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The Food Guru

Inner balance

As columnist Eve Kalinik publishes Be Good To Your Gut, her take on finding balance through taking care of your digestive system, she shares tips and recipes from the book.

Mood, immunity, hormones and stress – all are influenced by what you eat and the resulting health of your digestive system. The key to achieving a healthier balance is to work with your inner ecosystem, which is why I was inspired to write my new book Be Good To Your Gut. I don’t believe that this should be in the form of faddy diets or restriction, but an all-inclusive approach that celebrates everything about food and gives you the techniques and the recipe inspiration to put this into practice.

Busy lifestyles mean we rarely take the time to sit and chew thoroughly. We need to chew in order to activate digestive enzymes that break down food into smaller components that can be properly absorbed. So if you are constantly complaining of bloating and naming specific foods as the culprits, you may want to slow down a little first and see if that helps.

Stress has huge ramifications for the gut and has been linked strongly with conditions such as IBS. Stress hormones such as cortisol can have a negative impact on how well the gut is functioning, so managing daily stress is a must when eating meals. Enjoy without distraction, not while furiously tapping out an email, and use meal times as pockets of recovery throughout the day. Sit and be present with your plate. The real work on getting your gut to the best place possible naturally begins with what you feed it, so here are a few recipes from my book to get you started.


Ingredients (makes approximately 7-8 servings)

130g activated hazelnuts
45g activated pecans
65g activated cashews
30g activated pumpkin seeds
30g activated sunflower seeds
20g coconut chips
25g cacao nibs
2½ tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
3 generous pinches mineral-rich salt

Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas mark 2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Place the hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut chips and cacao nibs in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds to break down a bit into smaller chunks, but not too fine. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the honey, coconut oil, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel seeds, vanilla and salt. Mix thoroughly until well coated. Transfer to the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, then give it a bit of a stir and pop back in for a further 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator at 41°C for 24 hours.
Store in a sealed glass jar in a cool dry place or in the fridge.


Ingredients (serves 2)

280g-325g non-GMO organic plain tofu
65g cashews
20g desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon unsweetened peanut butter
Pinch mineral-rich salt
150g coconut flour
6 tablespoons coconut aminos

Satay sauce
1 tablespoon unsweetened peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut yogurt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or you can substitute tamari)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Prepare the tofu by patting dry and cutting in half lengthwise. Then cut each half into three and finally cut each of these sections in half diagonally, making 12 triangles in total.

To make the coconut crumb, put the cashews, coconut, peanut butter and a pinch of salt into a food processor and pulse until you get fine, even crumbs. Put this mixture to one side.

Next, prepare your dipping stations. Put 6 tablespoons of coconut flour on a large plate. Put the coconut aminos in a bowl. On a another large plate, put 6 tablespoons of coconut flour and 6 tablespoons of the coconut crumb and stir to combine evenly. Put your tofu pieces through the dipping stations: first into the straight coconut flour to coat evenly, then into the aminos, turning to get all of the tofu covered, and finally into the coconut crumb mix, making sure that the pieces are thoroughly coated. Place them on the baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes and then turn carefully and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
While the tofu is cooking, mix together all of the ingredients for the satay sauce in a small bowl. Divide the tofu dippers between two plates and serve with the sauce.


Ingredients (makes approximately 4 burgers)

½ small bulb fennel, trimmed and outer layer removed, cut into chunks
1 small beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks
¼ red onion, peeled and cut into chunks
50g ground almonds
25g coconut flour
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
25g walnuts (ideally activated)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon mild smoked paprika
½ teaspoon mineral-rich salt
Generous pinch black pepper
1 organic egg, beaten
1 avocado
Pinch mineral-rich salt

Mushroom ‘buns’

4 large portobello mushroom cups
Melted ghee or organic unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Generous handful baby spinach leaves

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6 and line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Prepare the mushroom buns by lightly brushing with melted ghee or butter, then place them on one of the trays.

Put the fennel, beetroot and onion into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground almonds, coconut flour, ground flaxseed, walnuts, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper into the processor. Add the egg and process until fully combined.

Take small tennis ball-sized pieces of the beetroot mixture and flatten into burgers. Place them on the other lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. After about 15 minutes, put the mushrooms into the oven, so they have 20 minutes to bake. Meanwhile, remove the flesh from the avocado and, using a fork, mash together with a generous pinch of salt.

To assemble, remove the mushroom buns from the oven and sprinkle each of them with ½ teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves. Divide the avocado mash among the mushroom ‘buns’ and then place a few baby spinach leaves on each bun. Finally, place the burgers on top.

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