I was listening to a podcast interview with Dhru Purohit and Dr. Deanna Minich recently and I wanted to share it with you in case you want to listen to it. Here’s the YouTube link and the podcast link . It’s called “The #1 thing you can do to reduce inflammation & diversify your microbiome”.
Any ideas what the “#1 thing you can do to reduce inflammation and diversify your microbiome is”? Take a guess or several.
- It’s not cut out sugar, although that’s a good one.
- It’s not eat plant-based, although that’s closer.
- It’s not stop eating gluten forever, although for some this is entirely necessary.
In the almost 2 hour interview, they get into lots of different topics but it all boils down to diversity. Specifically, increasing diversity in your diet by eating a greater variety of plant foods. Diversity has to do with the “what” of what you eat or the quality.
Dr. Minich spoke at length in the interview about why variety is more important than quantity. She also talked about “dietary micro-rotation” to increase diversity or the idea that you can make simple substitutions to increase the amount of diversity in your diet. Diverse diets feed your microbiome differently than eating the same foods over and over and over.
In short, adding diversity to your diet increases the diversity of your microbiome which enhances gut health and total body health.
Adding diversity to your diet is a pretty simple AND easy thing to do.
Let me give you some ideas from the podcast, my own life, and my work with hundreds of clients:
- Eat real food.
- When shopping, buy the purple carrots (or the yellow or red carrots). Try the dragonfruit or lychees.
- Add in spices and herbs to foods. Dried or fresh.
- Spice blends like garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, and even pumpkin spice can add variety.
- Teas and herbal tea blends are helpful to mix things up. Love green tea? Try sencha or matcha or gunpowder.
- When shopping, buy several types of apples instead of just one.
- Greens powders, veggie powders, herb powders, and mixed fruit powders can also add some extra diversity to your diet but they shouldn’t be your primary source of fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices. These work well in smoothies or elixirs.
- My personal favorite is to eat seasonally by shopping at a local farmers market or get a CSA (community supported agriculture) share from a local organic farm. The farmers grow so many different varieties of veggies and even fruits and other foods than what is sold in a grocery store. They have freedom to play around with different varieties because they already have people to take them home and eat them!
Check out the spread from our CSA that I picked up this morning. Note that it’s February in upstate NY and not a whole lot grows here in the winter. THIS is impressive. Also note that there are 4 different shares in the photo (from Full Plate Farm Collective ) including a veggie share, fruit share (there were a lot more apples in the box than in the photo), yogurt share, and cheese share. The locally grown pinto beans came in the veggie share and the juices are local as well and were in the fruit share. When you have all of this amazing food, you figure out ways to use it and your family gets used to a variety of tastes, textures, and flavors (yes, even little kids).
ACTION: What is ONE thing you can do today to increase the diversity in your diet? Go do it.
Another way to increase the diversity in your diet is to make soup.
Warm up with a nourishing bowl of soup. Toss in as many different colored vegetables as you can and make a double batch and freeze in right-size portions for you and your family to help out future you. Because soup, stew, and chili are full of water, they keep really well for the week in the fridge and in the freezer. Freezing soups allow you to get more variety week to week versus eating the same soup or chili all week.
Here are a few of our family favorites:
- Southwestern Black Bean Soup (really really easy)
- Butternut Squash Apple Soup
- Butternut Squash, Kale, and Quinoa Soup
- Harvest Vegetable Stew
- Turkey Chili with Kale
So there you have it. The #1 thing you can do to reduce inflammation and diversify your microbiome is to diversify your diet. And, that’s something that’s both pretty simple and pretty easy to do.