Hello post turkey day peeps. I hope you had a fantastic Holiday. If you are anything like me you ate too much over the weekend and may have eaten some foods that didn’t agree with you. Like stuffed your face. Not just on Thursday but the night before and the nights after too? And when the family arrived you may have had some celebratory wine? And when baking cookies you may have tasted three too many… then proceeded on thursday to eat all day while preparing food. Cuz you have to make sure it all tastes good, right? I am not even going to mention the many glasses of wine and mojitos you drank. Okay, maybe not mojitos. We were probably the only family sipping on mojitos as we cooked and ate our way through turkey day. It was hot in California and the oven was on all day so the mojitos were needed to cool us all off ;)
So after the gluttony and sinful drinking that took place, my stomach was pretty jacked. When I say jacked I mean… by Saturday I had heartburn, upset stomach, bloating, constipation, low energy and was moody. Sorry if some of that is TMI, but there is a point to this, I promise. My normal diet consists largely of vegetables, fermented foods and high quality meats. I don’t usually eat bread, sugar or dairy, because those foods don’t agree with me (I was painfully reminded of that over the long weekend).
I did eat some fermented foods and veggies over the weekend, but not enough to counteract the bad foods. In fact, no amount of fermented foods will make up for a poor diet. It doesn’t matter how much of one good thing you eat, if the rest of your diet consists of foods that are inflammatory or hard to digest, it’s not going to cure you. What I suggest is making changes to your diet that you can live with for the long-term. It took me a few years to change my food habits and find the right diet that worked for my body. I cheat once in a while, like over this weekend, and get to be reminded of why I made the changes in the first place.
When I got home yesterday I went back to my food routine. I did grocery shopping, prepared enough food for the next few days so that I could easily throw together a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner and not have to go out to a restaurant to eat. That along with eating sauerkraut has caused me to feel a whole lot better today.
The fermented vegetables that I eat when I have an upset stomach is sauerkraut. And since ginger also has health benefits related to digestion I thought it would double the power if I combined the two.
The sauerkraut and ginger combo is pretty amazing. The sauerkraut is full of probiotics, enzymes and fiber that naturally balances the digestive tract and the ginger eases stomach pain, blocks acid from heartburn and relieves gas.
Top Benefits of Ginger Kraut
- Probiotic – fermented foods like this sauerkraut contain more probiotics than a probiotic pill and research has shown that the good bacteria are more likely to survive the digestive system then ones from a pill.
- Enzymes- the enzymes in fermented foods help assist in breaking down food, making meals easier for your body to digest.
- Fiber – sauerkraut is rich in fiber and feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut, moves food though your digestive tract and makes you regular (poo).
- Relieves diarrhea and constipation – the friendly bacteria in fermented foods balance the inner ecosystem in the digestive track.
- It also relieves gas, heartburn and improves mood and mental health.
If you want to read more about the many health benefits of fermented foods check out the resources at the end of this post.
Besides the numerous health benefits of Ginger Kraut, it tastes delicious. It’s crunchy, tart, zesty, aromatic and slightly spicy. It’s a warm, comforting spice and reminds me of a toned down version of pickled ginger. I eat it plain by the spoonfuls, put it on salads, top it on salmon, eat it with chips or serve it as a side.
- Pull 3 outer leaves off the head of cabbage and set aside. Shred the remaining cabbage in a food processor, mandolin or chop with a knife. Add the remaining cabbage, ginger and sea salt to a big bowl.
- Massage the cabbage mixture with your hands until it breaks down and becomes soft (about 10 min). Let it sit for 10 minutes. The cabbage will become very soft and wet.
- Pack the cabbage in the mason jar tightly, pushing it all the way down until it submerges in its own juices (this is the brine). Leave about 1½ inches of space from the top of the jar. If there is not enough brine to cover the cabbage, add more brine by combining a teaspoon of sea salt with 1 cup of water.
- Roll up the leaves and place them in the jar to push the cabbage under the brine. Screw on the jar loosely so gas can escape as fermentation takes place. Set on the counter for 4-7 days in a cool, shaded place. In the summer fermentation will take only about 4 days while in the cooler months it could take up to 7 or more. Taste the kraut after 4 days and if it is at the consistency and taste you like, it's ready to eat.
- During fermentation the sauerkraut will bubble a little and become cloudy. If scum appears, remove it with a spoon.
- Remove the rolled up cabbage leaves and toss in the garbage before eating.
Since being back on my healthy diet and eating ginger kraut with every meal, my stomach feels so much better. No more bloating, gas, heartburn or moodinesss for me. My energy is back and I feel more rested. Try my Ginger Kraut and feel better. It feels good to be back :)
If you don’t like ginger but still want to get the benefits of fermented foods, you can try a different recipe and experience the same benefits. Some recipes that can help your stomach are Basic Sauerkraut , Orange Apple Cranberry Sauerkraut, or try a probiotic drink.