Do you love your coffee but dread the side effects of coffee? Such as...
I hear ya!
Honestly, I love my morning coffee too!
And sometimes herbal tea just isn't going to cut the mustard 😂
But coffee is something I am mindful of drinking because it is a stimulant. Stimulants put us on "high alert" and can leave us feeling frazzled.
I'm mindful of how coffee makes me feel and if I'm already feeling stressed or anxious, or about to deliver a workshop (where I don't need the added stress), I skip it and choose chicory coffee instead.
The thing is, good quality coffee CAN be a healthy choice for gut health.
It's a source of polyphenols, which helps reduce inflammation in the gut and caffeine (in small doses) can help with focus and concentration. Research also found that people who drank coffee and/or tea had the lowest incidence of stroke or dementia.
But coffee effects everyone differently and it may not be the best choice for you.
Read on to find out more about the symptoms of caffeine intolerance and my favourite satisfying coffee alternative, a chicory latte!
Is coffee good or bad for IBS?
The side effects of coffee can range from an upset stomach, to sudden diarrhoea, and even an irritated bladder.
Here are a few unpopular side effects of coffee. Do any of these resonate with you?
❌ Sends you rushing to the loo (Coffee has a laxative effect. Careful if you already have sensitive pipes 💩💩💩)
❌ Triggers your gastritis or acid reflux 🔥😫 (Coffee is very acidic and can irritate your stomach)
❌ Irritates your bladder and flares your interstitial cystitis (IC) 🚾(It's a diuretic and acidic)
❌ Leaves you feeling anxious and jittery 😰😨(Coffee triggers the release of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline)
❌ Has you riding that rollercoaster of energy highs and lows 🎢 😨(It's a stimulant)
❌ Increases your blood pressure and risk of heart palpitations 🤎
But you crave a nice hot frothy drink and dread cutting back? 😳
Don’t worry. I have the solution for you!
There’s no need to miss out on steamy hot drinks while healing your gut or dealing with a sensitive bladder or bowel.
My chicory latte recipe is a tummy-friendly take on the regular latte and it's naturally caffeine free. Scroll down to get the recipe 👇
Chicory Latte Recipe
What you'll need:
Check out a video I made: How to make a chicory latte here.
Not drinking coffee every day has helped me with feelings of overwhelm (linked to stress). I've written more on the impact of stress on our gut here.
Let me know if you're going to try chicory coffee! ☕️ 😍
All ingredients are available at Planet Organic. Simply use MARY15 for 15% off each time you shop 🛍 💝 This chicory coffee is gluten free.
What is chicory coffee?
Chicory is a plant that belongs to the same family as dandelions.
The chicory root is roasted, and ground and the powder can be used to make a hot drink that tastes similar to (instant) coffee.
Like coffee, chicory is naturally bitter in flavour, making it a useful coffee substitute.
Does chicory coffee taste good?
Chicory coffee brings the bitterness of coffee (which I love) but without the side-effects of caffeine. I would describe chicory coffee as having a similar depth of flavour and bitterness to an instant coffee.
Chicory coffee is also a brilliant prebiotic replacement for black tea or coffee and won't leave you anxious or jittery.
Health benefits of chicory coffee
A source of prebiotics for your gut bugs
Chicory root coffee contains inulin, a type of prebiotic fibre that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut which play a role in reducing inflammation, and fighting harmful bacteria.
Less stress and anxiety
Chicory coffee is naturally caffeine free. Unlike regular coffee, chicory won't trigger the stress response and send you into "fight or flight" mode with a racing heart beat or anxious feelings.
I've added a powdered mushroom mix to my chicory coffee for extra immune and stress support.
Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, cordyceps and maitake provide a wonderful mix of active ingredients, including β-glucan, shown to calm stress, strengthen immunity and protect against inflammation. Reishi is particularly helpful for strengthening our resilience to stress.
Mushrooms are reported to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular-protective, anti-diabetic, and anti-cancer properties. If you're a fan of eating mushrooms you may like to try out my favourite dairy-free mushroom stroganoff recipe.
Smoother bowel movements
I've chosen to add extra prebiotic powder to my chicory latte as it's an opportunity to feed my gut bugs, without altering the flavour of the chicory coffee (but this is optional). I use partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG).
PHGG is particularly helpful if you fluctuate between constipation and diarrhoea as it helps regulate your intestinal pipes. ⚖️💩 PHGG is also a low-fodmap prebiotic powder which is generally well tolerated.
PHGG can be used as:
PHGG has been shown to be helpful in cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), particularly in IBS-D (diarrhoea), where it was found to improve the consistency of the stool and increase the abundance of friendly bacteria in the gut. Check out this study. And in another study, PHGG showed improvements in bloating and gas. Find out more about the causes of bloating and gas in my previous blog here.
Balanced hormones and stable energy levels
Avoiding fluctuations in blood sugar (by minimising your use of stimulants like coffee) means less anxiety and jitters because your stress hormones are more balanced.
Chicory coffee is also a good substitute for coffee if you’re peri- or menopausal as coffee can be a trigger of hot flushes.
What are the side effects of chicory coffee?
Chicory coffee is a source of fibre and prebiotic inulin so while it's generally well tolerated, it may encourage more regular bowel movements initially as the balance of bacteria in your gut adjusts.
Chicory coffee also stimulates bile from the gallbladder and this can have a very mild laxative effect (good news if you're constipated!)
If you have a sensitive stomach or struggle with chronic diarrhoea, start with half a dose and build up gradually to the full dosage.
If you're really struggling with excessive bloating, gas and diarrhoea, consider working with me 1-1. I can help you figure out your best dietary options.
Want a healthier biscuit to dunk in your tea? 🙋♀️ 🙋
Hello perfectly gooey but crunchy cookies! This delicious homemade biscuit recipe is dairy free and refined sugar free.
Benefits of these homemade cookies over shop bought biscuits?
The mood-altering properties of raw cacao are well recognised (thank you polyphenols, serotonin, phenylethylalanine and theobromine) and 85% dark chocolate improves mood in association with gut bacterial changes, yippee!
Coconut sugar has a much lower impact on blood sugar than castor sugar which means it won't mess with your energy or drive you bonkers with cravings. It also adds a caramelly flavour which is simply devine. 👌I've written more about how sugar impacts mood and anxiety here. And if you'd like to know which sugar is best for gut health check out my earlier blog post here.
These biscuits will satisfy your sweet craving without ingesting tons of hydrogenized fats (the worst kind of fat) and refined sugar which is what you get in shop bought biscuits.
What you'll need:
100g plain flour
85g coconut sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
25g coconut oil, melted
35g oat milk (I find barista milk works best)
20g raw cacao nibs
4 squares Lindt 85% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 pinches of coarse sea salt
Where can you buy these ingredients?
You'll find all these ingredients at Planet Organic who deliver all over the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to use MARY15 for 15% off any orders and this discount can be used multiple times. Just a little extra gift from moi to you 😘Enjoy, Mary xx
My deliciously creamy dairy free mushroom stroganoff recipe is a super satisfying meal with brown rice. I sometimes add kale for extra calcium too. It’s also perfect with roast chicken legs or thighs if you want to pad it out and make it even more substantial. It definitely works best with chestnut mushrooms (the browner button mushrooms) but a mix would also be good.
Mushrooms are brilliant for supporting better gut health thanks to their beta-glucans. These glucans pass undigested all the way through to our large intestine where they help support the growth of friendly bacteria in our digestive tract.
Because beta-glucans can bind onto certain receptors on our immune cells, they can also help support immune system function and may inhibit tumour-like changes in cells thanks to their unique polysaccharide content.
What you'll need
Sometimes depending on the brand of paprika I find I need to add a little extra coconut milk. Keep an extra can handy just in case you need to balance it out.
I love to serve leftovers on sourdough toast. It makes the most perfect weekend brunch!
If you try this recipe please share it on Instagram and tag me in your post @stellar_health_mary
Want to find out more about working with me 1-2-1? Check out my 90-day gut health plan here. It includes personalised monthly meal plans with tons of delicious recipes just like this plus the support and guidance you need to balance your gut for good.
Bone broth, or as your granny might say, homemade chicken stock.
Up until recently bone broth had really fallen out of favour in the Western world, probably due to the “low fat everything” movement. Luckily for us, it’s back with a bang and a host of health benefits too.
It’s often touted as a gut healing superfood. While it’s not a cure-all, it’s certainly very nourishing and something I often encourage my clients to make.
Importantly, it’s very gentle on the gut so if you have a sensitive gut or are dealing with lots of food intolerances it’s a good food to make regularly. It’s also super versatile. Drink it in a mug or use as a stock in your soup recipes (that’s mainly how I use it).
What are the benefits of bone broth?
What’s the difference between bone broth and stock?
Bone broth involves boiling (or slow-cooking) bones e.g. a chicken carcass or leftover bones from a roast, or even fish heads after grilling a whole fish. During the boiling process, the bones and grisly bits start to disintegrate, releasing bone marrow, minerals and flavour into the pot.
Stock is usually made from a stock cube or a bag of stock from the supermarket that is not made in the traditional way. These often contain processed salt, artificial flavour enhancers such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and thickening starches. Fine when stuck but it’s way healthier (and tastier) to make your own chicken stock. Keep some on standby in the freezer
for moments you need it.
It’s a pretty ancient phenomenon.
Bones are commonly boiled to make delicious soup bases around the world. Think Vietnamese pho, Chinese noodle dishes and Japanese ramen. Yum! These are often made using beef, pork and chicken bones and trotters. Even Irish stew (far less exotic but still yum) was made traditionally by boiling lamb or beef bones. It was far from Knorr stock cubes we were reared.
What bones are best for making bone broth?
The quality of your ingredients really matters when it comes to boiling bones. It’s best to use organic, free range bones. We want to minimise our risk of exposure to synthetic hormones, pesticide residue and genetically modified feeds.
You can buy organic bones from a butcher. I simply use the leftover organic chicken carcass from a Sunday roast to make bone broth in the slow cooker. It means no part of the chicken is wasted. I then use it throughout the week.
It makes a delicious base for soups and stews. Some people enjoy bone broth straight-up in their favourite mug (I find this can be greasy). Freeze it in batches or in ice-cubes and use at a later date too.
Don’t have time to sit around boiling bones all day?
Here’s my cheat sheet! You can make a quick and easy chicken stock by boiling chicken breasts or chicken thighs (with bone-in) in water. Remove the chicken once cooked and set to one side. Continue to make your soup using the reserved broth. Once the soup is ready, shred the chicken and add it back to the pan. Sorted!
Already a whizz at making bone broth? Take it up a notch:
How to make bone broth with chicken
Bone Broth Recipe
What you need:
How to make bone broth in a slow-cooker:
1. Simply add the chicken carcass and all the ingredients to the slow-cooker
2. Fill up with water (leave space at the top so it doesn’t over flow)
3. Cook on high overnight, 12 hours. No need to supervise, simply let it do its thing.
4. Strain the liquid using a sieve and discard the veg and carcass.
5. Use immediately or cool and refrigerate or freeze for a later date.
Boiling bones on the hob:
1. Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer with the lid askew for 8-12 hours.
3. You may need to top up with water periodically and/or skim off any fat that floats to the top.
4. Strain the liquid and discard the veg and carcass.
5. Use immediately or cool and refrigerate or freeze for a later date.
Your home will smell AMAZING.
Ready to make some soup with your homemade bone broth? Try my lentil and vegetable soup or my sweet potato and peanut soup recipe.
Interested in working with me 1-1? Find out more about my 90-Day Gut Health Plan.
I’m dying to share with you my interpretation of Ribollita (a hearty, nutritious Tuscan style “leftovers” soup) that I made as part of my “Food for Good Mental Health” cook along at the Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival recently.
During the event, I talked about the link between food and mood. So as a quick side note, if you want to support your mood:
This Italian style “leftovers” soup is one of my absolute favourites because it’s served with grated parmesan, a fantastic source of probiotics and any
old veggies can be added to the soup, cutting down on food waste. Bonus!
How to make Ribollita:
Are you a soup lover like me? Check out my other soup recipes here:
Interested in working with me 1-1? Find out more about my 90-Day Gut Health Plan.
This soup combines energising sweet potato and protein rich peanut butter to create a super satisfying midweek meal.
Orange and yellow veggies really represent this time of year. Their beautiful golden hues reflecting the colours found in nature. Orange and yellow veggies are a great source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body, an important nutrient in immune support and skin health.
Remember, whenever you make any soup, stop and ask yourself, “how can I add protein to this?” Protein is what helps fills us up and sustains our energy for longer. Examples of protein include: lentils, chickpeas, peas, chicken, and fish. In this recipe, we’ll use peanuts. Without protein, soup is simply veggies and water - you’ll be feeling pretty hungry sound again afterwards.
For the topping:
1. Put a large pan on a low heat. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil and once melted add the leeks. Cook for 3-4 mins. stirring occasionally until softened.
2. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop into rough chunks. Peel and chop the ginger.
3. Once the leeks are translucent, add the sweet potatoes and ginger and 1.5L of veggie stock. Bring to a boil and hard simmer for 15 mins., until the potatoes are cooked. Top up with more hot water if needed.
4. Meanwhile, for the topping, put a small frying pan on a medium heat and gently toast the peanuts. Shake the frying pan occasionally so they don’t burn. Once lightly browned, roughly chop them up and put them into a bowl. Grate over the zest of two limes and combine.
5. Once the sweet potatoes are soft, the soup is ready. Blitz in the saucepan using a stick blender until you get a nice smooth consistency.
6. Add the soy sauce, maple syrup and peanut butter and the juice of one of the limes and blitz again to combine everything.
7. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more lime/soy/maple until it tastes amazing. Add a little sea salt if you like too.
8. Ladle into bowls and top with the toasted lime peanuts.
Looking for other winter soups? Check out my parsnip and lentil soup.
Interested in finding out more about working together? Book a quick chat here. I’d love to hear from you
If you’re looking for a dairy-free, delicious chocolate dessert that still has a fabulous dinner party feel then this recipe will cater for all your dietary requirements. It's:
How to make dairy-free vegan chocolate mousse
Something magical happens with just a few simple ingredients. You don’t even need to melt any chocolate, it’s that simple.
It’s the perfect sugar-free, no-bake dessert that’s vegan and nut-free too. And it comes with heaps of health benefits.
Raw cacao is a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols which help mop up inflammation in the gut. Avocado is full of vitamin E which is important for skin healing and essential fats which provide anti-inflammatory support. When it’s this healthy can it even be classed as dessert???
My 30-Day kickstart programme and my 90-Day Gut Health Plan bring you personalised meal plans with free-from recipes tailored to your specific needs so you can be confident that you're eating healthy balanced meals no matter what. Find out more here.
You might also like to try this high-protein banana bread recipe or these Terry's Chocolate Orange inspired choco-orange energy balls.
Word has it you love those Grande Caramel Lattes and Pumpkin Spiced Creamy Mochas? And who could blame you?! But considering they’re laced with enough sugar, sweetener, caffeine and syrup to push an adrenalin-infused Christmas shopper to the edge, they’re really not friends to our gut, our mood, our anxiety or our waistlines.
So I came up with a delicious winter spiced latte of my own that will soothe your gut instead of sending you rushing to the loo or reaching for that Gaviscon. If you are trying to avoid or reduce your caffeine intake but love a hot milky drink, you'll love this!
It’s just a few simple ingredients and stars turmeric which gives it that beautiful golden colour. Turmeric is a bit of a celebrity when it comes to natural anti-inflammatory support. I’ve combined it with other warming anti-inflammatory spices like ginger and cinnamon too.
My turmeric latte recipe is entirely plant based, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. Have you tried a turmeric latte yet? (It's sometimes known as a Golden Latte).
If you're sensitive to caffeine (it makes you anxious or jittery or disrupts your sleep), or if you find coffee irritates your gut, give this a try!
You may also enjoy this soothing slippery elm smoothie recipe, especially if your gut is irritated and inflamed.
Ingredients for a Turmeric Latte
Recipe serves 2.
How to make a Turmeric Latte
Here's another gut soothing anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe you'll love: Soothing slippery elm smoothie.
Slippery elm powder is a nutritious food that will gently soothe an irritated, acid stomach. It forms a lovely protective barrier along the lining of the gut, repairing the mucous membranes and reducing the risk of further irritation and inflammation.
It's quickly soothing to any inflammation of the stomach such as:
It can also be soothing to inflammation further down in the bowel such as:
What does slippery elm taste like?
Slippery elm is not to everyone’s taste, (at first anyway) so a great way to make it taste better is to add it to smoothies or transform it into a hot frothy drink.
Two ways to create great tasting slippery elm:
When to take slippery elm?
It's best taken about 20-minutes before a meal, 2-3 times per day.
Recipe for a great tasting slippery elm smoothie!
If you struggle with the taste of slippery elm you'll love this deliciously smooth shake. It can even be warmed up and consumed as a healthy hot drink instead of your usual cafe latte! (best avoided if experiencing acid reflux or heartburn).
Simply blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and pour into your favourite glass.
Where to buy slippery elm?
Slippery elm powder is available at Planet Organic and you'll get 15% off each time you shop with MARY15.
If you prefer a hot drink, gently heat the blended mixture in a saucepan and pour into your favourite mug. Add extra frothiness with a handheld milk frother, delicious!
If after trying this, you still really struggle with the flavour of slippery elm, it is available in capsule form. However, capsules are often far too small to have any great bearing on symptoms so I recommend using slippery elm powder if possible.
Where can I buy slippery elm?
Slippery elm is relatively cheap and available in good independent health food stores. Look out for an organic one if possible. I use this one. Get 15% off using my code, MARY15.
You can also get in touch with me here and book a call to find out more about working with me 1-1. I can put together a tailored supplement plan that's right for you.
Don't forget to share my blog post on acid reflux with anyone who may be struggling. It's a common problem but it's not normal and there's lots we can do to help!
This satisfyingly good kale and tahini salad is remarkably energising. Plus, it’s a fab option if you are following a dairy free diet because tahini (which is made from ground sesame seeds) is a rich source of calcium, as is the kale! Good news for stronger bones.
Let’s face it, we could all do with eating more greenery and this deliciously creamy dressing injects wonderful flavour to the kale. It's also super quick to make. Just make sure the kale you use is not the ready-chopped version. You need the full leaves for this so you can quickly separate the leaves from the chewy stalk.
Kale belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables which has shown to support hormone balance, and have anti-carcinogenic properties. Overall message? Eat more kale.
What you'll need
For the salad
Recipe adapted from a Deliciously Ella recipe.
Hello! Welcome to Stellar Health
I hope you have fun exploring my recipes and feel inspired to experiment with them. Here you will see examples of how I cook with some of my recommended ingredients and experience the benefits for yourself.