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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. 

Surprisingly, cinnamon is a lot more than just a spice you bake or cook with.  Although when you do, the aroma is quite warm and comforting, isn’t it?   It is considered a “warm” spice that can literally warm you up when you ingest it.  Not only do I love the aroma, I love the numerous health benefits it brings.  Cinnamon is considered an ancient superfood, has been prized for it’s medicinal properties and is one of the oldest known spices.  It has been used for thousands of years according to Ayurveda medicine (one of the world’s oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems).  In Ayurveda medicine, it is considered a “fire” element due to its warming properties and may be used to stimulate and/or balance where appropriate. 

Quality Counts:

The type you use does make a difference!  After some research, Saigon cinnamon which I use has high levels of coumarin.  Coumarin is actually toxic to your liver when consumed in high amounts.  Yikes!  Ceylon cinnamon has low levels of coumarin and is the one to use!  Ceylon is the best/true source of cinnamon.  Mexico is the biggest importer of Ceylon cinnamon but is native to Sri Lanka (90%), India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean.  Saigon cinnamon comes from Vietnam and is a bit more spicy than Ceylon which is mild and sweet.  The most common here in U.S is Cassia cinnamon which also has high levels of coumarin.  If you are using cinnamon to boost your health or even using it in baking be sure to check which type you are using.  I know I’m now switching over to Ceylon cinnamon pronto! 

How it’s Made:

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed from it. When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. The sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.

The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part, which is very high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde (2).  Cinnamonaldehyde, an essential oil within the bark, is what gives cinnamon its unique aroma and flavor.  Cinnamaldehyde is also an effective insecticide.

Benefits:

It’s commonly used for matters of the immune system, and to help the body fight off bacteria or viruses that is constantly in our environment.  Naturally has antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties!   The oil can also be useful for cleaning, air quality, and mood support believe it or not.   Studies show that it supports blood sugar balance along with proper diet.  You can use cinnamon as a powder, cinnamon sticks or an essential oil.  One or two drops is more than enough as it’s very potent. 

Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols.  Polyphenols are phytochemicals, meaning compounds found abundantly in natural plant food sources that have antioxidant properties.  Polyphenols play an important role in maintaining your health and wellness.

It is this compound that is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and wellness.

How to use doTERRA Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil:

  • During your nightly routine, add one drop of Cinnamon to two ounces of water and gargle for an effective mouth rinse
  • Place two to three drops in a spray bottle with water for a quick and effective cleaning spray
  • During the winter months, dilute Cinnamon with Fractionated Coconut Oil and create a warming massage for cold, achy joints
  • Place two to three drops in a doTERRA Veggie Cap to maintain a healthy immune system*
  • Place one drop of Cinnamon essential oil in hot water or tea and drink slowly to soothe your throat*
  • Add to your favorite recipes in place of ground cinnamon for a delightfully spicy flavor
  • Supports healthy metabolic function*
  • Naturally repels insects
  • May promote healthy circulatory function

Risks of Using Cinnamon

While cinnamon can support your health, too much is not good. Ingesting high levels of coumarin (a natural chemical) found in Cassia & Saigon cinnamon can cause toxicity to your liver. Ingesting high amounts of dry cinnamon powder is dangerous! Not too long ago, teenagers were trying to do the “cinnamon challenge” from ingesting dry cinnamon powder. It caused numerous hospitalizations across the country as well as some deaths due to lung complications!  

If you are taking statin drugs which also has side affects of liver damage, you should be careful, as well as anyone taking blood thinners.  Always check with your doctor for any medications you are currently taking that may have complications with any supplements, herbs or anything else you might be taking. According to drugs.com, adverse reactions to cinnamon have not been reported in doses up to 6 grams daily.

The Take Home Message:

Cinnamon is delicious and one of the healthiest spices on the planet!   It has impressive health benefits ~ just be sure to get Ceylon cinnamon and/or use a pure essential oil such as doTERRA Cinnamon Bark essential oil.  doTERRA essential oils are pure and are natively sourced which is extremely important.  Plus there are no synthetic additives.  

As always, quality counts in food and supplements! 

 
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
 
 
Sources for this article:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23297571
 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22518078
 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22518078
 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25331834
 
https://www.drugs.com/npc/cinnamon.html
 
http://www.rxlist.com/cassia_cinnamon-page3/supplements.htm

 

’Tis the season to be merry right?  Everyone may not agree that it is a merry season!  Between the holiday parties, office sweets and baked goods coming at you at all ends, shopping and not knowing what to buy or can afford, relationship woes and toxic people showing up when it’s supposed to be a magical time of year.  Whew – that certainly adds up to an emotional mess!  Just rushing around can really drain our emotions and keep us out of balance.  Instead of just barely getting through the season and showing up in the new year exhausted and burnt.  Let’s set ourselves up to make it more enjoyable and meaningful.  Sometimes we need to draw the line to reclaim the holidays for what they are intended to be but this list is not just for the holidays it’s something we should all keep in mind throughout the year!  Here are 10 ways to help make that happen:

  1. Meditate – wake up and spend 5 minutes or more just focusing on your breath (if other thoughts come just dismiss them and refocus).
  2. Drink lots of water during the day to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you plan on attending a party and may indulge in an alcoholic beverage.
  3. Eat whole foods and don’t skip breakfast, stay away from foods that are full of sugar, they only make you crave more bad foods.  If later, you plan to attend a holiday gathering and want to enjoy a seasonal treat, go ahead, you are not going to gain 10 lbs, just be mindful.
  4. Take a walk and/or get in at least 15 minutes of exercise (preferably before you start your day).  Believe it or not, it does give you more energy and helps keep you balanced, decreases anxiety and increases sleep.
  5. Don’t buy presents you can’t afford!  Don’t set yourself up for even more financial stress when January rolls around and you have no idea how you are going to pay for all the stuff you couldn’t really afford in the first place.  There are plenty of ways you can give gifts that don’t come with a price tag.
  6. Take inventory of your desires and what you truly want from this holiday season.  If relaxation is on the top of your list you won’t be prompted overcommit.  Learn to say no at least once, if not more.  Do less and enjoy more!  Knowing and moving toward what you want is not selfish.  You will be a better person to others.
  7. Be mindful of your presence whether at a family gathering, a company party or just enjoying a game with your kids.  Take root of where are you at the moment and truly enjoy it.  And, shut your devices off!
  8. Spend time outdoors, in nature and in sunlight – it stimulates the feel good hormone serotonin.
  9. Forget perfection and stop obsessing over doing it all or finding that perfect gift!
  10. Think positive and remove yourself from stress-induced situations!  The holidays can be very emotional for some especially if you lost a loved one.  Focus on the all the goods in your life as well as the good memories and not your losses. 

Please leave a comment below and let me know how you are making them merrier!  Happiest of holidays to you and your family!