Nutrition for your Kitchen: How to Make Spinach Pie & Other Immune System Boosters.
As a community we’ve never spent more hours in our homes, and in particular, inside our kitchens. To make the most of this time we turned to XTERRA Coach Alexandra Borrelly Lebrun to find out how, why, and what we should be eating to boost our immune systems.
Alex, the wife to former World Champ Nico Lebrun, is a pharmacist by trade who studies sports nutrition and natural medicine to create optimized nutrition plans for Organicoach athletes of all levels. Inspired by concepts introduced to her by French nutritionist and athlete, Anthony Berthou, here are Alex’s top nutrition tips for the XTERRA Tribe:
During this time of uncertainty facing lockdown and social distancing, it’s the perfect time think positive and focus on our diet. It’s an opportunity to make changes to what we eat, boost our immune system, and get into a routine of eating healthier foods.
First, you need to take care of your intestinal flora, your first immune barrier. Current studies done on the action of the Coronavirus show there is a link between your intestinal microbiota and the pulmonary microbiota. Here are ways to strengthen both through your diet
- Take time to chew your food properly. Small bits of food are easily identified by your gut and will be used correctly.
- Favor prebiotic food like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because of their fermentable fibers which helps to maintain the intestinal flora. Foods such as bananas, artichokes, garlic, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify, chicory leaves, rye, as well as resistant starch foods like whole grain, buckwheat, and rice.
- Increase the proportion of foods rich in polyphenols because their antioxidant power strengthens the intestinal barrier. Foods in this category include small berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries), citrus fruit (orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangerines), organic green tea, cocoa (around 70% cocoa chocolate), oil seeds (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts), coffee (2 to 3 per day maximum), ginger, and turmeric.
- Try lacto-fermented foods for their probiotic contribution, such as lacto-fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, carrot, beet), kefir, kombucha, and sourdough bread.
- Do not forget quality fats which support the intestinal barrier, but which also reduce the inflammatory factors of the infection. Examples include vegetable oil of rapeseed and walnut, olive oil (2 cups of rapeseed for one cup of olive oil); Fish like mackerels, sardines, herring, anchovies (2 or 3 per week); nuts, almonds and hazelnuts (every day). Eggs for breakfast every morning.
- Favor foods low in toxicity because pesticides and other chemicals promote intestine inflammation and your intestinal barrier becomes inefficient. Organic food is the best, and consider reducing gluten and dairy food.
- Limit meat and animal products from intensive farming; but don’t stop consuming proteins as you need this to generate antibodies. Choose good quality poultry, fish, and eggs and for vegans; legumes at every meal such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans.
To best position your body to fight infections…
- Increase Quercetin-rich foods, an antioxidant particularly beneficial in fighting viral infections.
Examples of Quercetin-rich foods include onions (red and raw), garlic (raw), capers, citrus fruits, cabbage (including broccoli), leeks, spinach, apples unpeeled, small berries, tea (black, and even more, green)
- Food rich in vitamin C such as fruit, citrus, kiwi, small berries, and raw baby spinach.
- Eat the freshest fruits and vegetables possible, sprinkled with lemon juice; frozen fruit, and vegetables are preferred rather than canned.
- Use herbs of Provence, such as thyme, oregano, savory, as they are antiseptics.
And, be careful not to gain weight!
Spending so much time at home and in the kitchen can make it easy to eat too much. Don’t do it.
Prioritize eating fresh and raw fruits and vegetables because in addition to all the benefits mentioned above, they are low in calories and suppress your appetite.
- Eat as much raw foods as possible: no ultra-processed and refined products.
- Consume foods with a low glycemic load such as legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans), fruits or whole grain products; and avoid refined grains like bread, flour, white pasta, and fast sugars.
- Finally, decrease the consumption of alcohol. I know, this is unpopular opinion, but in addition to being high in calories, excessive drinking causes the immune system to deteriorate.
Alex’s Ideal Immune System Booster Meal Plan for the Day
- Fruit salad with 1 banana + 1 kiwi + ½ organic apple with skin + blueberries
- 1 or 2 eggs, boiled or fried with olive oil and oregano (it’s better if egg yolk stays raw)
- Whole-wheat sourdough bread, preferably rye
- A good handful of nuts
- Tea/coffee/Herbal tea (Thyme)
- Mixed salad: lamb's lettuce, chicory, kale, broccoli, and cooked buckwheat + red onion / raw garlic + all the raw seasonal veggies
- Sauce with lemon juice + vegetable oil: 2 cups of rapeseed / 1 of olive
- Fatty marinated fish (see recipe below)
- 1 or 2 slices of bread if you maintain physical activity
- Dairy-free and gluten-free cookies or candied ginger
- Tea/coffee/Herbal tea (Thyme)
- Hummus + carrot sticks
- Spinach pie (see recipe below)
- 70% cocoa chocolate + a handful of almond / hazelnut
- Herbal tea (Thyme
Raw Fatty Marinated Fish Salad Recipe
*Fish should be as fresh as possible.
Fresh Mackerel or Salmon (organic or wild) cut into thin strips with the bones removed. Add lemon juice on top + little bit of balsamic vinegar + olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. Let marinate for 15-20 mins.
In same time cut veggies in small pieces radish, green celery only the heart must be really crispy, Kohlrabi cabbage, fennel (only the heart), red onion and avocado.
When ready mix the fish and your veggies.
Add salt or pepper if needed.
Spinach Pie Recipe
*Gluten and lactose free
- 250 grams of this mix: 75gr buckwheat flour/ 75gr chickpea flour/ 100gr rice flour
- 70 to 80 grams of organic olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 big bags of raw spinach
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
- 25cl of soy cream
- Salt, pepper
- A handful of hazelnuts
Prepare the dough:
- Add flour into a bowl with 1 egg and the 80 grams of olive oil, salt; mix everything together, add a little bit of water or flour depending on the texture. Buckwheat is very thirsty so you may need a little more liquid to have the right texture.
- Spread the dough in a pie dish; You don’t need to use a rolling pin, simply use your hands.
- Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Rinse spinach with water and put into a pan with some salt, chopped onion, crushed garlic, 2 spoons of olive oil and a little bit of water. The spinach will reduce by a lot. If you don’t have enough you can add grated carrots just before cooking.
- Beat the last 3 eggs with the soy cream; add the vegetables and a good handful of chopped hazelnuts; it gives a nice crunch to the pie. And if you want to make a non-dairy-free version you could add some goat cheese on top.
- Pour everything over the dough and bake for 30 minutes.
Enjoy cold or hot with a green salad and raw veggies.