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First, I want to tell you a story.

A few weeks ago a friend and I were conversing on health, specifically her gut health. She went on to say that she was eating sauerkraut the day before and it was sooo good.  Plus she was happy that she was doing something good for her health.

Doesn’t it always feel good when you do something good for your health and actually follow through – yasss!

But she had the most terrible, potent, awful gas that her husband had to leave the bedroom!! 🤢  

I’m not mentioning any names because geez we are talking about farting and I wouldn’t want to embarrass her! But I’m sure for a quick second you are trying to imagine who it was, aren’t you 🤣? You don’t know her and she’s not even my friend on FB or IG 🤷🏼‍♀️! But, hey it’s something everyone has from time to time but yet we cringe, hide or look the other way like they did it, I don’t know 😆

Back to the sauerkraut.  She was thinking she was doing good. So I asked her what brand she ate.  She told me Boar’s Head because that was a good brand.

Well any sauerkraut that has been cooked or heated has no beneficial bacteria in it. Despite it promotes “delicate slices of cabbage that are fermented and aged for a crisp texture and slightly tart flavor”.  Notice it doesn’t say anything about it having beneficial bacteria so their fermentation process does not add the beneficial probiotics we need from it. It also has sodium benzoate to preserve it. Needless to say there is no beneficial bacteria in these types of sauerkraut.

You can certainly buy a brand like Bubba’s in Whole Foods or your local health food market that has a refrigerated section.  However, making your own is really simple. It literally requires two ingredients – cabbage & salt!!!

While there are many different reasons people have gas, eating a large amounts of sauerkraut might be too much for ones digestive system to handle. It could have been from  the sugars that some vegetables (especially cruciferous) has that is hard to digest due to the natural types of sugars in it.

In her case, she might have an overgrowth of yeast which will continually feed off of the sugar. Also it’s a good idea to eat small portions of probiotic foods if your gut is not used to it.  Work your way up so your body has the ability to digest it without having digestive upset. And, she did tell me she ate a LOT of it hence the copious amounts of gas that her body was unable to process!!

In any case, having flatulence is natural but have excessive amounts of smelly gas likely means your intestinal bacteria is out of whack.

So that brings me to homemade lacto-fermented sauerkraut.  It’s easy and eating a little everyday or a few times a week is good to build up your good bacteria naturally.

The salt is added at the beginning of fermentation to suppress the growth of the undesirable bacteria. As the fermentation takes place, lactic acid is produced and the pH drops and bacteria metabolism slows.  Through the process, the bacteria is trapped in the brine where they eat the sugars in the cabbage. They multiple like crazy and release large amounts of lactic acid that acts as a preservative and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. This natural process and without heat also holds onto more vitamins and minerals.

Another awesome way to eat this sauerkraut is topped cold on a delicious bowl of hot pureed squash soup or one of my favorites is a pureed purple turnip soup.  Pureed soups are actually easier to digest since it is already broken down and the sauerkraut topper makes it even more delicious and beneficial for your gut!

Despite how long the directions look, it’s really super simple, shred, salt, massage, sit ~ that’s it.  

Simple Homemade Sauerkraut

This simple homemade sauerkraut is filled with probiotics to help balance your gut flora. 

Prep Time 30 minutes
Author Stacey DIverde

Ingredients

  • 1 head organic green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Himalayan pink salt finely grated or fine sea salt
  • sprinkle dill, caraway, anise, or fennel seed (optional)

Tools

  • 1 ea wide mouth glass mason jar & lid
  • 1 ea mandolin, sharp chef knife I prefer mandoline if you have but a knife works perfectly
  • 1 ea cutting board
  • 1 ea cheese cloth or a clean thin dish towel & rubber band
  • 1 large wide or rectangular glass dish

Instructions

  1. Clean your jar well.  You can pour hot boiling water if you wish to sanitize it so it will remove any lingering harmful bacteria to prevent mold but it's not necessary.  Good hot soapy water is fine and rinsed well.  

  2. Do not wash the cabbage.  You will need the natural bacteria that is on the leaves to start the fermentation process.  

  3. Cut and quarter the cabbage. Remove some of the larger leaves and put to the side, you will need this to cover the sauerkraut in the jar.

  4. Take out the core but slicing it in a "V" at the core with the knife and remove it.

  5. Shred the cabbage using a mandolin at your desired thickness into the large rectangular bowl.  Or, thinly slice it with a knife on it's side. You can also use a box grater but that is a bit too shredded in my opinion for sauerkraut so if you don't have a mandolin just use a knife.

  6. Sprinkle the fine pink or sea salt over the cabbage. 

  7. Use your hands to massage the salt in.  Gently squeeze and turn the cabbage while you massage it. You will start to see it get a bit softer as you break down cellulose fibers from cabbage. Liquid will start to develop, do not discard, this is the brine.

  8. Let the cabbage sit for about 30 minutes before putting it in the jar.

  9. Massage it again before putting it in the jar.  One head of cabbage should fit in the jar once broken down a bit.  Squeeze it all in there, you can push it in with your hands or wooden spoon (I use gloves when I cook normally).

  10. Top the jar with the large loose cabbage leaves you saved.  Tuck it in so there is no air (you need an anaerobic state).  Once it sits for a few hours it will develop even more brine and be completely submerged in the brine.

  11. Cover with fine cheesecloth or other thin cloth. Put a rubber band around it and let it sit on the counter for 7-10 days (out of direct sun light or heat).  Depending on how the air is in your home will depend how long you will have it out.  I have central air so 10 days is perfect for me.  The slow fermentation tastes the best. The longer it sits the more tangy it will get so test it and see what you prefer in taste.  Also the longer it sits the more beneficial microbes (specifically lactobacillus) there will be.

  12. Once it's fermented to your liking, remove the cheese cloth and cover it with the lid. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. This can be stored for months in the refrigerator. 

There are so many toxic chemicals we use on our skin, mouth and in our daily household cleaning regimen that IS making you and those you love sick! Your body is meant to naturally detox.

But, we are overloaded with harmful chemicals that are wreaking havoc on your health. These toxins also travel through our blood stream directly absorbed from our skin. It might not be apparent in your everyday life that they are making you sick until something goes wrong. Hello breast cancer! Hello depression! Hello weight gain! Hello hormonal disruption! Hello infertility! Hello thyroid condition! Hello liver & kidney damage! Hello skin rash! Hello brain & gut disfunction! Hello allergies! Hello developmental delay! You get the picture ~ it IS affecting your health every single day in every single way!  

The US is about the only country that allows all these harmful chemicals in our products. Most of these chemicals are banned from other countries. Would you believe the US only bans 11 toxic chemicals but Europe has 1,300 on their list of banned chemicals? What? This is crazy!

It’s really up to us – the consumer – to stop buying and using these products that are killing us and our children. Apparently, children absorb 40-50% more than adults making them at higher risk for disease.  Not to mention the rate of children with learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, autism, depression, mood disorders and allergies has skyrocketed the last 50 years!! This is just sad but often ignored as a trigger!

There are so many people still using harmful chemicals on their bodies and household cleaning. These chemicals have direct impact to how well our endocrine and neurological system is working especially your Thyroid! Once absorbed they produce systemic damage to internal organs.

13 Toxic Chemicals You Need to Avoid:

1. BPA – (bisphenol-A) is a chemical that is added to many commercial products. Most widely used in the lining of cans, plastic food containers, bottles as well as hygiene products. The reason why they use it in the lining of cans is to keep metal from corroding. It is also found in CDs/DVDs, thermal receipts, plastic containers and bottles, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, eyeglass lenses to name  few. Because BPA is estrogenic (mimicking estrogen properties), it has the potential to affect hormone-mediated neurologic and behavioral development in early life(1) and is recognized as an endocrine-disrupting chemical as well as linked to breast cancer. It can bind to estrogen receptors which can influence growth, cell repair, fetal development, energy level and reproduction. It also can alter the function of your thyroid and your entire endocrine system.  Unfortunately, recent research is showing BPA has been replaced by bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF) which may also disrupt the function of your cells similar to BPA(2). Using glass whenever possible is best for food storage and avoiding plastic overall when possible to avoid these harmful chemicals.

2. Plastic – Use glass whenever possible especially heating your food (not that microwaving your food is good either). Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

3. Parabens –Parabens are widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products. While that might sound good, parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties and are linked to breast cancer and are found in biopsies of breast tumors. The skin is one of the largest organs and it’s directly absorbed into your body. Parabens can be found in makeup, lipsticks, body washes, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners and facial cleansers, lotions and creams, etc.(3)(4)(5) 

4. Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea – These are the most commonly used preservatives after the parabens. According to the American Academy of Dermatology they are the primary cause of contact dermatitis. 

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – is used as a sudsing and foaming agent which penetrates the skin. Harmful effects include reproductive and developmental toxicity, tissue damage that could result in chronic liver, brain, heart, lung damage and may include cancer. SLS has been found in the tissue of these organs so it accumulates in the body. It is found to be a contributor to acne, eczema and other dermititis skin irritations.  It also disrupts your skin’s natural oil balance because of its harsh agents.(6) 

6. Tricolsan and Tribclocarban – found in toothpaste, deodorant and antibacterial soaps and   handsanitizers. We have become so obsessed with germs that it is actually causing bacterial resistance which is opposite of what we want. We need microbes in our gut to keep us healthy. It also disrupts our endocrine system, impairs muscle and immune function and allergies.

7. Benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol – these are the chemicals that have been replaced in some antibacterial products and are showing just as harmful affects as Tricolsan and Tribclocarban (7)

8. Phthalates – a group of chemicals used in products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics. It is used in cosmetics and personal care products such as nail polish, perfumes, moisturizers, deodorants, and hair spray.  They are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer as well. Unfortunately, companies are not obligated to disclose their secret formula of fragrance which is a major flaw in the law. 

9. Polyethylene/PEGs – PEG, which is the abbreviation of polyethylene glycol.  It’s most common form is plastic and when combined with glycol, it becomes a thick and sticky liquid. It’s found in cosmetics as emollients which help soften and lubricate the skin, it’s also an emulsifier and it helps deliver other ingredients deeper in the skin (ugh!!!). They are used in cosmetics for scrubs and exfoliants as well as body wash. These PEGs wind up traveling through our waterways and collecting more pollutants along the way ultimately being consumed by fish and other marine mammals.

10. Dibutyl phthalate, toluene – linked to endocrine disruption, respiratory issues, birth defects and headaches.  They are found in nail polish and nail products and other cosmetics.

11. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) – synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers, among other cosmetics. They are also widely used as food preservatives such as some potato chips, cereals as well as oils. They are beneficial because they help prolong the shelf life of certain items. This doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that BHA is “generally recognized as safe,” The Department of Health and Human Services, however, cautions humans to avoid BHA because certain studies show it is linked to cancer. It also can accumulate in the body and can be considered a human carcinogen.   Evidence shows high doses of BHT may mimic estrogen resulting in hormone disruption. 

12. Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and poses significant danger to human health (it has been linked to nasal squamous cell cancer(8).  It is also skin irritant that can cause allergy-like reactions including watery, burning eyes and throats, stuffy noses, and skin rashes. It is mainly used in the production of industrial resins such as particle board.  It also can be found in furniture, permanent press clothing, draperies, glues, adhesives, cleaning, beauty products and in some brands of baby wipes(9).

13. Mercury – Exposure to mercury impairs neurological development, and recent research has linked high levels of mercury to ADHD. Because neural development happens rapidly in pregnancy and early childhood, it is important to eliminate exposure where possible(10) (11)   Oxidative stress is associated with the cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease(12)(13). Mercury enters the environment through air pollution and industrial waste. When mercury enters water, fish absorb it through their gills. The primary exposure to mercury is from consuming large, older, and predatory fish (ahi tuna, swordfish, shark, orange roughy, mackerel,  yellowfin tuna, sea bass, blue fish, grouper). Here’s a list of the levels of mercury found in fish/seafood from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so you can decide which seafood is best for you to consume.

As you can see every single one of these chemicals are an endocrine & neurological function disruptors.  They are linked to many cancers and diseases.

Now, if you think I’m being overly cautious, I’m not. It’s up to us to start making these changes for our health and our children’s health. I don’t even like the fake and strong smells from the cleaners that are on the market. If you think Mr. Clean, 409, Fantastic, Gain, Palmolive or Dawn dish detergent is safe to use they are not. Once you switch to a healthier cleaning regimen and skin care you will notice the difference. I know it has made a difference in my own thyroid function and that is coming from someone that no longer even has a thyroid. 

One of the most popular laundry detergents on the market – Tide –  is loaded with toxins for example.  I’ve ditched Tide about 20 years ago!  There are many natural detergents that are on the market today that work well!  You can also make a homemade natural detergent too using simple ingredients like borax, washing soda and natural soap such as Dr. Bronner’s. 

Companies are tricky in making you think something is natural and safe – like Tide Free and Gentle is not “free and clear” of all chemicals!!  Thankfully, in a 2013 press release noted on EWG’s website, Procter & Gamble has agreed to reformulate Tide and other popular laundry detergents to reduce contamination with 1,4 dioxane, defined as a carcinogen by California consumer product safeguards known as Proposition 65. The giant multinational’s action came in response to a lawsuit filed by an Oakland-based nonprofit called As You Sow. My understanding is as of today, 1,4 dioxane has been taken out of Tide Free and Gentle, however, EWG.org website still rates this product an “F”. I would stay away from all conventional detergents that are in the market despite Tide being the most popular laundry detergent. Read your labels – natural or free doesn’t mean that it is non-toxic and chemical free. I try my best not to use harmful chemicals on my skin or in my home. The chemicals that are in your products have a direct connection to how your hormones work (both in women and men!) as well as can cause many different cancers. We must all be conscious consumers and realize that these very products are making us sick in more ways than we care to believe.  

Unfortunately, the cosmetic industry is also unregulated and the FDA doesn’t require them to make safety assessments on their products.  There are tons of products on the market starting from the conventional deodorant that has been linked to breast cancer to the foundation make-up that is loaded with chemicals that are being absorbed through our skin. Harmful ingredients are often masked with the label of “fragrance” or sometimes they are labeled with the actual chemical but are not required to inform the consumer of its harmful affects on our health. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if the products you use everyday are harming your health?

Check out how your product rates.

Check out The Environmental Working Group (EWG) website which was developed in 1992.  Although some ratings may not seem totally fair, they are based the available data and still a good resource to see where your product rates. 

I know I was very disappointed to see method brand products not rate well.  I really liked them. I have since switched to greener products or usually make my own. While method products are definitely “greener” than conventional products apparently they are using ingredients that are still considered unsafe.  Since there is no regulation, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Not all the method products are rated poorly but a lot of them are. As consumers it’s extremely important to read labels because many of these products are misleading making you think they are perfectly safe and natural.

Please tell me some of your favorite products that you love down in the comments!

These toxic chemicals are a huge factor in so many diseases that we are an aware of.  The first place we need to clean up is our skin care and cleaning products.  Many chemicals cross the skin barrier and are absorbed directly into your blood stream.  Once absorbed they produce systemic damage to internal organs.

Click Here to download a FREE guide to safe and natural products I love and use.

Additional References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554682

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702494/

10 Common Symptoms that may be Related to Silent/Chronic inflammation

  1. acne
  2. allergies
  3. acid reflux
  4. asthma
  5. obesity
  6. depression
  7. joint pain
  8. eczema/psoarsis
  9. high blood pressure
  10. colitis 

Often chronic inflammation is referred to as “the silent killer”.  It sounds dramatic but it’s the cause of many chronic and/or debilitating diseases such as autoimmune, heart disease and  cancer to name a few.   It’s quite different than acute inflammation (ie. abscess) where your body’s immune activity is aggressive but short term.  In the case of an abscess, an infectious organism or foreign material may cause an inflammatory response in the body, which triggers the body’s immune system to form a capsule to contain the infection and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.  Chronic inflammation happens over time and you may not notice it until a symptom that you think is totally unrelated pops up.  Something such as a migraine headache from time to time or high cholesterol levels and even weight gain.  Your immune systems top priority is to defend against outside threats and keep you balanced.  Chronic inflammation is a continued response and there is no resting because it’s job is never done like an acute response.  Chronic inflammation processes can be the bronchial wall in chronic bronchitis/asthma or the debilitating destruction of the joints associated with rheumatoid arthritis. 

Chronic disease is a serious problem here in the United States.  The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly half the population in the United States of America lives with at least one chronic disease.  The pharmaceutical industry is a billion dollar business in the U.S. alone and it’s only growing.  To matters worse, a lot of the side affects from prescription drugs cause more illnesses especially statin drugs or medications for acid reflux.  All those illnesses that end with “itis” are all related to chronic inflammation.  

It has become a serious problem and is only going to get worse unless we take control of our health.  The very food you are eating could be making it worse as well as the right food can make you feel better.  Which is why bio-individuality is so very important.  What’s good for one might be bad for another person. Good nutrition can make all the difference in getting you there. Getting healthy takes time and patience is a virtue ~ you didn’t get sick overnight and it may take a while to regain your health depending on the cause.   There is no magic pill or potion that is going to make it all disappear so why use a band-aid approach to cover symptoms.  

Research shows it’s preventable so eating an anti-inflammatory diet is a start in the right direction!   You need to turn off the inflammatory response!  A lot of these diseases are thought to be normal as we age.  There is nothing normal about joint pain.  Yes, if you are sedentary for most of your life you might expect to be stiff but it’s never too late to add movement to your life.  Yoga is an excellent practice to add to your life at any stage.  The benefits of yoga go far beyond the exercise.  It’s a mind, body and spiritual practice that can also bring lots of peace to your life. Stress itself is another issue that adds to inflammation in your body.  The list goes on and on.  Let’s take control of our health, you know your body better than anyone else.  Listen to it!  

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or contact me directly.  And, of course never discontinue a medication unless consulting your physician or medical provider.