This is a recipe for Homemade Sauerkraut to Improve Your Gut Health, but it is also a story of why I want you to have it. I spent much of 2017 getting my health on track. I was lucky to be raised by parents who believed in Nature’s healing powers, eating foods we grew, and supplementing with vitamins. For that reason I have considered myself a generally healthy person, which in a way was a crutch. The truth is that life has a way of pushing back on my attempts to stay healthy — a lot of travel, the intensity with which I work, the stress that I take on because I care so much about the details.
In the summer of 2015 I had started drinking coffee for the first time, and it became harder and harder to wake up each day. And I was spending more time in a dense urban area which meant that socializing revolved around dining out with rich meals and fancy sugary cocktails or wine.
I’m not here to give you a prescription for health because the best lesson I’ve learned is there is absolutely no one-size-fits-all solution, but I will tell you that the second best lesson I’ve learned is that as we get older we can’t ride on the coattails of our youthful metabolism, and the more we beat our body up, the faster it breaks down until one day we wake up feeling like a different person. And the journey back to normal is a lot harder. That’s what happened for me.
I used my intensity in this case to tinker and figure out what has worked for me. And sometime in late 2017 a switch in me flipped and working on my healthy routine is no longer a chore but something I crave and look forward to. I feel really good right now on the inside. The outside I’m not quite as worried about, so long as my skin looks healthy. In fact, I don’t wear makeup much anymore because… who cares what anyone else thinks.
Along the way I have spent a lot of time reading about gut health. It is one of the most important things for us humans, and something we don’t spend a lot of time working on. I have really enjoyed reading the work of Dr. Izabella Wentz. She specializes in the thyroid, but describes 5 different unhealthy guts we can have:
- The Candida Gut – caused by a high-sugar diet, antibiotics and chronic anxiety, healed by a diet low in sugar/high in probiotic foods, coupled with probiotic supplements and herbs like oil of oregano and pau d’arco.
- The Stressed Gut – caused by emotional stress and adrenal issues, treated with a nutrient dense diet, as well as adaptogenic herbs and minerals to support the stress response.
- The Immune Gut – caused by food sensitivities that can be healed by diet, including bone broth, digestive enzymes, and probiotics.
- The Gastric Gut – caused by a sluggish digestive system and treated with specialized digestive support and enzyme-containing foods.
- The Toxic Gut – caused by environmental toxins and treated with a modified fat diet and liver support.
She says: “Optimizing gut function is one of the crucial steps in optimizing immune system and thyroid function, and I’ve found that addressing leaky gut can help a person turn his/her health around within a short amount of time, even if he/she had been struggling with symptoms for many years.”
Some of my favorite ways to improve gut health are eating fermented foods, drinking bone broth and taking a probiotic supplement.
So I thought I’d share my Homemade Sauerkraut recipe with you. It is really fun to make at home because you watch it come to life over time and you can keep incorporating new cabbage into the mix so that it is a gift that keeps on giving. Any kind of cabbage will work for this recipe. If you use purple cabbage, or a mix of purple and green cabbage you will end up with bright pink sauerkraut which is rather fun!
You can start a new batch before the previous batch runs out by using what remains from the crock, repacking it with fresh salted cabbage, and pouring the old juices over the new. This will act as an active starter culture and give your new batch a head start in the fermenting process. If you develop a rhythm like this you will always have sauerkraut on hand. This recipe is only mildly salty. If you like assertive cabbage you can season it more.
Here is to a year of loving our bodies, friends!
Do you have some favorite healthy remedies and recipes? We’d love to know! Comment below or tag us on social media.
“Homemade Sauerkraut to Improve Your Gut Health”
- 5 pounds about 2 small heads purple cabbage
- 8 tablespoons sea salt mixed with 8 cups of water
- Optional: Caraway seeds juniper berries, shredded carrots or any flavoring element you want to try
Chop or grate the cabbage finely or coarsely, however you prefer.
Place the sliced cabbage in a nonreactive bowl or ceramic crock alternating with the salt water as you go. This draws moisture out of the cabbage and creates the brine in which the cabbage will ferment.
Add your desired flavoring elements, fold into the cabbage, then cover the bowl with a cloth or towel to keep dust and flies away.
Over the next 24 hours, check that the brine is above the cabbage. Simply add more salt water (a ratio of 1 tablespoon sea salt mixed into 1 cup of water) if necessary.
Let the cabbage ferment in the crock and continue to check it every two days. The kraut will become tangy after a few days, at which point you can begin eating it, but it will become stronger over time.
Take it from the crock to eat as needed but leave the rest in the crock, fully submerged, to continue to develop.
Keeping it in a cool place is beneficial because it will slow the fermentation, which will preserve the kraut for longer. The volume will reduce over time, and a bloom may appear at the surface. This is simply a reaction to contact with air and can be skimmed off. If you find that the brine begins to evaporate, just add more salted water. You can continue to add fresh cabbage to this brine to ensure a constant supply.