Our intestinal lining is populated by millions, and billions of (simply put) good and bad bacteria. But one the the plights of our North American culture is that even though our good bacteria should be about 85% and the bad about 15% to be in balance. Today's diet and lifestyle has caused a reversal of these two figures and we now have about 85% bad bacteria and 15% of the good guys competing and fighting for survival space.
What this means to you and I is that those good bacteria are what aids us in digestion. If we have 85 % bad and that bacteria does not aid in digesting but is completing for the nutrition that you think you are eating, you end up second in line. The bad bacteria is thriving on your grocery bill and you are starving and so compulsively eat more and more in order to get the same nutrition. The result is overweight issues, cravings for sweets and grains, and poor digestion, gas and constipation and usually belly fat in particular.
Poor good bacteria count = poor digestion = gas = malnutrition (and overweight tendencies) = disease.
Improving your diet, as in eliminating the bad diet choices are all important but are not enough for a robust return to good health. You also need to repopulate and maintain a good bacterial count in your intestinal tract.
It has bothered me for years when I heard the phrase, "You are not what you eat, but what you digest." I had no idea what that meant because I was under the understanding that what you put down your throat went into your stomach and was digested. (Where else did it go?)
How on earth do you improve your digestion, I wondered for years? The answer to that question is actually quite simple. Naturally soured fruits, vegetables and grains, and dairy, are the most natural way to aid in digestion by adding those wonderful digestive enzymes and probiotics back into your digestive process, aiding in correcting the imbalance problem.
The obvious benefits will be easier elimination, less gas indicating indigestion, improved digestion and absorption and the desire to eat less and without the heavy long digestion feeling, and ....drum roll please...weight loss.
Adding store bought probiotics is another way to repopulate your intestines, available in the refrigerator section of your Health Food Store, but adding a habit of eating natural probiotics will be even better.
Homemade sauerkraut is so easy to make and is so very nutritious. One of the added benefits to this probiotic feast is that it is by nature still raw and therefore is part of the raw total that you might be keeping a mental note of. (I am) I am now at about 60 - 80 % raw without really much effort at all and that alone is such a surprise that it is so easy. I've lost weight and am feeling great. I'm sold. Now if I can just convince my husband to try it! (another story, another day)
Natural, Simple RAW Sauerkraut
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
(a food processor with the "grate" disc does an excellent job)
1 T caraway seeds, optional but is a very nice addition
1 T Celtic or Himalayan salt
4 T whey (whey is the clearish liquid from raw milk when it is set out on the counter for several days until it separates. The term curds (cream or cottage cheese) and whey comes from this process.
you can use an additional Tablespoon of salt instead.
-Mix the grated cabbage with the caraway seeds and then pound all with a wooden pounder or mallet for about a 10 min to help release the juices. Place in a quart size jar. One medium cabbage fills a quart jar perfectly.
-Press down firmly until the juices flow to the top of the cabbage, making sure the top of the cabbage stays about 1 inch below the top of the jar.
-Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. The fridge is fine. (Sample a little everyday until you have acquired a taste for wholesome naturally soured foods.)
Consume a tablespoon or more at each meal, especially at the heaviest or meat meal of the day and enjoy.
For a more complete information on how the digestion/bacteria process works see Dr Mercola's excellent article. (This is also a sales letter and promotion for his probiotic formula-sorry. I haven't used them but I would imagine that they are a good brand)
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