WellnessThe Gut- and Hormone-Balancing Meals an RD Always Eats

The Gut- and Hormone-Balancing Meals an RD Always Eats


We all have our own favorite health and wellness influencers, but @within.nutrition’s Kylie Ivanir, MS, RD, is a top follow for her practical, evidence-based posts and delicious, gut-boosting recipes. Plus, she’s always keeping it real, whether it’s by shutting down unrealistic body standards (and explaining why they are actually hazardous to our health) or helping us keep our digestion on track during post-covid travels.

One of Ivanir’s most recent posts—in which she shares the meals and snacks she eats to keep her own gut and hormonal health in tip-top shape—really caught our attention. Who can’t relate to that goal? Here, Ivanir shares more about the health benefits of these gut- and hormone-balancing meals… plus recipes for each one.

Ivanir’s Tool for Building Gut-Friendly, Hormone-Balanacing Meals

“As you can see from the post, I pack as many prebiotics and probiotics into each meal, and try to eat intuitively, knowing that I am filling my body with good foods for good gut bacteria,” Ivanir says. While she emphasizes that every person (and every body) is different and you shouldn’t blindly follow someone’s daily eating regimen, Ivanir says building her own meals around the components of fiber, protein, and fat keeps her energized and satisfied throughout the day while promoting optimal digestion and hormonal balance. While these aren’t the only meals she eats day in and out, they are a good blueprint for following a high-fiber, protein, and healthy fat diet that’s full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

First Things First: Matcha Latte

Whether it’s collagen coffee, lemon water, or a cup of green tea, we all have our must-have morning beverages, and Ivanir’s favorite is starting the day with a functional matcha latte. She loves matcha because it has a “high antioxidant potential” from catechins, a type of phenolic compound that supports optimal gut and hormone function.

“Studies also show that drinking matcha regularly helps maintain steady blood glucose levels, inhibit starch digestion and the absorption of lipids and glucose from the gastrointestinal tract, and it improves insulin sensitivity,” says Ivanir. “Plus, you get all the energy without the jitters thanks to its L-theanine content.”

Ivanir advises opting for ceremonial-grade matcha and keeping the temperature just under boiling point (around 175°F) to preserve the nutrients. She also likes to add collagen and cashew milk to her own morning matcha for a creamy beverage that offers a protein and fat boost.

Breakfast: A Key3 Smoothie

“I developed the Key3 Method as a holistic way of focusing on your gut microbiome while also supporting the other systems in your body, so starting my day with a Key3 smoothie packed with fiber, protein, and fat keeps me energized and satisfied,” says Ivanir. “I actually used to test out different smoothie combinations and assessed my energy, mood, and satisfaction after each one, and I have found this trio to work best.” Check out her go-to smoothie recipe, below:

Almond Joy Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 cup baby spinach
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 date (optional)

Lunch: All The Sauerkraut

Similarly to brussels sprouts, sauerkraut has recently become a social media sensation, and Ivanir is here for it. She loves to add the gut-boosting fermented cabbage to salads, particularly those with arugula (talk about powerful antioxidant benefits). She never forgets the protein, and often opts for roast chicken to round out the meal. Ivanir also loves to elevate avocado toast with a bit of probiotic, vitamin-rich sauerkraut to aid in digestion and help diversifying her microbiome, reduce inflammation, and strengthen her immune system.

Snack: Chickpea Cookie Dough

Ivanir’s chickpea cookie dough recipe is more than just a tasty way to satisfy a sweets craving: It’s full of gut- and hormone-friendly nutrients. She says that chickpeas are a great source of raffinose, a type of soluble fiber that supports digestion and blood sugar.

“Incorporating chickpeas into a sweet treat is a sneaky and delicious way to boost your gut health while ensuring your blood sugar levels don’t spike then crash like they would from a traditional dessert,” says Ivanir. She notes that if chickpeas and other legumes do seem to irritate your gut, go “low and slow” by incorporating them back in little by little until your gut adjusts.

Chickpea Cookie Dough Recipe

Ingredients:
15 ounces chickpeas
1/4 cup almond flour
1/3 cup nut butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method:
1. Mix the first four ingredients until smooth. Mix in chocolate chips. Scoop dough into balls using a cookie scooper (or your hands). Freeze for 10 minutes and then store in the fridge.

Dinnertime: Herby Eggs and Satisfying Carbs

Incorporating herbs of all kinds is a great tactic for our overall health, but Ivanir says that parsley is especially great at supporting our livers, which are responsible for balancing hormones, regulating blood sugar, and, you guessed it, maintaining good gut health.

”Research shows that apigenin, an antioxidant found in parsley, reduces inflammation and helps prevent cellular damage, too,” Ivanir says. Her favorite way to load up on the bitter herb is by using it on top of fluffy scrambled eggs, served with whole-grain toast and avocado.

Ivanir loves to end the day with something sweet, so another favorite speedy treat before heading out on a post-dinner walk to promote healthy digestion is to make almond butter and mashed berry toast to get a final boost of fiber, healthy fats, and anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Not only is this a delicious way to end the day, but the combination of complex carbs and a bit of protein is the perfect recipe for promoting a good night’s sleep.





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