Gluten-Free Probiotic Quinoa Bowls
If you like Asian stir frys you will LOVE this recipe!
What makes this a probiotic bowl? Is gut health really that important? So many loaded questions.
Well as I’ve been saying since 2009, everything begins in the gut and the village surrounding it. Our intestine is an entire ecosystem on its own with over 400 bacterial species most of which are beneficial to the body. But as we become exposed to inflammatory foods, environmental toxins, and day-to-day stress, there will be a tendency for the more harmful bacteria to jump onboard and throw the system off.
Dysbiosis, or a bad ratio of good vs bad bacteria in the intestinal tract is the foundation for a weakened immune system, digestive distress, as well as anxiety and depression. It’s also linked to inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, cancer, AIDS, and numerous other illnesses. For more info on this topic, check out my post, How to build a healthy gut.
Now for the good stuff!
Probiotic means essentially ‘life”. So anytime you’re adding something to your “good gut bugs”, it can be considered a probiotic. This recipe is gluten-free, so right from the get-go we’re lessening the inflammatory response in our body. It contains one of my favorite condiments, teriyaki coconut aminos when I need to pull something together in a pinch. It’s gluten-free (unlike soy sauce) and contains real ingredients with a lower sugar profile that’s in most teriyaki sauces with no additives like caramel color.
The All-Star Ingredients
Bok Choy is a potent, anti-oxidant-rich cruciferous vegetable and deserves only the best ingredients to be paired with.
Mushrooms (of all kinds) are some of the healthiest foods we can eat and have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. According to a study in the Molecular journal of Sciences, mushrooms are proven to possess anti-allergic, anti-cholesterol, and anti-cancer properties. They act as prebiotics to stimulate the growth of the healthy gut microbiome . I used shitake in this recipe, but feel free to use any kind you wish since they all have their benefits. (yes, all the way down to the white buttons). They contain fiber, protein, B vitamins, and even some vitamin D.
Kimchi is a Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables. In this case, fermented cabbage. Eating fermented foods provides the body with beneficial bacteria to help knock out the bad bugs in the gut. These good bacteria not only aid in digestion, but help to synthesize nutrients like vitamin K2, B12 and biotin. They aid in bowel regularity, provide the immune system with a swift boost, and help regulate emotional health since most of the neurotransmitters in the body actually reside in the gut. I try to incorporate fermented foods into my daily diet and that of my children. Maisie loves a Tbsp of sauerkraut with her dinner and Tommy is mostly a yogurt man. (I take what I can get and keep it lower in sugar and higher in protein).
Gluten-Free Probiotic Quinoa Bowls
This recipe works great on its own since quinoa is a complete protein, but organic chicken or tempeh would be great additions if you so choose.
1 cup dried quinoa (rinsed if needed)
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
⅓ cup chopped green onions (plus 1 Tbsp for topping)
1 bunch bok choy
1 ½ cup chopped shitaki mushrooms (or small as is)
1 ½ cup chopped kimchi (reserve about ½ cup liquid from jar and set aside)
½ cup cilantro (plus 1 Tbsp for topping)
½ cup coconut aminos teriyaki sauce
Begin by making the quinoa. Boil 2 cups of water with 1Tbsp grass fed butter or ghee. Add quinoa and cover partially until cooked (15-18 min or according to package directions.
In large wok or frying pan heat the sesame oil. Add the green onions and cook for 1 minute. Add the bok choy and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the mushrooms, and do the same. Add the cooked quinoa and stir until combined. Stir in the kimchi (not the liquid yet) and cilantro. Cook another 2 minutes or so. Finally, stir in the teriyaki sauce and heat until ingredients are well incorporated. Drizzle in the ½ cup liquid from kimchi to taste. Place mixture into a bowl and top with green onions and cilantro. Serve!
Read up on why probiotics are so important!
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The anti-anxiety diet, Ali Miller RD, LD, CDE