20 Best Foods to Improve Your Gut Health

sarahs-indian-kimchi-recipe

Sarah’s Indian Kimchi recipe here.
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A few months ago I had a big Saturday night out on the town. No, I didn’t go to any fancy wine bars. No, I didn’t check out the latest hot restaurant.

I went to see a scientist speak.

What can I say. As a girl with two science degrees (food science and wine science), there’s no escaping my inner nerd.

The ‘scientist’ in question was Dr Michael Mosley, one of my favourite authors and documentary makers. He spoke about his latest book ‘The Clever Guts Diet – How to revolutionize your body from the inside out.’

I was in heaven!

20 Best Foods to Improve Your Gut Health

GENERAL GUT-HEALTH FOODS

1. Fruit & Vegetables
Bring on the fiber! More on this below.

2. Olive oil
Olive oil is wonderful for reducing inflammation everywhere including the gut. Plus including more fat from oil means you’re less likely to reach for processed sugar and carbs.

3. Oily fish
Great for your gut for the same reason anti-inflammatory reason as olive oil.

4. Cocoa
The best news is that chocolate is good for you! The flavanoids and polyphenols (types of antioxidants) found in cocoa powder and dark chocolate are loved by your gut bacteria too. Win win!

5. Red Wine
Of course too much alcohol will quickly decimate your gut microflora. But 1-2 glasses of red wine can actually be helpful.

6. Spices
Turmeric is the best because not only is it an anti-inflammatory, it can also protect the wall of the intestine by inhibiting the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Ginger is another anti-inflammatory.

FIBER-RICH FOODS – INULIN
Inulin is a special type of fiber that our gut bacteria thrive on.

7. Onions, leeks & garlic
Some of the best sources of inulin. Now you know why so many recipes begin with ‘soften an onion’.

8. Witlof or endive
Great for adding inulin to your salads

9. Dandelion Greens
Not something I’ve tried myself but keen to check them out!

10. Jerusalem Artichoke
Have a reputation for causing gas. All that inulin means happy gut bacteria which means you-know-what.

11. Asparagus
One of my favourite veggies! Bring on the Spring.

12. Bananas
Contain moderate amounts of inulin and resistant starch (see below). I avoid them because they’re not Low Carb.

FIBER-RICH FOODS – RESISTANT STARCH
Resistant Starch is another special type of fiber that looks and tastes like starch (hello pasta!) but isn’t able to be digested like normal starch so it passes to the gut to feed our bacteria.

13. Pasta, Potatoes, Rice
By cooking, cooling and reheated these carbs you can convert some of the regular starch into resistant starch and do your gut bacteria a favour. Good news for the carb lovers among us.

FIBER RICH FOODS – OTHER

14. Barley & Oats
Contain another type of soluble fiber called Beta-glucan which as been linked with lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

15. Linseeds (Flax seeds)
Great source of insoluble fiber called cellulose.

16. Apples
Eating apples produces buutyrate which feeds our gut bacteria. They also provide regular insoluble fiber too.

17. Seaweed
Another great general fiber source.

PROBIOTICS
Probiotics contain actual beneficial microbes (especially) bacteria.

18. Cheese
Not all cheese contains live cultures of bacteria. Some that do include blue cheese, feta, gouda, cottage cheese, mozzarella, camembert and brie.

19. Yoghurt
The most famous probiotic. And really fun and easy to make at home.

19. Fermented Vegetables
My favourite sources of probiotics including sauerkraut, kimchi, other fermented veg. A great alternative if you need to avoid dairy

20. Apple Cider Vinegar
Reduces blood sugar spikes by inhibiting one of the digestive enzymes which breaks down sugars.

Are These Foods Good for Everyone?

Unfortunately no. If you suffer from Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), many of these foods can actually increase your symptoms. If this is you, I’d recommend checking out the FODMAPS diet developed by Monash University in Australia.

More Food + Gut Health Resources on Stonesoup

Other Gut Health Resources

Did you enjoy this article?

Or are you more interested in simple recipes? I’d love to hear what you’d like more of. Just leave a comment below.

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details click here.

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Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup

This healthy #vegan soup recipe is made with sweet potato, kale, farro and chickpeas!

The holidays are almost here, but I’ve been eating like it’s Thanksgiving for the past few weeks. Food blogger problems! I’m seeking balance in the meals in between recipe testing by filling my belly with my favorite veggie-packed meals.

Case in point: This sweet potato, kale, chickpea and farro soup, which is both impossible to describe using fewer words. I shared this recipe five years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites.

ingredients

I’m counting down the minutes until I can heat up a big bowlful of this soup for lunch. It’s spicy, filling, satisfying, and overflowing with so-called power foods and whole grain goodness. The Thai red curry paste might seem like an unlikely pairing for sweet potatoes, kale and farro, but somehow it just works.

I love this soup because each main ingredient contributes flavor while retaining its texture. The farro stays nice and chewy, the chickpeas don’t turn to mush like lentils might, the sweet potatoes retain their delicate bite, and the kale never wilts into nothingness like spinach tends to do.

Continue to the recipe…

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Sarah’s Indian Kimchi

Indian Kimchi-2

Sarah’s Indian Kimchi

This more unusual kimchi was inspired by this Sarah Wilson recipe. It’s just as easy to make as my Simple Crunchy Kimchi and has the added bonus of being a little bit more exotic in the flavouring department. If you can’t get your hands on daikon (a large Asian radish) just replace it with white cabbage.

This kimchi is lovely as a side to Indian food. It’s also good anywhere you want to add some crunch, a serve of veggies and / or a flavour explosion! I prefer it with the fenugreek seeds because they add a lovely Indian flavour. If you can’t find them it’s great without too!

makes 1 large jar (about 1L / 4 cups)
takes about 30 minutes active time + a few days fermenting
1 daikon
500g (1lb) carrots
3 teaspoons chilli flakes
5cm (2in) piece fresh turmeric, grated
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds (optional)
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fine salt

1. Get yourself a clean, dry jar about 1L (4 cups) plus an extra little jar in case you need it.

2. Wash your diakon and carrots. Grate them using your food processor or a box grater and your muscles. Place grated veg in a large bowl.

3. Add chilli flakes, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and salt to the veg. Toss with clean hands and cover with a tea towel. Stand at room temp to allow the salt to soften the veg. I leave it at least an hour but you could leave overnight.

4. Pack diakon carrot mixture into your large jar. I use a combo of clean hands and a spoon. You want to really squash it down to release the juices. If it won’t all fit, put the extra in your backup jar. Leave a little room at the top of each because it will expand as the fermentation happens. Divide leftover juice from the bottom of the bowl between your jars. You want the cabbage to be covered by liquid. If there isn’t enough, top with a little filtered water. Top with lids.

5. Place your jar(s) on a plate to catch any juices that overflow (this happens frequently to me). Stand at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days or longer.

6. Every day open the jar to release any gas. Once I can see evidence of bubbles I usually seal the lids and pop in the fridge. Typically this is on the 3rd day but in winter it might be longer and less in Summer. If you’re not sure, I’d err on the side of putting it in the fridge earlier. If you taste and decide it’s too bland you can always leave it out again to get more funk happening. But once it’s too funky there isn’t much you can do.

7. Keep in the fridge for a few months.

Variations

no daikon – replace with 1/2 large white cabbage.

no turmeric – if you can’t find fresh turmeric, use 1 tablespoon turmeric powder. You can skip it but it give the kimchi it’s beautiful yellow colour.

no mustard seeds – you could substitute whole grain mustard or just skip it.

no fenugreek seeds – Fenugreek seeds are available from good spice suppliers or Indian grocery stores. You can skip it or add 1-2 teaspoons curry powder for some extra spice.

no chilli flakes – you can use any form of chilli you like, dried, powdered or fresh. Just err on the side of not enough spicy heat because you can always add more. And you could skip the chilli if you prefer a milder pickle.

different veg – shaved cabbage, regular radishes, grated beets, grated fennel, chopped bok choy, chopped green onion (scallions / shallots) can all be added.

salt – salt keeps the texture crunchy. So I tend to err on the side of more but you could try less if you needed to. I use finely ground Himalayan rock salt but any salt apart from Iodized salt is great. I’ve read the iodine can hinder growth of the lactic acid bacteria.

Prepare Ahead?

A must! Keeps in the fridge for months.

More Fermented Food + Gut Health Resources on Stonesoup

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

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Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details click here.

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27 Meatless Thanksgiving Recipes

Find 20 hearty vegetarian recipes for your Thanksgiving table! #vegetarianrecipes

Thanksgiving is almost here, can you believe it? I’m speaking for myself here, but please don’t worry about having a meat-like substitute for us vegetarians, or even a fancy designated entree. I’m happy enjoying a big plate of hearty side dishes (and dessert afterward, of course).

If you’ve been wondering what to serve the vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free eaters at your Thanksgiving table, this roundup is for you. All of the recipes are meatless. The recipes that are also gluten free and/or vegan are labeled accordingly.

I organized the recipes by category (mains, hearty salads, soups and sides), starting with the main events. At the end of the post, you’ll find links to recipes that will round out Thanksgiving Day, including breakfast options, cocktails and desserts. I’m hoping to publish some pie recipes in time for the big day.

For more ideas, check out my full Thanksgiving archives and fall recipe archives. Have a great weekend! I’m working on a big project and can’t wait to share it with you next week.

Continue to the recipe…

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Homemade Bircher Muesli

Bircher muesli (also known as Swiss oatmeal) with homemade applesauce #healthybreakfast

The holidays are closing in on us fast, and my pants are already snug (mashed potatoes, I’m looking at you). I’ve been perfecting this Bircher muesli recipe since I finally figured out how to make overnight oats tasty.

If you are looking for ways to keep your cravings and energy level in check this holiday season (who isn’t?), I hope this Bircher muesli recipe will be a big help. It’s basically overnight oats with fresh apple and applesauce, oats, raisins, nuts and nut butter. It’s a healthy make-ahead breakfast that tastes like a holiday treat.

bircher muesli ingredients

Continue to the recipe…

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15 Simple One Pot Dinner Recipes

Cheesey Tuna & Broccoli Bake--2

Cheesey Tuna & Broccoli Bake Recipe Here.
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This may surprise you but although I love cooking, I HATE cleaning up.

I’ve tried thinking of it in zen terms as a chance to practice mindfulness. And while sometimes that works, most nights when I come back in to the kitchen from putting small boys to bed I wish I could just wave a magic wand and the kitchen would be instantly sparkly.

But so far I haven’t found said magic wand so I’ve come up with two of the next best solutions…

Solution 1.
I did a deal with my Irishman that it’s his job to wipe down the benches and dining table. Which may seem small but it makes a huge difference.

Solution 2.
I often choose to cook simple one pot dinners.

And no, you can’t borrow my Irishman. Sorry!

But I am willing to share some of my favourite simple one pot dinner recipes…

Enjoy!

15 SIMPLE ONE POT DINNER RECIPES

1. Hummus with Chorizo & Almonds

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Cauliflower, Chicken & Peanut Curry--3

2. One Pot Cauliflower, Chicken & Peanut Curry

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cheesey broccoli-2

3. Cheesey Broccoli

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Cajun Chicken in a Paper Bag-2

4. Cajun Chicken in a Paper Bag

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Chorizo & Eggplant Supper-2

5. Eggplant & Chorizo Supper

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Stir-Through Mac & Cheese

6. ‘Stir-Through’ Mac & Cheese

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Magic Sausage & Cabbage Supper-3

7. Magic Sausage & Cabbage Supper

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kale gratin-2

8. Killer Kale Gratin

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Yummy Spiced Tomato Soup-2

9. Yuuummy Spiced Tomato Soup

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mushies with sausages-4

10. Sausages with Mushies

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Lebanese Roast Ratatouille with Hummus-

11. Lebanese Roast Ratatouille with Hummus

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Saag Chicken-3

12. Super Green Saag Chicken

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Zucchini Noodle Laksa-2

13. Zucchini Laksa

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egg & pea fried rice

14. Fergal’s Egg & Pea Fried Rice

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Cheesey Tuna & Broccoli Bake--3

15. Cheesey Tuna & Broccoli Bake

For more see the One Pot Recipe Archives.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Soupstones Square Logo no border

Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details Click HERE.

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Cheesey Tuna & Broccoli Bake

Cheesey Tuna & Broccoli Bake -Recipe3

Cheesey Tuna & Broccoli Bake

When I was growing up my favourite favourite meal was my Mum’s Tuna Mornay which we called ‘Tuna Dish’. When I started moving away from eating wheat and pasta, this was one thing that I really missed. And then I had the brilliant idea to try it with roast broccoli instead of the pasta and cream instead of the bechemel sauce. Very happy to report this ticks all the boxes.

Although I couldn’t convince my boys it was as good. Maybe I need to try it with cauliflower so at least it doesn’t look green and ‘healthy’. Tough crowd those pre-schoolers!

I use double cream because it’s creamier but regular whipping cream will work too. And I like tuna in chilli oil for some heat but regular tuna is fine. Just use tuna in oil if you can because the texture is much nicer than tuna packed in brine or spring water.

enough for: 2-3
takes: 30 minutes
1 onion finely sliced into 1/2 moons
2 heads broccoli
1 cup cream
1-2 med cans tuna (180g / 6oz each)
2 large handfuls grated cheese

1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Slice onion in half lengthwise, remove skins and finely slice each half into 1/2 moons. Chop broccoli into bite sized pieces (slice the stems and include them too!).

2. Layer veg in a roasting pan. Drizzle with a little oil, cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

3. Stir in tuna and cream. Top with grated cheese and pop back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

WINE MATCH: A nice buttery Chardonnay.

Variations

vegetarian – skip the tuna and add a little more cheese.

carnivore – replace tuna with crispy bacon or cooked chorizo.

different veg – cauliflower is the best substitute. I’m thinking eggplant, zucchini and peppers might be nice too. I’ve also made something similar by wilting down sliced kale on the stove and then baking it in the oven to melt the cheese.

dairy-free – serve the roast broccoli with tuna and lashings of mayo.

more substantial – up the cheese and/or the tuna.

carb-lovers – toss in cooked pasta with the tuna. Garlic bread will work as a side.

Prepare Ahead?

Absolutely! Prepare everything but don’t bother with the final 5 minutes in the oven to melt the cheese. Refrigerate for up to 1-2 weeks or freeze. To serve, pop in the oven (250C / 480F) for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is all melted and everything is hot.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details Click HERE.

______________________________

Share

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Simple Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

Gluten-free apple crisp recipe, perfect for the holidays!

Exciting news! My cookbook, Love Real Food, is nominated for Goodreads’ Best Cookbook award! If you have a moment, could you please do me a big favor and go vote? There’s only one day left, and I’d be thrilled to make it to the next round.

Cookbook aside, we need to talk about this apple crisp. It’s a revised version of a recipe that’s been on my site for a few years. Ironically, when I published this crisp three years ago, I had just attended two Friendsgivings over the weekend. That is exactly what I’m doing this weekend.

I’m already running late, I’m celebrating with the same good friends, and I’m sure to overdo it on the mashed potatoes and pie. Some things never change.

apples

This apple crisp is gooey on the inside, and tender but crisp on top. It’s made with wholesome ingredients, like old-fashioned oats, almond meal, pecans, honey, and of course, lots of apples. This is my favorite apple crisp recipe, and it just happens to be gluten free.

This crisp turned out great for me when I made it a few years ago, but I’ve heard that it didn’t turn out as well for some of you. This stuff keeps me up at night, so I’ve retested and tweaked this recipe, and it’s now better than ever.

Continue to the recipe…

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Steel-Cut Oat “Risotto” with Butternut Squash and Kale

This post is sponsored by The Quaker Oats Company.

Risotto with oats? I’d be skeptical if I were you, but let me tell you—I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I love this twist on risotto. Traditional risotto is time consuming, rich and delicious, but doesn’t have much to offer in the nutrition department.

I’ve learned how to make a baked version with brown rice and lots of vegetables, but it still takes a little too much time to qualify as an easy weeknight meal.

ingredients

Enter steel-cut oat risotto! Also known as, another way to use up those steel-cut oats in your pantry. Like arborio rice, steel-cut oats get nice and creamy when cooked.

Unlike brown arborio rice, steel-cut oats require about 25 minutes on the stove, with minimal fuss. Steel-cut oats are 100% whole grain and are a good source of fiber, so this risotto will stick with you.

Continue to the recipe…

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Lucille’s Mashed Potatoes

My family's favorite mashed potatoes—they're ultra creamy, a little tangy, and you can make them ahead! #Thanksgiving

It’s about time I introduced you to my family’s mashed potato recipe! Meet the only mashed potatoes I ever want to eat. Every Thanksgiving, my mom opens up a 1970s church cookbook called “Thyme to Cook” to make them. They’re called “Refrigerator Potatoes” and the recipe cites three authors, with my great-grandmother Lucille listed third.

I’ve come to call them Lucille’s mashed potatoes, so that’s what I’m calling them today. For several years now, I’ve contemplated how to offer a “Cookie and Kate” version of these mashed potatoes (as in, a healthier version). But why mess with a good thing? We’re talking about a traditional holiday recipe that I enjoy twice a year, on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

potatoes and Lucille

Let me tell you, these mashed potatoes are worth it. Lucille’s mashed potatoes are creamy and dense, tangy and irresistible. They are all of those things. Here’s what they are not: light, fluffy, milky or watery. Lucille’s potatoes are everything that I want mashed potatoes to be! Nothing more and nothing less.

Lucille’s recipe calls for cream cheese and sour cream, rather than milk or cream. The cream cheese helps fortify the mashed potatoes, so they reheat beautifully. That’s why the recipe struck church lady gold—it’s delicious and you can cross the mashed potatoes off your list a day or two in advance.

This year, I decided to share recipe as is, with some of my notes added for clarity. I’ll breakdown the ingredients, too. But first, can I tell you a little bit about my great-grandmother Lucille? She was a special lady. Brilliant, too.

Continue to the recipe…

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