“Gut health” is a wellness buzzword lately—hitting the headlines of not only all the popular health blogs, but also the mainstream media and medical journals.
That’s because the trillions of microscopic “bugs” that live in your gut are manning the control panel for most of your bodily functions. In fact, 9 out of 10 cells in and on your body right now are made of these little buggers.
This is great news!
Why? Because you can change the bacterial composition of your gut microbiome – and your overall health – with a few simple changes.
By amping up your good gut bacteria, you can get leaner, boost your immune system, feel more energized, sleep better, and regain your vitality.
Not only that, but research shows that healing your gut microbiome can help heal chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorders, eczema, allergies, depression, alzheimer’s, and chronic fatigue.
So, how do you heal your gut and flip the balance to healthy bacteria? It’s actually pretty simple:
- Cut food toxins out of your diet (including gluten, processed grains, sugar, artificial food additives)
- Reduce antibiotic usage as much as possible
- Take steps to reduce stress
- Eat healthy fibrous foods
- Eat more probiotic foods like kefir and yogurt, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, and/or supplement with a high-quality probiotic
The Standard American Diet is chock full of breads, pasta, processed food products, and plenty of sugar. This overconsumption of pseudo-food works to break down the gut lining (causing leaky gut), which leads to inflammation and many permutations of autoimmune disorders.
Antibiotics are designed to wipe out everything—killing your infection, but also killing the healthy bacteria in your gut.
Even short-term antibiotic usage can wipe out whole strains of healthy bacteria which can take years to recolonize. If you need to use an antibiotic, it’s doubly important to pay attention to your gut health.
(Remember: Factory farmers give antibiotics to their animals to fatten them on purpose!)
Once you’ve jammed through the four steps above, focus on getting healthy prebiotic and probiotic foods into your diet (think raw veggies, fermented veggies, and whole fruits). That way, the good gut bacteria will grow and flourish.
The coolest thing about making your own sauerkraut is that you can alter the flavor by adding herbs and spices—so you could go Italian with some basil and garlic, or spice it up with jalapenos and cumin. Eat it alone or pair it with a nice piece of roast beef or fresh organic sausage.
So good, and your microbiome will thank you for it!
- 1 organic head of green cabbage (2 to 3 pounds)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 large organic carrot, shredded
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
- Thoroughly clean a wide-mouth mason jar, chopping knife, cutting board, large bowl, and your hands.
- Rinse the cabbage and carefully peel off the two outer layers. Lay these two cabbage leaves on top of your jar like a “lid.” Use a knife or clean scissors to cut the cabbage leaves about an inch wider than the jar all around. You’ll use these cabbage leaf rounds to hold the sauerkraut below the brining liquid in a later step.
- Quarter the head of cabbage and chop out the thick core from each quarter. Slice each cabbage quarter lengthwise into thin ribbons.
- Put each handful of cabbage you cut into a large bowl and sprinkle it with salt. Add salt as you go to help keep the cabbage crisp. In the end, you want to have added between 1 and 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Use your hands to massage the cabbage with the salt for 5 to 10 minutes, until it becomes watery and limp.
- Add the shredded carrot and caraway seeds to the cabbage and mix with your hands to combine.
- Take handfuls of the cabbage mixture and press them into the bottom of the mason jar, packing them tight with each handful so the liquid (created by salting and massaging in step 5) rises to the top over the cabbage.
- Take the cabbage rounds you cut in step 2 and press them into the jar so they hold the cabbage under the liquid.
- Wipe the jar mouth clean and cover it with a cloth, cheesecloth, or paper towel and secure in place with a rubber band or twine. This allows air into the jar but prevents insects from getting in.
- Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage leaves to keep the cabbage packed under the liquid as it ferments and rises. If needed, you can add more brining liquid by mixing filtered water with a bit of salt (1 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 cup filtered water).
- Allow the sauerkraut to ferment at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 3 to 10 days, checking daily to make sure the cabbage is not floating above the liquid. Taste every few days until the desired taste is achieved.
- The sauerkraut will keep in the sealed jar in the refrigerator for at least 2 months.
Seriously, it’s that simple. What other food makes itself on the counter while you just go about your business? (Okay, maybe bone broth in the crock pot, but other than that.)
After you’ve made your own sauerkraut a few times, you’ll be able to do it blindfolded—and you’ll never eat it out of a can again.
If you’re just getting started and you need to get through those first four steps toward healing your gut microbiome, check out my bestselling book The Wild Diet.
The Wild Diet walks you through the process step-by-step, plus gives you incredible gut-healing, fat-burning recipes like:
- Parmesan Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Avocado
- Chimichurri Steak and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Immune-Boosting Veggie-Full Soup
- Minted Melon Smoothie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Apple Cider Donuts
- …and more!
Here are some recent reviews from the audio version of The Wild Diet, which you can get right now on Audible.
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