Feeling ungrounded? Not sure what foods to eat? Check out this amazing chart created by Dr. Deanna Minich of Food & Spirit, that will show you how to eat foods that will promote Chakra balance. Each part of the infographic below, focuses on a different subtle energy center in the body (Chakra) and shows you what foods will balance that energy center.
Could there really be a food that can improve mental health, increase immunity, prevent dis-ease, enable weight loss and curb sugar cravings? Sauerkraut...lacto-fermented vegetables...cultured veggies, may be one of the greatest 'super food' rediscoveries of our time!
"What is lacto-fermentation", you ask? Lacto fermentation is the transformative action of microorganisms. "The main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the
intestine." (Sally Fallon) The nutrients in our bodies are digested by living microorganisms. Toxic compounds in our bodies are also broken down and predigested by these organisms. Now, I know you may be thinking, "but I don't even want to think about organisms living inside my body." But, we must remember, we are living beings and the more we realize that everything within us is alive and must be fed in order for the healthy microorganisms to proliferate and the unhealthy ones to be kept at bay, the more we can create a healthy ecosystem within our bodies.
Ferments help the body create more B vitamins, increase mineral absorption and contain hundreds of times more nutrients than unfermented vegetables. The probiotic content is very high as well, improving immunity and digestion. Fermented vegetables contain high amounts of anti-thiosyanates which are anti-carcinogenic, cancer fighting!
Cultured vegetables are also known to help dissolve blood clots and accumulation inside blood vessels.
These live bacterial cultures are only beneficial when not subjected to heat. The whole idea of culturing vegetables on your counter or 'counter culturing' as I like to say:), is scary to many people. But Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation, there has never been a documented case of botulism from fermented vegetables in the US. So, you do not have any need to fear experimentation with 'counter cultured' veggies!
Now, my favorite part about these bacteria-rich counter cultures ... We have become so afraid of bacteria that we are literally killing ourselves along with all the bacteria we attempt to do away with. Bacteria has always existed and it is integral to understand how it pertains to our health if we want to remain dis-ease free. In order to experience health, we must consciously replenish and diversify the bacteria in our system.
The cells of our bodies are outnumbered 10 to 1 by the bacteria in our bodies. Our cellular function is mediated by our gut bacteria. There is a strong connection between serotonin and gut bacteria. In fact, the largest nerve in your body is called the vagus nerve and it is connected from the gut to the brain, constantly communicating with the brain and nervous system. 80% of the immune system also resides in the gut. Our gut bacteria strongly influence our psychological health and schizophrenia is 100x more common in people with a damaged gut.
In one study, it was found that people eating a probiotic-rich diet (meaning full of diverse, healthy and live bacteria) five times per week had increased immune markers when compared with those who didn't eat a diverse diet teaming with healthy bacteria. In fact, when these foods were removed from the diet, immune markers decreased across the board. The key is that the foods need to be diversified, so you will want to drink raw milk products such as yogurt and kefir, maybe some kombucha or any other foods rich in fermented, live bacteria. For more information, you can check out Cultures for Health for recipes and supplies.
"In another experiment with mice, 'The mice became less anxious, more gregarious when their gut bacteria was replaced with bacteria from fearless mice,' says Stephen Collins of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who led a team that conducted the research.
It worked the other way around, too — bold mice became timid when they got the microbes of anxious ones. And aggressive mice calmed down when the scientists altered their microbes by changing their diet, feeding them probiotics." - Gut Bacteria Might Guide the Workings of Our Minds.
Furthermore, "two new studies show that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than slim people. What's more, the microbes in an overweight body are much more efficient at extracting calories from food.
One study looked at mice, the other looked at humans. In both, a family of bacteria known as firmicutes were more plentiful in the obese (20 percent more). Bacteria called bacteroidetes were also much more abundant in those of normal weight (the obese had almost 90 percent fewer bacteroidetes).
Most likely because of the firmicutes, the obese mice were more efficient at taking calories out of complex sugars and depositing those calories in fat. When these microbes were transplanted into the normal-weight mice, those mice started to gain twice as much fat.
As obese people lost weight, their bacteroidetes increased, while the numbers of firmicutes decreased." - Mercola.com
In my own experience, eating a diet rich in probiotic foods also helps curb sugar cravings, an added plus!
Now that you see the importance of building a healthy ecology of bacteria in your gut, you can begin making this very inexpensive culinary 'medicine'. On my site, you will find two recipes for delicious sauerkraut, Cortido (Mexican Sauerkraut) and Spicy Carrot Kraut. If you are interested in healing your gut, you might also like to make some bone broth or check out my very short instructional sauerkraut video below. Enjoy!
Watch the short video above or follow my simple recipe below. Either way, you will be thrilled with the outcome of this delicious, raw sauerkraut recipe. This method is also referred to as lacto-fermented sauerkraut. I have had the privilege of learning directly from Sandor Katz, the king of kraut! He is the author of The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation.
You'll need a food processor for this recipe but if you do not have one, alas, sauerkraut was made for millennia before the food processor was invented. So, the alternative is to chop all of your vegetables by hand which I have done and it works very well. You'll also need two half gallon canning jars or 4 quart size jars.
2 heads green cabbage
1 green apple
2 jalepeno peppers, deseeded and finely minced
2 pounds carrots
4 TBS of Celtic, Himalayan or Real salt.
Sanitize your jars by filling them with boiling water and allowing them to sit for 5 minutes.
Grate vegetables and fruit. Mince jalepeno peppers. Place all vegetables in a large pot or bowl. Add salt. Knead the vegetables to allow the juices to escape. Using a wide mouth funnel, begin packing the vegetable mixture into one jar at a time, pressing down into the jar with your fist.
When the jar is filled to just below three inches from the top, add water to come just above the vegetables. Leave a few inches of space to allow for the vegetables to expand as they ferment. Repeat until all veggies are in the jars. Place lids on jars. Set the jars on the counter at room temperature in a dish (to catch any juice that escapes as the fermentation process happens). Allow to ferment for about one week. Refrigerate after opening.
You might also like:
How to Make Cortido (Raw Mexican Sauerkraut)
Health Benefits of Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut
My husband was so excited when I came up with this recipe because it tastes so similar to mashed potatoes that he knew he’d be able make the switch really easily and that’s saying a lot for a meat and potatoes guy!
1 head cauliflower
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS fresh rosemary leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 TBS butter
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Remove core and wash cauliflower. Cut florets apart and arrange on non-tephlon baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Lay garlic clove on pan and allow to roast along with cauliflower. Roast on 350 degrees for about twenty minutes or until lightly browned, but not burnt.
Place remaining ingredients in bowl along with roasted cauliflower and mix with immersion blender until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can also do this in a regular blender, but may have to add a small bit of water to get it blending. Be careful not to add much or the mash will be thin and runny.
This smoothie is great if you trying to find a low-fruit, candida/thyroid/diabetic friendly green smoothie recipe. It's deliciously refreshing too!
1 granny smith apple, washed, cored but with skin
4-5 stalks celery, ends & tips removed, use leaves
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
½ of a large Haas avocado, or one small avocado
½ bunch cilantro or parsley (depending on your preference) stems removed
3-4 cups filtered water
optional: Add flax meal and protein powder
Chop vegetables into chunks for easy blending.
Add all ingredients into blender.
Fill blender with 3-4 cups filtered water (more or less water depending on how thick you desire your shake).
Puree till smooth or desired consistency.
* You can also add the juice from one half of a lemon or lime and even ¼ tsp sea salt and/or cayenne pepper.
This soup is great for anyone on a candida or gut healing diet, GAPS, Body Ecology, etc... It is also one I drink when I am on the Green Smoothie Challenge. It's just a great tasting soup for a cold day! And it's super delicious!
2 Heads cauliflower, cut into large florets
6 medium or 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
8 cups soup stock or water, I do 4 cups chicken stock, 4 cups water. You
can use vegetable broth as well.
4 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion cut into 6 - 8 pieces
2 – 3 TBS Celtic, Real or Himalayan salt, to taste
1 TBS parsley - dried
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dill
2 TBS pure beef gelatin, optional (great for healing the gut, and for nails, hair, skin and joints!)
In large stockpot, bring the water to a boil. Add carrots, cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
Add cauliflower and re-cover, allow to cook 7 - 10 min. until the cauliflower is almost fully cooked.
On top of carrots and cauliflower add the celery, onion, and whole garlic. Do not stir, but replace cover and allow to cook additional 5 - 7 minutes or until celery is soft.
Turn off heat and add spices, seasonings and salt. Puree the soup using either an immersion blender, food processor or blender. Puree until creamy but not a paste.
Allow to cool to room temp. Place in glass bowl or jar and let sit overnight in the fridge for flavor to develop. Can eat right away too!
For my family, I add chicken broth and any leftover meat to this. They love it.
For those that prefer to be totally vegan on the Challenge, here is another soup recipe.
2 cups Chard roughly chopped
2 cups Kale roughly chopped
2 cups Spinach
2 cups Beet top greens roughly chopped
½ bunch Broccoli
cut into ½ inch pieces
3 Zucchini diced
3 Carrots diced
Beets diced (3-5 if small)
1 Onion quartered
3 cloves Garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Steam all of the vegetables together by putting a steamer in the bottom of a large soup pan. Place the carrots, beets, onion, zucchini and garlic at the bottom of the pan, on the steamer as they take a longer time to steam. Place the leafy greens on top.
Be certain that the water remains high enough. Add more water as needed. When the vegetables are fork tender, set aside and let cool. Place them in a blender. Add the water used to steam the vegetables to make a puree. Add additional filtered water if needed for desired consistency.
When all the vegetables are blended put them back in a pot and add salt, freshly cracked pepper, and cayenne to taste.
Cleansing in the wintertime requires some warming foods. That's why I have added hot soup to my Challenge when I do it in the New Year. This is so simple, filling and comforting. Here's how I make it.
Use any vegetables you have on hand!
Today, what I had on hand was:
1 bunch Swiss Chard, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped leaks
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp turmeric, anti-inflammatory herb
1 - 1 1/2 tsp Real, Celtic or Himalayan salt, to taste
2 TBS pure beef gelatin, amazing for skin, hair, nails, joints and healing for the gut
2 cups vegetable or chicken (bone) broth, mineral rich and gut healing
2 - 3 cups water
Heat broth and water in a sauce pan. Add vegetables. Bring to boil. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Blend with an immersion blender or cool soup down and blend in blender. Store in glass jars in refrigerator and heat as needed. Drink throughout the day when hunger sets in.
Chichen Itza, Mexico 2015