Monday, February 11, 2013


I am sure, as most of the world has heard, probiotics are all the rage these days.  What with Jaime Lee Curtis promoting Activia like its the next Micheal Myers movie...don't get me wrong, I'd love to see her adorable grey head fight that jerk all over the big screen but, wait.  That's not what this blog is about! *slaps self* Probiotics!  For those who live under a rock or just don't ask google, I'll summarize:  Super healthy live bacteria that we would call "good bacteria" that helps balance out you gut.  

For a more specific answer:

"live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host." Yes, they are actually alive, and most of these microorganisms are bacteria. Most people think of antibiotics and antibacterial products when you mention bacteria. Both of those kill bacteria so why would you want to consume anything that has live bacteria in it? It's all about balance.
Our digestive system normally has what we would call "good" bacteria and "bad" bacteria. Maintaining the correct balance between the "good" bacteria and the "bad" bacteria is necessary for optimal health. Things like medications, diet, diseases, and your environment can upset that balance.
Within your gastrointestinal tract, there is intestinal microflora or microbiota. This complex ecosystem contains over 400 bacterial species. Small amounts can be found in your stomach and small intestines, but the majority is found in your colon. The intestinal microflora aid in digestion, synthesize vitamins and nutrients, metabolize some medications, support the development and functioning of the gut, and enhance the immune system."

There you have it.  It has been around for eons, and we are introduced to it at birth (unless via C-Section...another reason to research, moms-to-be!) but with conventional medicine, lack of sleep, and this processed food we were stupid enough to invent, we've just ruined all the natural ways our bodies were made to protect us.  I am all for introducing probiotics back into our system, but in the right way.  Let''s start with why you'll never see me try Jaime Lee's Activia yogurt.  Sure, its all the rage.  Get your probiotics while eating this yogurt!  But if you are trying to be as healthy as you can be, you'll know Activia isn't the way to go.  It seems over rated for what little it seems to do.  And if you've done ANY research, you know that when people promote anything "light and fit" or whatever, that means they are pumping it full of awful stuff that just makes it worse.  Fake sugar, additives, etc. Ew.  No thanks.  And to think I used to be the kind of person who thought Lean Cuisines were better, and low fat/fat free was really awesome for those looking to get healthier.  Now, I can't deal with knowing I'm doing more harm with "health foods" than good with REAL foods.  Just a marketing scam if you ask me.  I'll take full fat over low fat any day.

I could go on an on about it, but I urge you to research for yourself!  This is one of MANY articles Google has set aside for you to read:

And for healing benefits, well these 6 reasons alone should be enough to convince you.

With that said, you can get better results of probiotics through real greek yogurt (try to get organic if you can!) but it's not exactly paleo-friendly, with the dairy and the cane sugar in it. I also found this wonderful product I've found called Lifeway Keifer.   It's like a yogurt flavored smoothie in a bottle, and its 99% dairy-free and gluten-free but still not 100% paleo-friendly.  Makes me so sad.  But I think allowing it on my 15% of my 85/15 is perfectly fine.  I am aware there are other ways to get/make your own keifer but at this point in my life, we are stuck here in the little town with minimal resources and access.  I know I'm  not mentioning others but specifically for this post...I do have a point here...what is it? Oh! I remember!

Here's my fix for getting in those probiotics with minimal resources! Kimchi!  I know what you're thinking... "Sick.  That stuff smells awful, how can I eat it if I can't stand to smell it?"  Don't worry, its not my favorite thing either to smell but, they "younger" it is, its not too bad.  I get over it and deal with the health benefits instead.  Goose likes his "super fermented" but not me!  I usually bottle up my jar after about 3 days of letting it ferment.  He's let his sit as long as 4-6 weeks, which in hindsight might be too long.  I say if you like the fermented flavor 2-3 weeks at best.  If not, put some in a jar and in the fridge after 3-5 days!

The process is really simple, and yeah it takes a bit of prep time if you're doing it alone so that's why you should get a buddy to help you!  Goose was in charge of the chopping, I was in charge of the beating.  Win-win situation here!   The best part about the kimchi is, its completely natural and free of weird crap that the stores will put in it.  There's no added color, preservatives, pasteurization,  additives, or lurking wheat/grain.  It's just pure, real kimchi.  

Here's our recipe:   5 heads cabbage (we blend Napa and Bok Choy)
3.5 lbs Daikon radish
2.5 lbs onions
1 lb carrots
1 lb Jalepenos (we mix fresh Jalepenos with dried Serranos for extra heat)
1/4 lb ginger
1/4 lb garlic 
3/4 cup Celtic Sea Salt

Chop up the cabbage into chunks, no need to get it real finely sliced.  Remember you're going to beat the crap out of it later.  Slice the radish, onion, and carrots into thin slices with a mandolin or grater.  Grate the ginger finely and mince the garlic.  In a huge bucket (we use a 5 gallon paint bucket for all the mashing) put half of your chopped ingredients in and half the salt.  Using the end of a wooden spoon, or even a wooden stick if you have one, get to beating!  Make sure to stir the mixture to get the chunks that got shoved to the bottom up to the top so you get everything mashed.  I'd say after about 10 minutes of cabbage crushing, you can move that to your pot you're using for fermenting.  Do the same with the remaining mixture and then mix it all together.  This recipe yields about 3 gallons of finished product. 

This is great to do when you're mad! 

The salt amount should vary upon how "juicy" your cabbage is.  Regular cabbage will need a bit more salt, but the Napa and Bok Choy are very juicy and require a little less than the 3/4 c.  Add the salt by taste.  This time we used 3 heads of it, 1 head of Napa, 1 head of Bok Choy.  Our experimenting lead us to decide to skip the regular cabbage from now on.  We will only blend Napa and Bok Choy.  Honestly you can eat this as soon as is chopped up, because it tastes so fresh but there's no probiotics yet in it, as it's not fermented and well...that's the whole point!

I transfer mine to a glass mason jar and set on the counter for 3-5 days. Don't fill it to the top, the liquid will spill out all over the world and make your space smell like a cabbage factory.  When you feel it tastes as stinky  fermented
 as you want it, put a tight lid on it and stick it in the fridge.  It will slow the fermenting process down to almost a halt and you're good to go.  For those that want to leave it for 2 or more weeks, simply put a heavy weight on top of the kimchi and cover it til the juices cover the cabbage mix, but leave some air holes for the gases to escape or else you're gonna have a wet mess everywhere.  We put saran wrap over the top (pierced with small holes) of our longer-sitting batch, since we stick it in the basement until done.  If you're like Goose, you'll wanna test a little bit every 4-5 days to monitor the fermenting process.  The finished kimchi goes into gallon milk jugs and into the fridge.  What a great natural, paleo-friendly way to get those good probiotics into your system! 

This one's still gettin' its stank on.

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