It’s November. Breweries are unleashing fall favorites and my fiber intake is failing for it. Here’s a heaping plate of fiber, fall colors and fall flavors as complementary as pumpkin and beer.
Huckleberry Thinn’s Autumn Maple Wheat Berry Salad
1 cup dried wheat berries
2 cups water
1 cup chopped butternut squash
1 cup chopped beets (sub carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, whatever)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
~ 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Add 1 cup wheat berries and 2 cups water to a stock pot > bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for ~45 minutes or until soft > meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees > chop fall favorites into small cubes and fill 2 cups > roll vegetables in 2 tablespoons of liquid coconut oil and lay out on baking sheet > bake ~ 1 hour or until soft in the middle and crispy on the edges > combine roasted vegetables and wheat berries and add ~2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Lay a lightly dressed bed of lettuce on a plate > top with a scoop of wheat berry wonder > for extra fiber, topple a handful of garbanzo beans over the pile > if it’s Friday, add feta!
Why wheat berries?
Wheat berries are the wholer whole wheat. They are the wholesome mother grain to whole wheat flour. That means wheat berries have an intact, unprocessed bran, germ and endosperm, which house most of the grain’s nutrition, including fiber.
Whole grains are rich with insoluble fiber that your body can’t digest. Well, your digestive enzymes can’t, but the trillions of microbes naturally camping in your gut–your microflora–go crazy for this stuff. And that’s a good thing!
Fiber is a prebiotic; a nondigestable food ingredient that supports the growth and activity of health-promoting bacteria species.
You carry a complex ecosystem of about 500 bacteria species in your intestines. For the most part, these are good bacteria (probiotics… literally “for life”). Like an ocean, your gut ecosystem must be balanced to function in harmony.
Your friendly flora feed on fiber to maintain a good-to-bad-bacteria balance. These bacteria ferment fiber to make short-chain fatty acids (butyric, propionic and acetic acids) that create a favorable acidic environment for good gut flora to flourish.
This is extremely important because your overall health is rooted in your gut health. In fact, your belly’s bacteria account for the bulk (~70%!) of your immune system. They create a physical barrier to keep bad guys out and communicate with the cells of your immune system to storm toward unwanted invaders. They create an acidic environment that inhibits pathogenic bacteria and stimulates immune cell production. What’s more, a well-fed gut microbiota helps you digest your food and make B vitamins and vitamin K.
Embrace your bacteria ecology. Eat fiber. Enjoy fall.
Dr. Mark Hyman makes bacteria sound beautiful: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/is-your-digestive-system_b_313247.html