healthy digestion

Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta

You probably already know the health benefits of nuts—they’re full of protein and unsaturated fats. But what you might not know is that each kind of nut has unique health benefits. Another little-known fact? They can be made into delicious dairy-free cheeses!

I love using macadamia nuts when making fermented cheese, because they contain vitamin A, iron, protein (two grams per serving!), thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. They also contain small amounts of selenium (an antioxidant), calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

What all of this means is that macadamia nuts support digestion, bone health, and protect skin and hair. So you can probably guess that I love finding excuses to use these in my dishes. If you’re still not loving macadamia nuts, almonds are another great option for this recipe.

New to using nuts? One tip: nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted because they contain enzyme inhibitors that can strain the digestive tract when consumed in excess. Soaking your nuts makes them easier to digest and their nutrients more readily available. Salt also activates enzymes that neutralize enzyme inhibitors.

Now, on to the recipe…

Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta

Yield: 2 cups nut cheese

Ingredients
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
1 cup coconut kefir, or 1 cup water with 2 capsules of probiotic powder
1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion
1-2 tsp. nutritional yeast flakes or miso
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼-⅛ tsp. salt, plus more for soaking the nuts

Equipment
Jar for soaking the nuts
Nut cheese bag (Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag or Iqzeens Nut Milk Bag) or a paint strainer bag from you local hardware store. Alternatively, try this cheesecloth.

Directions

  1. Soak nuts overnight in salt water, then dry in a warm oven or dehydrator.
  2. Blend nuts and coconut kefir in a high-speed blender and continue to mix until smooth. Add more of your liquid if necessary to form a smooth, creamy texture. 
  3. Pour into a nut bag or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to strain for 18-48 hours.
  4. After the fermentation process, remove the cheese from the nut bag or cheesecloth. Combine with the green onion, nutritional yeast, lemon, garlic, and salt.
  5. Refrigerate the cheese until ready to use. Season further or sweeten your cheese as desired before serving.

Gut Girl Notes

  • Be sure to store your cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator; nut cheese will last for up to two weeks.
  • When straining, you can place the nut bag over a bowl or a colander with a weight on top. This will apply pressure and push out the excess liquid over the process time. The longer it sits the more tart your nut cheese will be, so feel free to give it a little taste along the way. I like to let it sit for a couple of days.  

Next week I’ll be sharing my Watermelon & Fermented Goat Cheese Summer Salad, so be sure to check back for a fun way to use your new cheese-making skills. And you can always let me know what you think in the comments below, or snap a picture and tag us! I’d love to see what you create.

Yoga Poses for Digestive Health

When the digestive tract is not working properly, you can feel sluggish, bloated and miserable. Digestion uses up a lot of energy, which is why you may feel like taking a nap after a heavy meal. So supporting healthy digestion is a priority to ensure you’re flushing out toxins regularly and rockin’ proper elimination.

As a yogi, I love to practise deep-breathing exercises, twists and stretches. These gentle movements target my abdominal organs and wring out toxins that accumulate in the intestines and tissues. 

Below are three simple yoga poses that help eliminate digestive discomfort like bloating, gas and constipation. During yoga teacher training, these are the poses we practised after lunch and before we started class.

Be sure to breath deeply to massage your organs as you alternately compress and lengthen the intestines. This action brings fresh blood to the epithelial cells, which are responsible for healthy gut function. 

Yoga Poses for Digestion

3 Gut Girl Poses for Healthy Digestion

(Pose descriptions adapted from Mind Body Green)

1. Apanasana (Wind-Removing Pose)

Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on your mat. Your heels should be aligned with your knees. Inhale and take your hands to your knees. Exhale and hug the knees to the belly. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

2. Twists

On an exhale, gracefully draw both knees to the left, compressing the right side of the body. Turn your head to the right. If it’s too much of a neck stretch, bring your head to neutral. Hold for 5-10 breaths. On an inhale, bring the knees to center. Repeat on the right side. 

3. Balasana (Child’s Pose)

After you complete your twists, return your feet to the mat with knees bent. Hug the knees in and roll to your right side, resting your head on your right arm. Inhale fully and, on the exhale, use your arms to gently bring yourself up to a seated position. 

Kneel on the knees (place a blanket under them if they feel uncomfortable). Sit back onto the heels. Widen the knees as much as needed and slowly fold over the legs. Place your forehead (or your third-eye point) on the floor. Bring your hands to your feet or fold them under the head like a pillow. With your belly relaxed, inhale and exhale fully for 5-10 breaths.

To conclude the practice, inhale and bring your hands flat to the floor right below the shoulders. Exhale and mindfully press up one vertebra at a time. Take a moment to check in with your body. Namaste

Want to learn more about yoga and meditation for digestive health? Email me or let me know in the comments below.