Toxins, stress, infections, poor diet and eating processed foods can lead to something called a "leaky gut," a condition in which cells in the gut react to foods, chemicals and toxins in such a way that cause the bonds in our intestinal lining to break apart. When this happens, particles of food slide into your bloodstream, triggering an immune response, causing food sensitivities and inflammation.
If you have leaky gut, you may be sensitive to certain foods. Gluten, dairy, soy, alcohol, processed foods and sugar may be out of your food regimen, but this doesn't mean your taste buds necessarily have to suffer. There are a handful of other flavor boosting options out there that will taste great and make you and your gut happy. Trust me, after 10 years of eating like this, and healing my gut, I've found some fabulous ways to whip up incredible recipes using real foods and amazing flavors.
Here are a few easy tips to get you started:
Combine a high quality organic apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard and drizzle over your roasted vegetables for a gourmet side dish with fresh parsley and sea salt.
Fresh lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange juices can add a lot of umph to your meals and your desserts as well. You can use these citrus juices as a salad dressing with olive oil or add to a raw 'ball' dessert by adding Medjool dates and coconut flakes to a food processor for an easy, vegan and gluten-free flavorful treat.
3. Himalayan salt
A dash of Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground multi-colored pepper can help enhance the taste of your savory dishes. For additional aroma and flavor, use a pepper mill.
Blanching veggies in salted water helps to release their full flavor and even boost their color. Blanch asparagus and serve with fresh orange zest and slivered toasted almonds.
5. Green tea
Use green tea when poaching organic lean proteins like fish and organic chicken. Add roasted vegetables and fresh herbs like rosemary for a complementary side dish.
Don't be afraid to use fresh herbs. Basil, cilantro, dill, sage, parsley and rosemary can be your best friends in the kitchen. Add them to soups, dressings, marinades and salads. Combine herbs like sage, marjoram and thyme with fresh lemon or orange juice with olive oil, sea salt and pepper to make your own organic meat or vegetable marinade.
7. Alternative sweeteners
Cut back on the sugar when baking. Use unsweetened cocoa powder and unsweetened coconut flakes to enhance the flavor of your desserts.
Fresh ginger can add a kick of flavor to almost any meal and it's great for soothing your digestive system. Mince ginger and add to a bowl of quinoa or poach fish in parchment paper with fresh ginger and lemon slices.
BPA-Free cans of full-fat coconut milk and organic coconut oil create a lot of flavor and they're great for healing your gut. Add them to hot cereals like quinoa porridge, gluten-free oatmeal or use coconut oil in place of olive oil in your stir-fry and in place of butter in your baking recipes.
Seeds such as ground flaxseeds and other seeds like hemp and chia can boost the texture and flavor of your food. Plus, they add a healthy dose of omega 3's to fight inflammation and are full of fiber to help you keep things moving. Toss these tiny seeds in your cereal or add to coconut milk yogurt for a delicious and healthy breakfast or snack.
Add chopped garlic to a stir-fry or use raw chopped garlic when making a salad dressing. Toss with olive oil, citrus juice, fresh herbs, sea salt and pepper; whisk to combine and drizzle over a whole grain salad for a pop of flavor.
Although having a leaky gut may at first seem as a nuisance to your diet and lifestyle, after a few simple changes, you'll discover that cooking to heal your leaky gut is quite easy and you don't have to compromise flavor. Remember, when you're at the farmers market or in the food store, think of simple, fresh and organic, whole foods like an avocado, ground flaxseeds, walnuts and coconut oil that can add flavor to a variety of meals from breakfast to dessert.
Photo Credit: Stocksy