Gut-loving Golden Loaf with Feta & Dandelion

golden loaf

Hey gut lovers. This is the ultimate loaf. I cook this one up when we have guests over, and everyone wants the recipe. I cook it religiously every week and it covers me for breakfast AND lunch every day. What I love about this golden loaf is its cleansing, fibre boosting and anti-inflammatory qualities. I also love that it fills me up. You’ll be hard pressed to be able to eat two slices of this at once. Why? It’s not that it’s a big loaf, but because it’s got all of the six tastes: salty, sweet, astringent, pungent and bitter. So it truly satiates. It hits all the right notes! All of this in a 1 hour baked loaf. Amazing! Here’s the recipe.

Some years ago I came across a recipe for a Turmeric and Goats cheese loaf by Amy Crawford. Full credit to her for coming up with that amazing recipe. But like many of you, I wanted to make a loaf that suited me and nourished me individually. I have a more internally dry, vata tendency, and I wanted something more oily and nourishing. As the years went by, the recipe got tweaked again and again, and I’d love to share it with you. I hope you like this version! Go ahead and check out the original here too.

So let’s talk about the key ingredients: Turmeric and Dandelion, and find out how they boost your gut health to get you feeling less bloated, more regular and feeling lighter and healthier.

 

How Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) loves your guts

The anti-inflammatory benefits of Turmeric are well established and it’s uses for musculo-skeletal issues have been revealed in numerous human studies showing that treatment with its principal compound (a polyphenol called curcumin) reduces swelling, stiffness and pain.(10,11,12,13) It’s also a powerful antioxidant and it’s actually a healing herb for stress. I don’t want to make this a piece about stress specifically, but this is an aspect of Turmeric as a medicine that doesn’t get a lot of coverage. Turmeric can help us deal with stress, panic, anxiety and fear because it can reduce oxidative stress.

(Oxidative stress meaning a state where pro-oxidative processes and agents in the body outweigh anti-oxidant agents.)

Particularly in 2022 and beyond. Our world has changed dramatically within a few years and mental health is a concern for many of us. If not for ourselves, then for others we love and care about. Stress is a big thing today for many of us, and whatever its derivation – whether its physical or emotional – stress increases oxidative processes in the body.(9) Past human studies have found a close relationship between anxiety and levels of oxidative stress in the body with these theories emerging about how stress causes changes in the amygdala in the brain, or how stress drives the onset of type 2 diabetes in susceptible populations, or how mental disorders are associated with a shorter lifespan.(6,7)

“The maladaptive activation of the fear-defence system is an essential contributor to inflammation and oxidative stress…Mental disorders are associated with reduced life expectancy due to increased oxidative stress.” – Kerahrodi et Michal (2020)

The truth is, our bodies naturally house pro-oxidative agents. Every time you breathe, digest food or metabolise a drug or medicine, your body produces by products called free radicals. These free radicals circulate through your body exerting adverse effects on your cells and tissues – things like weakening or breaking down cell membranes, interfering with proteins and enzymes and effectively dampening their actions or preventing cell division and energy production.(5) So having free radicals in your body is actually quite normal, but the problem is, the more you have, the more you start to feel like you’re not operating at your usual level of energy, vibrancy and clarity. And if you’re not doing anything to offset those free radicals, then they just keep building unchecked. Actually, free radicals have been linked to panic attack in some studies too, so it seems like stress and oxidation might be mutually sustaining.(8)

So our diets don’t just need to be clean (organic if possible) and free of environmental toxins, our diet also has to be full of nutrients that help us deal with emotional stress and build emotional resilience. This is a big aspect of how I cook and eat. When I make food, I make medicine. You too? My food may not always taste like gourmet chef, I’ll happily admit that 🙂 because I’m cooking to feel well and I think that if you’re reading this article, you’re probably a bit like that too …..If or when you come to see me you’ll start seeing how I integrate herbs into your diet… how you’re afternoon latte has become your gut healer, how your weekly bread has become your weight loss hack. Turmeric is your friend and ally in the kitchen.

With Turmeric, its ability to improve quality of life scores and reduce stress, fatigue and anxiety scores in clinical trials is testimony to its ability to reduce stress-induced oxidation. It enhances antioxidant status in the body and reduces lipid peroxidation according to a 2016 human clinical trial.(3) It does this partly via its actions on the Nrf2 pathway, an important neuroprotective mediator. Activation of this pathway has the potential to reduce the incidence of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.(1)

Beyond being an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, Turmeric is a key gut herb. Herbalist Kerry Bone recommends Turmeric as part of his new and improved bowel flora protocol (BFP), an approach to enhancing your microbiome based on the classic naturopathic weed, seed and feed system. The BFP works by “manipulating existing resident microflora” to achieve more long-lasting improvements. It’s essentially a progressive approach based on remodelling/modulating your existing gut flora. The protocol starts with up to 14 days of fasting, avoidance of yeast, sugar and starches, and the use of gut-specific herbs like Slippery Elm and Turmeric (2g twice daily).(4) Interested in trying this protocol? Book in for a consult here.

We keep hearing about how up to 67% of Australians are overweight or obese, and we need to do something about it. Ahem…Golden loaf anybody? Turmeric along with herbs like St Mary’s Thistle, Black Nigella Seed, Bitter Melon and Cinnamon are key plant medicines used to improve glycaemic control. Turmeric specifically targets the AMPK pathway.(4,14) A 2021 systematic review of the effects of curcumin in over a thousand diabetic patients concluded that “curcumin’s anti-diabetic activity might be due to its capacity to suppress oxidative stress and inflammatory process.”(15)

golden loaf

Photo: Sulin Sze 2022

Rewild your gut with Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale F.H.Wigg)

Dandelion also possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity (16), but really what I love about this herb is its bitter taste, a sure sign that it can warm up digestive function and stimulate the secretion of digestive juices. I’ve got lots more information about Dandelion in my book Wildcraft (click here to buy). You can grow Dandelion in a pot or in the garden bed, and this plant will consistently give you soft, lettuce-like, nutritious leaves all year round while invigorating the soil it grows in. It’s sustainable living at its best.

I’m using the leaves of Dandelion here, and they’re rich in phenolic compounds like caffeic and chlorogenic acids (antioxidants). Lots of us love drinking Dandelion root tea for its inulin content, but the leaves contain much higher levels of antioxidant compounds like polyphenols and the key bitter compounds called sesquiterpene lactones. You could throw in the flowers too for their flavonoid content and you’ve got a bit of an antioxidant fiesta going on in this loaf.(17) I like to think of Dandelion as the ‘rewilder’ in my kitchen, and I love that it’s the sort of plant I can always have growing around me.

So here’s how you make Golden Loaf:

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Chop the onions, garlic and herbs and mix with feta and seeds in a large bowl.

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Mix in turmeric, powders and prepare oil and egg (wet) mix.

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Combine wet and dry mixes and top with seeds, garlic and baby tomatoes. Put into baking dish and cover with foil.

golden loaf

This loaf is a winner with guests! Photo: Sulin Sze 2022

Gut-loving Golden Loaf with Dandelion and Feta

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Servings: 8 pieces
Author: Sulin Sze

Equipment

  • 2 Mixing bowls
  • 1 Loaf baking dish

Ingredients

  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Dandelion leaves (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Parsley and Basil leaves (chopped)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 200 g Feta
  • 1.5 cups Tapioca flour
  • 1 cup Sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp Flaxseeds
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp Himalaya pink salt (fine)
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 baby tomatoes (halved) for topping
  • 2 garlic cloves (halved) for topping

Instructions

  • Turn oven onto fan bak at 180 degrees celsius.
  • Combine onions, garlic, herbs, dandelion greens, feta, seeds, bicarb of soda, flour, salt and turmeric in a bowl. Mix together.
  • In a second bowl, whisk eggs and melted coconut oil together to form the wet mix. Pour wet mix onto dry mix. Mix together.
  • Place mixture into a baking dish lined with baking paper. Top with seeds, baby tomatoes and garlic. Cover with foil.
  • Bake for 45 mins, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes. Once baking is complete, leave to cool a little before serving.

It’s so good toasted!

golden loaf

Photo: Sulin Sze 2022

Time to get that apron out? 

I hope you love this recipe. I think I’ll be baking this bread until my last breath 🙂 And to inspire you, here are my favourite ways of enjoying Golden Loaf…

6 ways to enjoy your Golden loaf:

  • Anti-inflammatory diet, Detox diet: toasted with Avocado and a squeeze of lemon
  • Lux Sunday morning breakfast: toasted with scrambled eggs, haloumi, micro greens and dukkah
  • Quickie lunch at work: toasted with a dash of oil (I like flaxseed oil) and sprinkle of dukkah
  • Leisurely lunch: toasted and topped with steamed asparagus, a boiled egg, salt and pepper
  • My favourite fast breaking breakfast: toasted with a dash of flaxseed oil and a dollop of beetroot dip, top with alfalfa sprouts
  • Quick lunch at work: A slice toasted with miso soup.
Have fun baking and I’d love to hear how you make this recipe your own too! If you’ve got a way to make this recipe better, go ahead and share in the comments below. 
 
Love Sulin

Hey there! Welcome to my world of totally natural and powerful healing medicines. Medicines from nature. Medicine from Source. I’m a naturopath and herbalist with extensive clinical experience working with a range of health conditions including hormonal, metabolic, mental health, sleep and more.

I’ve brought together years of clinical and teaching experience, academic skill and curiosity to bring you this blog. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

sulin signature sundance 4

References

  1. Petri, S., Körner, S., & Kiaei, M. (2012). Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway: key mediator in oxidative stress and potential therapeutic target in ALS. Neurology research international2012.
  2. Pizzino, G., Irrera, N., Cucinotta, M., Pallio, G., Mannino, F., Arcoraci, V., … & Bitto, A. (2017). Oxidative stress: harms and benefits for human health. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity2017.
  3. Sudheeran, S. P., Jacob, D., Mulakal, J. N., Nair, G. G., Maliakel, A., Maliakel, B., … & Krishnakumar, I. M. (2016). Safety, tolerance, and enhanced efficacy of a bioavailable formulation of curcumin with fenugreek dietary fiber on occupational stress: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology36(3), 236-243.
  4. Bone, K (2021). Functional Herbal Therapy – A Modern Paradigm for Clinicans. AEON Books. London.
  5. Sharifi-Rad, M., Anil Kumar, N. V., Zucca, P., Varoni, E. M., Dini, L., Panzarini, E., … & Sharifi-Rad, J. (2020). Lifestyle, oxidative stress, and antioxidants: back and forth in the pathophysiology of chronic diseases. Frontiers in physiology11, 694.
  6. Bouayed, J., & Bohn, T. (2010). Exogenous antioxidants—double-edged swords in cellular redox state: health beneficial effects at physiologic doses versus deleterious effects at high doses. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity3(4), 228-237.
  7. Bouayed, J., Rammal, H., & Soulimani, R. (2009). Oxidative stress and anxiety: relationship and cellular pathways. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity2(2), 63-67.
  8. Kuloglu, M., Atmaca, M., Tezcan, E., Ustundag, B., & Bulut, S. (2002). Antioxidant enzyme and malondialdehyde levels in patients with panic disorder. Neuropsychobiology46(4), 186-189.
  9. Kerahrodi, J. G., & Michal, M. (2020). The fear-defense system, emotions, and oxidative stress. Redox biology37, 101588.
  10. Ferguson, J. J., Abbott, K. A., & Garg, M. L. (2021). Anti-inflammatory effects of oral supplementation with curcumin: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition reviews79(9), 1043-1066.
  11. Paultre, K., Cade, W., Hernandez, D., Reynolds, J., Greif, D., & Best, T. M. (2021). Therapeutic effects of turmeric or curcumin extract on pain and function for individuals with knee osteoarthritis: A systematic review. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine7(1), e000935.
  12. Pourhabibi‐Zarandi, F., Shojaei‐Zarghani, S., & Rafraf, M. (2021). Curcumin and rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review of literature. International Journal of Clinical Practice75(10), e14280.
  13. Hewlings, S. J., & Kalman, D. S. (2017). Curcumin: A review of its effects on human health. Foods6(10), 92.
  14. Pivari, F., Mingione, A., Brasacchio, C., & Soldati, L. (2019). Curcumin and type 2 diabetes mellitus: prevention and treatment. Nutrients11(8), 1837.
  15. Marton, L. T., Pescinini-e-Salzedas, L. M., Camargo, M. E. C., Barbalho, S. M., Haber, J. F., Sinatora, R. V., … & Cincotto dos Santos Bueno, P. (2021). The effects of curcumin on diabetes mellitus: a systematic review. Frontiers in Endocrinology12, 443.
  16. Wirngo, F. E., Lambert, M. N., & Jeppesen, P. B. (2016). The physiological effects of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) in type 2 diabetes. The review of diabetic studies: RDS13(2-3), 113.
  17. Jalili, C., Taghadosi, M., Pazhouhi, M., Bahrehmand, F., Miraghaee, S., Pourmand, D., & Rashidi, I. (2020) An overview of therapeutic potentials of Taraxacum officinale (dandelion): a traditionally valuable herb with a reach historical background. World Cancer Research Journal. 7: e1679 
  18. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Overweight and obesity. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/overweight-and-obesity

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