I think one of the big reasons why so many people avoid cooking brown rice or lentils is because they don’t always like the flavour and think that it is dull and tasteless. It doesn’t need to be you know.
Here are a few tips on how to jazz up your lentils or brown rice:
- Sauté some onion, garlic and chopped carrot before adding the lentils or rice
- Add a teaspoon bouillon powder to the cooking water
- Add fresh herbs and spices at the end of cooking
- Toast some cumin and coriander in a hot pan, then grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Sauté your onion and garlic and then add these spices before adding the rice or legumes.
- Use cooked rice or lentils as leftovers and add 1/2 chopped avocado, feta cheese and a chopped tomato as well as fresh herbs for a lovely light lunch time salad and eat cold.
Whole grains, legumes and pulses are rich in fibre and will help to keep your blood sugar balanced as well as keep you full for longer and most importantly they keep you regular.Fibre acts like a brush in your colon and ‘sweeps’ it clean, feeding the good bacteria along the way. (all technical terms) They are packed with B vitamins which is essential for energy and great for those who knows stress as a household name. Ensure they are well cooked and soaking before cooking also helps to ensure optimal digestion and prevents bloating. Start this evening by replacing your white rice for some wholegrain variety. Your tummy will love you for it!
bThe balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is of vital importance when it comes to optimal health. If and when bad bacteria overcrowds the good ones you could run the risk of bowel problems.
I recently had a client who suffered with constant bloating and it couldn’t be pinpointed by anything specific in her diet. I did suspect dysbiosis due to the fact that she had food poisoning in Zanzibar and that is when the bloating started. A stool analysis confirmed that she had no parasites or other nasties, but that she had no growth of the essential lactobacillus bacteria species.
Long term use of antibiotics, the pill, alcohol and drug abuse, stress and even a trip to an exotic country can affect the delicate balance of friendly bacteria in the gut.
Certain types of vegetables act as a fermentable source of food which helps to promote the growth of healthy probiotic bacteria.
The extracts inulin and oligofructose from these foods are called pre-biotics because they travel through the digestive system intact and when they enter the large intestine they are converted to probiotics where they start doing their work.
They also act as a food source for friendly bacteria which already exists in your bowel therefore extending their life and activity.
Which foods act as pre-biotics? Onions, leeks, garlic, artichoke and chicory do, and eating sauerkraut and pro-biotic yoghurt is a sure way of obtaining good sources of pro-biotics.
Remember to include fibre, water and plenty of these pre-biotic forming vegetables into your daily diet for optimal bowel health, and most importantly…..chew, chew, chew!
The recommended amount of daily fibre is 26-35g, a number which not nearly enough of us are reaching.
There are two main types of fibre: Soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is more water retentive and therefore more viscous which makes it gentler on the digestive system. A good example is oats.
Insoluble fibre on the other hand is fibrous material which is indigestible by us. Think of the fibrous part of broccoli, that stringy part of the celery (the only time I would peel these are when serving as a crudité at a fancy schmancy dinner party, however I do find it quite funny when someone has a stringy piece dangling from the corners of their mouths not knowing exactly what to do next) – (slight diversion) or beans and pulses. These act like a brush in your gut and sweeps the intestines clean.
In the 1930’s and 40’s white bread became fashionable, some even thought it was healthier than good old whole wheat. However, in the 1970’s fibre made a comeback when Dr. Birkett studied black Africans and discovered that compared to Western Europe they had virtually no bowel disease. After this study was published more people started eating fibre.
Three ways to ensure you are getting enough fibre:
• Add ground or soaked flax seeds to your porridge or yoghurt in the morning
• Snack on raw veggies such as peppers, sugar snaps and broccoli
• Have one portion of beans or pulses everyday.
Remember to increase your water intake when you eat more fibre. Fibre without enough water will be like ‘cement’ and contribute to the stool being very hard to pass.
Good bowel health may need more than only fibre, it also needs lots of friendly bacteria. Join me next week to find out more.
If you have uncomfortable or painful and unresolved issues with your tummy why not book a private consultation and nip the problem in the butt once and for all.