We’re nuts about gut health – so much so that our menu was developed with the focus of supporting the gut microbiome through fermented foods, diverse sources of fibre, and lots of it. We’ll dive into our top gut supporting menu items in a moment, but first let’s hone in on why we should care about our guts in the first place.
We’re learning that the gut has tremendous influence over our mood, stress response, digestion, immune system, and overall resilience (or lack thereof) to disease. It’s a main site for serotonin production, the neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and content (for context, anti-anxiety medications, also known as SSRI’s, are Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, which means they keep serotonin abundant when supply is low). It’s also the main site for GABA production, a molecule that helps cultivate calm and relaxation, and melatonin production, a hormone that has many roles in the body, most notably to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. Both serotonin and melatonin are produced by the “good” bacteria in our gut, which is one of the reasons we want to keep our microbiome so diverse. These bacteria also help us regulate our hunger and calorie absorption, and help keep inflammation at bay by regulating our immune system. Interesting fact: there have been animal studies that show that transplanting the gut microbiome of an obese mouse into a thin mouse caused the thin mouse to quickly gain weight and become obese – just to hammer home the impact these bacteria have on our bodies (see study). And there is still so much we don’t know!
When we take an antibiotic, or consume animal products raised on antibiotics, or drink heavily chlorinated water, our gut microbes get depleted or wiped out entirely – the problematic, and the beneficial ones. So, you can imagine the impact this has on our mood, our immunity and susceptibility to illness and inflammation, and our ability to break down and absorb nutrients. One of the most important steps post-antibiotic use is to replenish your gut microbiome, which can be done in a number of ways, including:
- Consume diverse sources of fibre via vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Consume probiotics via fermented foods daily
- Filter your water from chlorine and antibiotics
- Keep sugar intake minimal (the “bad” bacteria thrive off of it)
- Consume lots of prebiotics, which is food for the bacteria – think leek, onion, garlic, asparagus, apple skins
So, now that we’ve emphasized just how important our gut health is, let’s highlight some of our favourite gut-supporting items available at the TurF bistro:
Kimchi Pancake: Kimchi is a fermented food that is packed with probiotics, and the mung bean base offers a diverse source of fibre
Kimchi Edamame Toast: More kimchi love! The edamame is a great source of plant based protein and a diverse fibre source, too
TurF Shakshuka: The pickled onions are a great prebiotic, aka food for your microbes
Tempeh Ginger Salad: Tempeh is an amazing fermented protein source and the marinade is sure to please. The bowl also boasts pickled onions, a prebiotic, and lots of greens which is source of fibre.
Kimchi Macro Bowl: This is a great grab & go item that boasts tempeh in addition to probiotic rich kimchi AND pickled onions and greens.
Greens All Day with Tempeh: Tons of fibrous greens, brown rice & broccoli = all the gut-supporting fibre! Layer on tempeh as your protein and some healthy fats in the form of avocado and you’ve got a perfectly balanced gut-supporting meal.
All of these items are designed to make you feel good from the inside out. If you’re struggling with digestive distress, inflammation, anxiety/mood fluctuations, unexplained weight gain, it’s a really good idea to work with someone to address your gut health. Laying the foundations of a happy, diverse microbiome can be a life changing move for your overall vitality. And the good news it, that can start with simple swaps and additions, like adding more fibre, consuming diverse plants, and eating fermented foods like kimchi and tempeh.
Oh, and another way to support your gut? Stress reduction…which we’ll get to in another post <3