We can’t turn the pages of a health magazine or food blog these days without the mention of “good bacteria” creeping in (says me in this post). Is it really that big a deal for our digestion and health? Well yes actually it is. Did you know that up to 70% of our immunity is in our gut, so it makes total sense to make sure that we look after our digestive system as much as possible.
If you think of our bodies as human ecosystems, carefully balanced with cells as well as things like bacteria (yes, we are made up of bacteria as well – it’s not all bad mamas), it makes sense that in order to thrive we need to maintain this healthy balance to keep everything happy. Our gut contains what is known as good flora or “good bacteria”. We need this good bacteria to help us to assimilate nutrients from or food and maintain our general health.
Unfortunately, we all live busy lives and often this balance is compromised by factors including poor eating, toxins, stress, lack of sleep and even drugs like antibiotics (which, by the way, actually kill off a lot of our good bacteria while dealing with the bad).
So mamas, foods containing good bacteria might help towards supporting our goal of maintaining a happy “ecosystem” and, therefore, good health. A great way to do this is through adding fermented foods to your diet. Our bodies recognise these foods and therefore absorb the bacteria in them easily – be slightly wary of supplements and sources of food that claim to have ‘good bacteria’ such as dairy for example which, if it’s not organic and has been preserved or pasteurized, will have killed off some of the friendly bacteria we’re looking for. Who knew bacteria could be so interesting?!!
Some easy ways to add in good bacteria to your daily diet are:
- Raw sauerkraut – see my recipe below
- Homemade kefir*
- Homemade kombucha* drinks (shop bought are usually full of sugar!)
*You can find recipes on my website graciouslygreen.com
By eating or drinking these foods, we not only support our digestive system but we also clean and tone our colon, reduce sugar and food cravings as well as improve our mood (hooray to that – right mamas?!)
A very simple upgrade to your diet that could make a HUGE difference to how you think and feel could be to just add one cultured food to your diet each day. Try making a big batch of my kraut recipe below and give bacteria a chance (you’ll feel much better for it – honestly).
~ this makes a big batch. Once fermented, you can keep in the fridge for up to 5 months as long as it is sealed in your mason jar (basically an airtight container).
~ 20 mins + 1 week (or more depending on how sour you like it) for fermentation
- 1 large head of cabbage (red or green)
- 2 carrots – finely sliced
- ½ head of cauliflower – florets only
- 1 tbsp of goji berries
- 1 tbsp high mineral salt
- ¾ cup of lemon juice
- 1 large bunch (200g at least) of fresh coriander
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 fresh garlic cloves – crushed
- 1 tbsp mixed curry spices / powder
- Slice the cabbage and carrots into thin strips
- Break-up the cauliflower into small pieces
- Mix these ingredients in a large mixing bowl with the salt and lemon juice
- Massage the mixture with your hands until really juicy and the veggies begin to feel soft – this should take about 15 minutes
- Add the rest of the ingredients and massage for a further 5 minutes
- Add a probiotic capsule if desired for extra strength (the cabbage will actually ferment of its own accord without the need for a starter or powder)
- Place your kraut in an airtight container – mason jars work well
- Push down the veggies until the juice sits about a ¼ inch on the top – use the top of the cabbage to weigh down the mixture
- Seal and place in a warm dark place for approx. 5 – 7 days, or until sour (the longer you ferment, the more sour your kraut will be – some people leave it to ferment for weeks!)
- Once ready, the jar should be put in the fridge for a few hours before you can eat the kraut
- Can be stored in a fridge for up to 5 months
- Serve as a side dish with fresh coriander to top, or with chopped avocado and salad for a yummy meal
I have a taste for curry and just love goji-berries, hence I combined the two loves in this yummy recipe. I hope you like it – your body will love you for it mamas!
Mia, a Certified Raw & Plant-based Chef, Yoga Teacher and Health Coach (AADP), is the passionate healthy foodie behind Graciously Green where she shares her favourite raw, cooked and plant-based recipes as well as green-living ideas. Mia’s mantra is to eat and live consciously, it’s as simple as that. Chef Mia offers realistic ideas for healthy eating with wholesome recipes that are fun, easy to make and most importantly delicious.
You will soon be able to meet Chef Mia and taste her raw, vegan and delightful bites at the NYLA Kitchen, part of a fab new Barre and wellness centre opening up in Jumeirah – watch this space!