Nirvana, Nepal and Probiotics ..?

10 Apr

How long does it take to discover peace, clarity and Nirvana (the spiritual place not the band..)?

A while you say? Well I don’t have the luxury of time on my side to spend several months travelling throughout India, so instead, I have to find my inner zen in the space of 12 days on an amazing yoga/trek in Nepal.

Totally possible right..? We live in a fast paced world where everything is immediate so I have this in the bag. Peace here I come.

And by bag I mean back-pack (yet to be purchased/borrowed/stolen).

I am not going lie, I am defiantly not as prepared as I’d like to be. I leave in 5 days and I can still feel the sting in my arm from my travel needles, the ink is drying on my freshly stamped passport for my entry visa and I have 1 pair of hiking socks to go with my newly purchased shining hiking boots – they ARE out of the box, but well worn as recommended? Defiantly not.

Enter panic mode.

To compensate I have been ‘hiking’ home in my boots from work (yes on a flat surface) looking more like a tradie than seasoned traveler, while hoping to hell that this is enough to wear them in. Fitness is not an issue here, blisters on the other hand may be.

While I might not have the material contents to take yet (hey I can buy them there) I have been preparing my body to ensure I am healthy to decrease every possibility of getting sick while I am there. I am in the middle of a 30 day cleanse (more on that later) so already I have more energy, I have also upped my leg work outs to make sure I will be able to handle all the stair climbing, I am taking my Vital Greens to ensure I am getting extra nutrients along with liquid fish oil and a strong probiotics to increase my good gut bacteria to help ward off baddies.

You may be asking what probiotics are and do I need to take them?

Have you taken antibiotics lately? Are you on the pill? Do you eat badly? Do you have digestive or bowel issues? Then yes, maybe you do. In order for us to maintain a healthy digestive system we need to ensure we have enough bacteria (the good kind) as they play a very important role such as:

  • Improving your digestion;
  • Producing vitamins;
  • Relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS);
  • Detoxifying chemicals;
  • Producing nutrients to repair the gut lining;
  • Increasing resistance to infections and regulating the immune function;
  • Preventing the overgrowth of bad bacteria.

While there are plenty of great over the counter (or more correctly – in the fridge) brands of probiotic supplements you can take (you can read further about them here http://innerhealth.com.au/) let’s not forget the age old saying ‘let food be your medicine’.

Although yogurt is the most commonly published probiotic food, there are a whole lot of other anti-inflammatory fermented foods out there which will give you the same benefit and have been used all around the world for thousands of years.

And I am also sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but sugar kills the probiotic in most yogurts, unless you get natural plain organic yogurt and then add your fruit/honey to it after – much better for you and your digestive system.

Other food to include in your diet to help encourage good gut flora includes: Tempeh, Kimchi, Natto (a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. It contains the bacterial strain bacillus subtilis used to be known as bacillus antto) and Miso.  (http://theconsciouslife.com/top-probiotic-foods.htm for more info).

Miso is now available to buy in most supermarkets and has additional health benefits of supplying good amounts of Vitamin B12, zinc, copper and manganese.

Like most probiotic foods, miso should only be added to soups or other dishes just before they are removed from the heat. This is to preserve the live koji cultures in miso and also to retain as much nutrients as possible.

Try this recipe which includes both miso and tempeh for some good gut bacteria (and delish) goodness!

Vegetable Curry with Miso and organic Tempeh   

350 g broccoli

350 g pumpkin

250 g sweet potato

3 celery stalks

Handful of long beans

1 onion chopped

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 carrot

1 heaped tablespoon miso

1 lime

350 g organic tempeh or firm tofu

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoon mirin (this is a Japanese sweet rice wine. If you need a substitute you need a combination of acidic and sweet flavors. Add between 1 and 2 tablespoons of sugar to 1/2 cup of white wine, vermouth, or dry sherry to replace 1/2 cup of mirin.)

1 handful coriander or flat-leaf parsley to serve.

Sauté: grated ginger, chopped garlic, onion, celery and carrot in a large pot/pan for 4 minutes.

Add: turmeric and cinnamon and cook for another minute then add 2 cups water (add more water throughout cooking as needed.)

Cook: on a low head slowly cook for 30 minutes.

Add: broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato and cook for another 20 minutes or until tender.

Make: a paste with the Miso (with water until it dissolves) and add to curry, followed by adding the herbs, lime juice and mirin.

Just before you are ready to serve curry cook the tempeh or tofu separately then add to curry.

 

 

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