One of the most important ways to keep your gut healthy and happy is to give it plenty of natural probiotics. When your gut is healthy, the opportunistic flora is limited in numbers and greatly controlled by the good bacteria. But if the good bacteria in the gut is weakenered and damaged, the bad bacteria get out of control. These microbes cause many health problems. Amongst other things, they wreak havoc with the digestive system, and cause leaky gut (damaged gut wall integrity), which means partially digested foods can escape into the bloodstream. This results in immune system attacks, and can lead to autoimmune diseases. (For more info, see this article.)
We are working on gut healing using the GAPS diet, which helps to detox the body and reduce the bad bacteria and toxins in the gut, so that the gut flora can regain health and flourish. A big part of this healing diet is making natural probiotics (like fermented veges and sauerkraut) a regular part of our meals. Fermented veggies in fact contain many times more strains of good bacteria than commercially produced probiotic capsules. So we get sauerkraut and other fermented veggies on our plates as often as we can! Sometimes I make my own, sometimes (when I can’t keep up with everything) I buy Kehoe’s Kitchen saerkrauts. (Kehoe’s Kitchen’s products are wild fermented and unheated – they are available in the refrigerated section at health food shops. Beware of supermarket fermented veggies as they are generally heated, which kills the good bacteria.)
If you’d like to try making your own fermented veggies, this recipe is a great one for beginners, as it’s super simple, very quick to make, and is a delicious condiment! I’ve adapted it from an old favourite which you can find here (and also in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook). My kids don’t like fresh coriander for some strange reason, but they will eat ground coriander seeds, so I changed the recipe to suit us. I also added cumin, because you can never have too much cumin in your life. Ha ha!
I think I like this best with the whole seeds, but the kids like it better with the ground spices – play with it and see what you think. You can reduce the amount of chillies and add some red and green capsicum if you want to make this more child friendly. But I love the spiciness of this salsa – a little goes a long way. I serve it with:
– chilli, avocado and lettuce
– on scrambled or poached eggs with paleo bread, toasted
– mixed into mashed avocados for a dip
– as a salad dressing… add some homemade mayonnaise if you like
– alongside lamb and braised lentils
If you like Mexican food and love to add salsa to spice up your meals, you’ve got to try this!
- 4-6 tomatoes
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 100g green and/or red chillies, deseeded and quartered
- 1 handful Italian parsley
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds (or 1 tsp whole coriander seeds)
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin (or 1/2 tsp cumin seeds)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 small onions, halved
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1 1/2 Tbspns sea salt
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- First, remove skin from tomatoes: bring a pan of water to the boil, place tomatoes into water, and simmer for a few minutes until skins begin to blister. Take out of water and cool slightly, then remove skins. Chop into 1cm cubes, and place in a large bowl.
- Place chillies, garlic and parsley into Thermomix bowl and chop 3 sec/speed 7.
- Add onions and chop 3 sec/speed 5.
- Add all ingredients to large bowl and mix together, then place into large, clean, glass jar. (I like to use clip seal preserving jars.)
- Press down with a wooden pounder or meat hammer and add a little more filtered water if necessary to cover veges. Top of veges should be at least 1 inch below top of jar.
- Cover tightly with lid and keep at room temp for 2-3 days before transferring to fridge.
- Lasts for up to a year in the fridge.
- Don't stress about whether it's 'off' or not - you will know if there's anything wrong with fermented veggies because they'll smell so bad you won't want to eat them. This recipe is super simple, and I've never had it go 'off'.