These days, it seems like everyone is talking about gut health. And for good reason: Experts say that what’s going on in your belly is directly linked to your overall wellness, including stress levels, sleep quality, ability to focus, and risk of developing bigger issues like chronic inflammation and lowered immunity.
In her new book, Go with Your Gut: The Insider’s Guide to Banishing the Bloat with 75 Digestion-Friendly Recipes, health coach Robyn Youkilis tackles the subject head, er, gut-on. And despite what the title suggests, it goes way beyond fitting into your favorite skinny jeans: She says a smoothly functioning digestive system helps your “gut instinct” to work at its maximum potential, too.
“When the belly is at its healthiest, we can hear those gut messages loud and clear,” she explains in the book’s introduction. The recipes in Go with Your Gut are reinforced by easy-to-integrate tips for breathing, chewing, and self-care—all of which play key roles in getting your digestion (and intuition) back on track.
A cornerstone of her plan is the Superhuman Breakfast, a daily plate that jumpstarts your body, from digestion to brain and cellular function (originally created by one of Youkilis’ teachers, Laura Hames Franklin.)
Youkilis says it was a “game changer” for her own eating habits: Whereas she used to stick to green juice or smoothies in the a.m. thinking her sensitive stomach couldn’t handle whole foods so early in the day, she eventually realized that a cold-liquid wake-up call wasn’t what her body needed.
“Breakfast is an opportunity to get your belly going in the right direction and each good choice leads to the next…[My system] needed a warm and grounding meal to get going; something that would really satisfy me, and not just for a couple of hours.”
The Superhuman Breakfast is quick (prep and cooking takes around 10-15 minutes) and the ingredients can be mixed and matched to meet your tastes and dietary restrictions. Don’t eat eggs? Swap them out for another lean protein source like chicken, fish, tempeh, or beans.
Just don’t forget to put on your superhuman cape when you’ve wiped your plate clean.
2 eggs: boiled, poached, steamed, scrambled, fried—and eat the yolks too!
Unlimited greens: kale, collards, spinach, and broccoli
Optional additional veggies: mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini or anything that’s fresh and in-season.
About 1 cup starchy veggies: sweet potato, yams, squash
Up to 1/2 cup of fermented veggies (raw and unpasteurized): sauerkraut, kimchi, all fermented vegetables
Gather all your ingredients, a cutting board, and a knife. Wash anything that needs to be washed.
Next, fill a medium to large sized saucepan with 2 inches of water, fit the pot with a steamer basket, and set over high heat on the stove with a lid. If you are poaching or boiling your eggs you’ll want to fill an additional pot of water and set it on the stove to boil.
While your water begins to boil, chop about a half cup’s worth of your starchy veggie (up to one cup if you find you are hungry sooner than three hours after consuming this meal) into a small dice (the smaller the chop the quicker it will cook!). Once your water is boiling (steam is coming out of the pot) add your starchy veggies to the steamer basket. If you are boiling your eggs gently add them to the water and set your timer for 7 minutes for a soft, runny yolk or 8-9 minutes for a soft to firmer less runny yolk.
Next, tear and prep your greens or chop any additional veggies you’ll be using and add them to the steamer pot on top of your starchy veggies. If you are scrambling, poaching, or frying your eggs you’ll want to begin that part now.
Test your veggies—you should easily be able to poke a fork through everything in the steamer pot. Once cooked, remove veggies with tongs and place on your serving plate(s). Remove the eggs from the pot or pan depending on cooking method and peel or place on a plate with the veggies.
Add a few forkfuls of fermented veggies to plate and garnish with fresh herbs. If using your favorite healthy fat (a drizzle of oil, 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado)—you’ll want to experiment with how much or how little fat you use depending on hunger levels and how you feel after your breakfast. Season generously with salt, pepper, and any additional add-ons: drizzle of olive, hemp, or pumpkin seed oil; avocado; sprinkle of gomasio (sesame salt) or sesame seeds; fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, or rosemary; Himalayan pink sea salt; black pepper; cayenne pepper. Serve immediately.