Food for the Soul… And Your Gut

Cooked apples for healthy digestion

Written by Heather Burkart

My mission is to empower women with a natural, holistic approach to support health so you can be strong, vibrant, and content. My focus is on your whole well being including mental, emotional, and spiritual.

You’re going to laugh when I tell you that my favorite breakfast is cooked apples. Yep.

It wasn’t always. My first Ayurvedic Practitioner in Chicago taught me to eat apples every morning to balance my digestion and elimination. That was before I knew anything about the gut microbiome. Now I understand that apples are an ideal pre-biotic (foods that feed bugs) and so is ghee. In fact, ghee is high in butyric acid, which is a preferred food of good bugs in our gut. Cooked apples are easier to digest and more appropriate for the morning meal when our digestion is still waking up.

I eventually met the mentor of my first Ayurvedic Practitioner, Vaidya Mishra, at the Ayurveda school where I was studying. I learned to follow his teachings and Ayurvedic diet and nutrition based on SVA or Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda. He taught me about this recipe and told me to it eat it first before anything else in the morning. If I’m not hungry after this, nothing else is needed. With the warmer mornings of summer, I find this is true. It’s soothing, nourishing, and jump starts digestion.

A Healthy Gut Microbiome to Prevent Disease

Good gut bugs can help us prevent disease and fight off bad bugs. A balanced, diverse gut micro-biome may be the key to understanding why some people get sick and other’s don’t as much. Gut bugs love all the plant fiber. Anything plant-based and it’s natural state (a raw or cooked whole foods) is going to feed your gut.

Well, it worked. I ate it religiously for weeks on end (maybe months) even though I wasn’t that crazy about it. When my digestive distress was a thing of the past, I stopped. Now I suggest it to clients and I’ve seen it work for them, too. Plus it’s a delicious addition to breakfast for the whole family.

I’ve started making it again since having kids. I fed cooked apples and ghee to my boys as a smooth applesauce when they were babies. Now that they’re older, I make it chunkier. Now I love it and they do, too. My husband eats it even though I’m pretty sure it’s not his favorite but he needs it like I once did. Over the years I’ve tinkered with the recipe so that it’s more indulgent-tasting than healthy-tasting. Two secret (not really) ingredients: a sprinkle of salt and a big scoop of ghee (preferably home made for the best taste).

Omit the salt for very little ones.

I have two recipes for you: one for the stove top and one for the Instant Pot. Super simple.

Cooked Apple Recipes for Good Gut Health

STOVE TOP

Makes 1-2 small servings

  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 – 1 c. water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or cardamom (or Mom’s Chai Spice – see below)
  • Sprinkle salt, preferably Soma Salt
  • Optional: raisins or cranberries
  • Optional: 1-2 Tablespoons quinoa flakes
  1. Wash fruit well if eating the skin.
  2. Melt 1-2 teaspoons ghee in a small pan and add the spices.
  3. Add chopped apple. Stir to coat apples with ghee and spices.
  4. Add water and bring to a simmer.
  5. If using, add quinoa flakes and raisins or cranberries.
  6. Simmer covered until fruit is tender.
  7. Add a sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt.
  8. Finish with 1 more teaspoon of ghee and serve warm.

INSTANT POT RECIPE

Makes 3-4 larger servings

  • 2-3 medium apples, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon ghee
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or cardamom (or Mom’s Chai Spice – see below)
  • Sprinkle salt, preferably Soma Salt
  • Optional: raisins or cranberries
  • Optional: 1-2 Tablespoons quinoa flakes
  1. Wash fruit well if eating the skin.
  2. Use the Saute button on 2 minutes to melt 2 teaspoons of ghee in the Instant Pot insert
  3. Add the spices. Stir.
  4. Add chopped apple. Stir to coat apples with ghee and spices.
  5. If using, add quinoa flakes and raisins or cranberries.
  6. Add water and use the High Pressure button on 1 minute.
  7. Use Natural Release (let sit 10 minutes).
  8. Open up the Pot and add a sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt.
  9. Finish with 1 more teaspoon of ghee and serve warm.

Email me to get a PDF of these recipes in your inbox. I mention my favorite toppings if you want to make a meal out of it.

For more SVA-inspired recipes, check out Divya Alter’s book The New Ayurvedic Kitchen: What to Eat for How You Feel.

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