anti-inflammatory

Probiotic Indian-Spiced Sauerkraut

Some cabbages from a friend's garden

Some cabbages from a friend's garden

Sauerkraut is one of the best and easiest ways to increase probiotics in your food. We've all heard about probiotics: beneficial bacteria for your gut. Let's explore where they come from and why you should be striving to include them in your everyday meals. 

Where do these probiotics come from?

There are a variety of bacteria present on the surface of all vegetables (actually, on most things). The process of lacto-fermentation creates an environment where the beneficial bacteria, Lactobacilli, can feed off of the carbohydrates in the vegetables to preserve and proliferate causing the "harmful" bacteria to die off because the lactic acid environment that's created is a poor environment for their survival. For lacto-fermentation, you can use salt or whey (the liquid from active yoghurt). In this recipe we will use salt, so be sure not to omit it!

Why are probiotics important?

With the many modern lifestyle factors present today, there are a lot of reasons why many of us struggle with maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Some of the many factors include antibiotic use, toxic exposures (like heavy metals or pesticides), SAD (Standard American Diet), C-section births and a lack of breastfeeding. All of these can kill off bacteria found in our GI tracts, good and bad, often leading to symptoms or conditions like diarrhea, constipation, dysbiosis, IBS, and GAPS. This is why it is so important to replenish our gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria to help balance our flora and improve our bowel movements (don't be embarrassed, I'm a nutritionist; I can talk about poop all day). 

Need a kickstart to your fermentation endeavors? You can schedule a cooking demonstration with me by email if you live on the Eastside of King County, WA. 

 


Probiotic Indian-Spiced Sauerkraut

I've made this recipe once before and it is by far my husband's favorite. We eat this as a side or condiment to complement a main dish, on top of a salad, or just by itself as a snack. The variety of spices provide some added vitality and bioactive compounds where you may not find a place in your diet to squeeze them in elsewhere. This recipe can be made as a simple sauerkraut by omitting the spices, onion and garlic.

Yield: 3 quarts

Preparation time: 30 minutes +1-2 weeks of fermentation

Equipment needed: Knife, Mandolin (optional, but makes slicing much easier), 3 quart sized mason jars or a fermentation crock, Large bowl

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Cut each head of cabbage in half and remove the core with your knife. Save some outer leaves to cover your sauerkraut in the end.
  2. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the head of cabbage into thin pieces. The thinner they are, the faster they will ferment.
  3. As you add the cabbage to the bowl, sprinkle a little salt and massage to coat the cabbage.
  4. Once all the cabbage is in the bowl, sprinkle the rest of the salt and massage until the juices are released.* This may take 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add the onion, garlic, and spices and massage for 30 seconds or until fully coated.
  6. Stuff the mixture into your mason jars and fill 3/4 of the way. Cover with the cabbage leaf you set aside. Pack it down until the juices rise above the mixture.
  7. Cover tightly with a lid and store for at least 1 week, checking about every two days to make sure the sauerkraut is still underneath the brine since fermentation causes it to expand. The longer it ferments, the more probiotic and less crunchy it will be. After 2 weeks, move it to the refrigerator to prevent further fermentation.**
  8. Once the sauerkraut has reached a desirable consistency, enjoy! Be sure to keep it away from heat as the probiotics will no longer be available. 

*Note: If you have an older head of cabbage, you may need to add some salt water to have enough brine. Mix 1 warm cup of water with 1/2 tablespoon salt and dissolve.

**Note: In colder months, it will take longer to ferment since cold temperatures slow the proliferation of bacteria.

For more detailed information on how to further improve your health with food, give my office a call to schedule a visit with me. 

Recipe inspired by: Ashley Thomas's Indian Sauerkraut from the My Heart Beets blog


Anisa's Gut-Healing Golden Milk

First of all, welcome! This is my first post! I hope you will subscribe to my email list and learn more about ways to improve your health through food!

Today I will tell you all about how to reduce inflammation and rebuild your gut through Golden Milk. Golden Milk is best known for it's anti-inflammatory properties. Through the study of one of turmeric's natural polyphenolic compounds, Curcumin, turmeric has been shown to be highly anti-inflammatory and also has antioxidant, hypoglycemic, and anti-cancer activities.  Some studies even show it's just as effective as ibuprofen with less side effects! I recall my Mamani (grandmother) always adding extra turmeric to her Persian khoresh (stews) because it helped reduce inflammation in her hands from arthritis. As many traditions have found, herbs and spices used in food and beverages can be very effective medicines. Anytime you include turmeric in your foods, be sure to include some kind of fat since turmeric is fat-soluble (in this recipe, we're using butter and coconut oil). This means it can best be absorbed through fat. Combining black pepper when using turmeric will also aid in absorption because it makes turmeric more bioavailable.

Inflammation can be reduced with diet. If you're currently battling chronic inflammation, head to my contact page and schedule an appointment. 

Turmeric and Ginger both belong to the same family, Zingiberaceae, which is why they look so similar. Ginger also has antioxidant properties and has been used traditionally for treating colds and flus. In Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional study of medicine originating in India, turmeric and ginger both have heating properties. So, when you have this cup of tea, you may break a sweat! Having a warm cup of golden milk in the winter is my ideal way to start the day.

 

Including the gelatin in this tea helps to protect the cells of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Gelatin has absorptive properties, thickening a beverage and acting like mucous to help coat the gut barrier. This is important especially for those looking to heal their gut barrier. The gut wall is one of the first levels of immune defense against the outside world. A very common occurrence as a result of modern diets is a condition known as "Leaky Gut". This is where the tight junctions between intestinal cells become weak and loosen, creating larger gaps. These gaps allow undigested proteins and pathogens to enter the bloodstream. A healthy intestinal wall would only allow in individual amino acids and small peptides and would keep out harmful bacteria. Exposing the bloodstream to these foreign molecules regularly can mount an immune response that happens chronically if the gut is not healed. 

Gelatin comes from the collagen of animals, usually from their cartilage and joints. This collagen is high in amino acids proline and glycine, which have been shown to promote wound healing, promote gastric secretions and protect gastric mucosal integrity. Those who would greatly benefit from a gelatin-rich diet would be those with IBD and other digestive disorders, mental health illnesses, and arthritis. Gelatin has also been shown to benefit other body systems containing collagen such as skin, hair, and nails. 

Naturally, gelatin can be made when creating a bone broth, stewing the bones and dissolving the cartilage found on those bones. Keep an eye out for a recipe for bone broth in the near future. You can purchase high-quality gelatin from pasture-raised animals at Great Lakes Gelatin or Vital Proteins.

Enough about the science though, lets get to the fun stuff!

As you can see, using freshly ground, whole dried turmeric makes the milk much darker than bulk/powdered turmeric. It is very likely more potent medicinally as well. 

As you can see, using freshly ground, whole dried turmeric makes the milk much darker than bulk/powdered turmeric. It is very likely more potent medicinally as well. 


Anisa's Gut-Healing Golden Milk

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon powdered turmeric

1 tablespoon powdered ginger

1 tablespoon maca powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cardamom pod or 1/8 teaspooon cardamom powder

2 tablespoons gelatin (Great Lakes Gelatin or Vital Proteins)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon grass-fed ghee or butter

1 tablespoon honey or 1 date chopped

1 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon sunflower phosphatidylcholine (optional: for longer emulsification)

Preparation

  1. Heat your water to boiling then turn to low. 
  2. Mix all the ingredients into the hot water.
  3. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. 
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend until the fats are emulsified with the water.
  5. If you want a frothy layer on top, blend for a little longer.
  6. Relax and enjoy!