With the holidays right around the corner, we all tend to indulge in the vast array of goodies before us. And of course we should! ‘Tis the season to celebrate the joys of life. That said, sometimes our bodies end up letting us know that digestion issues could get in the way of our merry times via breakouts (especially in the chin area), heartburn and gas. In addition to certain foods in our diet that make an extra appearance during the season such as goodies that are spicy or contain sugar and caffeine, our digestion can be affected by a number of different things such as:
- Lack of sleep
- Not enough exercise
But with some simple lifestyle adjustments, we can get our systems back to proper flow in no time. To get you started, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 food and drinks,with recipies, to help your gut get going.
1. LEAFY GREENS:
Things like spring mixes, kale and spinach is a staple for a healthy digestive tract. A diet filled with dark leafy greens that not only contains ample amounts of vitamins but a lot of fiber that works quickly to clear out your system.
Image from Oh She Glows website
For the butternut squash:
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil of choice
- Fine sea salt
For the Garlic-Dijon Vinaigrette:
- 1 small (3 g) garlic clove
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) grapeseed oil (or other light-tasting oil)
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Dijon mustard
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure maple syrup, or to taste
For the salad:
- 1 (5-ounce/142 g) package baby romaine or mixed greens
- 1 large (270 g) avocado, pitted and sliced
- Heaping 1/2 cup (65 g) chopped walnuts*
- 2 tablespoons (18 g) hemp hearts
- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, for garnish
- For the butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C), and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel, halve, and seed the squash. Slice the squash into 1/2-inch wedges. Transfer to the baking sheet and toss with the tablespoon of oil. Spread the squash into an even layer and season generously with salt. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping once halfway through until the squash is fork tender and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Garlic-Dijon Vinaigrette: Finely grate or mince the garlic and place it into a small glass jar. Add the vinegar, oil, lemon juice, Dijon, salt, pepper, and maple syrup. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until combined. Taste the dressing and adjust the oil, salt, and maple syrup, if desired. You can also make the dressing in a blender or food processor, if you’d prefer.
- When the squash is nearly finished roasting, begin building your salad bowls: Portion 2 to 3 handfuls of the baby romaine/mixed greens into four large shallow bowls. Drizzle a tablespoon of dressing over each bowl and toss until the greens are fully coated.
- Divide the sliced avocado, walnuts, and hemp hearts into four portions, and evenly distribute on top of each bowl.
- When the squash is finished roasting, transfer several wedges directly from the pan to the top of each bowl. Finish each salad with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, as well as a final drizzle of dressing. Serve immediately.
- Feel free to use toasted walnuts, if you prefer, but rest assured that raw work wonderfully too!
- You can absolutely make this salad for a single portion too! To build just one salad, I suggest portioning each ingredient as follows: approximately 2 handfuls of greens, 1/4 of a large avocado (sliced), 3/4 cup warm roasted squash, 1 to 2 tablespoons vinaigrette (to taste), 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped walnuts, and 1/2 tablespoon of hemp hearts.
- Any leftover squash can be easily reheated over the next few days. Here is how I like to warm up leftover roasted squash: Coat a large skillet with oil and add your leftover cooked squash with a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until warmed through.
2. BROWN RICE:
As an insoluble fiber, the chances of constipation are lowered as it helps move things through your digestive system easily. It’s also a gluten-free whole grain which makes it a fiber rich superfood perfect for all diets.
Image from Dinner with Julie website
- a drizzle of canola or olive oil
- 1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained well
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
- 2-3 cups precooked brown rice (cold rice fries up better, with separate grains instead of turning pasty)
- 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
- TAHINI DRESSING
- 1/4 cup tahini
- juice of 1 lemon (or 2-3 tablespoons)
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. hot water
- 1 garlic clove, finely crushed
- pinch salt
- To make the dressing, shake everything up in a jar. Depending on how much you like, you may have enough for a second batch of chickpeas with asparagus.
- Heat a generous drizzle of oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat; add the chickpeas and cook for a few minutes, until they start turning golden. They will sputter and pop as they cook. Add the garlic and a bit of salt and cook until they are nicely golden and getting crispy. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
- Add the onions to the pan, along with a little more oil if you need it. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until golden. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for a minute or two, putting the lid on the pan if it helps, just to allow the asparagus to brighten and soften a bit. Dump that into the bowl with the chickpeas.
- Add another slick of oil to the skillet and cook the rice for a few minutes, just to warm it through and brown it a bit as well. Add the chickpeas, onions and asparagus back to the pan and toss it around to warm it all through, then divvy it among bowls and sprinkle with almonds. Drizzle with a bit of the tahini dressing and pass more at the table.
3. FLAX SEEDS:
Healthy fats, including these guys are imperial for your digestion to keep your track lubricated and running smoothly from its oil content. They’re super easy to add into smoothies and salads making it an ideal way to get your fiber in.
Image from Bluebirds Kisses website
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup ground flax seed
- 1/2 cup flax seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp instant (quick rising yeast)
- 1.5 cups warm water
- Put all the dry ingredients and seeds in a large bowl and mix well. Add water and mix with your hands until incorporated, if some sticks to your hands that’s ok just do your best to scrape it off. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside on the counter for 2.5 hours.
- At the 2.5 hour mark, preheat the oven with your dutch oven inside at 400 degrees F. Once preheated take the dutch oven out with gloves, and remove its lid. uncover the bowl, sprinkle a bit of flour on tops of the dough and pull it out. Pat the dough with a bit more flour if its super sticky, you should be able to shape it into a round loaf shape, then drop it into the hot dutch oven. Cover and put back in your oven for 30min. At 30min, take the lid off the dutch oven and bake another 10-15min, checking at the 6 min mark to make sure the top browns but not burns. It’s done when the crust is hard and brownish.
- Serve hot, or cold toasted. Either way it’s so good and so hearty and full of fibre!
This baby is filled with probiotics, the ultimate gut suporter that creates a protective coating on your stomach lining. It’s filled with good bacteria that helps to filter out all of the gunk that might get trapped in there when we’re backed up.
Image from Meghan Telpner website
The Tools You’ll Need
- 1 gallon glass jar (holds about 3-4 litres)
- 1 cup measure
- 1 pot
- Wooden spoon
- Rubber band
- 1 gallon of clean water (preferably not straight from your tap)
- 1 cup organic white sugar
- 8 organic caffeinated tea bags (I recommend an organic Earl Grey)
- ½ cup kombucha (optional*)
- 1 SCOBY (get one online, at your local health food store or from a health loving friend!)
- Fill your gallon jug with water and then pour that into your pot. (This is an easy way to measure the volume you need.)
- Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add sugar and tea. Stir and allow to steep with the lid off. You want your water to cool to room temperature.
- Once water has cooled to where you can stick your finger in and it’s neither too hot nor too cold, transfer it to your clean gallon jar. Stir in the ½ cup of kombucha*. Use your wooden spoon to add your SCOBY.
- Cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Keep in a slightly warm spot, like beside your oven or on top of your fridge. By the window in the winter would be a bad idea as the cooler the area, the longer it will take to ferment.
- Be patient. Let sit for 2-4 weeks. Start tasting it after two weeks and then every few days until it’s to your desired taste.
- *If you don’t have a ½ cup of kombucha, it’s okay. This simply acts as a starter. It just might mean your kombucha will take a little longer to ferment.
- I personally like to leave my kombucha for about four weeks. I want that sugar digested fully by the SCOBY so my brews are fairly strong and not that sweet. Usually ¼ cup is all I can sip on at one time. This is truly healing kombucha.
- If you like your kombucha sweeter, that’s cool too. Just know that when you’re buying the store-bought kind, if it tastes super sweet, that’s because it is. I’d recommend fermenting until it’s no longer sweet and than sweetening as you like, for example, by squeezing in a little fresh orange or blueberry juice.
- You can add flavoured tea bags to your brew by using 4-6 black tea bags and then adding, say, 2-4 peppermint or ginger tea bags.
- It’s best to keep your SCOBY away from direct contact with metal. I don’t know why, but I remember someone telling me this.
- It’s best to use a plain organic white sugar. It’s the sugar the SCOBY wants, so adding a whole coconut sugar or sucanut can interfere with the process. Once you’ve done it a few times with organic sugar, I invite you to play with other sweeteners. Let me know how it goes!
These guys are super high in fiber especially the white stuff that we normally pick out. Oranges also help lower your cholesterol which helps with digestion while keeping your bowels hydrated from their juice.
Image from Jillian Harris website
- 1 c. almond milk
- 1 ¼ c. fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 2 ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 packets (2 tsp) Stevia
- 1 ½ c. ice cubes (about 9 cubes)
- 1 tbsp. hemp hearts (optional)
- 1 tsp. maca powder (optional)
1. Add all ingredients to your blender and combine until smooth. Garnish with an orange wedge.