From festive feasting to comfort eating during the cold weather, winter can really take its toll on our guts. But with spring here and the stretch in the evenings, we all want to eat healthily again; though it takes some adjusting to get back on track. Even though diving into a detox diet seems necessary, it’s probably best to ease into it gently.
For example, increasing our water consumption can give us a much-needed energy boost. Fluids help to flush out toxins, while they also keep us hydrated. Starting the day with a large glass of warm water with lemon slices is a simple step that can give an invigorating kick-start to our digestive system. Then, aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Rich, fatty foods and ones with processed ingredients take longer to digest, so it’s best to include plenty of easy-to-digest ingredients in your diet. Most people find little difficulty digesting porridge, eggs, fish, lean meat and yoghurt.
Probiotics increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut. They can help to heal the gut after overindulging on heavy foods, which will relieve some associated digestive symptoms. Probiotics can be picked up as a supplement in health food shops, but they also occur naturally in foods such as yoghurt – just ensure “live active cultures” is on the label. They are also present in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
Homemade vegetable soups are my saving grace for most complaints, as they’re especially beneficial when you’re trying to give your digestive system a little rest. Most soups are easily digestible, as the vegetables are soft and well cooked before serving. There are plenty of delicious root vegetables in season at this time of year, making them a great choice to add to your soup mixture.
No matter the time of year, I find a cup of peppermint tea works wonders as an after-dinner cuppa, to help the digestive system after a heavy meal. Drink plenty of water, and also, never underestimate the power of a brisk walk. It can help to aid digestion, while giving you that all-important feel good factor.
Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
This hearty pie is packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. It’s wholesome and filling, and also very tasty.
1tbsp olive oil
One onion, finely diced
One stick celery, finely diced
One red pepper, finely diced
Two carrots, finely diced
Two cloves garlic, crushed
Sea salt and black pepper
One 400g tin of tomatoes
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
300ml vegetable stock
One 400g tin of chickpeas
1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
Splash of milk
Sea salt and pepper
Chocolate banana ice cream with a pecan crunch
I know what you’re thinking: chocolate ice-cream is hardly an option when trying to stick to a nutrient-dense diet. Well, this chocolate ice-cream is packed with ingredients your gut is going to love. Potassium, magnesium and fibre-rich bananas are great for the digestive system.
Ensure the bananas are fully frozen before you make this dessert, as the creaminess of the blitzed frozen banana is the secret to this ice-cream. Also, to keep the gut happy, ensure the yoghurt you’re using has declared it includes “live active cultures”. The added cacao is full of antioxidants and gives a delicious choco hit.
Three ripe bananas, (approximately 275g)
175g natural “live” yoghurt
1tbsp cacao powder