Let's Celebrate National Nutrition Month

How do we celebrate National Nutrition Month this year?


It’s National Nutrition Month! During the month of March this year, we celebrate a world of flavors in foods from all over the world. The term flavor encompasses a meal's smell, taste, and any physical traits we perceive in our mouths. A world of flavors also includes the cultural and ethnic styles we add to our cuisine. Ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, seasonings, and cooking practices all work together to create a colorful plate full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Simply by looking at how many different colors your food represents, you can estimate that you are eating more shades of vegetables and fruits, which adds more nutrients to your diet.


How can we add more color to your plate?


To maximize foods flavor and nutrition, start by adding a variety of plant-based foods which will also help you with #GoodGut healing. Plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables get their color from phytochemicals which are substances with many health benefits. There are many phytochemicals and each of them plays a function in our bodies and many of them complement one another. Phytochemicals aid the function of the immune system, reduce inflammation, helps regulate hormones, etc. Phytochemicals also play a role in #GoodGut by balancing the gut microbiota. So the best way to ensure you are eating plenty of phytochemicals is by eating a rainbow of plant-based foods.

How can we maximize colors in our lives?


You can maximize every meal by adding the most colorful fruits and vegetables to your plate. These foods are nutrient-rich and they do protect us from many diseases because of their antioxidant properties. Make sure your plate is filled with a rainbow of colors to get the maximum benefit of phytochemicals. The colors of food can have a meaning to your health.

  • Red fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cherries, apples, beets, watermelon, red grapes, red peppers, red onions are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Protect us against prostate cancer as well as heart and lung disease.

  • Yellow/orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, peaches, squash, and pineapple, are also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Supports intracellular communication and may help prevent heart disease.

  • Green vegetables such as spinach, avocados, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kiwi fruit, collard greens, green tea, green herbs (mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, and basil) are important for our gut health as well as our heart. Dark green, leafy vegetables have the highest concentration of antioxidants and fiber.

  • Blue and purple contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins which might delay cellular aging and help the heart. Some of these fruits and vegetables are blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, Concord grapes, raisins, eggplant, plums, figs, prunes, lavender, purple cabbage.

  • White and brown fruits and vegetables such as onions, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, parsnips, daikon radish, mushrooms contain allicin which functions as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-lowering effects.

Here are three plant-based lunch recipes for you to make your plate more colorful: beet burger, cassava wrap, red cabbage, and apple salad, and spaghetti and “meatballs”. Beet is a rich and nutritious source full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. When used, it immediately adds color to any food. Cassava wrap is free of gluten, grains, and nuts and it is an easy-to-make recipe for a colorful plate. Red cabbage is another colorful ingredient and is high in fiber, perfect to add to salads. Millet is used in substitution for meatballs, this is a gluten-free whole grain that will make you fuller for hours.

What are some recipes for a more colorful plate?


What better way to celebrate than with some #GoodGut nutrient-dense recipes for the entire family. These are recipes that will not only be great for a meal at home, but also on the go if you are traveling, having a busy day with the kids, or just looking to get out of the house and get some sunshine at the park.


We are all about optimizing everything in us and around us to provide a healthy lifestyle for your gut and beyond. By swapping and altering recipes to be more fiber-rich, nutritious, less processed, and colorful we are actually training our bodies to be energy and microbe powerhouses! Recent studies have shown that high fiber intake has been associated with a more rich gut microbiome environment. This translates into better healing, better immune function, and even a better mood!

Beet Burger


This is a recipe you can’t beet! These patties not only look delicious but they are a nutritious and gut microbiome feeding powerhouse. Most burgers have absolutely no fiber, these are packed with soluble and insoluble fiber so you are getting one of the most important nutrients for you and your family!


Check out the ingredients and directions below.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable Broth (As Needed)

  • 1 Cup Finely Grated Raw Beet

  • 1-15 oz Canned or Homemade Black Beans

  • ¾ Cup Cooked Quinoa

  • ½ Large Red Onion (Finely Diced)

  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Mushrooms

  • ½ Cup Raw Walnuts (Finely Crushed or Ground into a Loose Meal)

  • 1 tsp Cumin

  • ½ tsp Chili Powder (or Sub Extra Cumin)

  • ¼ tsp Smoked Paprika

  • ½ tsp Dried Parsley

  • Pink Himalayan Salt (As Needed)

  • Black Pepper (As Needed)

  • Coconut Aminos (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp Sauerkraut (For a Topping)

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add some vegetable broth to prevent sticking. Once hot add the onion and sauté, seasoning with a pinch each salt and pepper.

2. When the onions are soft – about 3 Minutes – add the mushrooms. Season with another pinch of salt and add garlic powder, dried parsley, paprika, cumin, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms and onions are slightly browned and fragrant- about 3 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add black beans and mash. You are looking for a rough mash, so you can leave a bit of texture if you want.

4. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the cooked quinoa, raw shredded beets, spices, and stir. For even more flavor, add a shake of coconut aminos (optional). Now is the time to taste and make adjustments as needed.

5. Lastly, add the walnut meal a little at a time until the mixture is able enough to form into patties. Set in the fridge to chill while you are preheating the oven to 375°F Degrees (190°C) (You Can Also Cook Quickly In The Air Fryer.)

6. Coat a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form mixture into roughly 8 to 9 patties (Or As Many Patties As You Like). Fyi, The Thicker You Make Them, The Longer They’ll Take To Cook Through. Thinner Patties Will Cook Faster.

7. Arrange Burgers On A Baking Sheet And Bake At 375°F (190°C) For A Total Of 30-45 Minutes, Gently Flipping At The Halfway Mark. Cook Longer To Dry Them Out Even More And Achieve More Crisp, But It’s Not Necessary.

8. Serve On Small Buns (Bread Srsly) And Top With Sauerkraut.

Cassava Wrap


Looking for a recipe that is quick and easy with little clean-up? Then a cassava wrap is your go-to. Feed your microbiome with root vegetables and vitamin c packed peppers wrapped in a not-so-traditional tortilla. Tortillas are typically made with conventional wheat and/or conventional corn, instead try cassava, another root vegetable packed with resistant starch that nourishes the gut.

Ingredients and directions are below. Make sure to comment!

Ingredients:

  • Cassava Tortilla

  • 2 Carrots, Chopped

  • 1 Bell Pepper, Chopped

  • 1 Cup Mushrooms, Chopped

  • ½ Onion, Chopped

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

  • Pink Himalayan Salt (As Needed)

  • Vegetable Broth (As Needed)

  • Olive or Avocado Oil (Optional)

Directions

  • On medium heat begin sauteing onions and garlic in vegetable broth or oil (optional).

  • Once the onions are translucent add the carrots and mushrooms.

  • Saute vegetables until onions are slightly brown, or to desired texture.

  • On a separate pan or open stovetop, heat the cassava tortilla until it is soft or slightly crispy.

  • Place the Cassava tortilla flat and add the sauteed vegetables to the tortilla.

  • Roll up the tortilla with the desired amount of vegetables.

  • Enjoy!

Red Cabbage and Apple Salad


Raw foods are an important part of optimal gut health, although some people may not be ready for it (hence excessive gas and bloating with some high fiber foods). Luckily these ingredients work synergistically to not only love on your gut but supply nutrients to organs like your liver and gallbladder.


Ingredients:

  • Small Head of Red Cabbage, coarsely chopped

  • 10 Radishes, sliced

  • 3 Tart Green Apples, unpeeled, washed and diced

  • 2 Green Onions, chopped

  • 1 Stalk Celery, chopped

  • ¼ cup Walnuts, chopped

  • 1-2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

  • Dash of Garlic Powder

  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic of Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions:

  • Mix everything in a serving bowl. Let it sit for an hour, stirring once or twice


Spaghetti and “Meatballs”


No more mystery meat meatballs, instead we are using one of our favorite grains Millet. Millet is a gluten-free whole grain that is filled with soluble fiber that helps your gut hydrate, detox, and provides nutrients to the gut lining. Way better than your average meatball!

Ingredients:

  • 2+ Cups Vegetables Stock

  • 1 Cup Millet

  • 1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste

  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, peeled and diced small

  • 6 Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced

  • 1/2 Cup Tomato Puree

  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch

  • 1 pound Gluten-Free Spaghetti, cook according to package directions

  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350º degrees F

  • Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the millet and salt and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the millet is tender. Leave the lid off and stir the millet to evaporate any excess water.

  • Place the onion in a large saucepan and saute over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Add vegetable stock 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the onion from sticking to the pan. Add the garlic, basil, pinch of salt, and pepper and cook for another minute. Add the tomato puree and ¼ cup of water and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated about 3 minutes.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Add the cooked millet, a pinch of salt, and the arrowroot powder to the onion mixture and mix well. Using an ice-cream scoop, shape the millet mixture into 2-inch balls and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

  • To service, divide the spaghetti among 4 individual plates. Top with some on the “meatballs” and pour some of the tomato sauce over the prepared plates.


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References

7 Ways to Enhance the Flavor of Your Meals. (2019). Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved March 9 from https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/enhancing-the-flavor-of-your-meals

Ansary, J., Forbes-Hernández, T. Y., Gil, E., Cianciosi, D., Zhang, J., Elexpuru-Zabaleta, M., Simal-Gandara, J., Giampieri, F., & Battino, M. (2020). Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(7), 619. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9070619

For the Health Benefits of Phytochemicals, "Eat a Rainbow". (2019). Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Retrieved March 9th from https://www.roswellpark.org/cancertalk/201912/health-benefits-phytochemicals-eat-rainbow

Fill up on phytochemicals - Harvard Health. (2019). Retrieved 11 March 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/fill-up-on-phytochemicals

Global Flavors — The Culinary Pro. (2022). Retrieved March 9 from https://www.theculinarypro.com/global-flavors

Minich D. M. (2019). A Review of the Science of Colorful, Plant-Based Food and Practical Strategies for "Eating the Rainbow". Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2019, 2125070. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2125070

National Nutrition Month. (2022). Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month

Oliver, A., Chase, A., Weihe, C., Orchanian, S., Riedel, S., & Hendrickson, C. et al. (2021). High-Fiber, Whole-Food Dietary Intervention Alters the Human Gut Microbiome but Not Fecal Short-Chain Fatty Acids. American Society For Microbiology, 6(2). doi: 10.1128/msystems.00115-21

Yin, R., Kuo, H.-C., Hudlikar, R., Sargsyan, D., Li, S., Li, Wang, L., . . . Kong, A.-N. (2019). Gut microbiota, dietary phytochemicals and benefits to human health. Curr Pharmacol Rep, 5, 332-344.https://doi.org/doi: 10.1007/s40495-019-00196-3

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