Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cultured Veggies for Cold and Flu Season (and of Course Yummy Snacking)

A few months back I tried my hand at raw homemade sauerkraut and it was a great success.  Since moving to Germany in June of 2012 I have tasted some truly delicious sauerkraut.  It is one of my favorite things to eat here.  However, I have yet to come across a fresh sauerkraut that is not pasteurized.  Some friends told me that I could find it in the deli section of the local supermarket, but I have not found it myself.  Maybe because my German isn't so great (yet).

I didn't let that stop me though.  Within five minutes of searching on Pinterest (what did I ever do without this amazing resource?), I had found no less than ten recipes for homemade raw, probiotic-rich crunchy sauerkraut.  It was so incredibly simple to make that I thought I had completely messed it up and my kraut would be a failure.  Turns out it really is just that easy to make cultured veggies.

Did you know that probiotic rich fermented foods are actually some of the most powerful healing foods?  Our immune systems rely on the absolutely essential layer of defense that lies within our digestive tract.  The beneficial bacteria that live there keep harmful pathogens at bay.  When our gut bacteria are not healthy the harmful pathogens make their way into our bloodstream.  One of the single most powerful ways to ensure we remain healthy (and a powerful "medicine" when we are sick) is to consume fermented foods of all kinds so that we keep our good bacteria thriving.

There are many, many other ways that having a healthy balance of gut flora affects our bodies in positive ways (consider this article about the relationship between gut bacteria and the brain!).  However, I decided to make these cultured veggies today for the sole purpose of having them around to eat when the first signs of a cold or flu show up in the upcoming months.

I used the same method for these veggies as I did with the sauerkraut I made a few months back.  Chop them to the desired size, add salt, cover in water with 2-3 inches of space at the top, and set on the counter for at least a week.  For an extra added immune-boosting and infection-fighting bonus, I added no less than 6 crushed cloves of garlic.  Delicious and powerful! We shall see how they turn out!

(Click here for the original Pin that I used to make these veggies)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Raw Milk

The farm where we buy our milk
I moved to Germany just over 11 months ago.  We are stationed here with the Army.  We love it!  We found out that Germany is the birth place of homeopathic medicine, which is great when you're a family like ours that likes to use natural remedies whenever possible.  We have also enjoyed knowing that our food is not tainted with genetically modified organisms due to a labeling law here in the European Union.  To top it off, Germany is super kid-friendly!  Unlike the US, German restaurants and stores frequently have a kid's play area near the regular seating areas, and there are playgrounds everywhere.  It has been a wonderful experience for our family thus far and we are looking forward to two more years here.

About 22 months ago I began a journey into eating "real food."  It all started with being introduced to the Leake family on and my subsequent choice to rid my family's diet of processed food.  We have come full circle since that day and pretty much live this concept as a lifestyle.  We all noticed improvements in our gastrointestinal health when we stopped drinking UHT pasteurized/homogenized cow's milk, and have basically been drinking packaged store-bought almond milk ever since.  I have been well aware that packaged (as opposed to home made) almond milk is not exactly a real food.  But I have just not found an alternative to conventional cow's milk that both satisfies our cereal cravings and tastes creamy the way milk should.  So we have continued to drink the Blue Diamond even though it contains carrageenan (a carcinogenic ingredient) and the questionable synthetic vitamins D2 and vitamin A palmitate.

So I decided to venture into the world of raw milk!  After much studying, I have found that milk in it's original state is actually a very nutritious, living substance that can be nourishing to our bodies!  Unlike UHT milk (ultra-high temperature pasteurized), the enzymes, probiotics, proteins, and other nutrients are all left intact within the milk.  Many people who are sensitive or intolerant to dairy find that they do just fine with raw milk.  Since my toddler has never really drank anything other than water and my milk, I wanted to see if he might enjoy the occasional glass of cow's milk.

It has been a big hit with everyone in our family except my husband.  He still prefers the almond milk, but both my son and I love raw milk!  It's even more fun because we get to drive down to the actual farm every week or two and give them our bottles to fill up from the cooling tank right next to the barn where all the cows sit and chew their hay.  And let me tell you, these are some happy cows!  It is so rewarding to be able to get your food straight from the farm and see it go all the way to your table, unadulterated, pure, and in it's natural state.  My favorite thing to do with the milk is to make some steel cut oats with cinnamon and then scoop the cream off the top of the milk (since it separates as it sits in the fridge overnight) and put it right into my oatmeal.  So rich and so delicious!  If you ever have a chance to purchase raw milk, I highly recommend it.  Just make sure it comes from grass fed cows.  It's always best to see the farm yourself, but if you have a local source that purchases from the farm, just do a little research to make sure you're getting quality milk!  I can tell you that my family is officially hooked and we will enjoy raw milk for as long as we can.

P.S.  It's also wonderfully cheap here in Germany!  Only 50 euro cents per liter, so roughly $2.57 a gallon.  That's the same price as conventional milk in California on sale and cheaper than conventional milk on the east coast of the United States!