Probiotics Getting More Positive Attention

I came across this article from Mother Jones this morning. I’ve been learning a lot about probiotics, prebiotics, and inflammation in a number of books I’ve been reading lately, but it’s reassuring to see an article about them in a slightly more mainstream publication.

Some of the books I’ve been reading (which have already been around for years), if you’re interested in learning more about the subject, include:

1. The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World by Sandor Ellix Katz
2. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon
3. Bacteria for Breakfast: Probiotics for Good Health by Dr. Kelly Dowhower Karpa
4. The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity by Donna Gates

Like I said, it’s reassuring to start seeing this information in other sources (even Mother Jones). I only hope that scientists are not just looking for a way to sell us another “supplement,” when we should just be getting these little life-giving critters in our food, everyday. On the other hand, if enough scientific studies prove the efficacy of a healthy and balanced microbiome (gut), perhaps our doctors will finally find value in reembracing the idea of letting food be our medicine. What a shocking concept!

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Gut Bacteria and Weight Loss

I saw this in the New York Times this morning:  Gut Bacteria and Weight Loss

It reminded me about why I’m doing all of this.

New Water, New Ice

For the longest time I have been dreaming of having a reverse osmosis system installed in the house. About 6 or 8 months ago, we had an inline filter installed that vastly improved the taste and odor (ew!) of our tap water. Bathing and showering conditions were much improved, but I still didn’t really want to drink it.

A couple years ago I had gotten an Ecolo Blue Atmospheric Water Generator. Yes, that’s really what it sounds like. The AWG removes moisture (humidity) from the air and purifies that water for drinking. Fantastic!

The problem with the Ecolo is that it rarely produces enough water to satisfy our needs. (We play football; yes, women can, and do, play full-contact tackle football.) Especially during the winter months, there is just insufficient moisture in the air to keep up with our demand for pure drinking water.

For a few months now (at least) we’ve been buying bottled water. I hate the waste and cost of having to do that. So, when it came time to replace the filters in the Ecolo, it was also about time to replace the filters in the inline house system.

Rather than go through the expense and effort of replacing the Ecolo filters, I called the plumber and inquired about installing an RO system, and subsequently feeding that water supply to the ice maker, which had never been hooked up.

This would also give me a virtually unlimited purified water source to use in all of my home fermentation projects.

Well, today I am thrilled to report that this work was finally completed yesterday. I just heard another tray of ice fall in the freezer. And smiled.

Time For a Sauerkraut Update

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Since I just got finished bottling my first batch, and starting my second batch, of kombucha, I figured it was probably high time I checked on my kraut.

I started the sauerkraut on 2/23, so it’s been fermenting happily for 13 days. When I removed the lid, the top of the kraut looked a little dry, so I added some Arrowhead spring water to cover the weight stones, after removing some of the exposed pieces of cabbage/kraut.

As far as the taste goes, I think it’s finally demonstrating the usual qualities of kraut and not just old cabbage, but Lauren will be the best judge. I got a couple of small storage crocks when I ordered the fermenting crock; these are about 16 oz, so they’re just right for storing the kraut in the fridge.

I lightly packed one storage crock (see picture above) with some kraut, poured a little slightly salted water over it, and placed it in the fridge.

Ready to go!

Sauerkraut Update

So, I pulled about a 1/4 cup of kraut out of the crock yesterday for Lauren to try. It clearly needs some more time, but Lauren really enjoyed it.

I’ve moved the crock to the top of the fridge, so it will be a little warmer and help speed up the process. It’s currently been fermenting for 8 days, and the temperature has been in the 60s and 70s.

My First Batch of Sauerkraut

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I started my first batch of sauerkraut on Saturday afternoon, anxious to start using the fermentation crock that I had ordered for Lauren for Valentine’s Day.

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I cut up 3 heads of cabbage, but now I’m wishing I had cut up 4 or maybe even 5. I just wasn’t sure it was all going to fit, but now (just 5 days later), the crock is only about 1/2 full.

I used about 3 tablespoons of sea salt and sprinkled it over about every 1/2 head of cabbage just as I was adding it to the crock. I lightly pressed the cabbage down, as I filled the crock, and only pressed more firmly once the crock was full.

Then, I re-read the recipe, which indicated I should probably have been pressing more firmly, as I went along, to start releasing the moisture from the cabbage. I then placed the fermentation weight stone over the cabbage.

I checked it a few times over the first 24 hours, waiting to see if the moisture (brine) would cover the cabbage. It did not, either because I didn’t compress the cabbage enough, or the cabbage was dry or old. So, following the recipe, I added more salt and water; this took about 1 tsp salt in 1 cup of water to bring the level to the top.

I’ve been peeking at the mixture every day and taking a whiff to try and gauge its progress. Not really sure what to expect, so I’ll be pulling some out on Saturday (one full week) to try it.

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