hearts of palm, asparagus and mint salad

I talk a lot about probiotics including where to find them and why they are so important for overall health.  What I forgot to mention is that you need to feed them!  They need food too!  They are live organisms after all!

Probiotics feed off of prebiotics or soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber are the indigestible food parts found in fruits and vegetables, mainly inulin and oligofructose.  The probiotics eat these particles and ferment them creating a healthy gut microflora, which means increased immunity for you!  Inulin and oligofructose also increase the absorption of magnesium and calcium!

So, where do we find prebiotics?

Fruits and vegetables!

(yet another reason to increase your consumption of plants!)

Notably asparagus, raw garlic, artichokes and bananas.

This salad is a perfect way to feed yourself and your bugs!

hearts of palm, asparagus and mint salad ~vegan~

Hearts of Palm, Asparagus and Mint Salad

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 can hearts of palm, chopped

1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed

6-10 leaves fresh mint, chopped

Dressing:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 clove raw garlic, crushed

salt and pepper to taste

asparagus, hearts of palm and mint salad ~vegan~

-Lightly steam asparagus until crisp-tender, set aside and let cool.

-Whisk together salad dressing ingredients, set aside.

-In a large bowl, combine asparagus, tomatoes, butter beans, hearts of palm and mint.

-Add salad dressing and toss to coat, enjoy!

asparagus, hearts of palm and mint salad ~vegan~

www.beginwithinnutrition.com

probiotics for weight loss

13-400-species-probiotics

Probiotics or the “healthy” bugs found in our stomachs are well known for being the main players in keeping our digestive and immune systems running strong.  However, new research is showing that these little buggas are responsible for whole-body health including our ability to lose weight.  They are even responsible for keeping the weight off of our mid-sections, which is one of the most dangerous places for holding excess weight.

All this from teeny tiny bugs?  

How do they do it?  

By keeping our hormones in check.  

The hormones ghrelin and leptin send signals to our mind when we feel hungry and full.  When these hormones are out of line, we tend to overeat leading to weight gain.  When our gut has a healthy “microflora” or when the healthy bacteria are doing their job our hormones function properly.  Unfortunately, many people do not have a healthy microflora due to eating processed foods, taking antibiotics, eating dairy and meat products raised on hormones and antibiotics, and drinking carbonated beverages.  To sum it all up, the Standard American Diet is detrimental to our microflora!  

The probiotics lactobacillus fermentum and lactobacillus amylovorus have been found to interfere with the absorption of calories meaning less calories are being stored as abdominal fat.

Hello bikini season, bring on the bugs!  

Not only do probiotics boost our immunity, fuel our digestive health, aid in weight reglulation, they also give us energy!  When we have a healthy microflora, our digestion is running at top speed leaving more energy for us to burn doing the things we love!  Sounds to good to be true, right?  It’s not!  It’s a beautiful symbiotic system that was designed to keep us healthy, happy and radiantly energized!

Where do I find these healthy bugs?

You can build up a healthy microflora by taking a probiotic supplement or consuming fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso and kombucha.

~Add kefir to your morning smoothies, make overnight oats with yogurt, add tempeh to salads, enjoy a tall glass of kombucha or eat miso soup daily~

yogurt

www.beginwithinnutrition.com

miso hungry

buggsbike

Thanks to Uncle Marty and Aunt Allison, Noah got his first set of wheels!  He was so excited to open the big package that arrived for him last night!  He very patiently watched and helped Dad put the bike together and he can’t be more proud of it!  Along with the bike he received a helmet, oh the dreaded helmet.  Noah LOVED it until I committed the unthinkable…I pinched his sweet little chin in the clasp.  OUCH!!!  As my mother did to me and I’m sure as your mother did to you…it must be some mom rite of passage thing. Noah is fine and brushed it off but my heart is broken.  I definitely get the “worst mom award” today :(

Anyway, on to miso soup…

miso hungry miso soup

Miso is a fermented food that has been used as a staple in the Japanese culture for thousands of years.  It was popularized in the western culture with the boom of macrobiotics due to its amazing healing qualities.  In Japan the average person consumes one bowl of miso soup per day along with a diet high in vegetables, fruit and fish and low in meat and dairy.  I should also mention that Japan has one of the lowest rates of obesity in the world!!!  (www.webmd.com Hmmm, makes you wonder…could there be a connection???

Miso contains high levels of minerals, vitamins and protein however; it’s special healing properties come from the process of fermentation. It is fermented by a yeast mold called koji, this process can take up to several years! Fermentation creates healthy bugs in the form of lactobacilli.  These bugs help the digestive tract function properly, which in turn enhances your body’s ability to extract nutrients from food.  The probiotics found in miso heal and strengthen the gut which crucial for a thriving immune system.

 miso hungry miso soup3

In addition to probiotics, minerals, vitamin and protein, miso also has high levels of antioxidants, which are responsible for removing toxins and free radicals from the body.  If toxins and free radicals are not eliminated they build in the body destroying cells, which can lead to chronic diseases, cancer and accelerated aging. YUCK!

I used to be afraid to attempt cooking miso soup.  I’m not sure why because it is so easy!  If buying a prepackaged miso soup check the ingredients as many of them contain MSG and high amounts of sodium.

 Miso Hungry Miso Soup

1 carrot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups mushrooms, sliced

2 cups low sodium vegetable stock

4 cups water

a couple of handfuls of spinach

4 scallions, chopped

pinch of dried wakame seaweed

5-6 tablespoons miso

cooked brown rice (optional)

miso hungry miso soup2

-Bring broth and water and to a boil, add carrot and garlic.

-Turn down to a simmer and add mushrooms.

-Simmer for 30-45 minutes.  Simmering for a long time will pull out the nutrients from the mushrooms.

-Add scallions, spinach and a large pinch of seaweed, simmer for a few minutes longer.

-Take soup off of heat.

-In a small bowl thin out miso paste with a little water, then add it to soup.

miso hungry miso soup5

It’s important to not add miso when cooking as to preserve the live probiotics

-Serve as is or over cooked short-grain brown rice for a heartier soup.

miso hungry miso soup1

This also makes for a wonderful warm and soothing breakfast!

~To try this recipe and others, join us this Sunday at Orleans Yoga & Pilates~

www.beginwithinnutrition.com

www.orleansyogaandpilates.com