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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. 

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.