Category Archives: Fermenting

A Gut Healing Guacamole, introducing Slippery Elm Powder!

Guacamole is one of my favourite foods. This is probably because it’s made up of avocado, which is one of my favourite foods for taste, texture and nutritional talents. Think about these issues you may regularly struggle with, and see how avocado can help.

1. My beans are boring. *add avocado
2. I don’t know what to put on my toast. *avocado
3. My smoothie is not creamy enough. *add avocado
4. My skin is dry and I need to improve my lipid profile. *eat avocado

I could go on, but you get the idea, and I have spoken about the wondrous benefits of avocado before here. Today I’m focusing more on gut health.

Introducing Slippery Elm Powder

For those who are not familiar, slippery elm powder (SEP) is the ground inner bark of the slippery elm tree. It is a mucilage, meaning that it is hydrophilic and is able to trap water where it then swells and becomes like a gel. Once consumed, this gel is broken down by the gut bacteria and has a soothing effect on gastrointestinal inflammation, irritation and for conditions such as diarrhoea, gastritis, reflux, peptic ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. SEP has a traditional usage as a nutritious ‘gruel’ for children, and no wonder given it contains vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium and B vitamins. On top of this, you can also use it topically to soothe wounds, burns or inflamed skin, and to draw out boils or abscesses. Cool! I recommend it in clinic for anything from mastitis (topically) to IBS.

I suppose the catch is that it’s not amazingly palatable. But don’t let that stop you, there are some tricky ways around it. You can try mixing 1/2 a teaspoon with a little warm water to make a paste, then

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Easy Pickled Veg for Fabulous Fermentation Week

Hooray for Fabulous Fermentation Week!! And hooray for Elenore from Earthsprout and Sarah from My New Roots for organising an amazing week of sharing fantastic fermented recipes! Sarah and Elenore are both huge inspirations for me, so make sure you check out their sites for a real treat for the senses. They have cultured (ha!) a group of bloggers to share their love for fermented foods and bacterial goodness, and I’m super excited to be involved!! Sarah has put together an amazing post on kimchee, and Elenore has shown us a perfectly amazing purple sauerkraut.

I adore fermented foods! If you have never tried them before, this is the week for you. Fermented foods are the original probiotic. The process encourages the proliferation of good bacteria, which then bubbles away to produce enzymes, break down phytic acid and proteins, and just generally help us to digest our food.

We should be aiming to eat some of these magical foods every day to maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. Our gut is responsible for 70-80% of our immune system, and if our gut bacteria is out of balance, we start to see problems such as allergies, intolerances, skin problems, IBS, leaky gut and candida, just to name a few. It’s also something to consider if you are a woman who is pregnant, breastfeeding, or considering having a baby as you will pass on your bacterial composition to the baby.

So, get your fermentation on! Some great examples of fermented foods are sauerkraut, kefir, kimchee, kombucha, pickled vegetables, or preserved lemons as I have spoken about before.

Today I have decided to show you a super easy recipe for fermenting vegetables. Eating fermented foods is something that I recommend to patients all the time, but often they can’t take the extra

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Preserved Lemons, take your meal from zero to hero!

I recently came into a lot of lemons. Our neighbours and a work colleague offloaded their goodness onto me, and I am so grateful! There was no way my normal lemon usage (which is quite high) would get through these babies while still at their peak, so preserving was decided. If you have never made preserved lemons before, put it on your ‘must do’ list right now!! Not only is it fun, but you will be left with one of THE best condiments that adds much more than flavour to your food. Preserving and fermenting food in this way encourages the proliferation of good bacteria, which then go crazy producing vitamins, enzymes, breaking down phytic acid and proteins, and helping us to digest properly. Eating this good bacteria also helps to maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. 

And the best thing is you can sneak them into almost anything! Slice them finely and add to sauteed vegetables and stir frys, braises and sauces. Mix through dips or tepenades, rice and couscous dishes, salad dressings, sorbets, curries, and of course anything Moroccan. Hummus on a cracker? Nice. Add a fine slice of preserved lemon – TASTE EXPLOSION! You get the idea. Check out this recipe for Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemon. Note that as there is quite a bit of salt used in the making, anything you add them to will take this on also, so tone down any other salt in the dish.


Preserved Lemons
5 lemons – organic or home grown please as you are eating the skin
3 tablespoons-ish of good quality sea salt – not table salt
Extra lemons for extra juice
A cinnamon stick (optional)
A bay leaf (optional)
A sprinkle of coriander seeds (optional)

Wash the lemons, cut the end

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Meg Thompson

Naturopath & Nutritionist
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