These 3 Gut-Healthy Recipes Are Like a Makeover for Your Digestive System


Ah, January. The exact time of year it feels like a good idea to reach for a chilled, leafy green juice, and also the exact time of year your brain screams "lasagna!" on cue at 6 p.m. every night. (Blame the Polar Vortex.)

If you're feeling sluggish and bloated after the holidays, you're not alone—but it is possible to detox and still get the comforting coziness your body craves.

How? By eating a diet rich in inflammation-fighting, gut-healthy foods that will leave you warm and satisfied, and incorporating a detox aid that will flush out toxins (because they're impossible to avoid).

Gut health often takes a backseat to liver health when people think detox (especially after a few months of mulled wine), but according to holistic nutritionist Lisa Kilgour, taking care of your digestive system is actually the key to maximizing overall health.

Taking care of your digestive system is actually the key to maximizing overall health.

“We are 90 percent bacteria, and research has found a link between the health of this ecosystem and our immune system, brain, and even our metabolism,” Kilgour says. “Our cells are made out of the food we eat and the nutrients we absorb.”

In other words, keeping your gut light on toxins and loaded with good bacteria will keep everything else in your body functioning properly, which is why a digestion-friendly cleanse is extra important as you make your way into the new year.

To do it right, fill your daily menu with bacteria-promoting foods like sauerkraut, bitter greens, and apple cider vinegar. It can also help to add a cleansing formula to help your body get rid of toxins and further stimulate digestion. Kilgour's go-to? Flora Health's Flor-Essence.

Photo: Flora Health
Photo: Flora Health

The herbal tea blend is loaded with antioxidants, gut-healing herbs like slippery elm and burdock root, and digestion stimulators like kelp that will kick your system into gear.

“Flor-Essence is a great addition to create a healthy body,” says Kilgour. It’s low maintenance—all you have to do is drink two ounces mixed in warm water in the morning and at night—and the gentle formula won't wreak havoc on your insides (AKA keep you stuck in the office bathroom).

Combined with the right diet tweaks, you can get your body functioning at max capacity without cutting all of the flavors you love. So we tapped Kilgour to share three easy recipes that get top marks in both the inflammation-fighting and mouth-watering departments.

Ready to kick off 2017 as your most energized self? Scroll down for three super-satisfying cold-weather dishes that are gut-friendly.

Photo: Stocksy/Dobranska Renata
Photo: Stocksy/Dobranska Renata

Homemade Bone Broth

Not only is bone broth your new-age BFF for warmth and energy, it’s also one of the most important foods for gut health. “A long simmered bone broth is a source of gelatin that heals and seals the gut,” says Kilgour. “It’s also chock-full of easy to absorb minerals which the body needs for healing.” You can easily freeze bone broth for later in ice cube trays or large quart containers, so you’ll have a go-to detox drink whenever you need it.

4 lbs. mixed bones (heads, feet, marrow, knuckles, etc.) chicken, beef, fish, or venison (skim all fat off broth if using venison)
1 carrot
1 onion
Splash raw apple cider vinegar
1 liter filtered water
Sea salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf to taste

1. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and set out at room temperature for an hour. This begins the process of leaching the minerals from the bones.

2. Move pot to the burner and place over medium heat to create a low simmer. Ideally around 180˚F, which is just barely bubbling.

3. Keep at this temperature for at least 12 hours, but as long as 72. Film will collect on the surface and you can remove as necessary with a spoon.

4. Strain out the bones and vegetable material and move liquid to storage containers, or freeze for later.

Alternate Method
Place all ingredients in a crock pot, and simmer on low heat for one day. From this, you can remove and filter the liquid into jars, then add more water and simmer for another day. Repeat until bones are falling apart.

Photo: Lisa Kilgour
Photo: Lisa Kilgour

Lisa’s Warming Stew

Cozying up by the fire with a warm bowl of stew on a chilly winter night is pretty much the dreamiest detox-scenario we can imagine. “Cooked, easy-to-digest, and soothing veggies are really important when healing the gut,” says Kilgour. “This stew will warm you from the inside out and be very easy on your digestive system."

1-2 sweet potatoes, diced
1-3 cloves of garlic
½ onion (optional)
1 zucchini, diced
1 large can diced tomatoes
½ cup red lentils
1 can of coconut milk (optional)
1 tsp turmeric (or more if you’d like)
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Green or red peppers, parsnips, etc.

1. Throw all of the ingredients together into a pot.

2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.

3. Top with fresh parsley or cilantro and enjoy!

Photo: Lisa Kilgour
Photo: Lisa Kilgour

Chocolate Bliss Balls

No… this is not a joke: You really can heal your gut while eating chocolate. “We all need a delicious treat, even when we’re dealing with digestive issues,” says Kilgour. “These gluten- and dairy-free vegan bliss balls are high in protein and magnesium, and they taste fantastic!”

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs
1 Tbsp maple syrup
4 Tbsp hemp seeds
10 dates
5 Tbsp almond or hemp milk

1. Blend everything together in a food processor. You may need to add more milk, depending on the consistency.

2. Drizzle the milk into the food processor until the mixture starts to clump. Roll into balls and refrigerate before serving.

3. Roll balls in dried coconut or ground almonds (optional, but delicious).

For a total-body boost, add Flor-Essence to your clean-eating regimen. Learn more at

Top photo: Stocksy/Milles Studio

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