By now most of you know how important our microbiome is and that in order to keep it healthy you need to take probiotics. For those of you who don’t know about this I will give a brief review. Our microbiome is largely located in the large intestine and refers to the millions of organisms that live there. These organisms should mostly be healthy bacteria, which when working properly help to break down food and fend off bad bacteria. If for some reason the healthy bacteria stops working or dies off, bad bacteria can infiltrate our systems, and wreak havoc on our body. Some signs that you have become overrun by bad bacteria are: fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irregular bowl movements, bloating, difficult menstrual cycles, skin disorders and rashes, craving alcohol or sweets, low sex drive, allergies, frequent yeast infections, and low immune functioning.
We usually get our own healthy gut flora from our mothers during childbirth and through breast feeding, but as we grow our good bacteria can die off, creating more room for bad bacteria, in a number of ways. If you ever took antibiotics, ate a lot of sugar and processed foods, drank alcohol or took any over the counter or recreational drugs without taking probiotics, you are at risk for having a candida (bad bacteria/yeast) overgrowth. Since it is pretty difficult in this day and age to refrain completely from doing any or all of those things, it is really important to make sure that we replenish our guts with a lot of healthy bacteria. This is where probiotics come in, because they repopulate the microbiome with healthy bacteria.
Another way to help get healthy bacteria into our systems besides taking probiotics is to eat a lot of fermented vegetables or sauerkraut. Homemade raw sauerkraut is filled with the probiotics needed to fend off the harmful bacteria and replenish the good bacteria so that our system is working at its peak performance again. I tend to make a large vat of it and incorporate it into at least one meal a day, but often I eat it at every meal. You can buy raw probiotic sauerkraut at most food stores nowadays but its much more expensive and a lot less fun than making it yourself. On average a container of sauerkraut will run you between $6-$9. However, to make it yourself it will cost less than $3 and you will get a much larger amount. Plus, you get to get your hands dirty with this recipe and its super easy so I say just do it yourself.
1 large head of organic cabbage
1-1.5 tablespoons sea salt
Take cabbage and remove the first two or three outer leaves and put them to the side.
Thinly slice the cabbage creating shreds and place in a large bowl.
Add sea salt to the bowl with the cabbage.
Massage the cabbage shreds with your hands. until it becomes soft and there is liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
Firmly pack the cabbage and liquid into a mason jar or air tight container almost to the top.
Roll up the reserved cabbage leaves and put them on top, wedging them under the sides of the jar so that the liquid is fully covering all the cabbage.
Let it sit for 1-4 weeks depending upon your taste preference (I usually do 2 weeks), and watch the fermentation happen.
Note: While fermenting, it needs to be in an area where the temperature is at least 65 or above at all times. If your house doesn’t get that warm, you can place it on top of your stove with the oven turned on to 170 degrees.
Once it is done fermenting you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 months, but mine has never lasted more than a few weeks because I eat it so often. You can literally eat it with anything, but one of my favorite snacks is to scoop up sauerkraut with tortilla chips. Try it for yourself and tell me your favorite way to eat it! I hope you enjoy.