This blog is about gut flora, good bacteria, scientific research, and anti-inflammatory food. It’s a prescription for anyone who wishes to eat their way to a healthier life. It’s impossible to overdose on this course of treatment.

Recipes, Therese Elgquist

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Black Bean Veggie Patties with Golden Pumpkin Mash and Sprout Salad

This recipe is like a modern version of the traditional Swedish dish of meatballs and brown cream sauce with mashed potatoes. The potatoes have been upgraded to mashed pumpkin with turmeric, and the meatballs to black bean patties with mushrooms. The sauce is gone. Served with a crispy sprout and red cabbage salad!

If you really like the taste of Sweden, you can add lingonberry jam. In that case, add 1/2 cup frozen lingonberries to a saucepan on low heat. Then add 1 Tbsp honey and mash until you have the perfect consistency.

Black Bean Veggie Patties with Golden Pumpkin Mash and Sprout Salad
(serves 4)

Black bean veggie patties:
1 chia egg*
4 Tbsp water
1 can soaked and cooked black beans (approximately 15 oz or 500 grams)
2 Tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
7 oz (or 200 grams) mushrooms, for example portobello
1 cup oat flakes
2 Tbsp dried ramson
a pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pumpkin mash:
1 butternut squash
3 Tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
juice from 1 lime
1 Tbsp grated fresh turmeric root (or 1 tsp ground turmeric)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sprout salad:
Mixed sprouts (for example mung bean, alfalfa, beetroot, or pea sprouts)
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1 Tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
1-2 avocados

Let’s start with the black bean veggie patties. Preheat the oven to 212° Fahrenheit (or 100° Celsius). Drain and rinse the canned beans and cut the mushrooms into wedges. Mix 2/3 of the beans, 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil, mushrooms, oat flakes, ramson and cayenne pepper in a high speed blender, until it reaches the perfect consistency (not too smooth and not too chunky).

Finally, time for the chia egg! Add chia seeds to a small bowl and top with boiling water. Stir and let rest for 5 minutes. It should be gel-like and thick, similar to a raw egg.

Add the rest of the beans and the chia egg to the veggie mixture. Allow the mixture to swell for 20 minutes.

Form and shape the veggie mixture into mini patties. Place them on a baking tray brushed with olive oil. Bake in the middle of the oven for around 50 minutes, until crispy and warm. Turn them half way through cooking.

And now, time for the pumpkin mash.

Peel and cut the butternut squash into cubes, and steam the cubes in a steamer basket on the stove. Add an inch or two of water to your saucepan and insert the steamer basket, then add the butternut squash (the surface of the water should be under the basket). If you don’t have a steamer basket you can a) use a strainer or b) bring a little bit of water to a boil, carefully add the chunks of butternut squash, cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down to low (to avoid nutrient loss, use the least amount of water).

Add turmeric, rapeseed oil and lime and use an immersion blender to puree the chunks to the consistency of your liking. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Last but not least, shred the red cabbage using a mandoline slicer and mix with sprouts and avocado. If you are really hungry, add some cooked quinoa, sorghum or wild rice.

What Is Ramson?
Allium ursinum, also known as ramson or wild garlic, is a plant native to Europe and Northern Asia, related to garlic and chives. The recipe calls for ramson, but if you don’t have ramson you don’t have ramson. Solution: mix 1/2 garlic clove and a herb of your choice and add to the veggie patties.


And What About Chia Eggs?
Chia eggs are an easy vegan egg substitute. When mixed with hot water, the chia seeds thicken and become gel-like, similar to a raw egg. They add binding and structure to recipes, and are also useful for those with egg allergies. Also, chia seeds contain massive amounts of nutrients and are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

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Food Pharmacy

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With A Little Help From First Aid Kit

This is hands down the coolest thing we did last week:

We went to see First Aid Kit live here in Stockholm. This picture doesn’t do it justice though, because you can’t see Sebastian. Have a look at this one instead:

Here he is! Our very own Renaissance man and incredible podcast producer, Sebastian! Leftmost, close to Johanna, with lots of rattling percussion instruments in his hands.

We were completely blown away by their talent. And afterwards, we strutted around backstage, proud as two peacocks. We thanked Klara and Johanna five thousand times for recording a song for our latest podcast episode, talked about Crohn’s disease and bacteria with their drummer, chatted about diabetes and celiac disease with Klara and Johanna’s phenomenal mom, and exchanged hugs with Sebastian and Katja.

And, just so you know, we are willing and allowed to talk about things other than intestinal flora. It just randomly happened that way.

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Food Pharmacy

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Food Pharmacy Prescribes: Lower the Heat

We have always enjoyed eating warm food. And we mean really warm food: roasted, stir-fried, deep-fried, and grilled. Then we met Professor Stig, and we learned that throwing ourselves at blackened vegetables straight off the grill is probably not the best idea.

When we first heard about the benefits of raw food, we thought it was because food loses its nutrients if you heat it up. In order to solve the problem, we added some extra carrot and celery sticks to our plate next to the crustiest corner piece of our favorite lasagna. But after meeting Stig, we learned that there are other reasons for heating your food more gently, namely: toxins. There are about a hundred varieties of these toxins, but the better known among them is probably acrylamide. Acrylamide occurs in foods cooked at very high temperatures, for example potato chips, coffee (especially dark roast), french fries and crispbread.

High-heat cooking of food induces the formation of so called advanced glycation end products (AGE). AGEs are harmful compounds, formed when food is cooked to the point where a protein molecule bonds with a sugar molecule. Scientists call this glycation. It’s also common for a protein to bond with a fat, which is called lipoxidation, and the end products being called advanced lipoxidation products (ALE).

The intake of AGE and ALE play an important role in the causation of chronic diseases associated with underlying inflammation. Professor Stig says that to eat AGE and ALE is like smoking with your stomach. The good bacteria in the colon sink into a dark pit of despair. The bad bacteria throw up a high-five.

Does this mean we all have to become full-time raw-fooders? Not at all. Of course, the good bacteria in the colon will be delighted to encounter some raw vegetables, but you’ll be heading in the right direction if you just lower the temperature.

In the ideal world the following rules apply:

  1. Always try to avoid intense heat, as in grilling and sautéing.
  2. Try to keep the oven’s heat at under 212°F (100°C), even when preparing fish, poultry, and meat dishes.
  3. As most of us know, poultry needs to reach an inner temperature of at least 158°F (70°C). Meat, however, only needs heat between 122°F (50°C) for rare and 212°F (70°C) for well done; most fish will be at its best around 133°F (56°C).

And in the real word we’ll do as we usually do: as best we can.

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The Story of the Anti-Inflammatory Root Vegetable Soup

Once upon a time, there was a celery root and a rutabaga. Or actually, half a celery root and half a rutabaga. The two vegetables were out walking when, all of a sudden, they bumped into a book about anti-inflammatory eating.

The root vegetables looked at each other.

– What the heck is this? said the rutabaga to the celery root, suspiciously.

– I don’t know but i’m intrigued, the celery root answered cool as a cucumber.

The root vegetables opened the book and began to read. They soon realized that they could help strengthen the good bacteria in the colon and prevent chronic inflammation, and quickly decided to sink their teeth into the project.

– Listen up! the half celery root and the half rutabaga shouted to four carrots, one yellow onion, a garlic clove, 2 Tbsp vegetable broth and 1 Tbsp parsley.

The rutabaga was full of beans.

– This book is my cup of tea, said the rutabaga to the other vegetables. Let’s go bananas and jump into 6 cups of boiling water!

When the vegetables had stayed in the gently boiling water for about ten minutes, a box of chickpea pasta showed up and asked what they were up to.

– Get in and stay for five minutes! said the celery root.

And, that’s the way the cookie crumbles! We hope you enjoyed the story of the anti-inflammatory root vegetable soup, loved by the gut flora and the whole family.

And then the good bacteria in the colon lived happily ever after.

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