This simple bircher muesli uses green banana flour (a resistant starch) making it prebiotic!
Have you heard of resist starch before? If you're like me then probs not. Before I begin, I need to situate this post within the context of its creation. See, my parents are part of that back to the land baby boomer generation who in the '70s were chowing down on cheese and sprout sandwiches, bran muffins, and things that were seen exotic at the time like tabouli and gazpacho.
With the onset of the '80s and four kids demanding all the convenience food of our suburban friends, my parents lost their health-food edge, much like the rest of their generation.
Over the last 15 years, I've slowly seen them revert to their pre-kid granola state. Their fridge is stocked with kombucha, water kefir, kimchi, and you can hardly step into their home without one of them feeding you glasses of amazake or gut shot. They eat barley like it was going out of style. And tablespoons of turmeric to their baked beans, and among other things, talk about good gut bacteria.
Which brings me to this topic of resistant starch, my parents new favourite obsession.
Months ago my dad sent me an email filled with links to scholarly articles on the subject (to which I was later quizzed about) and told me to write a blog post about it. So to appease my dad, here it is.
What is Resistant Starch
A lot of the foods we eat contain starches, but some starches like resistant ones, are not broken down by the small intestine. Instead, these starches are prebiotic and make their way through the body all the way to the large intestine. There they are fermented into short-chain fatty acids that feed the good intestinal bacteria and increase the cell mass. Most foods we consume feed around 10% of our gut bacteria, where resistant starch feeds the other 90%.
What does Resistant Starch do
Resistant starch strengthens and feeds your good gut flora. As we're finding out plays a huge roll in our overall health and wellbeing. In studies, resistant starch has been shown to lower cholesterol, help stabilize appetite, and improve overall digestion. It even has the potential to reduce inflammation in the digestion tract.
Sources of Resistant Starch
Resistant starch comes in many forms. Some of the easiest and most accessible forms are:
- Raw potato starch (added to foods but not heated)
- Cooked and chilled rice, pasta, potatoes, and oatmeal (they have to be chilled and eaten cold)
- Seeds, legumes, and whole grains
- Green bananas (like these energy balls)
We all get some resistant starch in our diets already. But to help out our little flora friends, we can up the intake a few easy ways. One way is to eat foods that have been cooked then cooled which changes the starch and makes it resistant. Good sources are potatoes, pasta, and rice.
While these are great come summer and salad season, many of us don't want to eat that many carbs all the time. Here's where powders help. Adding powders to the foods we already eat is a simple (and less heavy) way to up the ante without overdoing the carbs.
Although you can add potato starch to your meals, I know many of you have potato intolerances, so I opted for green banana flour instead. With little added flavour beyond a hint of caramel sweetness, it makes for the perfect source of resistant starch in your morning oatmeals and smoothies.
I combined it here with classic overnight oats. I added some extra good gut bacteria in the way of yogurt (my new favourite edition!) which makes it super creamy and light.
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. plant-based milk
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vegan yoghurt
- 1 tbsp. green banana flour (potato starch will also work)
- Pinch sea salt2 tsp. liquid sweetener
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- 1 Medjool date
- Sprinkle of cacao nibs
- Few flakes toasted coconut
- Drizzle maple syrup
- The night before combine the oats along with the rest of the muesli base ingredients in a bowl or mason jar. Mix well to distribute the chia seeds. Set in the fridge until morning.
- The next morning garnish with dates, banana, cacao, coconut, and maple syrup.