For me, there are two types of weeknight cooking. The first one involves a lengthy amount of time in the kitchen cutting vegetables and preparing sauces. This kind of cooking results in a healthy and sumptuous meal. Cool, right? Not exactly. After making it, eating it, and cleaning up from it, it's basically midnight. The other kind of cooking involves none at all—I either spend money on takeout or create a strange medley of opposing leftovers (this usually happens after a particularly long or lazy day).
Long story short: I haven’t mastered the art of weeknight cooking—it’s either all or nothing. That’s why I was so psyched to come across an easy and delicious recipe from Vincent M. Pedre, MD, who shared his go-to dinner with MindBodyGreen. Oh, and it’s healthy too. Pedre is a gut expert, and this dinner is only made with foods that encourage the good bacteria to flourish, thereby supporting good digestion. Keep scrolling to see his recipe!
"I like to say the gut is your internal garden. And like any garden, it requires careful attention to the health of the soil and the produce you want to grow in it," says Pedre. "In the case of your gut, we're talking about the microbiome—the almost 100 trillion little critters in your digestive system, which can be good or bad for your health. Like weeds, the 'bad bugs' need to be de-weeded while you promote the growth of the 'good guys.' While probiotics help, the types of food you eat are the real marker of success for your digestive system."
According to Pedre, ingredients like gluten, soy, dairy, corn, and added sugars are "all foods that damage the gut lining and feed the unfavorable bugs in your gut’s microbiome." If you stray from these types of food, and instead ingest good-for-the-gut nutrients "you’ll feel the health ramifications throughout your body with improved digestion, mental clarity, clear skin, and boundless energy."
Romaine Pumpkin Seed Salad
In this dish, leafy greens provide nutritious chlorophyll and insoluble fiber, which clears your digestive tract. Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, "are nutritional powerhouses wrapped in a tiny package," containing critical minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to benefit your gut flora. In the dressing, olive oil and apple cider vinegar provide anti-inflammatories and probiotics, respectively. Read Pedre's full salad recipe, below.
1 head of romaine
1 cup dry-roasted pumpkin seeds
Himalayan sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dried basil or herbes de Provence, to taste (optional)
Ground organic turmeric, to taste
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Bragg organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Directions for the Salad
Cut the romaine into one-inch discs perpendicular to its long axis. Turn each disc flat and cut into quarters. Break up and throw the chopped romaine into a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with the dry roasted pumpkin seeds. Add the Himalayan sea salt, ground pepper, and spices to taste. Stir them in. Mix in my "quick-and-dirty" salad dressing (recipe below). Serve and enjoy as part of this Happy Gut meal.
Directions for the Dressing
In a small mason jar, combine the olive oil and cider vinegar. Put the top on the jar, and shake vigorously to mix. Use the amount desired in your salad, then cap the jar and save the extra for another day.