Probiotics and Sauerkraut

When we ingest more “good” bacteria it helps control the amount of “bad” or harmful bacteria in our gut.

Probiotics which have “good” bacteria are used to help treat indigestion and diarrhea.  They are also used to prevent several illness from irritable bowel syndrome to chronic inflammation (which is the root cause of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer).

Sauerkraut is a naturally occurring probiotic supplement in which the fermentation of the cabbage makes it more digestible and adds other nutritional benefits.

Sauerkraut in bowl

One great benefit of eating sauerkraut is that it is higher in B vitamins than cabbage, especially B12, which makes it a perfect food for vegans.

But, as always, you have to be careful and read labels.  Not all sauerkrauts are created equal.  Modern day processing has created some canned and jarred sauerkrauts that have been treated and pasteurized destroying the good bacteria which is the main reason you want to eat it.  Make sure that it is raw or unpasteurized in order to obtain the beneficial bacteria that you need.

To make your own sauerkraut follow the steps below (it’s cheaper than buying probiotic supplements and better for you).

cabbage

1 cabbage
1 tablespoon sea salt

1. Peel the outer leaves from the cabbage (reserve one for later). Shred the cabbage with a knife, grater, or food processor.
2. Add shredded cabbage and salt to a large bowl.
3. “Knead” the cabbage until its juices are released.
4. Place cabbage and liquid into a wide mouth canning jar. Use your fist to pack in the cabbage tightly into the jar and allow its brine to *cover the cabbage.
5. Use reserved cabbage leaf to cover the cabbage and keep it submerged in its brine.
6. Close the jar and allow to ferment. Let stand for 4 weeks.  Transfer to the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

*Some older cabbages may not produce enough brine to keep its contents completely submerged. If that occurs, create your own salt water brine (1 teaspoon salt diluted in 1 cup water) and pour enough to cover the cabbage by one inch.

So what do you eat your sauerkraut with?  Well, don’t put it on a hotdog, reuben, or sandwich with meat and don’t cook it with pork, ham, chicken, BBQ, bacon, lamb or sausage (have you not been reading my vegan blog?), try it with mashed sweet potatoes, mixed into a salad with apple, carrot and apple cider vinegar, or try a rice bowl with brown rice, tempeh, sauerkraut and avocado.

salad

2012_09_12-brownricebowl1ED

I like to make a sandwich with sprouted bread, hummus, sauerkraut, tomato, avocado,and onion.

Probiotics are very important to our heath and if you are like me and you either don’t like taking too many pills, or are already taking what seems like a boat load, then try getting your share by eating sauerkraut.  Give it a try, your gut will love you.

-Kristen
Choosing healthy living over dying 🙂

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