Article by Tessa Funk (Dietician)
The days are getting longer, the weather’s heating up and we are being bombarded with diet culture propaganda urging us to get our “summer bodies” back. Instead of wasting your money on fad diets and unnecessary gut powders and cleanses, focus on the basics.
People are quick to tell us what we need to CUT OUT of our diet in order to be “healthier”. Instead, focus on what you can ADD into your diet to enrich your health! Our gut health has a huge impact on our overall health and is dictated by your gut microbiota or gut flora – the microorganisms (i.e. bacteria) that live in the gastrointestinal tracts. These bacteria assist in a wide range of physiological functions, including:
- Harvesting energy from food
- Protecting against pathogens
- Regulating immune function
- Strengthening the barrier of the gut and intestine
Our gut flora thrives on fibre and other nutrients found in plant-based foods. The #1 way to enhance your gut health is to eat a variety of plant-based foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, nuts, seeds and legumes. With all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are coming back into season in Spring, now is the perfect time to mix-up your meals and see how you can incorporate some different plant-based foods into your weekly food routine!
Recently, I’ve been making big batches of legume-based salads to add to my meals throughout the week to increase my intake of plant-foods and fibre. My new favourite recipe is one that has been going viral recently across social media – Cowboy Caviar. This recipe is rich in plant-based foods and fibre, meaning it is packed full of nutrients to nourish your gut flora and also help keep you feeling fuller for longer! Check out the recipe below!
Time: 15 minutes
For the Salsa:
- 1 can of black beans, drained
- 1 can white beans, drained
- 1 can corn drained
- 2 capsicums, finely diced
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 2 avocados, diced
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced (seeds removed to make it less hot – can also substitute with chilli flakes)
- Fresh coriander, roughly choppedFor the Dressing:
For the Salsa:
- 2 limes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- salt and pepper
- Place all the ingredients for the salsa in a large bowl
- Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine
- Pour dressing over salsa ingredients and mix well to combine
- Serve as a side dish with a source of protein, have as a snack with tortilla chips or enjoy on its own!