Deborah Stone of Stone Hollow Farmstead and The Pantry chimes in today with advice on eating to regain a healthy, digestive balance and increased energy levels. She also shares a nutrient-packed recipe to help us easily and deliciously get started supercharging our system!
Most of us are persevering despite our undernourished and overstressed bodies. Between antibiotics, processed foods and the pasteurization of so many of our foods today, and our go, go, go lifestyle, our bodies are struggling to maintain balance, especially a healthy balance.
The good news is you can eat your way back to health! Here are a few points to think about when you are making decisions about your meals:
1. Balance begins within. One of the core elements in maintaining health is our balance of microflora, the good bacteria.
2. Fiber is your friend. Wheat fiber is mostly insoluble and doesn’t digest well at all. Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin, prevent cancer and balance hormone levels.
3. Choose your protein sources wisely. Think legumes, raw nuts, beans, sprouted chickpeas, leafy greens, whole grains, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and white meats.
Eating foods in certain combinations is also very beneficial. Here are a few food-combining tips to balance your microflora and increase your energy!
Enjoy low-sugar, fresh fruits on an empty stomach.
Here’s a list of low sugar fruits (Source: Live Strong):
Lemons, limes, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries, are low in sugar and excellent for infusing water or drinks for added flavor. Medium sugar fruits are cantaloupes, watermelons, nectarines, papaya, peaches and strawberries, apples, grapefruit, honeydew melons, guavas, oranges, tangerines and apricots.
Kefir, yogurt, sprouted seeds and nuts combine well with these low-sugar fruits and contain essential protein fats.
Combine protein with non-starchy veggies for best digestion.
Poultry, fish, meat and eggs are best combined with non-starchy veggies such as: amaranth, asparagus, baby corn, bamboo shoots, green beans, bean sprouts, beets, Brussels spouts, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chayote, cucumber, daikon, eggplant, greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip), jicama, kohlrabi, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, pea pods, peppers, radishes, rutabaga, leafy greens, sprouts, squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips, and water chestnuts.
These non-starchy veggies digest well in acid or alkaline so they pair well with all proteins, oils, butter, grains, starchy veggies, lemons, and limes and soaked and sprouted nuts/seeds. Cruciferous vegetables are best digested when cooked or steamed. If you’re a raw foodist then steam at 118 degrees for a few minutes or ferment them.
Choose ancient grains and seeds such as amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and which are high in protein. They are gluten-free, rich in B vitamins and they encourage beneficial bacteria within your body. Don’t mix your grains with your proteins.
Chia is considered a superfood and this seed is full of fiber, nutrition and rich in omegas.
There are numerous benefits to eating seeds and whole grains that have been sprouted. Sprouting whole grains reduces the amount of starch they contain and boosts their nutritional value. Higher levels of the enzyme amylase make sprouted grains helpful for digesting carbohydrates into sugars. They also contain beneficial fiber that helps to sweep away excess environmental estrogens from your intestines. (If you’re interested in leaning the technique of sprouting at home, we offer classes held at The Pantry.)
A word of caution regarding sprouting at home:
When growing sprouts at home, look for seeds that have been specially prepared for sprouting. They will be clearly labeled for this purpose and can be found in many health food stores. These have been cleaned and are less likely to contain pathogenic bacteria. Avoid seeds that are packaged for growing into mature plants. Such seed packets will likely include planting, growing and harvesting instructions and have not been cleaned for the purpose of being consumed as sprouts.
Healthy Fats and Oils
Choose organic, unrefined and extra virgin oils like flax seed, pumpkin seed, olive or coconut oil.
Good Protein Fats
Avocado, olives, seeds and nuts (except peanuts and chestnuts, which are starches).
Fresh ground flax seeds sprinkled on oatmeal or fresh fruit. Beans are the number one fiber content. Vegetables are low in calories, high in antioxidants, and a great source of fiber.
You can improve your digestive health by increasing the enzymes in your digestive track. Fermented dairy foods and drinks that help populate your digestive tract with good microflora are a great choice. However, some people do fine on dairy products and others simply do not. Fermented milk products include kefir, yogurt, buttermilk.
Sugars are simply not good for us and should be replaced in your diet as often as possible. My favorite sweeteners are stevia, honey or agave.
Fermented Foods and Drinks
Coconut kefir and fermented vegetables are a super healthy choice for digestive health and they are considered a superfood. They also combine well with everything. We will be offering classes at Stone Hollow Farm on fermentation.
Good To Know
- Wait several hours after enjoying a grain-based meal before you eat a protein.
- A glass of purified water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice makes for a great digestive aid and is especially helpful when eating an animal protein.
- A ½ cup serving at each meal of a fermented veggie will aid your digestion and populate your digestive track with healthy bacteria. (Pickles are a fermented food.)
Wilted Arugula, Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa
- 1 small butternut squash peeled, deseeded and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 small shallot sliced very thin
- 1 tbls olive oil
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups veggie broth
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds roasted
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 cups wild baby arugula
- 4 oz stone hollow goat cheese crumbled
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the squash and onion in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the veggies in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered in foil. Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven.
- Combine the quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until the water is absorbed and the curlicues pop out. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the pumpkin seeds, roasted veggies, thyme and arugula with the quinoa. Crumble the goat cheese over the top and serve warm.
Thanks, Deborah! To learn more about Deborah Stone and her family farm, Stone Hollow Farmstead and restaurant/retail location, The Pantry, visit their website at www.stonehollowfarmstead.com.