Category: Health

My Thoughts on Fermenting Anaerobically

When I discovered WAPF about a year and a half ago, the concept of traditional foods really clicked. I knew instinctively that this sort of lifestyle was the best to give my son a healthy start in life. I was not familiar with fermenting foods and don’t think I had even tried any other than yogurt. Unless you want to count faux-ferment vinegar pickles! But I got my Nourishing Traditions book and I was ready to get started! I tried beet kvass and shredded ginger carrots in 1/2 gallon mason jars and because we were dairy-free at the time, I added extra salt. Even with the extra salt, I don’t think things went right. Funky smells, awful textures, kahm yeast on top…yuck. I searched far and wide for information that would help me make ferments that we’d actually be happy to eat. Around the same time, all the talk of anaerobic fermentation came about, and I said, “hmm… could that be my problem?” I didn’t know, but I decided to start saving for some of those Pickl-It jars.

In the meantime, a kind lady in my local mom’s group gave me a gift of water kefir grains. I made water kefir with a paper towel on top. It didn’t smell particularly good (very yeasty) and I had to flavor it to be able to drink it, but I figured our health was worth it. As soon as I could afford the fancy jars, I bought 3 of them. I tried making beet kvass and shredded ginger carrots again. They didn’t smell bad, but I didn’t particularly like them. My son loved the ginger carrots. I have a sister who has actually had ginger carrots before so I let her try it and she said, “Mmm, these are the best!” I quickly branched out to fermenting other things, and pretty much all of them have been a success. I also started brewing our water kefir anaerobically…and it smells, tastes and fizzes much better!

When you begin to love fermenting things like I do, you might start running out of jars all too often. This was the case several times. Our local Marshall’s started selling Fido jars for a relatively good price, so I bought a few more. I’ve brewed water kefir with a regular Fido lid, and I’ve also made dill carrots and sauerkraut with it. I much prefer both with an airlock! The water kefir was very bubbly, but smelled stinky. The dill carrots didn’t smell very pleasant and tasted “off,” so I just stuck them in the fridge–they did eventually smell and taste better. The sauerkraut I left to ferment for 12 weeks. It smelled horrible and it was mushy! The sauerkraut I make with an airlock smells and tastes great and has an awesome crunch, just like the day I put it in the jar.

I was lucky enough to get to try a Boss Pickler recently, and have nothing but rave reviews. I’ve been limited with what I can ferment and store because of the 2- and 3-piece airlocks. I was only able to hold up to a 2L jar with the mini airlock, or a 1L jar with the large airlock in ONE part of the fridge. Because the Boss Pickler’s airlock valves are so small, I am able to hold a 3L in the area of the fridge I used to use for fermenting, 1L jars in THREE(!!!) other sections!

Many bloggers have stated fermenting anaerobically is the way to go for optimal nutrition. It is a big source of debate, but I would choose fermenting this way based on taste and having virtually no spoilage any day! I love the confidence that my ferment will not spoil even though I’m in hot and humid Florida with house temps averaging 80oF!


Why The Weston A. Price Diet Failed You And Now Your Family Has Cavities

What makes someone who has a healthy diet more prone to tooth decay and cavities? Is it genetics? Luck of the draw? Lip/tongue tie? Possibly. Or maybe not. I’ve heard many of the following phrases lately:

We eat healthier than most people we know.

Do you really mean healthy? Or a diet higher in antinutrients?

Our friends who feed their kids cheese puffs and sweet drinks all day don’t have tooth decay.

Maybe just not yet, because they have better vitamin and mineral reserves?

Most of my friends who breastfeed have kids with cavities.

Oh no, maybe breast milk DOESN’T have everything it should after all. Is it possible that babies getting formula get more of the nutrition they need through fortification? Is it truly necessary to ensure we have a good diet high in fats, with lots of freshly cooked meats and vegetables while pregnant and nursing?

Is my next child going to have bad teeth too?

Probably, unless you fix the problem.

Why Are Our Teeth BAD?

Our teeth are not bad. The fact of the matter is that we are lacking in many essential vitamins and minerals for a host of reasons. How can our bodies function optimally if it is not getting all the nutrients it needs? How can it sustain a healthful pregnancy and ensure that our children have beautiful teeth and wonderful facial structures? How can we give our baby nutrients that we do not have? Quite simply, we can’t.

Our health, and those of future generations, has been in a state of decline. Our more recent ancestors could not give our parents’ parents what they needed. In a trickle down effect, we have become quite deficient in essential nutrients, including the building blocks for healthy teeth and bones. The fact of the matter is that if we are eating a Weston A. Price Diet and develop tooth decay, something is wrong. We may be skipping an essential part of the recommended diet, such as not getting enough healthy fats, eating too much grains or sugar, or possibly skipping fermented foods which are so helpful for digestion, and therefore absorption and assimilation of vital nutrients. We may simply need gut work because our diets have been lacking for so long.

But what can we do about it? We need to reduce our intake of things that rob us of nutrients and increase nutrient dense foods. Hop on over to Real Food Forager where I guest post on ways you can supply your body and your children’s bodies with what they need to have healthy teeth.


Garlic Oil For Ear Infections: Why You Should Make Your Own

Garlic Oil

Photo credit: rgbstock.com

Garlic oil for ear infections is very simple to make. The best recipe to use is simply 2-3 cloves of garlic crushed and mixed with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. This mixture will be left to steep for 30 minutes, then strained. Once strained, put a drop or two in each ear every hour for a few days. Most people who have used this remedy have had great results, often the pain lets up immediately. It is best to make a new mixture every 24 hours, to preserve the benefits of the garlic and olive oil and ensure the mixture doesn’t get contaminated by bad bacteria. There are several concoctions available ready-made at the store, some with additional herbs like mullein.

So… Why Should You Make Your Own?
When you make your own garlic oil, you can ensure that it is never heated. You can also use quality ingredients of your choosing and opt for organic garlic and a reputable brand of extra virgin olive oil. In case you didn’t know, there have been reports that some olive oils are tainted with fake fats that may be rancid and definitely not good for health!

The Benefits of Raw Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil contains fragile polyphenols, which are antioxidants that protect us from cell damage and help control inflammation. When the oil is heated, these polyphenols are greatly reduced, or even eliminated. Olive oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties when raw that directly helps to attack an ear infection, which can help avoid antibiotic use and the gut damage that follows. In addition to these benefits, olive oil lowers the risk of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, depression and other diseases. It also helps to lower blood pressure.

The Benefits of Raw Garlic
Garlic shares many of the benefits that olive oil offers, including being full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and protecting against cancer. This member of the allium family is high in sulfur compounds which aid the body in detoxification. It even helps our bodies to avoid forming carcinogens from overcooked meat. It helps with iron absorption and is a good source of Vitamin C, manganese, selenium, and other important vitamins and minerals. These are only some of the wonderful benefits that garlic has to offer, and unfortunately many of them are quickly destroyed by heat. For this reason it is often recommended to add garlic when the dish is done, or very close to being done, if you want to take advantage of all the health benefits it has to offer.

Raw, Garlic-Infused Olive Oil Works Miracles
When combined together and kept in their raw state, garlic and extra virgin olive oil offer the best of both worlds. Additional herbs can be steeped with the mixture. I have many friends who have had success with this remedy, including my neighbor who was a skeptic. Making a new solution daily is advised because after a period of time, garlic submerged in olive oil may encourage botulism to grow. Administering frequently ensures that the properties of the oil are available to continue healing the infection at all times. Many people get away with dosing every 4-6 hours, though.

A Note On Ear Infections
Recurring ear infections should not be a normal part of childhood! It often signifies that something is wrong. Dietary intervention may be necessary, often just eliminating dairy makes a huge difference.

Have you ever used garlic oil for an ear infection? If you have, I’d love to know the results and whether or not you made your own/used heat!