Beet Kvass (part 1)

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I took the summer off from “fermenting” and am excited to kick off this season with beet kvass. What is beet kvass? Is it as gross as it sounds? Well, considering I HATE beets, take heart. It’s not as gross as it sounds.

Now, like kombucha, or alkaline water, or bone broth, you can find and read some crazy stories regarding healing and regained health. However none of them are ever going to be approved by the FDA or confirmed by your family doctor. That’s cool. This is totally up to you and your body. Your body will tell you if something is “working” or not and it has been used for centuries given its medicinal purposes. The plus side is that kvass is simply beets, salt, and water. So even if you don’t experience a crazy healing story, at least you got some solid nutrients. In fact, there are a few “at leasts” to consider,

It’s nothing new. Fermentation is a natural cycle of nature that we have simply moved away from with all our “modern progress” . . . however, fermented food (and drink) offer huge health benefits when taken advantage of. Nature knows what she’s doing, we just need to listen.

It’s full of bacteria. The good kind! Our guts need all the help they can get. Chances are you could use some healthy bacteria. Between Z-Pak’s, stress, sugar, our obsession with antibacterial hand gel (this one drives me crazy), and our “never-come-into-contact-with-dirt” mentality, our bodies are starving for some good bacteria. Quite literally.

It’s affordable. Probiotics are not cheap my friends but fermentation is a cheaper and sometimes better alternative. It’s not only a way to add variety into your diet, it’s a way to add in probiotics while saving your wallet. Making a gallon of beet kvass cost me around $3.00, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

It’s local. You can’t get much closer than your own kitchen. When we ferment things like kombucha, kraut, veggies, and kefir, the bacteria is local to your surroundings. It’s tailor made to your specific bacterial needs.

It does stuff. Like I said, there are all sorts of claims out there regarding it’s magic like properties (beets are good for you, fermentation is good for you, so good stuff is bound to happen). Age spots disappearing as a result of a cleansed liver. Bowel regularity increased as a result of improved digestion. A remedy for kidney stones, heart burn, and morning sickness. Now, none of these things are guaranteed. The human body and the bacteria we ingest are alive, they are going to do their own thing in their own time. But I think it’s worth the $3 to at least try.

I will be sharing the results and “recipe” soon!

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S is for Saturday (part 1)

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It’s also for sauerkraut (and the lost art of fermentation).

Do you know your body has 10 times more bacteria than it does cells? Think about that! Think how many cells are needed to comprise your entire body . . . now multiply that by 10. 10!!! That my friends, is the number of bacteria living within.

Wait, isn’t bacteria bad? Isn’t bacteria gross? That’s what our sterile, hand-sanitizer-happy country would like us to think. They’ve done a good job convincing us, too. Contrary to the infamous Clorox Wipes obsession, Bacteria is VITAL to your health and well being. I’m not talking on a simply internal level, I’m talking about skin conditions, dandruff, “IBS”, joint pain etc.

“Gut flora” is a fancy term for the trillions of bacteria living in your intestines. These species are responsible for a host of tasks. Interestingly enough, they train your immune system! Remember when we talked about the importance of gut health? God placed flora in our bellies for a reason and they are not to be messed with. Unfortunantly, they are messed with.

Stress (remember this post?), NSAIDS (Aspirin, Bayer, Excedrin), birth control, refined foods and toxins (this includes American-ized wheat, guys) and freaking (this post is clearly not very scholarly) antibiotics all play a significant role in altering and/or damaging the gut flora. Disturbed gut flora is like pushing the first domino . . . it leads to leaky gut which leads to an autoimmune response (ignored = autoimmune disease). Gut flora isn’t something to roll your eyes at. It would be like rolling your eyes at the kidneys. Flora is just as important but not as popular as the kidneys. Please don’t be fooled, just because you don’t have “tummy troubles” DOES NOT mean you don’t have tummy trouble. Leaky guts can expose themselves via acne, eczema, arthritis, autism . . . the list goes on to about every “normality” we are experiencing these days and every “medical” commercial shown during New Girl (what?).

Gut flora can also be disturbed quite early on, we’re talking very, very early on. When a baby passes through the vaginal canal, he swallows vaginal fluid containing the mother’s own flora. This is not happenstance. This is amazing! As babies enter into the world full of germs, disease, toxins and (yes) bad bacteria, his mama passes on some of her own defense system for his own little belly (bellies = defense system. Own this)! Sadly, the baby does not receive his mama’s flora when delivered via C section. As Hippocrates taught us many moons ago, “All disease begins in the gut.” He’s probably rolling in his grave as we pop Aspirin like candy, prescribe antibiotics for broken nails and so quickly result to C section deliveries.

What in the world does this all have to do with sauerkraut? I’m glad you asked because otherwise I would have gone into a C section rant. Here’s the deal . . .

1. You need a healthy gut in order to promote a healthy body. It all goes back to the gut, folks.

2. You need healthy, DIVERSE species of gut flora in order to promote this healthy gut. The problem with antibiotics is not necessarily a loss of flora as it is the loss of diverse flora 

3. The best way to promote diversity is to ingest and expose yourself to a diversity of bacteria

4. Sauerkraut (among many other types of fermented foods) is one of the easiest, cheapest, natural ways to do so!

Stay tuned for a special edition of “S is for Sunday, not Saturday” as we tackle the “how to’s” of sauerkraut