Gut health is a very popular topic now, although barely sexy. I think it is just finally getting all the attention it deserves.
I am so excited about the gut health rage. The bacteria in our digestive tracts are incredibly important to our overall health, both physically and mentally. Gut bacteria does not only break down our food so our bodies can absorb its nutrients, but also influence fat loss, inflammation and anxiety. Go figure!
For my entire life, I’ve been struggling with my gut. I’ll spare you the details, but I have yet to experience what it is like to have a perfect digestion. After changing up my diet and becoming vegan – hence eating more fiber- my digestion got better, but it was still far from perfect.
In October 2018, I started going to a nutritionist. She ran multiple tests that showed all the inflammation in my digestive tract. It was a serious problem. My bad digestion was the main culprit in a lot of my problems, such as the hypoglycemic episodes I had been experiencing all summer and the acne that had not been willing to disappear after puberty.
Even though my diet was pretty clean already, she gave me a long and strict list of things-not-to-eat (which I’ll write more about in another blogpost) and gave me specific tips to heal my gut:
- flaxseed oil, a teaspoon daily. Coming from an oil-free diet, this one was hard to wrap my head around but I cannot recommend this more for gut health. This has proven to be miraculously helpful and is actually very tasty!
- no raw food! Raw food is so healthy, but so is cooked food. The main difference is that cooked food is way easier on the digestion and require less energy from the body to digest. Overconsumption, or in case of a weak digestion, can actually cause bloating (bloating is not normal, peeps!) and poor absorption of nutrients.
- food combining, in a basic version. Lunch and dinner consist primarily of cooked vegetables, with either a protein or a carb. No proteins and carbs together. At first this seemed too difficult, I was afraid I wouldn’t be satisfied without carbs or proteins. That fear quickly disappeared though ànd it has proven to be a very effective way to avoid bloat.
- no more food after dinner. This is of course just a way to intermittent fast and stretch the time between your last and first meal of the day to allow your digestion to rest. I aim for 13 to 14 hours of fasting, as fasting any longer makes me hangry and messes with my hormones. Fasting is, however, something you have to try and figure out for yourself because it is a highly individual matter.
With the introduction of these tips and the new diet, I had to figure out how and what to eat from scratch. At first, I reverted back to very basic -and boring- meals, but after a while I got the hang of it and got creative in the kitchen again. My usual oatmeal-with-banana brekkie was out of the question, cacao was a no-go and soy or almond milk were ruthlessly banned from my fridge. Carrots and Brussels sprouts, on the contrary, became staples, soup is now my go-to and I always have some applesauce on the stove top.
Out of that creativity and way too much carrots at home, I got this idea for carrot granola while on the quest for a new easy brekkie for during the school week. It’s an easy way to get in my daily dose of flax seed oil and more carrots. Carrots are so incredibly healthy and, when roasted, have a sweet taste and turn a little chewy. Yum!
Of course you can add whatever you like to this granola, but remember to add in dried fruit only after baking or it will burn (been there, done that – multiple times).
Hope you enjoy!
Let me know if you gave this granola a go, through either Instagram of via e-mail!
Gut-friendly flaxseed carrot granola
- 3 big carrots, grated
- 250 grams oats
- 50 grams flaxseed oil
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or any other liquid sweetener)
- a pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven for 180°C.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until all ingredients are coated with the oil.
- Place the ingredients in an oven dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown, stirring the granola everything 15 minutes.
- Let cool, store in an airtight jar and enjoy!