I’ve been having gut issues for a while now, I was hoping that the Whole30 I did in April would help me figure out what triggers it and if it was in fact a dairy/gluten/wheat issue.  After finishing the Whole30 on April 30 I found that eating gluten containing products made my stomach bloat badly and I felt incredibly uncomfortable all day (and some of the next day).  When I had Greek yoghurt a few days later I had no real bloating or gut issue.  Sooooo I’m thinking that it wasn’t so much the dairy that was my issue, more so the gluten (although if I have cheese…look out).

When I began studying the health/nutrition/anatomy subject I got a little side tracked (easily done) and looked further into the digestive system and the gut.  This led me to finding foods that help promote good gut health, and things that kill it.  Let’s have a look at that shall we 🙂

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Source

I started increasing my intake of Greek yoghurt and, like magic, my gut started settling down.  I have decided to stop the Whole30 I started on June 1 so I can have that back in to my daily diet, the health benefits far out way keeping it out just because it’s ‘not paleo’ (remember the iPaleo post?).  I have also discovered a love of fermented foods.  I discovered that it’s really pretty easy to make and easy to incorporate into a daily diet.

I’ve posted some of my fermenting photos on instagram and I have been promising to do this post for a while, so here it is:

Fermented Vegetables

There are 2 ways to make fermented vegetables.  The first method involves pounding the juices out of the vegetables with salt and some distilled water (not tap water because it contains stuff that kills bacteria).  I used this process to make dill cucumbers:

2 large cucumbers sliced thinly

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Add 2 tablespoons of sea salt, and 1 teaspoon of dried dill

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Then pound the cucumbers to within an inch of its life.  I used the end of my rolling pin.  Keep pounding until there is about this much liquid.

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Then spoon it into a clean Mason jar and push it down as you go, you want to pack it down tightly.

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There should be about this much liquid on top of the cucumbers after you have put it all in the bottle (if there isn’t then you can top it up a little with some distilled water).

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Place the lid on and put the jar in a dark slightly warm spot (I put them in the top of my laundry cupboard).  After 3 days open the lid and give it a taste, if it’s too your liking then it’s ready and you can pop it in the fridge.  If you like it more ‘pickley’ like I do then pop the lid back on and put it back in the cupboard for another day or two, then taste again.  I found that it needed 4 days.

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When I made the beetroot and kale relish I used the same process as above.  I grated 4 large beets, thinly sliced 2 large kale leaves, 3 cloves of garlic and 3 tablespoons of salt.

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Same process as before, except this time the juices needed some help so I added 1 tablespoon of distilled water and kept pounding.  I ended up adding 2 tablespoons of water and the liquid was perfect.  I found that I needed to place a folded cabbage leaf to the top of this before closing the lid.  It didn’t quiet fill the jar and I needed to close the ‘air space’ at the top.

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Same process is used; place it in a dark slightly warm spot for 3 days. After 3 days I had this white stuff growing on it, I freaked out and thought about tossing it. I rang a friend (who has been doing this for ages) and she said it was perfectly normal and that it didn’t mean I couldn’t use it.  So I just scrapped the white stuff off and, yep, it was soooooo good.

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 The other form of fermenting is using a culture started (like this one)

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With this one you don’t need to pound the vegetables, you just slice them up and place them in a clean jar and add the culture starter (according to the packet).  I used a large cucumber (cut into long thick strips), half a head of cauliflower cut into small florets and 3 small cloves of garlic.

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You leave this ferment in a dark, warm spot for 3-5 days….and let me say…this was awesome!

Cream Cheese

 My boys love cream cheese, I’ve been making this for some time now and thought I’d just pop this in here too as it is another ‘gut helper’.

Pour a 1kg tub of full fat Greek yoghurt into a large muslin sheet (over a strainer).

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Twist up the ends like so:

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and let it sit like this for a few hours, go back and check on it and give it another twist (helps squeeze more whey out).  Let it sit for another few hours and twist.  I let ours sit for around 8-10 hours because the boys like the cream cheese to be spreadable. If you want the cheese firmer then just let it sit twisted up for around 16 hours and just keep checking it. You will end up with 2 great products: cream cheese and whey.  Use the cream cheese as normal and I use the whey when making smoothies and things for the kids.

 

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© Jessica Rath

 

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