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It’s summertime for sure. And I know what you’re thinking. Beach, sunshine, relaxation and fun. Am I right?
Well, since you’ve got your mind on feeling good and soaking up the sun over the next few months, I wanted to share a summertime gut-healthy recipe with you. Why? Well, because during the summer months I tend to receive numerous emails from folks with belly aches, bloating and other health issues that spring up from eating lots of summertime meals that aren’t so gut-friendly. So, today I’m sharing a recipe that’s been on my agenda every week the last 4 weeks. It’s that good. Yes I’ve eaten this 4x already before sharing it and the taste gets better n’ better every time. It’s super easy to make- takes less than 20 minutes to whip up and can be served for a crowd as an appetizer or main course.
So, get your lettuce leaves ready, I’ve gotta knock-your-socks-off (or should I say flip-flops, hehe) recipe for you today.
Here we go….
The colors of this recipe are enough to make you wanna dive in head first. My best advice is to buy Bibb lettuce, as shown in these pictures, because it’s soft and fluffy and it’s perfect for making lettuce ‘cups’ or wraps. If you can’t find Bibb lettuce, you can use romaine lettuce, however, note that those leaves will be more narrow and more difficult to roll up. Ask your local food store to carry Bibb lettuce for you- it’s worth it!
This recipe is full of fluffy protein-packed quinoa, red cabbage, apple, parsley,fresh lemon zest and coconut flakes (OMG yum flavor) with a sprinkle of either toasted buckwheat (which is gluten-free) or sunflower seeds-your choice! It’s ideal for those lazy summer days when you don’t want to cook; making quinoa takes about 15 minutes or you can use any gluten-free whole grain that’s already cooked and stored in your fridge. As I mention in my cookbook, make some gluten-free whole grains on a Sunday night and store them in your fridge to easily serve all week long. Super duper simple and easy, plus it will save you time. And if you’re in the mood to serve this chilled or at room temperature, that’s the way to do it!
So, backing up to the whole gut-health.
I grew up like every other child in the 1980’s eating a few processed foods and nothing organic….all while struggling with digestive issues. I suffered from IBS for the first 20 years of my life until I realized that many of the foods (gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, corn, etc.) I was eating were triggering my debilitating symptoms. I also suffered from awful sinus issues, seasonal allergies, reoccurring colds and on-and-off exhaustion. Little did I know all of these symptoms were connected to my microbiome. Ya see, each of us has a unique eco-system in our bodies, which is also known as the ‘microbiome’ that houses more than 100 trillion microbes. What many of us don’t realize is that the number of microbes we have in our body outnumbers the amount of cells we have. Fascinating, isn’t it?
So, what is the job of these microbes and how can they keep us healthy, help us fight inflammation and lose excess inflammatory weight that’s hanging on to our belly’s and hips? Most of these microbes are located in our gut helping us detox on a daily basis from every toxin we are bombarded with (from tap water to chemicals in our shampoo and pesticides in fruits and veggies as well as antibiotics and growth hormones in non-organic conventional animal products). These little but mighty microbes support our immune system and keep our weight in a healthy range. As many of you know, we have a mix of good and bad bacteria in our guts and it’s important to keep our gut flora balanced so that these microbes can help control inflammation in our body and keep us from gaining weight. A healthy and balanced microbiome helps fight off inflammation, unwanted inflammatory symptoms such as acne, eczema, bloating, chronic illness and more.
So, to get your microbiome in tip top shape for that bikini or shorts (for those men reading), it’s important to focus on a high-quality probiotic such as Align as well as eating clean and focusing on whole, one-ingredient foods as I talk about in my book, Eating Clean. Don’t let digestive imbalance get in the way of enjoying everything that summer has to offer. Align Probiotic can help you Live 24/7*; I’ve used Align probiotics for a few years now and my sister loves taking them as well. All probiotics are not created equal. Align is the only probiotic supplement that contains Bifantis – a unique patented strain of beneficial bacteria that helps promote and support a healthy digestive system.** Align doesn’t need to be refrigerated, making it the perfect probiotic supplement to pack for all your travels this summer. Here’s a fun coupon for you that you can use to try out Align for yourself this summer and a few videos to help you navigate your gut-healthy summer.
That’s why I created this summer finger-food recipe that you can serve over and over again. Have fun, get creative- add orange zest n’ juice in place of the lemon, or add cilantro in place of the parsley, or add some slivered almonds in place of the toasted buckwheat. These wraps are fun and playful and I want you to see how fun eating clean can be, all while keeping your microbiome healthy and happy. Dig in, wrap it up and take a bite. I know you’re gunna love these. Have a beautiful week!
Try to buy these ingredients organic. Here’s why I eat organic: The Benefits of Eating Organic.
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple, diced
- 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
- 1 tsp. shredded coconut
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves gently removed
- 1 Tbsp. toasted buckwheat (or sunflower seeds), optional
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside; fluff with a fork and cover.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, avocado, apple, cabbage, red onion, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut, sea salt and pepper. Toss to combine and transfer to the Bibb lettuce leaves. Garnish with toasted buckwheat or sunflower seeds.
- Serve immediately.
*Fortifies your digestive system with healthy bacteria 24/7 with continued daily use.
** Among doctors who recommended a brand of probiotic in a AlphaImpactRx 2015 survey.
This post was sponsored by Align probiotics. All opinions are my own.