Gut Health and Fermented Foods Course: 31st March 2019 #ad

**Disclaimer: I am co-hosting this gut health and fermented foods course, which is why I am declaring it an ad. For my full disclosure policy, click here.**

Do you have a plan to keep healthy, especially over the colder months? If the answer is no, and you know deep down your diet could do with a bit of a kick up the bum, then I think you need my top three tips.

gut health and fermented foods

Eat mostly real food

Real foods are ingredients in their natural state – fruit, veggies, meat, fish, eggs, unprocessed dairy and plenty of probiotic rich fermented food and drink (more on that in point three). A real food diet essentially means making your own meals from scratch. I understand how daunting this sounds to many, but if you want to eat your way to better health, it’s absolutely non-negotiable.

Mark Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint and phenomenally successful website Mark’s Daily Apple, advocates eating like a saint for 80% of the time and allowing ourselves 20% leeway. I started coming away from processed food and refined sugar in 2007, went paleo in 2012, and followed the gut healing GAPS diet in 2014. Nowadays I run at around 90% awesome diet, 10% leeway. As I’m insulin resistant, because of my PCOS, this works really well for my body. Everyone is different of course, and for many people 80/20 is optimum.

Be honest about your relationship with sugar

gut health and fermented foods

I don’t have all the answers, just my own personal experience. It took me going through the GAPS Intro Diet to properly ditch my sugar cravings, and I can now go an entire week without having anything sweet. No fruit, no chocolate, no naturally sweetened puddings, nothing. If we’re entertaining, or going to friends for lunch, I’ll make dessert (such as these brownies, or this caramel slice), but I don’t feel the need to eat sweet things every day like I did prior to 2014.

None of us are able to, or are going to want to, eat perfectly, which is fine, because none of us are perfect. We do, however, have a massive problem with the way society views food in the main. We were duped, and sold the idea that fat was bad. We were told for many years that we should be eating low fat foods because they were healthy. In actual fact, they are full of sugar and sweeteners, because when you remove the fat from food you also take away most of the flavour.

Of course, now we know that sugar consumption contributes to a whole host of health problems, but largely society is addicted to the stuff. So what is the solution?

Bombard your gut with fermented foods to help the good bacteria flourish 

The only way to know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies, is by getting in the kitchen and making our own food. There is no quick fix, but the good news is we can wholeheartedly reverse the damage caused by a poor diet with a great one. The way to make it enjoyable is to get into the right frame of mind.

gut health and fermented foods

Even when we are as time poor as most of us are, there are plenty of ways to incorporate healthy food into our busy schedules. They don’t get better than home made probiotics in the form of fermented veggies, kefir and kombucha.

In her fascinating book Cultured Food for Health, Donna Schwenk talks about the incredible health benefits to be gained by adding these three fermented food and drinks to our daily diets. Working in harmony with each other, they create billions of beneficial bacteria, and help with a multitude of ailments. These include: constipation, diarrhoea, acne, acid reflux, sleep issues, liver cleansing, adrenal support, candida, inflammation and food intolerance.

Knowing where to start when it comes to gut health and fermented foods can be overwhelming. Which is why myself and my very good friend Trish have created our comprehensive one day course. By the end of the day with us you’ll have learnt how to make kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, sour cream and a sourdough bread starter. We’ll feed you a nourishing, home cooked lunch, and there will even be the chance to sample home made cider from foraged apples.

Check out the flyer below for all the info, and email us to secure your place on the course. Spaces are limited and getting booked up fast! 

gut health and fermented foods

Three Tasty Beetroot Recipes for #FreeFromHarvest

This month I’m teaming up with a bunch of fabulous free from bloggers, to bring you the very freshest, seasonal recipes. Check out the links at the bottom of this post for more details. The recipes I’m sharing today all use beetroot as the main ingredient.

Not only is it delicious and very plentiful right now, but it’s also exceptionally nutritious. Due to it’s high vitamin C content, beetroot could help boost your immune system, and fend off coughs and colds in the cooler months. It’s also high in potassium and manganese, and contains folate which is a B vitamin.

Personally I think beetroot is way underrated, and we should all be enjoying it as much as we can while it’s still in season.

Beetroot and goats cheese quiche, with a grain free crust

Ingredients (for 6-8 slices)
(pastry) 150g finely ground walnuts
60ml oil or melted butter
(filling) 3 free range eggs
200ml goat milk, or free from milk
Tbsp dijon mustard
Half a leek, cooked until soft in a little oil or butter
2 tbsp oil or two large knobs of butter
Salt and pepper
200g beetroot, peeled and cut into little discs
Tbsp dried mixed herbs
100g goats cheese, cut into little discs

quiche

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170C fan assisted/180C non-fan/350F/GM4

– coat the beetroot slices in a tbsp of oil/melted butter, the mixed herbs and a little salt and pepper then arrange on a non-stick baking tray and roast for 40 mins. When cooked allow to cool, but leave the oven on

– when the beetroot is almost ready, grease a flan dish well with oil or butter

– to make the pastry simply combine the ground walnuts with the oil/butter in a large bowl and mix well. Place into the centre of the greased dish and flatten down with the back of a tablespoon until the bottom and sides of the dish have a thin even layer covering them

– if you have a powerful blender or food processor whizz up the eggs, milk and mustard for about 20 seconds until you have a frothy milkshake consistency

– if you are mixing by hand, whisk your eggs for a full minute to get them nice and fluffy, then gradually add the milk, then the mustard last

– spoon the leeks over the bottom of the pastry, and arrange your beetroot on top. Scatter the goats cheese over the top of the beetroot, then pour the egg mixture all over

– bake for 30 mins, allow to cool and serve with a huge salad

Fermented Beetroot with Garlic, Ginger and Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients (for two 500ml jars)
2 medium sized beetroot with leaves attached
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated finely
large clove of garlic, chopped finely
tbsp sea salt
filtered water

fermented beetroot

Method:
– before you start, ensure that the jars you are using are sterile

– grate your beetroot bulbs and chop up the leaves, then place in a large bowl

– add the garlic and ginger and mix well

– sprinkle over the salt, then pour over the balsamic vinegar and mix well

– pack tightly into your two jars, then cover with as much water as necessary to ensure the beetroot is totally submerged

– place on a tray with a cloth underneath and lightly screw the lids on. Check at least once a day for a week to ensure that no extra water is needed, and that it’s fermenting as it should be. The longer you leave this to ferment, the tastier it will become

Ridiculously healthy beetroot chocolate cake

Ingredients (for 8-10 slices)
4 eggs
200g freshly grated beetroot
100ml coconut oil
100g coconut flour
50g coconut sugar (you may need more according to your taste)
25g cacao powder
tsp vanilla

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170C fan assisted/180C non-fan/350F/GM4, and grease an 8-inch cake tin

– beat the eggs with the sugar, oil and vanilla until light and fluffy

– put the beetroot into a large bowl, and add the cacao and coconut flour, mix well

– pour over the egg mixture and incorporate well

– pour into your cake tin, and bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked all the way through

– serve hot or cold, I like mine with a big dollop of fermented double cream

I also used powdered organic beetroot in this paleo rainbow cake to colour the pink layer


Check out the other #FreeFromHarvest posts from these fabulous bloggers

Intolerant Gourmand – GF, DF Blackberry Flapjacks

Intolerant Gourmand – GF, DF Apple Crumble

Glutarama – GF, DF, EF Beetroot Brownie Cake

Easy Peasy Foodie – Copy Cat Nando’s  

The Adventures of an Allergy Mummy – Butternut Squash Soup with a Kick

Free From Fairy – Sausage Stuffed Marrow

Dairy Free Kids – Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Paleo Crust – Vegan Roast Squash and Ginger Soup

The Peachicks Bakery- No. 17 Allotment Pickles

Free From Farmhouse – Vegan Pumpkin Lentil Pasta

Gluten Free Alchemist – Mocha Pear Upside Down Cake

Julie’s Family Kitchen – GF Almond, Pear and Chocolate Cake 

Le Coin de Mel – Vegan Pasta with 10 Hidden Veg Sauce

Gut Health: 3 Low Cost Ways to Get Natural Probiotics in Your Life

Gut Health: 3 Low Cost Ways to Get Probiotics in Your LifeWhen I first embarked on the GAPS Diet in 2014, gut health was still considered a little bit woo. Nowadays it’s becoming mainstream, and was recently discussed on the BBC program Trust Me I’m A Doctor. On the show, home fermented foods came out winning as a method of promoting gut health.

Why you might ask?

Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria (also known as good bacteria or beneficial bacteria). A lack of good bacteria is said to be the root cause of many autoimmune conditions, and when we eat fermented foods we add these good bacteria to our intestinal flora. This increases our gut health, which in turn increases the health of our digestive system and boosts our immune system.

Fermented foods are also easier to digest than regular food, as a lot of the work has already been done for us in the fermentation process.

Whilst taking probiotic supplementation is the most convenient way of promoting gut health, there’s no denying that quality supplements cost a small fortune. Low cost supplements are pointless taking, and yield little value if any to our gut. Home fermented food and drinks are the very best – and most cost effective way – of getting probiotics into our lives. Here are three easy wins for you to get your gut health on track without it breaking the bank!

Kefir

Kefir is a fermented drink, and is one of the most powerful natural sources of probiotics we have readily available. In a nutshell kefir grains are little live strains of good bacteria and yeast, and are exceptionally good for us. Note: they are not an actual grain, as in wheat, but are referred to as grains.

You can ferment kefir in water or milk. Perhaps because of my long standing issues with dairy, I find the milk kefir too potent. It bloats me, whereas I tolerate water kefir just beautifully. I swapped out my probiotic supplements for water kefir about a year ago, and have continued feeling the benefits.

Check out the video below for a full tutorial, and Q&A session on the benefits of water kefir. Click here to buy quality low cost grains.

Sauerkraut

3 Cost Effective Ways to Get Your Gut Health on TrackOnce fermented, cabbage is a fabulous source of probiotics. Although tasty, most commercially made sauerkraut has been pasteurized, which destroys the good bacteria. Home fermented sauerkraut is a delicious and simple way of adding probiotic goodness to your diet. 

Making it for the first time can be a little daunting, but once you get into the swing of fermenting your own foods it won’t take up too much of your time.

Ingredients (to fit into a 500ml jar)
300g cabbage
3 carrots
1.5 tbsp sea salt
Sterilised glass jar

Method
– finely slice (shred) your cabbage and grate your carrots, then put everything into a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt
note: you can leave out the carrot, and bump the cabbage up to 500g if you’d prefer 

– cover with a loosely fitting plate or a tea towel, and leave in a warm place overnight (as you would with home made bread). By morning your veg will have wilted down to about half and the salt will have naturally drawn out a lot of the probiotic juices. It will also kick start the fermentation process

– pack the veg tightly into your sterilised jar, and cover with the juice at the bottom of the bowl. Top up with a little water if needs be, to ensure the veg is completely covered. It is imperative that you don’t leave any space for air to get into the jar. Put the lid on loosely 

– leave to ferment on your kitchen side for 3-5 days, depending on how hot it is. Check daily to ensure that there is still no air getting into the jar, and there is no pressure building up 

– once it’s ready store in the fridge, and serve with savoury dishes 

Yoghurt

3 Cost Effective Ways to Get Your Gut Health on TrackCommercially made yoghurt is widely available, but again it’s never going to be as good for you as home made. I’ve been making my own out of a mixture of goat milk and goat double cream for a few years now, and the whole family adores it.

I’ve never gotten around to posting a tutorial, however my lovely friend Vicki who writes the Free From Fairy has done. 

Check out Vicki’s comprehensive yogurt tutorial here.

For my recipe, substitute the 600ml of double cream for 775ml whole goat milk, and a 125ml goat double cream. The rest of the process stays exactly the same.

Happy fermenting ❤

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