Every day there is new information coming out about what we should eat and how to optimize our diet by taking care of our microbiome.
To put it simply, there is a balance of good and bad bacteria that exists within our guts. These bacteria play in active role in our health overall health, and the foods we put into our bodies can nourish the good bacteria or sadly, nourish the not so good bacteria. When these bacteria are out of whack, consequently, we don't often feel our best.
Having gone through health challenges over the years, I know what makes me feel balanced and helps me to thrive. [Each of us has a different microbiome and our diets will ultimately differ]. That said, at least a few times a week, someone asks me, "What does your diet look like?"
Very simply, I am a qualitarian , I consume quality foods and products to optimize my gut's microbiom. Staying fit and controlling my weight are just some of the pleasant side effects of the way I eat.
When I am taking care of the health of my gut, I know I'm taking care of my overall health. When I eat, I'm not only feeding myself, but I'm feeding the bacteria and fungi in my gut and in doing that, I focus on five things:
Very Limited Sugar
I avoid or greatly limit my sugar intake because sugar has been linked to issues like candida, and may also impair brain function , and if anything, it just makes me feel like I'm in a sort of "sugar coma". So instead, my sugar intake comes from fresh and dried fruits and sometimes a touch of stevia.
A Lot of Fiber
I'm talking about fiber from fruits and veggies and not the pseudo-foods with "added fiber". Plant derived fiber is a fantastic prebiotic that encourages the growth of probiotic organisms in our gut. Not to mention, fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and several cancers. One of the ways I incorporate fiber is in a "Big A-- Salad" like this Caesar Salad down below. Even something as simple as an apple on the go adds fiber in my day.
Qualitarian Approved Protein
I eat a plant strong diet and a lot of my protein comes foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, tofu and tempeh and occasionally wild-caught fish. So, for dinner, my hubby and I often enjoy dinners like my Everything Sauce over lentil pasta with assorted roasted vegetables like brussel sprouts, broccoli, and acorn squash.
I enjoy a good glass of wine (that's how I met my husand!) but I try to limit alcohol because it has been shown to effect the health of your gut’s microbiome. But again I don’t eliminate it, because the science of wine is still controversial and wine does contain a good amount of polyphenols; and I enjoy it!
I avoid artificial ingredients including sucralose, aspartame, food colorings, "natural flavor", preservatives, msg, etc. because these ingredients are linked with issues including cancer, weight gain, ADD and ADHD, autism and a plethora of not-so-great side effects.
Overall, I try to keep things deliciously healthy with whole, plant based foods, herbs, oils and seasonings that help to support my Microbiome. Just check out this Caeser Salad!
A New Kind of Caesar Salad
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon capers
- 2 teaspoons caper brine
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 garlic cloves
- pink himalayan salt to taste
- Suggested Toppings - Roasted veggies, quinoa, toasted almonds, nutritional yeast,
Place ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
Toss dressing with your favorite greens and top with your favorite toppings!