweetness, if you like. Start with the smallest amount of kraut juice and test that with your children, then gradually work your way up to the full tablespoon as they begin to enjoy the tart, sour flavor. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
(Courtesy: Happy Belly Healthy Food Home Delivery).
Recipe 3: Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
3 to 4 tbsp sea salt
1 head organic red cabbage
3 tbsp grated ginger
3 to 5 cloves garlic
Mix a brine of about 4 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of salt (I use Redmond Ancient All Natural Sea Salt and only need 3 tbsp). Stir well to thoroughly dissolve salt. The brine should taste good and salty.
Chop the cabbage and let soak in the brine, covered by a plate or other weight to keep it submerged overnight. (You can use a crock, several mason jars or any large glass jar)
The next day, prepare the spices. I use a food processor to chop the garlic and ginger.
Drain most of the brine off the vegetables. I like to keep enough brine to just cover the veggies.
Mix the garlic and ginger with the vegetables. Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean jar. Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until brine rises.
Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the sauerkraut every day, pushing the vegetables into the brine. After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator.
Recipe 4: Granola Parfait
8oz Organic Yogurt
1 cup granola
Mixed fruit (optional)
Place 1/3 cup of granola in a parfait glass (or mason jar). Top with half of the yogurt.
Top with remaining granola.
Note, mix any of your favorite fruits into the yogurt before assembling or layer fruit in between yogurt and granola layers if so desired.
Recipes courtesy of:
Happy Belly www.happybellymama.com
Karina Hammer www.karinahammer.com