17 Must-Have Fridge & Pantry Foods For Optimal Gut Health
When celebrity chef (and mbg class instructor!) Pete Evans stopped by our office with his new cookbook, The Gut Health Cookbook, we knew we had to pick his brain about all things gut related. We got him to take us through his must-have fridge and pantry ingredients for optimal gut health. We’ve highlighted a few of his picks below, but watch the video for his full list and tons of tips, including how to eat a day’s worth of food on an ideal gut diet, why you should grow your own herbs and more.
It's super easy to make your own sauerkraut, according to Pete. You take cabbage and salt and a bit of starter culture from another jar of sauerkraut, pop them in a jar and tightly seal (look out for an upcoming video from Pete about the ins and outs of fermentation!). Fermented vegetables are prebiotic and probiotic in one, which gives your gut the really beautiful bateria it loves to thrive on—and the food that bacteria eats to survive. Aim for a few tablespoons per meal.
2. Bone broth
The gelatin and collagen that comes from the bones makes this a nutrient powerhouse for our guts, according to Pete. It also has glucosamine, glycine, magnesium, calcium—basically a superfood. Pete recommends including a half a cup to a cup a day to heal your gut and promote general good health.
3. Coconut yogurt
You can make this at home or buy it, but Pete recommends ditching dairy for gut health, and replacing it with coconut. If you like to start your morning ritual with yogurt, Pete loves one made from coconut or almond.
Filled with antioxidants, Pete loves whatever berries are in season. He recommends always buying organic, since the pesticides they used on berries are very disruptive to our guts and are, in fact, one of the reason so many of us struggle with gut issues in the first place.
5. Coconut Oil
Pete recommends good quality saturated fat as part of a healthy gut diet. He cooks his Asian food in coconut oil, and reaches for duck fat, tallow, ghee and other high-quality, well-sourced saturated fat for other types of cuisine.
Cinnamon is wonderful for for gut health, and also for crushing sugar cravings (and remember: sugar is the enemy of gut health). Pete notes that whenever you buy spices, you should make sure to buy organic.
We all love turmeric, and Pete is no exception. He loves fresh or powdered, and uses it in smoothies, stir-fries, and even in his bone broth.
These bright orange, delicate strings are wonderful for digestion. While saffron is expensive, you only need a pinch, and it adds a great, exotic flavor to dishes.
Ginger is fantastic for everything sweet and savory. It soothes the gut, calming the lining. Pete likes it pickled, grated into smoothies, used in desserts—you name it!
12. Fresh herbs
Pete actually recommends growing your own herbs, even if you live in a tiny NYC apartment. He notes that you lose 90% of the nutrient qualities in herbs within ten minutes of picking it, which is why it's so important to grow it yourself.
Collagen powder has much of the same gut-boosting qualities of bone broth, so if you can't get the former into your diet, this is the way to go. Pete likes to scoop a bit into his smoothies, or into a glass of water. He considers it one of the best, cleanest forms of protein powder.
Asparagus is a great prebiotic, which is giving the good gut bacteria the food they want to eat. He also recommends sunchokes, leeks, garlic, and onions as great prebiotic sources.
15. Coconut Cream
Another wonderful source of full fat, which satiates you. Pete loves to use coconut cream in smoothies, curries and broth.
Pete calls seaweed a food of the future that's "sensational" for gut health. You can pop a bit into broth or just munch it plain!
Lemon squeezed into a bit of warm water is a wonderful way to start. Pete notes that coffee can be a big gut disruptor, so if you have a coffee addiction and you're having gut problems, you should ditch the coffee (at least for the moment) and go for lemon water or herbal tea.