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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.

Food Pharmacy, Recipes

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Seed & Bean Bread Recipe

As you know, we’re writing a new book with the publishing company Bonnier Fakta again, and while we were visiting them last time our publisher Cilla snuck us a book called “Bake with Beans” by author Lina Wallentinsson. And wow, what a book! In just a few weeks we have learned that you can add legumes to just about anything: cakes, bread, granola…

Today we’re testing a new recipe from the book. Join along!

Seed loaf with beans & cumin
(1 loaf)

½ cup of dried mung beans
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
¾ cup flaxseed
½ cup almonds
1 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons psyllium husk
2 teaspoons of salt
1 ½ cup cold water
1 tbsp honey
3 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse the mung beans and soak them overnight or at least 12 hours. Pour off, rinse and let them drain well. Grind cumin seeds in a mortar.  Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl, add the beans and stir. Mix the water with the honey and oil and pour over the seed mixture. Stir into a thick dough and press into a bread pan lined with parchment paper. Allow the dough to rest for about 3 hours at room temperature.

Set the oven at 175°C/ 350°F and bake the bread in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour. Keep an eye on it towards the end so that it doesn’t burn. Allow to cool completely before cutting it.

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Food Pharmacy, Recipes

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Today’s outfit: Kohlrabi

Today we have on jeans, a shirt and this season’s kohlrabi in our tummies. Kålrabbi is a cabbage variety that grows pretty much everywhere as it is a very resilient cruciferous vegetable. Originally from europe it is also known as a German turnip. Kohlrabi is a very good environmental friendly choice during this season. With its wonderfully mild and sweet taste, it can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. We can highly recommend to cut it into centimeter thick slices with a few drops of cold pressed olive oil and top it off with some sea salt.

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Soki Choi

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A colorful year using the Five F-method

A brand new year always seems to bring with hopeful intentions of new starts. Almost as if the bad conscious and debt of poor choices on one’s personal health account is wiped clean. It’s perhaps not unusual then that New Year’s fireworks and celebrations are often followed by a spark of resolutions, most of them along the lines of things such as slimming down, training more, reducing stress or being more climate conscious.  

 

I myself am constantly trying to gain new good habits. Despite periodic setbacks, I never give up and I continue trying new methods to stay on track. Currently while writing this post I am actually on a health retreat by the sea in Sri Lanka.  Here I have the time to read books I haven’t had the time for, reflect on thoughts I haven’t had the time for and soak up some sun during my walks on the beach with my good friend who has accompanied me. Those of us who find ourselves in northern hemispheres this time of year are definitely in need of light. Even my trillions of bakteriell sidekicks are cheering for the sunlight. The phrase “practice what you preach” is exactly what I am doing, I am literally applying all the principles that combined research has shown leads to optimal intestinal flora and thus a healthier brain. Although the media’s advice regarding intestinal flora is mostly aimed towards obesity and weight loss, it’s my brain’s health not a couple of pounds here or there that I am interested in. So, what does my brain-optimizing diet look like in Sri Lanka? Well, it’s quite easy really if you just use a science backed concepts which I’ve dubbed The Five F-method:

Full of color: Our microbiome loves colorful, organic and unprocessed vegetables. Believe it or not, I eat over 30 different vegetables everyday, prepared with tasty ayurvedic herbs. Because if you recall; something that characterizes an optimal intestinal flora is, diversity. Perhaps a bit of our hunter gathering ancestry still showing up today- they ate hundreds of different plant species.

Fermented:I certainly do not get my daily fix of kimchi and kombucha here, but instead I get to try other exciting fermented vegetables. Even though kimchi is considered to be a bacterial bomb, all vegetables that have been sufficiently fermented contain useful lactic acid bacteria, which will cause both your “second brain” in the intestine and your primary brain inside the cranium to cheer.

Fiber: Water-soluble fibers feed good bacteria. Therefore, I round off each meal with a plate of fresh fruits consisting of mango, passion fruit, watermelon, oranges, carambole, papaya and other exotic fruits I can’t name. Fruit, despite its sugar content, has been shown to strengthen several beneficial bacteria. So don’t be overly afraid of fruits. Instead, eat them whole and not as juices, that way you’ll get the beneficial fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.

Fisk:Omega-3 that you find in fish has been shown to create new synapses and nerves in the brain and repair stress-related damage to the intestinal flora. However, here on the retreat I’m not actually eating fish. My New Year’s resolution is to try to eat more plant-based. Instead, I’m eating other plant-based oils that feed important bacteria. It is the bacteria that produce anti-inflammatory fatty acids, which have been shown to strengthen the brain.

Fasting: Currently I apply the most recommended form of periodic fasting, 16:8, which means that I skip breakfast, have lunch at 12.30 and dinner at 19.30. Then it can go at least 16h between dinner and the following days lunch. With this I am banking on that I gain a lot of Akkermansia bacteria, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. Periodic fasting reduces oxidative damage and oxidative damage accelerates aging when combined with inflammation. So if you want to live a long time, try to implement periodical fasting in some form into your life.

In addition to the Five F method, I care for my intestinal flora and brain with exercise. In Sri Lanka, it means beach walks and swimming in the Indian Ocean every morning. But then there is the digital stress we have in today’s society, which we know is extremely harmful to the intestinal flora and the brain. Here, this is being managed by the retreat only allowing two hours of digital connection per day. So lovely. It’s forcing me to check my mail concentrated for a while in the morning and then completely shut down. Imagine if I could introduce this rule at home (will definitely try it). In the afternoon it is time for treatment, usually two hours of deep oil massage (after all, it is a retreat). This is when all thoughts dissolve and I fly away from all the incense and aroma to another world. The day is rounded off with a stress-relieving yoga and meditation pass, which grounds all the senses in the body. No wonder my gut bacteria are cheering!

Okay, everyone understands that it is not difficult to feel damn good while at a health resort. But, the question is, how can I keep some of these habits when I am back in the concrete jungle with its everyday metropolitan stress. It will be a tough nut to crack. Because even if my impatient self wants to revolutionize my health “overnight”, a wise voice within me says that it is probably more sustainable to gradually introduce new habits. Which habits or, rather, what health investment should I start the year with? Even if I am a big proponent of exercise, diet and which types of food we eat has proven to be crucial for a healthy intestinal flora. Therefore, the focus will be on the Five F-method combined with daily meditation. Any exercise will just be a bonus. What will be your new habit and health investment this year?

Soki Choi

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Recipes

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Making our own kombucha: Step-by-step guide

Those of you who are regulars here on FP have seen our latest kombucha endeavours. Today, as promised, we’re providing a summary of the entire guide. Here you’ll find a step-by-step to produce your very own kombucha at home!

To make your own kombucha you’ll need:

  • A SCOBY + starter liquid
  • Water
  • Black, green or white tea (tea leaves or bags – without additives which could kill off the bacteria – we used plain black tea for growing the SCOBY and White Peony for the brewing of the kombucha)
  • Sugar
  • A large glass jar (3-4 Liters/Quarts), a piece of cloth and a rubber band
  • A few bottles and labels

The easiest way to make your own kombucha is to start with a ready SCOBY and starter liquid from someone who is already up and running or purchase a starter package online. However, if you’re looking to start from scratch and even grow your own SCOBY then we have the full instructions here.

Once you’ve completed the list above then it’s time to get going with the brewing process. And for that we suggest Soki Choi’s basic recipe, trust us it won’t steer you wrong.

Basic recipe: Kombucha with white tea
(17 cups total)

12 cups of water
4 tablespoons white tea (alternatively 8 tea bags)
1 cup raw sugar
4 cups kombucha (starter liquid)
1 SCOBY

Boil the water then add the tea and sugar and stir. Allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out the tea leaves (or remove the tea bags) and pour into a large, clean glass jar. Add the kombucha (starter liquid) and add the SCOBY. Lay a thin piece of cloth over as a cover and fasten using a rubber band. Leave the glass jar unattended at room temperature for 7-12 days. Take a sample on day 7 (use a clean straw so no dirt ends up in the kombucha) and continue testing every day until you are satisfied with the taste. When the kombucha is ready, keep it in the refrigerator so that the fermentation process stops. If you’d like to know more about this step then click here.

When the homemade kombucha is done you may also choose to add flavor. Don’t worry, flavouring the kombucha isn’t as complicated as it may sound. Just add fruit juice, fruit or berries containing sugar to well-cleaned bottles (1 part fruit juice, fruit or berries to 4 parts kombucha). Leave them at room temperature for 2-4 days. Then place in the fridge to prevent further fermentation. For flavor combination tips and more click here.

And if you want to learn how to make mocktails with kombucha then take a look at Soki Choi’s recipes here!

Lastly, just for the sake of being orderly and making this process less intimidating, here are all the steps 1-4 you’ll need plus mocktail recipes and a little more!

Making Our Own Kombucha: the Preparation Phase (step 1)

Making Our Own Kombucha: Growing a SCOBY (step 2)

Making our own kombucha: basic recipe (step 3)

Making our own kombucha: Adding flavors (step 4)

Kombucha mocktails for New Year’s

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