Many clients coming to me find that they have developed a sensitivity or intolerance to certain foods. A major factor for this may be that with the balance of microbes in the digestive tract out of ratio, gut yeast, such as Candida albicans, has increased and become active, changing from its yeast form (below left) to its fungal filamentous form (below right).
In this fungal form, yeast is able to burrow into the gut wall. This can cause a good deal of irritation and may lead to an intolerance reaction, where specific foods in the diet, exacerbate this irritation, increasing symptoms of bloating and wind. Dairy, wheat and the other gluten grains are among the main culprit foods to consider as potentially adding to the discomfort.
A combination of stress, medications, and toxins, together with Candida burrowing into the gut wall, can impact the integrity of the digestive tract. This might allow undigested food particles to pass through the gut wall and enter the blood stream. This is commonly referred to as ‘leaky gut’. Once in the blood stream, antibodies recognise that the food particles should not be present in the blood, and so an immune response is set off. This might impact mood, panic, headaches, or lead to a number or seemingly unrelated health issues.
So whilst I may initially recommend a basic sugar and yeast-free diet programme to support gut ecology, this may need to be adapted for each individual, according to their symptoms and the condition of the digestive tract. Avoiding wheat and/or the other gluten grains while reducing gut yeast may be a first step in allowing the digestive tract to heal.
Including a variety of foods in the diet prevents the over-use of any one food, therefore reducing the possibility of a sensitivity reaction to that food. Since wheat forms the basis of so many meals in the West, it is a good idea to experiment with a variety of gluten-free grains to replace wheat. Following is a recipe for minestrone soup, made with quinoa rather than pasta. The recipe is by Sylvia Bianco at MIND BODY GREEN. Play around with the ingredients according to what vegetables you have available.
Minestrone is a thick vegetable/bean soup, usually with the addition of pasta. It has a long history dating back to pre-Roman days, and it used to be made primarily with leftovers by poor families looking to stretch their food resources. It’s considered a part of la cucina povera, or poor kitchen. It evolved over the years, as any good recipe does, reflecting the economies and eating habits of the people making it, so I thought it fitting that I add quinoa (instead of pasta) and kale to this classic soup.
Don’t let all the ingredients scare you. All you’re really doing is chopping the veggies into a medium dice (about the size of popped corn) and putting everything in a big pot. It’s fast, easy and ready to eat in about 40 minutes without much fuss from you, and it’s good for more than one meal. Make a really big pot and freeze what you don’t use in quart containers. They last for months and will be a lifesaver when you can’t or don’t want to cook.
§ 1 white onion – medium diced
§ 2 celery stalks – medium diced
§ 3 carrots – medium diced
§ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil – or enough to cover the bottom of the pot
§ 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
§ 2 cups fresh zucchini (courgette) – medium diced (about 1 medium or 2 small)
§ 2 cups green beans – cut in 1 inch pieces
§ 1 bell pepper – medium diced
§ 1.75 lbs of fresh tomatoes or 1 x 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
§ 4 cups of water
§ 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans
§ 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
§ 1 cup quinoa
§ 2 cups kale – stems removed
§ 1 teaspoon turmeric (or to taste)
§ Pinch of red pepper flakes
§ Salt and pepper to taste
OPTIONAL:GARNISH WITH SLIVERED BASIL OR FINELY CHOPPED ROSEMARY
1. Place a large
stockpot over low heat and add the olive oil, onions, carrots and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook for about one minute or until garlic begins to color.
3. Add the zucchini and the green beans, season with salt and pepper, add the turmeric, stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and the water, raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
5. Lower the heat to medium/low and allow the soup to gently boil (uncovered) for about 20 minutes.
6. Add the quinoa and cover for 15 minutes.
7. Remove the cover, add the kale and the canned beans (more water if needed) bring back to a gentle boil and cook for another 5 minutes or just until the kale is tender.