Recently, my Irishman came across a fascinating documentary called ‘Gut Reaction: What You Eat Could be Making You Ill‘.
To cut a long story short, the program focused on the latest research on gut bacteria and health.
It boils down to this…
Eating processed food = unhealthy gut bacteria = unhealthy person.
Eating lots of fiber from fruit and vegetables = healthy gut bacteria = healthy person.
I was surprised at the number of diseases linked to poor gut bacteria. They include emphysema, inflammatory bowel disease, MS, autism and asthma.
The clear message was healthy gut bacteria calm the immune system and reduce inflammation.
So even if you aren’t suffering from these diseases, your health will benefit from eating more veg and encouraging the growth of ‘good’ gut bacteria.
How do you eat more veg?
Here are my 2 favourite ways to include more vegetables (and fiber) in my diet.
1. Replace grain based foods with vegetables.
For example, instead of serving a stir fry with steamed rice, I make cauliflower ‘rice’ by grating raw cauli in the food processor. Or instead of serving my bolognese sauce with spaghetti, I dump it on a big bed of baby spinach.
Or for lunch, instead of sandwiches, I’m a fan of a big salad including legumes such as chickpeas, beans or lentils. Or in the cooler months I go for soups.
2. Eat veg for breakfast.
Forget about toast and cereal. Most days I have poached eggs with some sort of veg or salad. My favourites are raw grated broccoli or cauliflower. Or I’ll have my eggs with lentils which are packed with fiber.
What about YOU?
Got any favourite tips for eating more veg? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas so I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
This lovely beet sauce was inspired by Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks. Being a big fan of beets I couldn’t resist such an exotic sounding dish. And I’m glad I didn’t. We had it with some pan fried salmon and a green salad. So good (and pretty too!).
makes enough for 4 as a sauce
3 large beets
1 cup toasted walnuts
4 dates (optional)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Trim beets and scrub and pop in the oven whole. Roast until tender, about an hour.
2. Let your beets cool then peel and pop the flesh in a food processor. Add walnuts, dates (if using) balsamic and garlic and whizz until you have a chunky paste.
3. Serve at room temperature or chill and serve cold.
nut-free – replace walnuts with sourdough bread crumbs.
more saucey – drizzle in some olive oil for a more saucey consistency.
sugar-free – skip the dates and use sherry or red wine vinegar instead of the balsamic.
different veg – I can imagine this working well with other root veg such as sweet potato or carrot.
different accompaniments – as I mentioned it’s lovely with pan fried fish but also works well with chicken, a pork chop or even with lamb. Or serve with pita or Turkish bread as a dip or starter. Vegetarians will love it with pan fried halloumi or with grilled eggplant ‘steaks’. I had some leftovers with my poached eggs for breakfast.
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