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A Gut-Healthy Meal Plan For When You're Feeling Blah

A Gut-Healthy Meal Plan For When You're Feeling Blah
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Lee Holmes is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, whole foods chef, and author. In her latest book, Heal Your Gut, she puts together an entire protocol (with recipes) for healing your microbiome with food. Below she shares a one-day meal plan for getting that precious gut of yours back on track.

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Eating for healing your digestion is all about taking it easy on your body while naturally jump-starting your body's natural processes.

To have a satisfying day of gut health, kick-start your day with a morning elixir to alkalize the body and stimulate digestion. For breakfast indulge in a beautiful power-packed overnight smoothie full of good fats. Lunchtime calls for easily digestible and belly friendly Sweet Green Bean soup. For dinner chow into a delicious sardine mash pot and finish the day with my creamy vanilla gut-healing custard.


Morning Elixir

Enjoy this cleansing beverage first thing in the morning to rev your metabolism, detoxify your liver, alkalize your body, and quash inflammation. It will give your gut a beautiful foundation for all the restorative recipes you'll be taking in each day.

Serves 2


  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2-inch (5-cm) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 500 mL (17 fl. oz. or 2 cups) filtered water
  • liquid stevia or stevia powder, to taste


1. Put the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper in a teapot. Bring the filtered water to a boil then add to the teapot and infuse for a few minutes.

2. Add stevia to taste, strain into two glasses, and enjoy immediately.

Note: This can also be made in bulk, strained into a glass bottle, and kept in the fridge.


Overnight Smoothie

Just as you may prepare a bircher muesli overnight, this smoothie benefits from the same early preparation, leaving you with a deeper complexity of flavors, as they mingle while you're sleeping. If you lead a busy lifestyle, this is such a wonderful way to ensure a power-packed breakfast every morning.

Serves 1


  • ½ cup (125 mL/4 fl. oz.) almond milk
  • ½ cup (125 mL/4 fl. oz.) additive-free coconut milk
  • ½ cup (80 g/2¾ oz.) frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • grated zest of 1 small lime
  • pinch of stevia powder (optional)


Combine all the ingredients in glass jar or bowl and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, pour into a blender and blend until smooth.

NOTE: If you don't have almond butter, substitute 1 tablespoon raw almonds, remembering to blend well.


Sweet Green Bean Soup

Green beans, like their fellow legume family members—peanuts, lentils, peas, and dried beans—are high in calcium, potassium, and B vitamins but are much more easily digestible and belly-friendly.

Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil or 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lb., 2 oz. (500 g) green beans, trimmed
  • 4 cups (1 liter/35 fl. oz.) vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (250 mL/9 fl. oz.) additive-free coconut milk
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt


1. Melt the oil or ghee in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and turnip, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the green beans, and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until beans are cooked through.

3. Stir in the coconut milk, reserving a little to serve, and heat for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add salt and purée in a food processor or blender until the consistency is to your liking. Reheat gently if necessary, drizzle with reserved coconut milk, and serve.


Sardine Mash Pot

Sardines might not immediately seem like the most joyous of foods, but they're so insanely beneficial you'll be sure to fall in love with them. They're rich in omega-3 fatty acids and energy-boosting vitamin B12 as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. This mash is an inexpensive and nutrient-dense meal for when you feel like a boost.

Serves 1


  • 3¼-oz. (90-g) tin of sardines in extra-virgin oil, drained and well mashed
  • ½ medium avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


Put the sardines, avocado, lemon juice, and garlic in a medium bowl then mash with a fork until well-combined or to your desired consistency. Season to taste and serve with lemon cheeks.


Vanilla Custard

Makes 1½ cups

There's nothing more soothing and indulgent than rich, velvety custard, but traditionally the white sugar and cream can leave your tummy tied up in knots. My version supplies the exact satisfaction custard should induce but free of any awkward digestive complaints.


  • ¾ cup (6 fl. oz./185 mL) filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 8 drops liquid stevia
  • 4½ oz. (125 g) unsalted organic butter, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons alcohol-free vanilla extract


1. Pour the water into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Set aside for a minute or until the gelatin softens. Put the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes or until the gelatin has dissolved.

2. Pour gelatin mixture into a blender, then add the eggs, stevia, butter, and vanilla. Blend on low speed for 2 minutes or until the custard turns pale and thick.

3. Spoon the custard into an airtight container and chill in the fridge. Stir before using. The custard will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Note: To make Chai Custard, add ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ⅓ teaspoon ground cardamom.

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