HPN 18: Summer’s Best–Food As Medicine With These 5 Seasonal Picks, Plus: Gut Healing After Antibiotics

June 12, 2020


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Or what about all the healthy foods offered by Primal Kitchen. Primal Kitchen is one of the few brands we trust for truly clean ingredients (dressings, sauces, and more FREE of industrial seed oils, etc.) and they make cooking that much easier and more flavorful! See Tawnee’s pantry–she’s a faithful Primal Kitchen customer.

Welcome to episode 18 of Holistic Performance Nutrition (HPN) featuring Tawnee Gibson, MS, CSCS, CISSN, and Julie McCloskey, a certified holistic nutrition coach who you can find over at wildandwell.fit.

On this episode:

Seasonal Eating Guide – Summer:


  • Resistant starch source, along with other berries too!
  • Berry Polyphenols Inhibit α-Amylase in Vitro: Identifying Active Components in Rowanberry and Raspberry
    • Evidence to show that raspberries inhibit amylase, the enzyme that we use to digest starch, leaving more for our good gut flora (i.e., acts as resistant starch).
    • Polyphenol-rich extracts from a range of berries inhibited α-amylase in vitro, but the most effective were from raspberry and rowanberry.
    • Such synergistic interactions could have implications for the current clinical use of acarbose for postprandial glycaemic control in type-2 diabetics.
  • Lower sugar than other fruits (50-75% less than things like apples and mango).
  • It has anthocyanins which may improve blood sugar.
  • Incorporate raspberries literally anywhere (e.g., spread raspberries right on your toast), but specifically, have with your higher carb foods and note if it helps your PP blood sugar response!


  • A peppery, nutty salad green with a bitter bite. Mass-produced Baby Arugula will be milder, “wild” arugula will have more of a kick.
  • Mostly grown in CA and AZ, but also found locally in many other places.
  • Arugula goes bad within a few days; the best way to store it is to keep them in a damp paper towel. Plastic bags create a moist environment that makes them mushy.
  • Use raw from basically anything: pizza, omelets, pasta, salads (pairs well with fatty and acidic ingredients), as a side to meat or fish, or chop them up for a pesto!
  • Health Benefits
    • Glucosinolates – sulfur-containing compounds, and key phytonutrients that are believed to act against cancer cells
    • High antioxidant food – Vitamins K, A, & C
    • Liver – arugula contains cleansing properties that help counteract the poisoning effects of heavy metals particularly in your liver


  • Peak season mid to late summer.
  • In season, go for the fresh/raw figs, not the dried ones. Although dried figs are a powerhouse of nutrients, 100g of dried figs have more than 3x the carbs and sugar than 100g of fresh/raw figs.
  • High in fiber and potassium.
  • Throw in with a salad – pairs well with arugula, goat cheese, and walnuts; use to naturally sweeten your oatmeal; make homemade fig bars; sweeten your smoothie bowls or have with yogurt; eat them plain as a snack.
  • Good for 7-10 days.
  • The Effects of Ficus Carica Polysaccharide on Immune Response and Expression of Some Immune-Related Genes in Grass Carp, Ctenopharyngodon Idella
    • Used in traditional Chinese medicine commonly as an aid in healthy immune function
    • Fruit, root, and leaves are used in native system of medicine for gastrointestinal disorders (colic, indigestion, loss of appetite and diarrhea), respiratory disorders (sore throats, coughs, and bronchial problems), inflammatory disorders and cardiovascular disorders (Ponelope 1997). Fig has been traditionally used for its medicinal benefits as metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory remedy (Duke et al., 2002).
    • This study showed that fig (isolated Ficus carica polysaccharide (FCP) from fig and turned into a liquid tincture) can help stimulate an immune system response in grass carp (fish) to ward of illness and bacterial invaders we don’t want (source).


  • The season begins in late spring to early summer.
  • Curly leaf (French) is mild and slightly herbaceous. The flat-leaf (Italian) is more grassy and peppery.
  • Food safety recalls from salmonella contamination so grow your own or buy local and wash it!
  • Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to a week, OR better yet, in a glass jar upright with a few inches of water.
  • Make tabbouleh – Middle Eastern salad made of bulgur wheat, tomatoes, and herbs. Or persillade (French) – Finely chopped parsley and garlic to add to roasted veggies, rice, pasta, or eggs.
  • Health benefits
    • ½ cup is 50% of vitamin C
    • High in vitamins K and A
    • Considered the “motherlode of disease-fighting phytonutrients”
    • Flavonoids have shown promise to reduce inflammation and support our immune systems.
    • Antibacterial and antifungal properties.
    • Freshens up bad breath because of its antibacterial properties.


  • Prebiotic food
    • Defined as: “nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth of one or a limited number of bacterial species in the colon, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, which have the potential to improve host health.” (source)
    • But the more you cook, the more you lose prebiotically
  • Thousands of peer-reviewed studies looking at the health benefits of garlic.
  • Family with leeks, onion, chives, scallion.
  • Contains: flavonoids, oligosaccharides, amino acids, allicin, and sulfur.
  • If dealing with SIBO, sit this one out for a bit.
  • Raw is better than cooked for health purposes (i.e., used as an antimicrobial), but cooked garlic is still high in antioxidants and sulfur.
    • No antimicrobial properties from consuming cooked garlic, but still get the nutritional benefit of the sulfur compounds
  • Allicin, an organosulfur compound, is a powerful antimicrobial/antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic. Pathogenic microbes don’t seem to be able to develop resistance to allicin over time,
    • HOWEVER- allicin doesn’t withstand cooking/heat (no more than 117F wet heat; 150F dry heat for allicin to stay alive), so consuming fresh, uncooked garlic should be crushed, sliced, or chewed to maximize allicin production.
    • If you’re not down for raw garlic- Allicin supplements are widely available.
    • Supplemet can help prevent/fight common cold among other infections.
    • Preventing the Common Cold With a Garlic Supplement: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Survey
      • 90-day intervention: Garlic allicin supplement group had 60% fewer colds, 70% fewer days affected
      • One report describes that during an influenza epidemic, the former Soviet Union imported more than 500 tons of garlic cloves for acute treatment. Among the viruses sensitive to garlic extracts are the human cytomegalovirus, human rhinovirus type 2, herpes simplex types 1 and 2, and influenza B. Evidence points toward allicin and its condensation product ajoene as the main components in garlic responsible for this antiviral activity.
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Fermented Honey Garlic recipe

Jessica asks:

Helping Gut After a Round of Antibiotics

I had to take antibiotics for a recent UTI and my gut’s been off since. I’m training for a marathon later this year and then a 50k, and I’m all-in with the holistic approach. In this case, I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to keep my gut health as good as it can be so if I had to take antibiotics, what can or should I do now to help rebuild anything I may have lost?

What the Coaches say:

  • Antibiotics have their time and place.
  • The coaches are not against antibiotics. If you need to go on a round on antibiotics, then please do so.
  • Why can antibiotics be harmful to us?
    • Overprescribed
    • It’s very hard to take an antibiotic without affecting other bacteria as well; antibiotics kill both the bad and good bacteria
    • So while the objective of the antibiotic is to get rid of the pathogenic bacteria, it will kill other harmless gut bacteria, even the antibiotics that have a more specific mission
    • Due to the rapid reduction of bacteria in your gut, it allows for other diseases and opportunistic (i.e., possible candida) bacteria to come in and take over. You end up with less diversity which can lead to a deregulation of the immune system, inflammation in the gut, and may also lead to autoimmune diseases
    • Wide spectrum antibiotics cause even more harm, as they tend to eliminate a huge chunk of the gut bacterial community
  • When taking antibiotics
    • Avoid foods that feed yeast and hard to digest/potentially inflammatory foods
      • Sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, alcohol
    • Eat probiotic-rich foods
      • Sauerkraut, kimchi, low sugar kombucha, etc.
    • Eat prebiotics!
      • Feed beneficial flora
      • Garlic, leeks, onions, jicama, chicory root, asparagus, green bananas and plantains, cacao, resistant starches (cooled potatoes/rice)
  • Antibiotics and training
    • Consider MAF-based approach without too much intensity; intensity may add insult to injury
    • Consider skipping races or big events while taking antibiotics
    • Think of all the things that contribute to leaky gut, or your GI triggers, and avoid those if needing to take antibiotics
    • Do more yoga and restorative activity instead
  • Short-Term Effect of Antibiotics on Human Gut Microbiota
    • “These studies have shown that treatment is followed by a significant alteration of the gut microbiota composition and a decrease between one-fourth to one-third of the microbial diversity in the digestive tract [4], [8]. The microbiota is relatively resilient and returns to the pre-treatment state several weeks after drug cessation [9].”
    • “However, other recent studies on the long-term effects of antibiotic intake have shown that microbiota does not show complete resilience three months after treatment cessation [4], [5], [9], [10], [11]. Variations in the resilience observed might be due to differences in the methodology used to analyze microbiota variability.”
  • Short-Term Antibiotic Treatment Has Differing Long-Term Impacts on the Human Throat and Gut Microbiome
    • “Although the diversity of the microbiota subsequently recovered to resemble the pre-treatment states, the microbiota remained perturbed in some cases for up to four years post treatment. In addition, four years after treatment high levels of the macrolide resistance gene erm(B) were found, indicating that antibiotic resistance, once selected for, can persist for longer periods of time than previously recognized. This highlights the importance of a restrictive antibiotic usage in order to prevent subsequent treatment failure and potential spread of antibiotic resistance.”
  • The composition of gut bacteria almost recovers after antibiotics
    • 3 antibiotics given to healthy young men for 4 days
    • Caused almost a complete eradication of gut bacteria
    • A gradual recovery of bacteria over the next 6 months
      • BUT still missing 9 of their common beneficial bacteria strains and developed a few more less desirable ones
  • Foods:
    • Cooked/cooled starches, fruits, high fiber veggies, whole complex carbs/GF grains (e.g., oatmeal), psyllium husk, resistant starch, FOS, green bananas, sweet potatoes, tubers, etc.
  • Supplements (check out our dispensary at Fullscript for a discount on these supplements):
  • If it’s really bad:
    • May need to test for fungal/yeast overgrowth or something else that “crept in” due to antibiotics and treat from there.
    • Please hire someone, if needed! Support can be helpful.

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