Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
Most of us know that quinoa is a wonderful, nutritious gluten-free grain. It is much higher in protein than most gluten free grains containing ~5g per 1/2 cup cooked, which is about double that of brown rice. Since it is naturally higher in protein than brown rice, it is also naturally lower in carbohydrates, increasing satiety and stabilizing blood sugars. It also contains about 3.5g of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked, 70-80% of which is insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is wonderful at bulking up stool and increasing transit time. If you struggle with constipation or struggle to fully evacuate, then consider enjoying quinoa more often.
However, I find that often many of my clients haven't found a groove with this fiber rich and nutrient dense pseudo-grain. Also unfortunately, many fad diets exclude grains altogether. With Paleo, Carnivore, and Keto diets on the rise, many folks are missing out on this gut friendly and delicious grain. So, unless you have a sensitivity to quinoa, I urge you to reconsider and try to incorporate this little seed into your diet routine more often. Your gut microbes and your belly will thank you for it.
If you have been on a diet that restricts grains, I suggest starting with a small serving, and gradually increasing from there. The body always needs some time to adjust to new dietary changes. To avoid digestive distress, consider cooking your quinoa with more liquid or making a quinoa porridge. A quinoa porridge is a great alternative to oatmeal and can be a wonderful way to add some variety to your morning routine.
Turmeric Quinoa Porridge with Berries
1 cup milk (your choice)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Sprinkle turmeric (cinnamon or cardamom also works well)
1/8th tsp sea salt
Raw cranberry chutney (recipe on website)
In a small saucepan heat 1 cup of your choice of milk (I really like unsweetened plain soy milk with this) until simmering. Add the cooked quinoa, sprinkle turmeric, sea salt, and stir until combined. Cook one minute or until the milk becomes golden from the turmeric. Alternatively, you can put all the ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and heat together until hot. If you want to increase the protein content you can add some collage powder to it as well.
Transfer the porridge to a bowl and stir in your toppings. I added 1-2 T of raw cranberry chutney, blueberries, and chopped hazelnuts. Drizzle with maple syrup for added sweetness if desired. Feel the cozy with every bite and hopefully the sweet relief later!
Do you struggle to incorporate quinoa into your regular routine??
Hopefully now you have a tasty way to do so!
Kale salads are often less than desirable. IMO. The kale leaves are either left too big and floppy, or it feels like you are a horse, chewing, and chewing, and chewing. Am I right? Well, welcome the massaged kale salad! By simply massaging kale leaves with sea salt, the friction gently breaks down the fibers, leaving the leaves more tender and easier to digest. Massaging also enhances the flavor of the kale, especially when tossed with a bunch of delicious goodies. Cooked cruciferous vegetables are often better tolerated as the heat breaks down fibers. Massaging the greens has a similar effect, while keeping intact heat sensitive nutrients.
Unfortunately, I know a lot of people struggle with gas and bloating after eating raw cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, etc). This is likely due to their high amounts of raffinose, a short chain carbohydrate that humans cannot digest, leaving a feast for gut bacteria. Cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are considered high FODMAP foods, and are often triggers for patients with IBS. Also, sometimes individuals do not tolerate cruciferous vegetables due to an abundance of sulfur reducing bacteria in the gut that like to feed off of their sulfur rich compounds. If you have struggled with severe foul smelling gas and bloating after eating cruciferous vegetables (or garlic and onion), you may want to consider hydrogen sulfide SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or LIBO (large intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
However, if you tolerate cruciferous vegetables just fine, then they are a great addition to support liver detoxification and hormone health. Eating one serving of cruciferous vegetables per day, is a great dietary practice for overall health and wellness.
Festive Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch green curly kale (~8 leaves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons unrefined cold-press extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar (white or brown)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted maple almonds or walnuts (see below for recipe)
**Crumbled gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese
**Dried cranberries, raisins, or currants, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
Wash your kale and shake off any excess water. You can also shake them in a clean kitchen towel. Devein each kale leaf by pulling down along the stem towards the tip of the leaf. Chop the leaves into bite sized pieces and toss into a large bowl.
Add the sea salt and gently massage the kale for about 1 minute or until the kale leaves begin to break down and look shiny. Do not over massage otherwise it will wilt too much. Add the olive oil and the vinegar and toss well.
Finally, add the chopped almonds, cheese, and dried fruit of your choice, and mix until combined. **Add as much of the cheese and dried fruit as you like. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variation: You can swap the cheese with diced avocado.
Roasted Maple Almonds
Makes 1 cup
1 cup almonds (or walnuts/pecans)
1 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Generous pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almonds onto a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Make sure to watch that they do not burn. Set aside to cool.
Heat a cast-iron pan over medium. Add the butter and the maple syrup. Stir the mixture until it bubbles a lot, becomes syrupy, and reduces in amount. Add cooled nuts and pinch of salt. Mix well to coat. Be careful as the syrup is extremely hot.
With a spoon or spatula spread almonds onto a plate and allow to cool. Break into pieces. Serve with the massaged kale salad or eat as a snack!
Are you kale lover? Let me know if the comments below!
Got tummy discomfort? Then try this low FODMAP soup that will leave you feeling satisfied and full. It can be easy to get stuck eating very simple, bland meals if you are following a low FODMAP or SIBO type diet. I cannot tell you how often I hear patients tell me they eat baked chicken, zucchini, and white rice. This does not have to be the case! The more you are able to enjoy your food, and the more variety you have in your diet, the better it is for your gut and for your recovery.
I love soups! First of all they are cozy and warming and secondly soups are a wonderful meal for anyone struggling with digestive distress. Since the vegetables and proteins are softened during the cooking process they are easier to digest. Plus, soups catch all the vitamins/minerals in the broth that may be lost with other methods of cooking. My Hearty Veggie Curry Soup is rich in plant based protein and fiber, yet still low in fermentable fibers. Beans and legumes are often high in GOS (galactooligosaccharides) which can cause uncomfortable symptoms in patients with IBS and/or SIBO. Canned brown lentils, however, are low in FODMAPs but still pack a good punch of fiber (9g per 1/2 cup serving) helping to move stool through the digestive tract. Plus when lentils are paired with extra firm tofu, you get 17g of plant protein per serving of soup, keeping you full for longer.
If you are craving a delicious soup that all will enjoy, then try this Hearty Low FODMAP Curry Soup. I specifically chose Whole Foods Chicken Stock (not low sodium) because it is naturally low FODMAP and easily accessible. You don't have to order it online nor do you have to plan ahead to make your own stock. If you want to keep the soup vegan, you are welcome to make your own low FODMAP vegetable stock or consider using FODY Vegetable Soup Base as an alternative. Serve with a side green salad and a hot tea for an uber nutritious and cozy meal.
Hearty Veggie Curry Soup (Low FODMAP)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
6 green onions, green parts only, finely sliced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 ½ teaspoons yellow curry powder
2 cups Whole Foods Organic Chicken Stock (or FODY vegetable soup base)
1 can organic full fat coconut milk
1 can Westbrae canned lentils, rinsed and drained
1 pkg extra firm tofu (in liquid), diced
½ teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 bunch cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
Prep all the produce. Then, in a soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, reduce to medium low and add minced ginger root and finely sliced green onions. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes or until fragrant and onions glassy. Stir in diced sweet potatoes and bell pepper, and then add the curry powder. Sauté veggies stirring occasionally for another 3-5 minutes. Pour in 2 cups of stock or another low FODMAP alternative broth. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook covered stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir in the full fat coconut milk, canned lentils and diced extra firm tofu. Season soup with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Allow the soup to simmer on low for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to brighten the flavor of the soup. I suggest starting with 1 tablespoon and adding a little more per preference 1 tsp at a time to avoid making it too sour. Stir in chopped cilantro, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a green salad if desired.
Note: In place of tofu you can use pre-cooked diced/sliced meat and add into the soup.
Nutrition (per serving): 320kcal, 24g carbs, 8g fiber, 19g fat, 17g protein.
Let me know what you think!
Happy soup season :)
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.