How to Eat More Plants with Dr. Megan Rossi

Try anything new  in your kitchen lately?
According to “The Gut Health Doctor” Megan Rossi, variety equals health! “Variety is the Spice of Life”is a well-known phrase used mostly by our grandmothers when they tried to get their kids to eat something new.  Science is now promoting this idea in the nutrition realm, and Dr. Rossi is leading the way.Known asThe Gut Health Doctor, she’s an internationally influential gut-health specialist and a practicing dietitian and nutritionist as well as a leading Research Fellow at King’s College London.
She knows what the latest and greatest findings are about our health, and her glowing countenance is a tribute to her success!

Plants:  More Complicated Than You Think

“Take the humble apple, which contains over 300 plant phytonutrients, including dopamine, the feel-good hormone.  There are so many of these incredibly powerful nutrients that directly impact things like our mental and hormonal health.  Mother Nature is pretty savvy with all of these plant compounds that she’s produced.” (3:00)

  • Some plant nutrients are highly regulated in some states like California.
  • Powerful greens and reds supplements can be a simple addition to the modern lifestyle.
  • Some healthy trace phytonutrients can be dangerous when taken in large quantities, such as arsenic from fresh apples.
  • Whole foods taken straight from the earth are generally safe (when not sprayed with dangerous pesticides).

Food Additives:  Subtract Them

“There are literally 1000’s of food additives currently being studied by the FCA and European Food Safety Authority.  The interaction of these additives with our gut microbes, especially emulsifiers, may actually have a negative impact on people’s guts,  particularly to those who are more susceptible to gut issues,” says Dr. Rossi.

The scientific world is reassessing what is appropriate for human and animal consumption. (6:05)

  • Healthier liquid supplements and food items will often require shaking to avoid the need for emulsification.
  • The demand for perfect produce often results in altering fruits and vegetables cosmetically.

Shopping the outside aisles of the grocery store will help access healthier whole foods:  Fruits and vegetables, grains, proteins, and healthy dairy items.

The Super Six

In her new book, How to Eat More Plants, Dr. Rossi highlights 6 categories of foods we need to eat more of:
1. Whole Grains
2. Nuts and Seeds
3.  Fruits
4.  Vegetables
5.  Legumes
6.  Herbs and Spices

Each category supplies the gut bacteria with a wide range of different nutrients that cause it to thrive.

Eating 30 different whole foods weekly supplies the gut with everything it needs.

  • Currently, the American diet falls short with 2.3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. (9:30)
  • Most often, corn, potatoes and carrots are the leading choices for restaurants and family budget-minded shoppers.

Studies show that a decade can be added to our life-spans if we use the “Super Six” eating guidelines.

  • Legumes are a tested option for longevity often neglected by most families and individuals. (10:50)
    • They’re also incredibly affordable, but often require a little more cooking time.

The Lowly Legumes

We are well aware of the negative side effects that the humble bean can have on our guts.  We often wonder why most 3rd world countries consume them like they’re going out of style…Do they just live with the constant bloating and not care?  Clearly, they’re cheap.  But does consuming beans and other legumes actually have an upside?

Dr. Rossi breaks down the barrier we might have when it comes to beans in her new book.

  • Starting slow and steady is the key.  “Gradual increase in adding legumes to your food choices each day results in your body being able to adjust to bloating by absorbing excess gas through the intestinal wall.”  Problem solved, but it takes a little time.
    • Triple rinse your beans before cooking to get rid of some of those gas-forming properties.
    • Psyllium Husk (about 1 t. per serving) added to a green drink or smoothie helps with digestion and regularity.  (16:00)

Troubleshooting Your Gut

“Everyone’s gut is very different, and the Western toilet is not built for having optimal bowel movements.”

  • Try using the “Squatty Potty” or another hack to mimic the squatting position to avoid painful moments in the bathroom.
  • Peppermint oil capsules can reduce unwanted IBS and gut spasms.

Plant-Based Omegas

Most adults consume a fish capsule or two each day to get their Omega-3’s for heart health and digestion.  If you’re lucky, you won’t get those nasty “fish burps” 15 minutes later.  Lucky for all of us, there are alternatives that doesn’t taste fishy!

  • Walnuts, algae oil,  and chia seeds are excellent Omega-3 sources (19:00).
  • Omega-3’s reduce inflammation, resulting in the lessening of pain in the body.
  • Plant omegas are more easily digested than the fish options.
  • Look for “long-chain” omega options, which are better utilized by each body function.

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Super 6 Foundations

“Start by recording what you eat, and try categorizing those foods into the Super 6 groups to see if you’re getting a good variety.”  The research showing that diversifying our diets can be “gut-changing”!

Each time you shop, try to add a new or seldom-used vegetable or nut.

The “Plant Point System” included in the book, challenges the user to get 30 or more plant-based foods into their bodies each week.

“It’s actually easy to get 50 or more once you start thinking about diversifying your food choices, and there’s no extra cost or effort.”

Some vegetables are considered more potent for the immune system such as garlic and onions. (24:00). FODMAP diet plans were designed to help people who struggle with IBS and other gut sensitivity issues, but is only recommended for shorter-term use.

Gut Punch

Dr. Rossi highlighted a study of over 2000 people suffering with IBS that showed they would be willing to give up 25% of their remaining life to be symptom free.  “IBS can be so debilitating, and my goal is to help recover these people’s guts…and lives.”  There is hope!

In her new book, How to Eat More Plants, Dr. Rossi explores the gut-brain connection, and how the “Super Six” can help everyone become physically and mentally at the top of their game.

New habits have to be enjoyable, and healthy foods can absolutely taste delicious. The book includes over 100 recipes and loads of one-minute snack options which are loaded with plants that anyone can make. The recipes are not expensive and time-consuming.

The Two Barriers

“There are two barriers a lot of people have to eating plants:

1.  Taste Preferences.  “We haven’t been taught how to make veggies taste delicious.  Cooking them properly can absolutely transform the flavor of veggies.”

  • Sneaking veggies into family meals and snacks keeps their bodies healthy.
  • Oral bacteria and taste buds change along with our eating habits, and we actually begin to crave more plants.  Who knew? (36:05)

2.  Prep Techniques.  “There are so many different, delicious ways to prepare vegetables that many people don’t even think about…roasting, blending, and frying in healthy oils.  The options are unlimited.

Variety truly is a gift.  And it doesn’t need to be complicated.  Real health translates from the gut to the brain, and vice versa.  Food is such a central part of each day, so eat with intention and purpose.

Dr. Rossi’s book is now available online at Amazon and in your favorite bookstore!  How to Eat More Plants will transform so much more than your gut…it will change your life.

Download this episode here