This 3-day microbiome-cleanse will eliminate bloat, improve digestion and reboot your gut health. In this post from MindBodyGreen.com learn how to feel revitalized inside out.
In just three days, you can begin your journey of microbiome health for life. Of course, like any habit, it will take more than three days to achieve significant results; this three-day reboot is to provide the tools that you need for a lifelong shift in your diet, your health and your mood.
Day 1: Laying the foundation.
When you eat the foods that support your brain, microbiome and gut—and when you avoid foods that undermine them—you create a healthy ecology throughout your entire body. This healthy ecology is crucial for overcoming depression, anxiety and brain fog.
The diet couldn’t be simpler. To reap the benefits, you don’t need to worry about how much you’re eating, as long as you are careful to stick to the right foods. The good news is that I don’t want you counting calories, fretting over such things as grams of carbs or measuring out amounts. Just focus on making good whole-food choices in every meal, and this will do the work of rebalancing your microbiome, healing your gut and supporting your brain.
Because your brain is composed primarily of fat, you need healthy fats to support your brain. Healthy fats are first and foremost those found in nature. Thus, trans fats, which are made only in factories, are not healthy—your cells don’t know what to do with them, and these fats can actually damage your cells and, therefore, your brain.
The rest of your brain is composed of protein; therefore, your brain needs healthy proteins as well. Proteins contain amino acids, which are needed to preserve the integrity of your cells, and to produce the enzymes necessary for digestion and other aspects of metabolism. Any organically raised protein can be healthy; however, studies have shown that, when proteins are too high in fat, your microbiome can suffer. I recommend “clean, lean proteins.”
For the three days of this diet, stock your fridge and pantry with these foods, and try to largely consume what’s on this list:
- Avocado oil;
- Coconut oil;
- Olive oil;
- Wild fish;
- Organic meats and poultry, pasture-raised and antibiotic-free;
- Organic grass-fed sheep and goats’ milk dairy products;
- Kefir, yogurt;
- Fermented vegetables;
- Raw sauerkraut;
- Cultured buttermilk;
- Dandelion greens;
- Gluten-free grains (such as millet, quinoa, rice);
- Jerusalem artichoke;
- Legumes (beans, garbanzos, lentils);
- Potatoes (when roasted and cooled);
- Nuts (raw, never roasted);
- Microbiome super spices: cinnamon, turmeric, ginger;
- All organic vegetables; and
- All organic fruits—but in moderation, please! At most, enjoy two fruits a day, and if you’re struggling with sugar or carb cravings, keep it to one serving. Otherwise, you may be feeding the wrong types of bacteria too much sugar.
It’s not just WHAT you eat; how you eat is just as important. What is crucial is that you eat in a stress-free way, taking time to enjoy every bite of food.
Each meal is a challenge, full of temptations, obstacles, pitfalls and dangers. In such circumstances, it’s very difficult to find pleasure in a delicious taste, a shared meal among friends, the joy of feeling full and satisfied.
Rushed, stressful eating activates the nervous system, which triggers a cascade of stress hormones and disrupts digestion, with disastrous consequences for your brain. A calm mealtime, with gratitude for the food and the mental space to savor every bite, triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and creates significant benefits for gut and brain health, as well as weight. Chew each bite 20 times longer than you are used to, which literally cues your relaxation response.
If you can rediscover the joys of eating, the pleasures of food, the value of a meal with people you love, you will go a long way toward healing your gut—and your brain.
Now that you’ve added the essentials, the next step of this challenge is to eliminate the foods that disrupt your ecology: toxins, inflammatory foods and foods that undermine your brain function.
For the next three days, try to avoid these foods as much as possible:
- Canola oil and cottonseed oil;
- Corn and cornstarch;
- Cow’s milk dairy products;
- Dried or canned fruits;
- Gluten (found in wheat-, barley-, and rye-based foods);
- High-fructose corn syrup;
- Iceberg lettuce;
- Peanuts or peanut butter;
- Processed meats or deli meats;
- Processed and packaged foods;
- Soy—except soy lecithin and organic fermented soy: soy sauce, tempeh, miso;
- Sugars and sweeteners, natural or artificial, except Lakanto; and
- Trans fats and hydrogenated fats
Bonus points if you can do the following:
- Don’t store food in plastic. Glass containers are optimal;
- Use “clean” personal products and cosmetics, shampoos, lotions, shaving products, etc. By “clean” I mean without parabens, phthalates, fragrances or other chemicals;
- Use “clean” household products: cleansers, detergents, polishes, etc;
- Drink only filtered water. Avoid bottled water—molecules from the plastic migrate into the water;
Breakfast, Day 1: Quinoa With Pear, Blueberries & Almond
This energizing hot breakfast contains plenty of fiber to nourish your microbiome, as well as healthy fats to heal your gut wall and feed your brain. The microbiome super spice cinnamon balances your blood sugar and reduces inflammation.
1 teaspoon clarified pasture-raised butter or ghee
½ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
¼ cup coconut milk
½ cup ripe pear, cored and diced into large pieces.
1 teaspoon chopped raw almonds
½ cup blueberries
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Place the butter, quinoa, water, coconut oil, cinnamon stick, nutmeg and ginger in a small saucepan and stir. Bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and pear and simmer for five minutes.
Add salt to taste and sprinkle with the nuts, blueberries and ground cinnamon.
Snack, day 1: Celery and kohlrabi sticks with sunflower seed butter
Lunch, day 1: Chicken bone broth soup
Bone broth is an extraordinary gut-healing soup that also gives super support to your immune system. The secret is to include the bones themselves with the stock. Freeze this basic recipe in small containers for use in soups and stews or use a double shot for a savory snack.
1 (5- to 6-pound) chicken, cut up, washed and dried
4 tablespoons salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
18 cups cold water
2 large carrots, unpeeled, cut into large chunks
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs each chives, parsley and dill, tied in a bunch
Rub the chicken parts with 2 tablespoons of the salt and the garlic. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Place the water, the chicken, except the breasts, and the carrot and onion in a stockpot. Bring to a boil and add the breasts and herbs. Cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until tender.
Remove the breasts from the broth. Skim and discard the fat from the broth and continue to cook. Remove the chicken from the breast bones, discarding the skin and fat. Put the breast bones back into the pot and continue to cook. Cut the chicken breast into bite-size pieces and refrigerate or freeze for later use in soup or salads.
When tender, remove the remaining chicken from the pot and continue to cook the bones and broth. Remove the cooked chicken from the legs and back, discarding the skin and fat. Return the bones to the stockpot and continue to cook for three hours. Refrigerate or freeze the cooked chicken.
Remove and discard the carrot, onion and herbs. Put the bones and 1 cup of the broth into a blender and process until liquefied and smooth.
Strain the liquefied bones into the broth and discard any solids. There will be about 12 cups of chicken broth. Add the remaining salt to taste.
Refrigerate what you will need for a soup and freeze the rest in small containers.
To make the soup: Add one serving of chicken to a cup of bone broth. Mince some fresh dill and add. Serve immediately.
Snack: Caribbean-spiced garbanzos.
A zesty, addictive snack! Leftover spices can be used for other snacks or as a rub for fish and poultry. The garbanzos are a terrific high-fiber source of protein that your microbiome will love, and the microbiome super spices turmeric and cinnamon help reduce inflammation, which your brain loves, too.
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (16-ounce) cans organic garbanzos, drained and rinsed
1½ tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Combine all the spices in a small bowl.
Combine the garbanzos with the oil in a medium-size bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture and the coarse salt. The leftover spices will keep well for another batch or as a rub for meat or poultry.
Spread the garbanzos on an ungreased baking sheet or shallow roasting pan. Bake until golden and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container. If they get soggy, rebake until crisp.
Dinner, day 1: Stifado, a Greek Beef Stew with a salad of sliced cucumber, Jerusalem artichoke, avocado, and tomato on a bed of greens
This unusual piquant stew is finished with feta cheese and walnuts. The garlic and onions nourish your microbiome, while the walnuts nourish your brain with healthy fats, and the microbiome super spice cinnamon adds a healthy twist. Serve it with herbed organic brown rice, a resistant starch that supports both the gut and the microbiome.
1 pound stew beef, cut into 1½-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, roughly chopped
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ cup red wine
1 cup tomato sauce
3 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta cheese
½ cup walnut pieces
Ingredients, herbed rice
1¼ cups water
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 large pinch dried thyme
1 large pinch dried tarragon
1 large pinch dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
Prepare the stew: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Salt and pepper the beef. In a ceramic casserole over medium-high heat, sauté the meat in the olive oil, in batches, until browned. Remove the meat.
Add the onions, garlic and cinnamon stick to the casserole and cook over medium-low heat for five minutes. Add the vinegar, wine, tomato sauce, cloves, allspice, and mint. Cook for five minutes. Add the meat and mix until well-combined.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 to 1½ hours, or until tender.
While the stew bakes, prepare the herbed rice: In a lidded pot, combine the water, brown rice, thyme, tarragon, rosemary and salt. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and let steam for 10 minutes. The leftover rice can be refrigerated for up to three days.
Five minutes before serving the stew, stir in the feta cheese and walnuts.
(To be Continued)
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