This post is sponsored by Align, the gluten-free probiotic we wrote about recently. We were paid for our work but the opinions and words are our own.
Summer’s coming. Can you feel it? Here, the days are growing warmer. And the light! It’s light here until after 9:30 at night. (Our kids don’t want to go to bed until it’s dark, of course.) Summer. Everything feels better in the summer.
Except, sometimes in the summer, it’s easy to forget to eat well. Sure, there are more fruits and vegetables. But there are also lots of long road trips, last-minute picnics with friends, trips to amusement parks, and parades and small-town fairs. It’s not always to find gluten-free food that truly feeds us during those times.
That’s why we load up on smoothies in the morning, big salads for lunch, and meals based on produce rather than meat. it’s also why I take Align, the probiotic I finally found that works for me.
Recently, as part of our partnership with Align, I had the chance to talk with Ashley Koff about gut health, the summer months, and celiac. If you don’t know Ashley, she’s a registered dietician with years of experience treating patients in coordination with gastroenterologists, working together to help them with good food and medicine both. Ashley has been on television, talking about better health through better nutrition, so many times. She’s the spokesperson for Align. She’s also a strong voice for gut health. And, I found, she’s a delight to talk with as well.
“Starting probiotics helped me. And they help my patients. After all, one of my main goals is to make sure my patients’ digestive systems are working optimally. Beneficial bacteria are natural to our body but sometimes it’s hard to maintain a healthy balance. I took a lot of antibiotics as a kid. And I think that the inappropriate use of antibiotics killed my gut. I think that’s true for many of us.
So probiotics make a lot of sense. But my patients reported varying degrees of success with the probiotics I offered. I couldn’t figure it out until I learned about the importance of strain specificity for probiotics. I learned about Align as it was being developed. I got on board as soon as it was ready for consumers. I found that their patented bifido bacteria strain is extremely valuable as a practitioner. I’ve had patients come in and say that probiotics don’t work for them. I give them Align and they come back to say it works. This is anecdotal research, of course, but I’ve seen it in many, many patients now. I think that’s why Align is the #1 most recommended probiotic by gastroenterologists.
I see many patients with celiac. Like you, I know that merely giving up gluten often isn’t enough to heal people with celiac. It’s about eating real food, not just eating a bunch of overly sweetened yogurt that has the label probiotics on it.
I take Align every day. I never miss a day. And I’m someone who eats fermented foods regularly. I have gut shots in my refrigerator.
But I also travel a lot. And when you’re traveling, it’s hard to have as much control over what you eat. So I think it’s time for us all to start thinking about what to put in our beach bags. I’m going to have Align in my bag.”
Thank you, Ashley. So will I.
And thank you for the recipe for peaches and green smoothie. We’ve been making it often here.
Here’s to good gut health for us all this summer.
peaches and greens smoothie
This recipe, adapted only slightly from Ashley Koff’s recipe for a gut-healthy smoothie, has become a big favorite here. The combination of spinach and peaches is delicious. The ginger gives it a little zing. And the lime juice complements it perfectly.
We found it sweet enough. Our kids needed a little more. So we take out our portions and then add some raw honey to the remaining smoothies for the kids. First thing in the morning, we are drinking our vegetables.
As Ashley said, making a smoothie keeps the nutrition from the produce in there but the liquid nutrition is easier on the body, especially for people whose guts are healing. Heck. We could all use a little help that tastes good.
Put the water and spinach into a blender. Blend until the spinach is entirely broken down and you have a bright green liquid.
Add the apricots, peach slices, ginger, coconut oil, sea salt, and lime juice. Blend at high speed until everything is entirely blended together.
Feel like playing? Ashley Koff’s original recipe included hemp protein and hemp hearts, which would certainly add more nutrition. We didn’t have any and don’t tend to use protein powder, so we left them out here.
Because the smoothie didn’t have the thickener of the hemp hearts, it had a really clean green taste. We used the leftover smoothie to make a chilled green soup. Add a package of frozen peas to the leftover smoothie, with more salt, and some extra-virgin olive oil. Voila! Quick chilled soup.