How much do you think about your gut? You know, your digestive system — and, more importantly, the trillions of probiotic bacteria and other organisms that live inside it?
Well perhaps we all should spend a little more time focusing on those little guys. Nurturing a well-maintained microbiome can strengthen immunity, aid digestion, improve nutrient absorption, and even boost mental health.
Probiotics — and the foods and lifestyle that contribute to a healthy microbiome— are the entire focus of the June issue of Cooking Light. It's a special issue completely devoted to "gut health," and if you only pick up one food magazine this month, this should be the one.
The One Food Magazine You Should Buy in June: Cooking Light
The issue is an impressively comprehensive, informative look at the whole topic of probiotics including how they work, the medical research behind them, and the recent explosion of grocery products — from chips to granola to tea — making bold (and sometimes questionable) claims about digestive health. The magazine dives into some big questions about probiotics, including whether you should take a daily probiotic supplement (short answer: no) and whether you should be concerned about your pet's probiotic health (short answer: yes).
Mostly, though, this issue of Cooking Light focuses on ingredients and recipes that promote good gut health. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kombucha have become very popular in recent years. But the real key to proper digestive health is diversity. As Rene Ebersole writes in the cover story, "Experts say that above all else, it is paramount that you live a lifestyle and consume a diet that nurture a diverse community of microbes — which is a far more comprehensive approach than popping a probiotic supplement."
There are tons of great probiotic-forward recipes throughout the issue. We especially liked the feature called "Good Things Come in Pairs," which offers recipes that are rich in both probiotics (those good bacteria) and prebiotics (which are components of certain foods that act as fuel for probiotics). Pairing them together, in dishes like sesame salmon with kimchi-miso butter or broccoli-and-kraut slaw, creates a positive symbiotic effect that's extra good for you.
The magazine also includes a cool "3-Day Gut Makeover," a high-fiber plant-based meal plan for about $52 a person with a complete guide for recipes like kale salad with spiced chickpeas and berries and pasta with green peas and almond gremolata.
Reading the issue has definitely got us thinking more about our overall bacterial health. After all, as the magazine says, you are what you eat — or, more accurately, "You are what you eat eats."
Where to Buy the Issue
Other Magazines We Recommend This Month
Elsewhere this month, we really enjoyed the June issue of Food & Wine. As we mentioned in this column last month, the magazine seems to be finding a stronger voice under new editor Hunter Lewis. The June issue debuts a new redesign of the mag that's streamlined and fresh.
There's a really fantastic feature from India-born Denver chef Biju Thomas, featuring new takes on Indian dishes inspired by summer produce. It's got a peach and cashew biryani that looks amazing, and some caramelized coconut green beans we're dying to try out.
Food & Wine also has a great little profile of restaurateur Stephen Starr, the man behind places like Buddakan and Le Coucou in New York, Le Diplomate in Washington, D.C., and 20 restaurants — and counting! — in Philadelphia.
There's one recipe in Food & Wine that we were especially happy to see: a little gem salad with walnut vinaigrette and urfa crumble. It's from chefs Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer of the Los Angeles restaurant Kismet. We were in LA last month for a working vacation; one of the best meals we had was a leisurely lunch at Kismet. If the little gem salad is anything as good as the food we had there, it'll definitely be making its way into regular rotation at our house.
Finally this month, consider grabbing a copy of the newest Bon Appétit, which has a ton of great grilling recipes. Personally, we tend to think of summer barbecue recipes as the food magazine world's equivalent of florals for spring. (Grilling? For June? Groundbreaking.) But Bon App has some genuinely cool, new takes on summer grilling.
We especially love the feature on grilling cuts of meat we usually think of only for winter braising, which includes a drool-worthy grilled brisket with scallion peanut salsa, and a nice recipe for grilled chile-lemongrass short ribs with pickled daikon. Another feature profiles Savannah barbecue chef Bryon Furman and has grill-ready recipes for things like pork tenderloin with peach-mustard sauce and a grilled corn salad with hot honey-lime dressing. The magazine also has fresh ideas for other stuff you can grill, like a truly beautiful charred cabbage with goat cheese raita and cucumbers.
Okay, okay: Grilling? For June? We're sold!