Having a conversation with gluten-free chef and author Phoebe Lapine is like having an enlightening conversation with your smartest friend. She’s the Monica to our Rachel.
We love Phoebe not only for her ability to break things down into terms we can understand but also provide real do’s and don’ts we can follow without having to spend a fortune on some magic dust or potion. Here, she dishes on what we get wrong about snacking — even healthy snacking — and how following her gut led her to her now-husband.
The Culinistas: So little is known about the gut. What’s a misconception people might have about gut health?
Phoebe Lapine: The rise of the probiotics industry has been the source of a lot of misinformation. People think if they take probiotics it will add more good bacteria to their guts when in reality, these strains act as transient visitors. Their main job is to fine-tune the immune system to recognize friend from foe, and in this sense, they do foster a better environment that promotes the growth of more beneficial bacteria. But if you’re not eating a diet rich in fiber and resistant starch, an expensive probiotic is the equivalent of adding fertilizer to your garden without watering any of the plants.
TC: What’s one easy thing anyone can do to take care of the gut?
PL: Meal spacing! Our digestive system is designed to clean up after itself and keep food moving through your intestines. The main mechanism for this is called the Migrating Motor Complex, and it only kicks into gear during a fasting state of 90 minutes or more. That means if you’re snacking all the time, even if it’s a “healthy” snack, your digestive system can’t do its necessary chores. This can lead to unnecessary IBS symptoms, bacterial or fungal overgrowths, and improper evacuation. Best to have three filling well-balanced meals a day and space them out by at least four hours.
TC: What’s the biggest impact of gluten on the gut?
PL: It really comes down to your individual immune system and sensitivity. If gluten is a trigger for you, it can contribute to leaky gut and systemic inflammation. I’d say the biggest issue with gluten for most peoples’ guts is the pesticides used on those crops. Glyphosate, the main chemical in the pesticide Roundup, damages the tight junctions in your intestinal lining. When you reduce gluten and grains, you’re actually reducing your exposure to Roundup.
TC: If your gut was a celebrity, who would it be and why?
PL: Demi Lovato. Sensitive, but strong. Trying to find peace with its inner demons (parasites!).
TC: Tell us about a time when you followed your gut and it paid off in spades.
PL: Meeting my husband and making the first move! I had diarrhea at the time, but my gut still directed me towards love.
TC: What’s one thing you’ve never had the guts to do, but always wanted to try?
TC: What is your gut telling you is in store for 2021?
PL: A lot of re-building, exhaling, and blowing off steam as a society.
We asked Phoebe to select six items from our Go With Your Gut menu and tell us why.
Blueberry Chamomile Parfait (blueberry, chamomile, greek yogurt, walnut, coconut, honey, sumac, allspice, solstice blend)
“Fermented dairy is associated in several studies with beneficial shifts in the microbiome and tends to be better tolerated than other forms of whole milk dairy.”
Esalen Kale (kale, alfalfa sprout, sunflower sprout, sunflower seed, apple cider vinegar, lemon, urfa, cumin, cayenne, onion powder)
“Leafy greens are packed with nutrients like folate, vitamin C, K and A. They are also powerful detoxifiers that support your liver during times of stress.”
Winter Vegetable Antipasti (delicata squash, celery root, red bell pepper, radicchio, walnut, red wine vinegar, urfa, allspice, cumin, cayenne, onion powder)
“I love the added fiber in delicata squash since you get to leave the skin on.”
Shrimp with Tomato & Spinach (wild shrimp, tomato, spinach, sage, garlic, lemon, cayenne, onion powder)
“This main course is centered around low FODMAP veggies that are nutrient-dense but non-irritating for someone already struggling with an imbalanced gut.”
Smoky Salmon with Summer Squash (wild salmon, zucchini, yellow squash, yogurt, parsley, lemon, urfa, cumin, cayenne, onion powder)
“I’m a big fan of eating for color, and this entree has covered half the rainbow!”
Banana Health Bread (banana, flaxseed, sunflower seed, rolled oat, coconut sugar, apple cider vinegar, baking powder)
“Whole oats and sunflower seeds are both excellent sources of zinc and the latter supports healthy progesterone levels.”
Make sure to download our fun gut health bracket for your chance to win a set of our 10 Grove kitchen linens.