Weekly Ways to Replenish Yourself
The kitchen is my meditation room. There I make the food that will allow me to thrive, nourish my family's health, delight friends, and hopefully inspire you to try the same. The Archives section of Replenish PDX houses the newsletters where I write about recipes, nutrition information and the wellspring of reflections that come from those kitchen meditations. With these words, my hope is to bring you deeper into the connection with food your body and your understanding of how you feel and function. This is where you get to take it all home.
root cause rescue remedy
Posted on: July 21st 2016
Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?
Either you shouted a big ‘yes’ or you’re ready to hit the delete button and throw this email in the trashcan before reading on.
I’ll confess, if you were ready to toss this newsletter to the cyber Oscar the Grouch on your desktop, you’re not alone. I’m not usually one to count my chickens. I may give them a nod on occasion, but not with any pomp or circumstance, publication or ceremony.
But today is different.
Especially on the heels of the last month where I’ve been sharing some of my deep gratitude for the simple pleasures in life before my big birthday this past weekend…
and just this past Tuesday, on another momentous day (the anniversary of my husband’s passing), when I drove around the island of Maui with my family, with such a sense of gratitude.
So I decided to document it, share it, and invite you – even if just this once – to stop in your tracks, right now, and think of just one thing you are grateful for.
Don’t force it, let it just come!
There’s likely one thing that comes to mind.
Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting positive effects in a person’s life. It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, promote happiness and well-being, and spur acts of helpfulness, generosity, and cooperation.
Additionally, gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. Whether it stems from the acceptance of another’s kindness, an appreciation for the majesty of nature, or a recognition of the gifts in one’s own life, gratitude enhances nearly all spheres of human experience.
Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2013
Down below I’ll share what spurred my cry for gratitude. But before I do, I want to express my gratitude for the gut loving fun we’ve had together through the dog days of summer.
We’ve traversed the twists and turns of the small intestine with one ingredient after another for weeks now, exploring my favorite superfoods for root cause remedy.
Today’s no different as I have a new ingredient to reveal…
This week’s summer lovin’ ingredient gets to the root of it:
and might just cure your coffee cravings
Chicory contains inulin which is often used in the food industry to create a smooth and creamy texture in processed foods (think yogurt, ice cream, salad dressings and the like).
But wait. . . don’t let the words “processed foods” send you screaming.
You know full well I’m not suggesting that will do your body good!
It’s a food additive sometimes, yes, but it’s not all bad. In fact, chicory can be quite good for you and your microbiome.
And, if you’ve ever tried to kick your coffee habit and enjoyed coffee alternatives like Teechino or Dandy Blend, chicory root is a key ingredient in those blends.
In fact, chicory root has been used throughout history as a coffee subsitute (find out how to make your own to complement or kick that morning cup of joe with my favorite recipe below).
There’s one other reason you might know chicory.
Ever eaten endive? It’s that elegant edible that’s so delicate it’s sometimes wrapped in paper at the market. They’re one in the same!
Those dainty leaves are what you’ll find above ground while, surprise, the gnarly chicory root is below ground.
But let’s get back to why chicory root is our gut lovin’ ingredient of the day and why both you and I will be grateful that it is.
The gut lovin’ superpowers of chicory are all about the inulin.
This soluble fiber (yup, it’s the “f” word again!) is a prebiotic food. This means that it’s not food for you, per say, but instead food your your good gut bacteria (which ultimately makes it good for you!).
When you feed the good bacteria in your gut the food they need, they produce by-products called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
Research shows that increased SCFA’s help reduce the risk of colon cancer and may help manage the symptoms of IBD and IBS. (Take note, when we run stool assessments for clients, a common occurrence is low SCFAs and most of us likely need more!).
Inulin is also liver loving in that it increases the flow of bile which helps break down fats more quickly and efficiently. As with our other soluble fiber favorites, it helps bulk stool and relieves constipation. (Sigh of gratitude.)
There’s also some research supporting chicory root’s ability to destroy harmful organisms like fungus and bacteria.
Other plants like onions, asparagus, bananas, onions, and garlic also have inulin (so eat those too!) but Jerusalem artichokes and chicory contain the highest concentrations of this precious prebiotic.
Before you go crazy with chicory, take note that it’s often called “the stealth fiber”. It doesn’t have the taste or texture of other fiber and it can be easy to consume too much leading to digestive distress like gas, bloating, and cramps.
This is mostly a concern with those processed foods I mentioned at the start but a worthy consideration for coffee alternatives, even the homemade variety. As always, you’ll want to start low and go slow.
Last but not least, chicory root is related to ragweed, marigolds, and daisies. If you have a known allergy to these plants, you may react to this root so use caution if you try it, or check with your doctor before getting ready with this root.
Your gut lovin’ homework?
Check out chicory root! Whether you bring it in because it’s food for your microbiome or you’re just craving a cuppa without the caffeine, this root is worth digging up.
P.S. My mind and body are most definitely still on summer lovin’ (remember, I’m in Hawaii and wearing my bikini while I work!), so I want my chicory chilly right now but I know you might be in a part of the world where a warm mug in the morning sounds about right.
I’ve got two chicory recipes favorites below that are sure to please whether you’re ready to warm up or need to keep cool.
P.P.S. What am I grateful for today?
- wearing my bikini while I work (yeah)
- simple days with my family and oldest friend (who lives here)
- sand and sun and the beauty of Hawaii
Don’t forget, now it’s your turn! Hop on over to the Replenish PDX Facebook page and give a shout out for what you’re grateful for today.
Life-Changing Chicory Coffee
While I won’t promise this is a perfect replication of your morning cup of coffee, chicory root paired with dandelion creates a close comparison.
Shhh… don’t tell ‘joe’ but you just might like it more. I find it has the bitter taste we often crave from coffee but with more sweet undertones.
The carob chips or cocoa nibs are most definitely optional here but they do make this mug even more magnificent!
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbspn roasted chicory root
- 1 Tbspn roasted dandelion root
- 1 tspn roasted carob chips or cocoa nibs, optional
- sprinkle of cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
- full fat coconut milk
- stevia or honey, to taste
Place water, chicory root, dandelion root, carob chips, and cinnamon in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 5 -7 minutes.
Pour the liquid through a mesh strainer into a jar or cups and serve with coconut milk and sweetener of choice.
You can compost the roots or make a second a brew. It won’t be as strong but will still pack a punch. You can also make a larger batch, store it in the fridge in a mason jar and and re-heat it whenever you’re ready for that cup of warming goodness.
Gut Lovin’ Chicory Chiller
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled
- 4 cups water
- 4 Tbspn roasted chicory root
- 4 Tbspn roasted dandelion root
- 2-4 drops liquid stevia
- dash of vanilla extract
- 5-20 ice cubes
- raw unsweetened cacao nibs, optional
- ground cinnamon, optional
- whipped coconut cream, optional (recipe below)
Heat water, chicory, and dandelion root in a small pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain and refrigerate for an hour or two (or even better, pour into an ice-cube tray and freeze overnight).
Open your can of coconut milk and drain off the water. Add the coconut cream to your blender. Add stevia, vanilla, ice cubes, and your brewed chicory and dandelion “coffee”.
If you made ice cubes from your “coffee”, omit the additional ice cubes and add a little water to help it blend.
Blend until frothy, adding more liquid when necessary. Add cacao nibs if desired.
Serve in a chilled glass and top with whipped coconut cream (below) and ground cinnamon.
Whipped Coconut Cream
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled (again, only use the cream and save the coconut water for later)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-4 drops liquid stevia
Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat all ingredients together or blend in a food processor or blender until fluffy (like whipped cream!)
As always, remember that we’re each unique and we all respond differently to new ingredients. While introducing more prebiotics to your diet, be sure to start low and go slow. If you have a delicate GI and have any concerns, please consult your dedicated healthcare provider.