Are you constantly hungry, dealing with cravings, experiencing various aches and pains and ready for a nap after eating? Do you want to shrink your waist line and feel better? Heck, do you really just want to feel better and lose weight as an afterthought?
Then it’s time to focus on your gut. And I don’t mean what might be adding inches to your waistline. I literally mean your gut – your intestines. You would think that it might be some other more worthy organ like the liver or the kidneys that has that dubious honor of making us feel better but it turns out it really is in your intestines – your colon to be specific and the good gut bacteria that lives there that we want to nurture.
Evidence supports that an unhealthy gut microbiome may contribute to obesity.
In other words, you have to feed your gut to lose your gut. But feed it the right foods.
Restoring the gut biome will help you lose weight. All your gut needs is more resistant starch. Eating resistant starch will help you body burn its stores of body fat.
As mentioned in my last blog, resistant starch (RS) is a type of fiber that resists digestion. Eating a small amount of resistant starch with every meal will not only keep you fuller longer, but it will prevent some of the starch in your meal from being digested.
It’s like eating free calories while also fortifying your body.
This is a painless way to improve your health and it doesn’t come in a pill or increase your food budget.
Eating foods high in resistant starch nourishes the healthy bacteria in your colon too. When the bacteria digests RS it makes a special compound called butyrate. Butyrate is like a soldier in your body, fighting cancer, making your colon wall stronger and reducing inflammation. See this great presentation from a Denver cardiology group about resistant starch if you want to learn more.
The best sources of RS are found in raw oats, legumes, green bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, pasta and grains; and nuts, especially cashews. Heat, processing and ripening reduce the amount of resistant starch in foods. That’s why cooked and cooled pasta, potatoes, rice and beans have larger amounts of resistant starch than when they are eaten hot. That’s why a small, hot baked potato has .17 gms of resistant starch and a roasted and cooled one has 19.2 gms. It’s also why preparing your own dried beans is far better than buying canned. And if you want a little RS boost, buy Great Northern beans instead of red beans. With summer on its way, I’m thinking lots of cold salads: bean salad, quinoa salad and even potato salad. Here’s a list of foods from freetheanimal.com.
There are no dietary guidelines on the amount of resistant starch to consume but one source suggests that getting about 20 gms daily can help with weight loss, reduce the risk of colon cancer and improve post-meal blood sugars.
Here’s how you can make this work
- Prepare your dried beans in bulk and freeze them. They freeze well and dried beans are cheap and a great topper for salads, addition to soups or stand alone for a three bean salad.
- Prepare your oatmeal for the week. Use old-fashioned or steel-cut oats(less processing) and cook just enough to keep the oats al dente and store in the fridge to boost the RS.
- Buy green bananas and store in the fridge to prevent ripening. A small ripe banana has only .3 gms of RS, while a green one has 4.7
- Mix in 1/2 green banana into a half cup of cooked and cooled oatmeal and top with 2 tbsp of cashews.
- Mix ¼ cup raw old-fashioned oats into ½ cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt. Add cinnamon, ½ green banana and 2 tbsp cashews. Greek yogurt has about 5 times more protein than regular yogurt. Buying flavored or fruited yogurt will boost the sugar. It is much healthier to buy plain and add a tsp of sugar or honey than to buy the presweetened ones at the store. Mix the oats in the Greek yogurt and let sit for 15 minutes to soften.
- Make muffins. This recipe is high in fiber and protein and uses oat flour. You could try substituting ¼ cup of the oat flour with Bob’s Red Mill potato starch to really boost the RS.
- Make sandwiches using bread made from 100% whole wheat or oat. Look under the list of ingredients. The first word must read “whole” or “100% whole”. Instead of chips, have a cold potato salad. Make the potato salad leaving the skins on and cook them just until they are al dente and eat it chilled.
- Top a salad with ½ cup beans and a tbsp of cashews. Cashews have 3 times more RS than peanuts.
- Make bean soups. Bob’s Red Mill makes a bean and grain mix with a delicious recipe on the back of the bag.
- Cold salads for sides. Try these salads from Nutrition Action and remember to cook the grains just until al dente.
- Experiment with other grains – but keep them al dente. Try these recipes from Nutrition Action.
I plan on making a vichyssoise soup, a cold soup made with potatoes and leeks, next week and will share the recipe once I make it.
- Fruit crisp. Use fresh or frozen fruit and top with raw rolled oats mixed with butter and brown sugar. To boost the RS you could toss the fruit with a tbsp of potato starch.
- No bake cookies. These cookies contain over 2 cups of raw oats and satisfy the chocolate craving with the cocoa powder. I’m going to modify a recipe to make them healthier. Look for the recipe in the near future.
Desserts can also have RS if you either substitute a portion of the flour with potato starch or use raw oats. I like making fruit crisps for dessert because it checks the fruit box and using raw oats boosts the fiber and RS. Being mindful of portion size, you can still have a dessert and lose weight if you use the right ingredients and are mindful of your food choices throughout the day.
RS is huge for your health
I believe RS will be a game changer for your health. Research supports that it improves cholesterol, blood sugars, insulin resistance and reduces the risk of colon cancer. It’s found naturally in some foods and can be enhanced with proper preparation. And cooking these foods in bulk can save time in the kitchen and boost RS by letting them cool in your fridge. Other countries are already on the bandwagon adding it to breads, crackers and cereals. It’s a no brainer and it’s a gut changer. You will feel better. Do you have the guts to try eating more of it?